Day 2 From Israel- Guest Blogger Sue Borg

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“Telaviv. Sea. Light. Sand, scaffolding, kiosks on the avenues, a brand new white Hebrew city, with simple lines, growing up among the citrus groves and the dunes. Not just a place that you buy a ticket for and travel to on an Egged bus, but a different continent altogether.” Amos Oz

Where are we? In history? In this City?   So very old and so very new.

Today we started the day on the spot where the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was made on May 14, 1948. A new state established in the birthplace of the Jewish people thousands of years before. You could almost still hear the sound of Hatikva in the air of Independence Hall.

We walked through Neve Tzedek , the first neighborhood, created decades before the founding of the City of Tel Aviv, by a group of Jewish families in 1887. As time went on other neighborhoods sprung up around Neve Tzedek where new colorful homes were built along the narrow streets. While Tel Aviv grew up all around and moved north, Neve Tzedek fell into disrepair and neglect by the 1960’s. But today, after efforts at preserving these century old structures, Neve Tzedek is a trendy area which maintains the look and feel of those early and pivotal days.

Our day ended with a walk around Old Jaffa—a city that is 4000 years old (Remember that Jonah left to be swallowed by the whale from the port of Jaffa. We spent a wonderful couple of hours watching a demonstration by an artisan about making jewelry in the Yemenite tradition passed down through the generations.

We rolled in to the hotel with aching feet, a few purchases and great anticipation about visiting Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran rehabilitative village which CBJ has “adopted” for support.

Live from Israel- Day 1 Guest Blogger Reva Segall

Greetings!  I find myself in Israel with 13 wonderful adults from CBJ, Danny Ehrlich, our intrepid tour guide, and Shlomo, our bus driver, for the next 11 days. Instead of blogging about the trip myself, I have turned this forum over to the members of the group, who will share their experiences and unique viewpoints.

Our first guest blogger is Reva Segall.

Today, 10 of us who arrived a day or two early for the Israel trip went on a pre-trip excursion.  The excitement we felt to finally start touring Israel was tangible!  Our young, cute and knowledgeable guide, Asaf, took us first to Caesaria, a port built from scratch by Herod, the greatest builder Palestine had ever had.  We saw a movie showing us Caesaria under different conquests and after earthquakes.  We saw archeologists working on mosaics which had been covered by sand for 2000 years, the chariot racing area, the Roman theatre and smelled the sea.
Next we traveled to Haifa and toured the Baha’i gardens which are maintained by 100 gardeners.  Then off to Zichron Yacov, a town known for its wine and sponsored by Baron Edmund De Rothschild in the early 1900’s.  Then a delicious Israeli lunch at last!  Last stop was the park in which Baron Rothschild and his wife were buried.
Back to the Carlton Hotel for rest and cleanup followed by a very tasty welcome dinner.  The souvenir we wished to take home with us was Asaf!

Unplug

Thirty minutes east of Portland, towering over exit 31 of Interstate 84, tumbles Multnomah Falls. More than tumbles, really. It cascades thunderously, shooting spray on people posing for pictures in front of the natural wonder. Picture the power of the waterfall (or go to Google images- it’s worth seeing).

OK, now picture this. And right in front of this miracle of nature, a 500-foot waterfall, is Bill on his cellphone, back turned to the water, oblivious to the spray, talking on his cellphone.  What is wrong with this picture? I mean what is wrong with this picture!  (This is cheap- we can’t post pictures here, but you can use your imagination or visit futornick.wordpress.com to see it on my blog.) OK, I staged the picture, and Aviva took it for this entry. But it really isn’t far-fetched to imagine ourselves being so immersed in technology, so needing to be connected, that we can turn our backs on such a wonder.

The fact is that we do this every day. We solder ourselves to technology and rarely separate from it. I know for myself, it is really difficult to stop staring at my screen(s). When we stay so “connected”, though, we disconnect ourselves from so many other things: the miracle of family, daily wonders, waterfalls.

The Shabbat that falls on March 6 and 7 is the National Day of Unplugging. Now who has the authority to decide that there is a national day of unplugging is still somewhat unclear to me. And, as I talked about on Rosh Hashana, it is fairly ridiculous that we have a day that we are to “unplug”. Like I said a few months ago, we all know that we have a national day of unplugging every week called Shabbat.  But so many of us don’t put aside the time for unplugging on Shabbat that the National Day of Unplugging may actually be necessary.

The trick is going to be unplugging regularly after March 7.  The organization promoting the National Day of Unplugging is called Reboot. Let’s all use March 7 to reboot and to reconnect ourselves to what our prayerbook calls “the miracles which are with us every day.”