So, I'm going to Israel in December!

It’s probably an anathema to post this on Shabbes, but I’m awake now, and need something to do. I fell asleep at 6:30 this evening, right after dinner, and now I’m awake.

Anyway, I’m psyched about this trip, so I went to the British Airways website, and ordered all my vegetarian meals, and now I just want to MPSIMS about it.

In December, there’s a conference for Jewish educators in Nahariya, and I applied to go, and got accepted! They want Americans there, because they are trying to promote serious Jewish education (probably to increase the quality of the knowledge of people who go to Israel later, by improving education for youth), so there’s outreach to people who teach religious school in the US, and I teach at my synagogue.

The conference runs from Dec. 23 (Sunday) in the afternoon, to Dec. 28 (Friday) right about noon, and then they have a local family who will host each of us for Shabbes. So I’m coming back on the 30th, Sunday. I have decided to leave the Wednesday before, and spend a couple of days in Jerusalem before I go to Nahariya (which is on the Northern coast).

DH and the boychik thought about coming too, but we decided we couldn’t really afford it. I’m using some of the money my mother left me for my plane ticket, and my hotel and meals are covered by the conference (except the first couple of days in Jerusalem, but I’m staying in a cheap hotel, that is probably not the best, right outside the Old City, oh well-- it’s half hostel, half private rooms for older people, so I have low expectations for it, but I’ve probably stayed in worse; it has free breakfasts, and free wifi; no AC, but it will be winter).

I decided to fly Premium Economy. It’s about $600 more than regular Economy, and about half of Business class. The seats recline pretty far back, albeit, not fully down, but about eight inches instead of like, 1.5" in regular Economy, and you get six more inches of legroom. You also get a free carry on in addition to a personal bag, and a free checked bag. With luck, I will do this all with carry-on, and not worry about losing luggage, because I have two stopovers, one at JFK, and one at Heathrow.

My stopover at JFK is long, but that means I might actually have time to leave the airport and do something in New York. I’ll be in London less than two hours, though, but Heathrow is a nice airport.

I’m going to take something to make SURE I sleep on the plane.

When I’m in Jerusalem, I’m going to hit the highlights of the old city-- the Western Wall, and such, see the Yad VaShem, and then see the Jewish museum. I’ll go the Shabbes services in an old synagogue.

Then Sunday morning, I take the train to Nahariya. The conference should be exciting.

So it turns out I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling the rest of this year.

I have Las Vegas, and the Pinball Hall of Fame in October; in November, I we are all going to my brother’s for Thanksgiving-- several of my cousins will be there as well-- we had to get an hotel, because my brother doesn’t have room for everyone in his house; then in December, Israel. I’ve never traveled so much in one year in my life. Especially when you consider than I had to go out to Maine recently for my mother’s unveiling. I drove, and did that in two legs, instead of flying. I just felt like it. Can’t really say why.

OK. I’ve gotta do something to get back to sleep. Got stuff tomorrow. Gotta walk a dog in the morning, and then go to services. Got stuff moitzei Shabbes too.

Wish me luck.

Enjoy yourself and learn lots.

Enjoy the old town in Jerusalem. Some of the markets and churches are amazing.

I’ve never transferred at Heathrow as I live in London but I would want to move swiftly off the plane and through the airport. Heathrow is massive and I’d expect there to be extra security checks on the leg to Israel. It’s an efficient airport though so you shouldn’t have any problems.

Mazel tov! Have a great time! Have you been before?

I hope you have a really nice bunch of trips and that this work one is both enjoyable and useful.

Everyone connecting through Heathow has a second security screening. Still, at least the prices at Heathrow are similar to what you’d find in central London. And, every place will take cards so no need for pounds.

Have a great trip! May the Iron Dome protect you!

I’m sure you are going to enjoy your trip a lot.

I have to ask, though, for more information about this from your OP: “I had to go out to Maine recently for my mother’s unveiling.”

My mother died last year. We wait before putting up a marker. The period right after death is shiva, and it lasts a week; the next period is sheloshim, and it lasts 30 days. Because of the time my mother died, by the time sheloshim was over, we were into the high holy days, and sukkot, simchat Torah, etc., and then it was winter, and the ground was frozen. It’s inappropriate to put the marker up during holy or festive days. So we waited through all the spring holidays too. We did it just before the yahrzeit (anniversary), in fact. When people gather to see the marker for the first time, it has a cover on it, so it is then “unveiled.”

Then everyone puts a small rock on it to symbolically build a monument, and we recite kaddish. Then we go home for a small reception.

We had a big memorial service for my mother last November, after the high holy days. This was just a private thing for family and enough friends to make a minyan.

Yay I’m going to Israel on Saturday! Not Jewish, just going to see the sites in Jerusalem… and hit the beach in Tel Aviv.

Going to Turkey for a week afterwards. Am nothing if not diplomatic.

Wow. It’s going to be hot this time of year.

Thanks for the explanation, RivkahChaya. I like the idea of everyone putting a rock on the marker. Your customs seem quite elaborate to someone not familiar with them but also seem very inclusive and meaningful. I appreciate you taking the time to explain.

Congratulations! That sounds very exciting and educational. I can’t wait to hear all about it, I’m sorry it’s only going to be September, now I have to wait!

RivkahChaya: Enjoy your time in Nahariya! It’s a nice town, although naturally the beach won’t be that great in December. Mi SiL is from the area, and I’ll ask her if she can recommend any attractions or restaurants. If you have a way to get around, I suggest you scheck out the limestone grottoes at Rosh Hanikra, right on the Lebanese border, and the old city of Akko (Acre), which also features some excellent crusader ruins. If you have more time, you can visit my hometown of Haifa, which has plenty to do and see.

Jerusalem… is Jerusalem.

Bear in mind that it’s be colder than you think - I mean, not sub-freezing, of course, but you should bring both a coat *and *a sweater.

SanVito: My favorite beach in Tel Aviv is Gordon Beach, the one just south of the marina, although every beach has its own character, so let me know what you’re looking for. I can also give you restaurant recommendations - the city has a terrific food culture. Note that while tourists seem to think that the parts near the shoreline are the center of the city, actual Tel-Avivim rarely go there except to get to the beach; the nicer, cooler and more interesting parts are further inland.

And an umbrella. Hoping to have more rain this year than the last few, and December is part of the rainy season.

Have you been here before?

Have fun!

Well, without stealing the thread. I’m staying at the Poli House, which looks an interesting neighbourhood. I’m a gay girl, so had planned to hit the Hilton Beach at some point, but happy to go to others as well.

I have some restaurants booked already, but happy to have my mind changed. We’re looking at places that lean towards a casual vibe, and trend more towards Eastern mediterranean cuisine (I see there’s a lot of places that do Italian, but we go to Italy a lot, so prefer to go local where we can). We’re not kosher and love our wine.

So far I’ve booked Night Kitchen, Santa Katarina and Onzo.

Those are good restaurants - I’ve eaten at Night Kitchen, and it was excellent, and I’ve heard good things about the two others. In case you want to try out some more basic food, the best shawarma is at Hakosem and the best hummus is at Abu Adham (and the best pizza is Tony Vespa, if you change your mind about Italian).

Your hotel seems to be in a good location. I suggest you take a walk up Rothschild Boulevard and visit the Sarona food and shopping district (it’s right by the big twisty building, the tallest in Tel Aviv). Hilton Beach is great - the gay section is on the second cove north of the marina, by the dog beach (if you’ve reached the Orthodox beach, you’ve gone too far). Look for the rainbow canopies and the buff guys in Speedos.

Just jumping in because I LOVE hearing of others going on holidays to ‘exotic’ places.

Hope you all have heaps of fun on your travels. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the tips! I always try to pre-book restaurants so I don’t have a last minute scramble, but also happy to switch when I’m there if I fancy something different.