Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pesach 5771

My second Pesach in Israel. The first one I'm without anyone that I was normally at a seder with (last year my aunt, uncle, and cousin were in Israel and I had the seder with them); I was with my adopted family from Chashmonaim-- small, just 5 of us. And-- again, felt weird (but less so than last year) to have only one day of chag.

Then on chol hamoed I did the very Israeli thing of tiyuling (or for those that speak proper English-- going on a tiyul). On the first day I did a tiyul in Jerus
alem, and the second day I did Yehudia (the upper one; for those of you that know the trails-- the red to the green). I had wanted to do Yehudia for
quite a while, and I"m really glad that I got to finally.

Jerusalem tiyul (Even Sapir):
This is one of the many hikes that start from Hadassah Ein Kerem, or right nearby. There isn't too much to say about this tiyul. It was, as one of the others put it, a nature walk. It was pretty much walking along a dusty road with pretty flowers on the sides. There were points that you saw the hills and it WAS beautiful, but it wasn't so much my kind of tiyul. Give me
climbing and rocks and water, etc. Not a dirt road...That being said, here is a pretty flower shot and a scenery shot:

Yehudia: The weather was perfect-- not too hot, not too cold; a little bit of sun, but not bright and too hot. Also, the path itself was very shady. Let's discuss the tiyul. The big thing about Yehudia is the ladder and the water. You have to climb down a ladder and then swim. It wasn't bad, just don't look down :) You kind of have to, to know where other people are so you don't go down too fast and step on them, but don't look down to see how much further you have. And don't look up to see how far you came down. The water was so cold-- it literally shocked my body into stopping breathing for a moment. It was like being a water tester in camp (which meant that the head lifeguard threw you in and asked you how cold the water was and then told everyone else to get in and start swimming laps to warm up), except then I knew the water was going to be cold. This was colder. This was totally my kind of tiyul-- rocks, climbing, water... Much better than just walking on a road-- give me things to climb on, water, etc...mmmmm... After the tiyul we had a BBQ with a disposable grill which ended up not working so well so we made a small fire and used the screen/rack thing from the disposable grill on top of that. See here:
"Disposable grill?" you ask? Yes. That is one of the many wonderful things that they have here. Tiyulim and camping and BBQs are so much a part of the culture here; school trips-- hikes. End of school trip-- hike. Holidays-- hikes. And camping.

Now getting the food for the tiyul was a bit more interesting. In Israel, the majority of people eats kitniyot (legumes, rice, etc., including corn, beans, canola, chickpeas...for a more in-depth explanation, click here) and there is significant debate over whether or not people living in Israel should or should not eat kitnoyot regardless of their cultural background (Ashkenazi or Sefardi) (see here for more on that), however my friends and I do not. So everything I bought had to be not only kosher for Pesach, but kitnoyot-free as well. A challenge in the average Israeli supermarket. The kosher for Pesach part was easy-- the shelves that are not kosher for Pesach were draped off and labeled: (the word on the sign is "chametz," or "leavened"-- aka, not kosher for Pesach. The hard part was finding non-kitnoyot stuff. Even things like yogurt-- "kosher l'pesach l'ochelei kitnoyot [kosher for Passover only for those who eat kitnoyot]." And some of the signs were confused, like this one:
(the sign says, "l'lo chashash kitnoyot"-- basically, "not kitnoyot." However, it was under rice which is very definitely kitnoyot. Confused sign...) But I was able to find meat (the hamburgers and hot dogs were the harder ones because they are processed; raw meat isn't kitniyot) and even the sweet chili sauce (also hard to find). And marshmallows. I would say, based on what I saw, that easily 2/3 of the products are only for those who eat kitnoyot. Not helpful.

I leave you with some pictures from the Golan (most of them are on someone else's camera-- we only took 1 camera on the hike, because of the water and I have to get them from her):
the road:
the mountains:
more mountains:
and again:
the Kineret:

And one more reason to love and appreciate being in a Jewish country:
The bus has the traditional Passover greeting of, "A happy and kosher Pesach."

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