Recently I've been fairly preoccupied with blogs relating to my professional life, but since two groups of cousins, none of whom (with one lone exception) have ever been here, are coming to visit Israel in the spring and summer of 2008, and at least one of the groups is not taking an organized tour, I thought it was about time I wrote some travel tips and some explanations about Israel. By no means will it be an exhaustive travelogue, and it will reflect (very much!) my particular interests. But I offer it, not only to my cousins, but to my Gentle (and Gentile) Readers at large.
Most of the sites I mention are in the north of the country. Frankly, there is little in the Negev which interests me. Deserts just make me thirsty and very glad of my Ray-Bans. And Israel's desert can't hold a candle to, for example, the Grand Canyon. As far as I am concerned, it's just there, and it's dusty, and dry, and there's a lot of it (relatively speaking. There's not a LOT of anything in Israel, which is about the same number of square kilometers as Wales or Vermont--including the West Bank which the Palestinians want)
But traveling north from Jerusalem is a different matter. My father, z''l, who was a history buff, found there was so much of it that it almost overwhelmed him. The entire Galilee is a palimsest of millennia, each era just faintly discernible under its successor.
So cue Zero Mostel and with apologies to Pseudolus, of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", here is an appropriate opening song for "our show". Just substitute "drama", or even "melodrama" for "comedy" (for there has been little comedy in the history of this part of the world), and I've changed the lyrics a bit:
peculiar,Something for everyone:A drama tonight!Something appealing,Something appalling,Something for everyone:A drama tonight!Plenty of kings, plenty
of crowns;Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!Old situations,New complications,Everything portentous, nothing
polite;Tragedy tomorrow, drama tonight!Something convulsive,Something repulsive,Something for everyone:A drama tonight!Something aesthetic,Something frenetic,Something for everyone:A comedy tonight!Plenty of gods, lots of
evil fate;Weighty affairs that just won't wait!Nothing that's formal,Nothing that's normal,Lots of recitations to recite;Open up the curtain:A drama Tonight!Something erratic,Something dramatic,Something for everyone:A drama tonight!Frenzy and frolic,Strictly symbolic,Something for everyone:A drama tonight!