2 min read
Posted on 01.23.06
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 01.23.06

Readers have asked for more details of my time in Israel. I’ll provide them — demonstrating that I read my emails and that I’m not a travel writer.

I told you about my visit to the Holocaust Museum. After that, we walked through the “Old City” — the historic district of a city in which pretty much everything is historic anyway. As every tourist knows, the Old City is divided into four neighborhoods, whose names reflect the ethnic and religious affiliations of their inhabitants.

We visited churches in the Christian Quarter and archeological sites in the Jewish Quarter. We ate in several great little restaurants. (Even though my dad doesn’t read this blog, I still believe that his hummus is better than anything I ate here.)

Pamela Fox Claman (the daughter of St. Louisans Marilyn and Sam Fox) invited us to her home to catch up on St. Louis and to share her thoughts about where she lives now. Pamela invited my wife, Kim, to join her and her friends for the Shabbat candle lighting ceremony. I watched with the men — and learned how to spell “yarmulke.”

Pamela and her husband, Abba, live within sight of the Western Wall. We walked over to the famous wall with them. The Western Wall is a section of the defense rampart that encircled the Temple Court and is the only remnant of the Temple of Herod the Great. It is the most revered holy site in Judaism. It was very inspiring place in which to welcome the Sabbath.

Later, we ate in a private restaurant — a first for me. Unless I misheard, our host was a Mrs. Spoon, who opens her home (and its views of the desert and the Old City) to guests. If you’re ever invited, try the basil sorbet.

On Saturday, we visited Masada. If you’ve been there, you know why we skipped the aptly named Snake Path and took an easier way up. I learned with interest — and some sympathy — that the historic fortress had made some news in recent years when a couple of local mayors holed up there to protest cuts in aid from their federal government.

Later, we went on to Tel Aviv, stopping to eat at an Arab restaurant just outside of Jerusalem. In the evening, we attended the opening of the Herzliya Conference, an annual national gathering of Israel’s political, business, social, and economic leaders at which issues of security, science, technology, and economics are discussed. (It was probably a good rehearsal for the US National Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, which is my next stop.)

I’ll post some images when I get enough bandwidth to send them.