Hi, this is Sima. We forgot some important news from yesterday -- Naomi lost her front tooth! It happened at Tel Dan while we were eating lunch, right after the hike! How many American kids can say that they lost a front tooth in the holy land???
Ok, for today -- we meant to get an early start this morning, but the jet lag snuck up us and I was the first one up at 10. So after a quick breakfast at the tables outside our room overlooking beautiful HaGoshrim, we headed off to Katzrin by way of the Golan and the viewpoint at Quneitra. On the way, lots of gorgeous views and lots of Israelis driving really fast on very curvy roads in big trucks. We let everyone pass us and held our breath at each turn. We did the quick version of the Katzrin tour -- went to old Katzrin and explored a shul and two homes that were from the Talmudic times. One of the homes had been fully restored and was very cool -- the kids were imagining what it would be like to sleep in the loft and to cook in the stone ovens. Then a quick stop at the Golan winery for a picnic lunch on the lawn and Mike to do a very fast stop in the winery gift shop, were he made a few purchases.... Next we headed to The Jordan River park, an expansive park on the north shore of the Kineret. We did a mini-hike along the Jordan, the kids enjoyed the splashing. By then it was very hot, and a mini-hike was all that we were up for. Naomi and Ilana were begging for the beach, so we stopped next a kibbuts Ginosar, along the went shore of the Kineret. Some kibbutzniks there found an ancient sunken ship in 1986 (when there was a horrible drought and the Kineret was really low), which with a lot of help from experts in antiquities they were able to dig and and remove from the mud, and bring to the kibbutz. They have a museum there that explains the process and the possible origins of the boat -- really cool. AND, the museum is right next door to the beach! So after a perusal of the exhibit and some glida (ice cream), we spent some time lounging in the shallow, hot water of the Kineret. Naomi and Ilana were very happy... We continued down the shores of the Kineret to Tiberias for dinner at a gorgeous Chinese restaurant right on the shores of the Kineret. We ate outside, overlooking the water.
Some observations -- most of the tourists we have encountered up here are Israelis; we have heard very little English. That may be why every Israeli we meet seems to ask us when we are going to make aliyah. They've given us lots of good arguments why we should and Naomi is all for it (she did not need much convincing, I think this trip may determine her future...). Our Hebrew is steadily improving, Naomi keeps reminding us to use it and I find that I am much more willing to speak and make a fool of myself now than I was 20 years ago when I was here last. Eitan is intrigued by all of the archeological sites we have visited. Their stories fascinate him and we find ourselves reading and re-reading to keep up wth his questions. Noah says his favorite thing so far has been the hike at Tel Dan, but he very eagerly awaiting our visit to the Naot/Teva outlet tomorrow. A true consumer he is. And Ilana is enoying everything -- she burst out today with "I love Israel!!!!" This trip is truly a gift, and we are all so grateful for it.
To see photos from the last couple of days, try going to