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Adam Kaplan

 
THE FAITH PAGE: I LOVE ISRAEL

By Faith Kaplan

I am just back from a week in my favourite place in the whole wide world, where the almond trees were in bloom – and I. Had. The. Best time ever!

I went to Israel on a 3 day Hebrew University fly-in mission, despite misgivings of jet lag that would develop once I returned home. I was just there this past summer cheering on my daughter Yael at the Maccabia Games so I really didn’t need to go, but the idea of such travel decadence too appealing and the timing was too perfect. My son, Adam is on a volunteer army program called Course Marva, the same program that his aunt Nadine completed 25 years ago, and one of his free weekends coincided with the timing of this mission. How could I not go and see my boy?
I’ve been to Israel 12 times, and each time I’m there my love for the country and its people grows.  I love that there are mezuzot on doorways – including the gates of the Old City.  I love the food, the smells, the olive oil and the wine. I love that McDonald’s is kosher. I love the smell of the evergreens in the hills.  I love the wild cyclamen blooming in the rocky soil. I love the lifeguards warning everyone out of the sea at the end of the day, to absolutely no response.  I love the serenity of Shabbat following the pandemonium of pre-Shabbat preparation. I love that my holidays are national holidays.  I love that I speak Hebrew well enough to kibitz with the locals, though I do scramble words now and then.  (I told the maitre d’ that I was unique when I meant to tell him I was by myself. He laughed out loud, but didn’t correct me.) I love the Israelis’ resilience and pride.  I love that Israel’s existence means I will never be a victim. I love that world Jewry has partnered in the rebuilding of our ancient homeland. I love that Arab citizens are part of the fabric of Israeli life in a way that non Muslims cannot be in Muslim countries. I love that street signs are in Hebrew and Arabic.  And I particularly love Jerusalem, where I studied at Hebrew U for a year after high school.

Our itinerary took me back to the campuses I once knew.  They were completely unrecognizable to me now, but the sense of purpose - the buzz - was the same.  We met with researchers, many of whom were medical doctors with PhDs.  Only in Israel: Dr Drs! Their research is amazing, and I was intellectually intoxicated.  If only I had had the tuches to sit and study when I was young....oh well.

I also had a chance to show off my Israel.  Helen on the tour had never been to Israel before, so I took her around.  We started with Ben Yehuda so she could buy souvenirs and returned to the hotel 4 hours later, having explored the Arab market after dark looking for the Via Delarosa and getting lost in the Christian Quarter along the way. We went to the Kotel via the Jewish Quarter and walked along the Roman Cardo. We followed the walls overlooking David’s city and out through Lion’s Gate.  We passed the sultans’ pool, Montefiore’s windmill, checked out the dating scene in the Inbal lobby, and passed the landmark King David Hotel and YMCA.  I chattered away like a magpie and impressed both of us with the arcane minutiae I have collected over the years. Isn’t it funny how a city can get into your bones? 

And then, my reunion with Adam. I spent Thursday keeping busy waiting for him to arrive at the hotel. I had breakfast and a meander with Itzik Joudan, who was in Jerusalem visiting his mom. I walked over to meet Dore Gold’s assistant at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs in the Greek Colony.  I rushed back for lunch and a bit of shopping with Leslie Kaufman, who practises international family law with the Ministry of Justice. I checked on the progress of Hart’s new tallit being woven at Jerusalem Tallit in Chutsot Hayotsar.  I took a nap because I tired myself out with all my eating and meandering.

I finally received a call that Adam was on his way, jumped out of bed and ran downstairs in time to see him emerge from a cab, in his uniform, with a military haircut, a very heavy knapsack and a lovely large grin. It was an even better reunion than when he returned from his 6 week canoe trip at BB Camp. We had sushi for dinner, (not as good as Edohei), and off to bed.  He slept for 12 hours so I went down for breakfast alone.  The maitre d’ asked me if I was unique.  “But of course”, I replied, and we laughed.  I asked the hostess to keep an eye out for Adam, and described him as a handsome young redhead.  She brought over someone else’s handsome young redhead, and we laughed. 

When Marva is over, Adam’s going to volunteer with Magen David Adom (Israel’s equivalent to the Red Cross).  He’ll travel home via Europe and we hope to see him sometime next summer. He is having the adventure I had hoped he would and one I believe all our kids should have. They need to appreciate how blessed they are to live in this country at this point in history.  They need to connect with the world on their own terms, without us.

 I love that Hart and I have been able to instil our love of Israel in our children, and have enabled their sense of adventure and curiosity.

Faith Kaplan Faith Kaplan is a Winnipeg-based independent marketing consultant working in the not for profit sector. Her writing career started in high school, where she wrote a regular column for the JWC Eye under the pseudonym Maureen Gossip.
 
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