During my month of eating in, I came across a few statements from Achai ben Josiah. Back in the second century, this biblical scholar compared someone who buys grain rather than growing their own to “an infant whose mother has died and who is taken from one wet nurse to another, but is never satisfied.” He called the wayward souls who purchase bread instead of baking their own “as good as dead and buried.” Only one who “eats of his own produce” is truly fulfilled. Achai extrapolated this from references to the land in the book of Genesis. I’m sure his own context – in an era when all but the wealthiest were directly involved in food production – also played a part.
At the dawn of the new year, I found myself with a stocked kitchen, a few reusable sandwich wrappers, and a giant knot in my stomach. I had resolved to spend the first 31 days of 2013 eating in. That meant for the month of January, I would eat only food made at home or bought minimally processed from a grocery store. I was destined for four-plus weeks without restaurants, coffee shops, take-out, or Starbucks. And I didn’t feel ready. The knot came despite the fact that I had resolved to do this weeks before, and despite my rule that I didn’t have to actually eat at home – I could bring homemade food wherever I went.
Congress is pushing for deep cuts in food stamps. The cutbacks would hit Jews hard, especially in Hasidic communities where a third of children live in poverty.
For the 17th year, cyclists from around the world came to Israel’s Dead Sea for a two-day festival and competition. Only a short distance from the Dead Sea, an international mountain-bike race attracted more than 1500 riders during a two-day festival of running, cycling and family fun. Mariod Athanasiadis took first place in the 17th annual Veolia Desert Challenge (www.desertchallenge.co.il/mainpage-6-33) from December 2-3, 2011. Also known as the Race for Peace, it is the lowest mountain bike race on earth. Its founder, Nimrod Cohen, hopes one day to make half of the competition in neighboring Jordan. “It was fun. You have to have skills, to pass fast through the canyon,” she says. Some riders come back year after year. Follow our social media channels: Facebook - www.facebook.com/israelMFA Twitter - www.twitter.com/Israel www.twitter.com/Israelmfa Please credit the MFA for any use of this video, thanks!
A groundbreaking non-profit in Israel allows disabled people to join in sporting activities from sailing to waterskiing to extreme sports. Etgarim (www.etgarim.org was formed to help handicapped Israelis take part in outdoor sports and extreme sports. The non-profit organization was founded in 1995 by two Israel Defense Force veterans who became disabled during their army service. The two saw that there was no equipment, facilities or activities for people with disabilities. Today, thanks to Etgarim, more than 5000 children and 700 adults participate in strenuous activities such as running, cycling, sailing and rope sports. The founders believe that the effects of the activities carry over into all areas of the participants’ lives, building confidence and self-esteem. Adi Schneider, international resource development manager at Etgarim, says results of the experiences are translated into improved performance at school and better relationships with family and friends. Etgarim’s activities allow participants to face challenges and overcome their fears — while having a fun and exciting time. Download links (copy/paste to browser): Streaming video: www.megaupload.com Download HiRes: www.megaupload.com Script: www.megaupload.com
Day 10 Located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Neot Kedumim is a park designed to re-enliven the biblical plants and trees. You will see authentic biblical tools and industrial implements that include ancient oil presses, wine presses, cisterns and more. At the nearby Mini Israel theme park, you will see hundreds of precise scale models of all the important historical and other sites in the country. For additional itinerary suggestions, please see: www.goisrael.com
Day 9 Ascend by cable-car to explore Massada, scene of the epic stand by Jewish rebels at the end of the Great Revolt against Rome nearly 2000 years ago. The new museum at the Visitor Center reveals the secrets of the daily life of the rebels, the story of the excavations, and how the site became one of Israel’s most important symbols. Stop at one of the Dead Sea spas or beaches for a dip in the saltiest sea in the world. The Dead Sea is recognized as having therapeutic qualities, and bathing here is something that should not be missed. Enjoy the Ein Gedi Botanical Gardens, located on sloping paths on the grounds of Kibbutz Ein Gedi, where hundreds of trees and plants from exotic places around the world flourish in their oasis surroundings. Overnight in Jerusalem. For additional itinerary suggestions, please see: www.goisrael.com
Day 8 Jerusalem Old City — The Jewish Quarter and Beyond Excavations in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter have revealed a wealth of finds from the First and Second Temple periods. See the sites and enjoy the special ambiance of this renewed part of the Old City along a wheelchair accessible route developed by the Jewish Quarter’s Center for Tourists with Disabilities (02-6283415/6). When you call them, ask about the wheelchair-friendly route through other quarters of the Old City around the market and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Visit the Israel Museum, which houses what is considered by many to be the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century — the Dead Sea Scrolls, which is partially wheelchair-accessible. See the famous Model of Second Temple Jerusalem and an audiovisual presentation about life in the tumultuous days of the Second Temple. Next, visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, touring the astounding new Museum with its new and moving focus on the individual in the Holocaust, the Children’s Memorial and Hall of Remembrance. Overnight in Jerusalem. For additional itinerary suggestions, please see: www.goisrael.com
Day 7 Jerusalem’s Old City: Spend time at the Western Wall, one of the last vestiges of the Second Temple complex built by Herod some 2000 years ago and thus the holiest spot in the world for Jews. Visit the beautiful Southern Wall Archaeological Park that surrounds the lower part of the Temple Mount from West and South. Come in the wake of pilgrims — Jewish and Christian — who have visited here over the millennia as acts of faith. At the Davidson Center, in the basement of an eighth-century CE palace, with ramped access and an elevator to the exhibits and audiovisual presentation, you can also make arrangements to see its virtual-reconstruction, high-definition interactive model. Make arrangements to tour the Western Wall Tunnel, along the part of the Western Wall now deep beneath Jerusalem’s Old City, and see the second largest cut/quarried stone in the world among many other attractions. (Advise of wheelchair-users when making reservation — 02-6271333.) Overnight in Jerusalem. For additional itinerary suggestions, please see: www.goisrael.com
Day 6 At the Old Gesher Courtyard, one of the early kibbutzim in the Jordan Valley, learn about the ideals and history of the Kibbutz Movement that became one of Israel’s hallmarks. Continue south to Beit She’an National Park. One of the main pagan towns during Roman rule of the region 2000 years ago, and in the shadow of an important biblical city, Beit She’an contains a magnificent theater, Roman bathhouses, mosaics and more. It is considered to be one of the best preserved Roman sites in the region. Drive via the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem. Approaching Jerusalem in the late afternoon, stop at the Mt. of Olives Observation Point for an excellent visual and spiritual introduction to the city, ancient and new. View the Temple Mount, the City of David, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and more, as the vista spans the length and breadth of the city. Overnight in Jerusalem. For additional itinerary suggestions, please see: www.goisrael.com