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Part 3: Golan Heights

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…and there was MORE FOOD – a huge picture-perfect baked salmon surrounded by fruits and vegetables, pancakes stacked high, maple and chocolate syrup dispensers, French toast, spaghetti and other goodies that you normally don’t find in Israel.

Almost too full to move, we attended havdalah services and then were entertained by a singer/guitar player. Soon everyone was packing and saying their goodbyes.

For us it was sort of a hello. Avi and Leah, whom we know from Cincinnati, had found someone who would drive us to Katzrin and then we would go with them to their home in Yonatan. We were quickly introduced to Joseph and when we got into the car with him and his teenage son, he turned and asked, “Should we take the Turnpike or I-75?” This question so discombobulated us that it took a few minutes for us to answer him, but we understood immediately that we were in for an interesting trip.

Joseph, we learned, had been a journalist for a liberal newspaper in South Africa, then a book publisher. He regaled us with great stories including the period of time when left-wing Jews were thrown in prison for working with the ANC. Those prisoners were given a choice of prison or immigration to Israel. Wonder what they chose.

From South Africa Joseph went to Florida where he resided for 18 years and established another book publishing company. He recently moved to Katzrin and conducts his business from there. Mick and I hope to met up with him again and hear more of his stories.

We tried to get out of Peki’in. It turned out not to be so easy. After making a series of wrong turns on narrow streets, we dead ended and there we found Avi and Leah who had left 20 minutes before us. Joseph backed down the steep twisting hill. Avi wasn’t having any of that. Leah was out of the car trying to coax him into backing up so he could turn around at the tiny cul de sac. Avi did not believe that the room existed that Leah wanted him to back into.

Joseph waited at the bottom of the road for a very long five minutes. Every passing car that squeezed by honked irritably at us even though Joseph hugged the rock wall as tightly as possible.

Between Joseph’s GPS and his son’s phone GPS plus a little intuition, we were on the highway. I was torn between watching the road (as though my vigilance would keep us from careening off at each pitch black, rollercoaster-like turn) and keeping my mouth from gapping at the beauty of the lights spread below us, everywhere the eye could see, like shiny yellow flowers.

Avi followed us until we got right outside Katzrin and then he pulled ahead of us and to the side of the road and told us to do the same. There we became outlaws. It is strictly against the law to have more than five in a car.

Leah gave Mick her front seat and moved into the back seat, embracing Dovid on her lap, and I maneuvered in next to her with Benjie on my lap. Bunchie remained in her car seat.

Avi was the amiable host pointing out where the chickens and cows were but we saw nothing in the dark.

We were surprised at how big and nice their rented house is. There was even a bathtub!!! Everywhere we go there are beautifully tiled showers but never any bathtubs. Leah walked in, picked up a remote, and tried to get the heat on. Nothing happened. “This is a tragedy”, she declared. I laughed. This was the third tragedy in our trip so far. (wink, wink)

Avi, a pediatrician, works at four clinics spread out around Lake Keneret. His schedule is different every week and gets changed on minutes notice but he discovered he was free to spend Sunday morning with us. We dropped Bunchie off at nursery and toured the center of the moshav. (The boys were picked up by a school bus). I was delighted at the art work, which is ubiquitous in Israel. On the outside of the kindergarten are beautiful tiles, each tile representing a family on the moshav. In this tiny square was the synagogue, a large playground, administrative offices, the post office and the kindergarten.

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Hand painted tiles representing Moshav Yonatan families

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Avi, a pediatrician, works at four clinics spread out around LakeKeneret. His schedule is different every week and gets changed on a minutes notice but he discovered he was free to spend Sunday morning with us. We dropped Bunchie off at nursery and toured the center of the moshav. (The boys were picked up by a school bus). I was delighted at the art work, which is ubiquitous in Israel. On the outside of the kindergarten are beautiful tiles, each tile representing a family on the moshav. In this tiny square was the synagogue, a large playground, administrative offices, the post office and the kindergarten.

Avi next dropped Leah off at ulpan. We had declined their offer of breakfast so we could treat Avi to his favorite restaurant in the Katzrin Mall.

We then went to see the 2000 plus-years remains of the synagogue and houses there. The historians do not know what  area was named or what happened to its residents.

Mick and I sat alone in the ruins listening to a piped in Rosh HaShannah service with music. While Avenu Malkanu (Our father, our king), was chanted, Mick declared that he was certain he had been there in another life.

OlivePress Leah and Avi Politzer and me in front of a grape press at Katzrin archaeological park. (I’m the old one.)                    

After Avi had dropped us off, he had picked up Leah who was on her ulpan break. They rejoined us as we looked at old olive presses and went into a tiny store of a resident wood carver.

Avi took Leah back to ulpan, picked us up and then it was off to the Katzin museum.

Author: Turnip Times

Sometimes the truth is funny and sometimes sad. But the truth is always the truth.

One thought on “Part 3: Golan Heights

  1. Wow, I guess our family is famous now 🙂 It was really great seeing you both even though we thought we would never make it out of Peki’in. Thanks for being a good sport about the over-crowded car ride home and the freezing temperature in our house. But if anyone ever says we had more than 5 people in the car, I’ll definitely deny it 😉

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