Israel. A beautiful place that I frequented a handful of times before I gave in and finally decided to call it home. And it was home, for about a year. Unfortunately due to personal reasons, I had to make my way back to Oz.
Whilst I was living there I believe I truly immersed myself in Israeli and Jewish culture. I lived in a semi-Orthodox household in the North of Israel in a Moshav called Bezet. I lived close to the Lebanese border and was across from the Mediterranean Sea. I used to cycle almost daily to beautiful Nahariya Beach and cycle to the top of Rosh Haniqra; beautiful grotto high above the sea. I cycled through neighbouring kibbutzim and moshavs, I lived amongst banana, lychee and avocado farms and led a rural lifestyle. I observed almost every Jewish holiday; I dressed up for Purim, avoided chametz and cleaned for Pesach, fasted and repented for Yom Kippur, helped build a sukkah for Sukkot, entered Shabbat every Friday evening and wished my loved ones "Chavua Tov" every Saturday afternoon. I led a fairly Kosher life and I loved it.
When possible, I travelled to explore and see as much of Israel as I could and I enjoyed every second of it. From the North to the South, every place was unique and special. It will always be a special place to me and will always be my second home.
I ate Kosher most of the time, used different sets of silverware and dinnerware for meat and dairy but was never bothered by it and being a foodie, I was in heaven! I love Middle Eastern food and ate a lot of food of Morrocan and Hungarian descent. ABSOLUTE BLISS!!!!! Our backyard had lychees, bananas, prickly pear, figs, apricot, oranges, pomegranate and star fruit and our neighbours had passionfruit. We had a herb garden abundant in mint, lemongrass, geranium and verbena. We had BBQs and made homemade pizzas regularly, it was incredible! I saw a lot of waterfalls, hiked a lot of trails and visited a lot of religious and historic archaeological sites. I did some of the Israeli route, went camping in the Negev desert and rose early to watch the sun rise and embark on an intense 30km hike. It was incredible! I went to Mount Hermon, floated in the Dead Sea, got lost in the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem, was gifted hot, fresh pita baked in the Mahane Yehuda Market, had a few drinks when the market was converted to pocket bars after dark, I visited so many quaint villages and went to the Golan to visit family, the list goes on and on… I learnt so much about Israel and Judaism and am so fortunate to have lived in a place that sparks controversy and debate around the world. Below is my Is-rael.