Like many aspects of my experience in Israel, Jack came into my life by well positioned chance. Orphaned at barely 2 weeks old, he was happened upon by friends on their evening walk in their Jerusalem neighborhood. It’s hard to ignore the cries of street kitten as I’ve found out repeatedly during my time here. I’ve litterally been drawn out of the house to seek out the source and of course have had many cries of my own. So when I was given the opportunity to take on this little guy I couldn’t say no, just look out those blue green eyes. They are yellow now of course but still. It’s been quite the adjustment. 5:45 am wake up calls and 24 hour play fests. We’ve finally got our routine down. At least for today. We’re compromising. I’m compromising. Jack gets what he wants. And I do as well I suppose, when he lets me. As any cat owner knows, the cat really owns you in the end.
When I manage to tear myself away from Jack’s paws I’m seeing more of Israel. A few weekends ago over a long holiday weekend Shay and I ventured north with my friend Jade and her husband Asaf. Our destination, Agamon Hula, a bird watching sanctuary 3 hours north of Tel Aviv. Apparently Israel is right in the middle of one of the world’s major migratory paths. A bike path encircles a large lake at the center with many look out points along the way. We got to the park mid day and spent a few hours exploring and enjoying the world outside of Tel Aviv until sunset.
I joked in the car that it was so beautiful on our drive to the north that I could cry. But I did actually shed a tear or two. One for the way it reminds me so much of California. And the second for how sad it is I don’t get out of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem more often. Life in Tel Aviv can be described as a bubble. Anything you need or want you can find here. But when you get out of it you remember all those other things you need and want. Fresh air free of horns and concrete. Skylines of trees instead of buildings and water heater dotted roofs. The next weekend we retreated back into the bubble and explored a part of Tel Aviv I’ve heard a lot about, Neve Tzedek. This was the first Jewish neighborhood established outside of Yafo (Jaffa) in 1887, over 20 years before Tel Aviv was established. A charming town, a mix of stone, vines and renovations. Some areas of it are more rustic than others but all in all it’s an enchanting artist’s community I plan to spend more time in.
It appears that even before my resolution to fall back in love with Israel I was well on my way. Playing a well educated tourist from time to time is refreshing and provides much needed inspiration. It’s easy to find here if you are open to it. Sometimes I find it in a grove of date packed palm trees or a perfect plate of hummus and pita.