Gregg’s Thoughts on Israel

So finally, sof sof, here is Gregg’s blog entry about the Friedman’s trip to Israel. Interesting to see what someone who has never been here before and who was only here for four days has to say about Israel. As in all of my blog entries the travel writer is never objective and the travel notes tell as much about the writer as they do about the place…

So my very first ever blog entry… this somehow doesn’t feel like something I should be doing.  I have a natural abhorrence of talking to strangers and without Rebecca’s and Eric’s gentle prodding (in all the right places), I would have gladly spent this time watching tv or gossiping with my girlfriends.  But I gave my word, so here goes…

The subject of this blog entry is Israel.  That is, the perception of Israel by a 34 year-old, first-time visitor, being myself.  As Rebecca biggidy-blogged already, I recently came to Israel to visit with them for four days.  Brought along the woman and the mom.  Stayed in Jerusalem, then travelled around some, saw some previously unknown family and then back on the plane to colder parts.  That’s the main gist of what happened.

The takeaways (as we would say in business school), or maybe the metrics, or deliverables, can be summed up as the following:

1. Jerusalem is full of ultra-orthodox jews, who must sweat a lot in summer time.  I liked their hats and couldn’t see the point of their tights.

2. The Old City is filled with garbage and cats.  I was told that the cats were the fault of the British, although this smacks of revisionist history.  I’m sure the cats say the same thing about the Jews.

3. Israel is really small.  Everywhere you look there’s a border of some kind.  You don’t realize this until you’re there and you plan a road trip.  Although my Hebrew is not very good, I think I actually saw a to-scale road map of the country in a gas station.

4. Sleeping in a kibbutz rocks.  We stayed in a great cabin in a kibbutz in the middle of nature.  Although the nature is smaller than in other places I’ve been, it’s got some quaint majesty to it.  I totally digged it.

5. Israeli relatives are awesome.  Everyone should have some.  They’re funny, hospitable, full of life, short on formality and serve good snack food.  And some of them speak Romanian.  I can’t wait to visit again.

6. Don’t believe the hype.  A visit to Israel CAN be complete without a visit to Yad Vashem.

7. Israel is a great place for vegetarians.  The food is way too good for such a small country.

8. Israeli women are hot (although they couldn’t touch my Romanian beauty).

9. My brother could never be a rabbi.  No matter how hard he tries, he just doesn’t have what it takes.  Which for me is a very good thing.  The last thing I need to see is my brother in tights.

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