TRIPS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Israel

It can be intimidating and dangerous. It's also an experience you'll never forget

We packed all that we could into our 10 days during August 2005: the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem and the Shrine of the Book with the Dead Sea Scrolls; the fortress of Masada and the Roman ruins of Caesarea; the artists market of Nahalat Binyamin in Tel Aviv; and the collection of scale models at the Mini Israel park.

I hoped for more than the diversion and entertainment of an ordinary family vacation. I hoped to give my children the sense that Israel had something to do with them. Maybe that epiphany came for Aaron when he found a shard of pottery in the dusty soil of Caesarea, and maybe it came for my daughter when she selected the purple silk prayer shawl she would wear for her bat mitzvah.

Sarah marked that rite of passage in November 2006. And it turns out to have been fortunate that we bought her tallith so far ahead of time. We had planned to visit Israel last summer, for a more in-depth tour of Haifa and the north. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah put an end to those plans. But we are already making our reservations for this summer. And when we travel through the Galilee, my daughter will get to see one of her bat mitzvah presents, a donation from Yossi's family to the Jewish National Fund, which is devoted to replant-ing the forests scorched by Hezbollah's rockets. Whatever is green and growing, she will be able to consider some small bit of it hers.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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