A Snapshot of Israel
Was I ready to explore the Holy Land?
BY: Jana Melpolder
It’s easy to jump to conclusions when it comes to the Middle East. When the news is saturated with stories of war and political tension it’s hard to focus on anything else. Sometimes it’s hard to know what it’s like for the people living in the Middle East simply because we are not connected to them.
That’s how I felt going into this trip to Israel. I had the travel guide books ready in hand. I tried to study about Israel by reading articles online. I packed my writing journal along with my sunscreen. I was ready, right? Beliefnet editor Corine Gatti and I were about to find out.
We arrived to the Ben Gurion airport (which happened to be named after the first Israeli Prime Minister) and were greeted by our friendly and well-spoken tour guide Mr. Yehuda Ben Baruch. What a pleasure it was to be with a tour guide for the week that answered our questions and helped explain all kinds of small details about Israeli culture.
Going through Israel in a matter of a week was a whirlwind tour. The country is only about the size of New Jersey so it didn’t take long to go from city to city. We started in Tel Aviv and soon traveled to Tsefat (pronounced Svat). It is a small beautiful city where we explored the markets and visited sites such as the Harý Haschenzi synagogue (where I was sure to cover up my arms when I walked in). The people were very friendly and it was a delight to go from shop to shop throughout the small winding streets.
Soon we were whisked away to the Sea of Galilee region. Discovering the untouched beauty of the Sea of Galilee was breathtaking. Sitting outside and just looking at the water is like you can imagine Jesus in the boat or walking on the water. The Sea of Galilee was smaller than I expected. When you are on one side you can easily see the other side. The place is welcoming with a light cool breeze and green blue water. With one look it’s almost as if you step back two thousand years and expect to see a smaller fisherman’s boat filled with several men.