For my Passover in Israel, I spent the evening with a good family friend, Mali, who lives on a Kibbutz near Afula. Kibbutzim in the 21stcentury are far from what they were at the dawn of Jewish settlement in Israel due to privatization, but the collectivism still exists in a more communal sense. Due to the presence of my Mali’s two adorable grandchildren, our Sedar was very informal and short. Dinner was served shortly (just the way I like it). We ate chicken, potatoes au gratin, beef and several delicious sides. By the end of the night, I was stuffed and satisfied. But most of all, I was thankful for the opportunity to spend Passover in Israel – a privilege beyond the reach of many Jews abroad and echoed in the age-old motto, “Next year in Jerusalem.”
During the second week of Passover Break, my friends and I booked an AirBnB and took a bus down to Eilat, on the southernmost tip of Israel. Eilat is known for its beaches, maritime significance, and its wild hotel resorts. During our stay, my friends and I visited the beach and the promenade, explored the city’s nightlife and visited a local desert park called Timna Valley. The stretches of vast canyons and multicolored sand cliffs were breathtaking. By the end of our trip to Eilat, we were all exhausted – unfortunately, I was delegated driving the five hours back to Haifa.
Driving in Israel wasn’t nearly as intimidating as it seems. The constant traffic and honking on the hilly roads in Haifa certainly gave me the wrong impression, because I found that navigating back to Haifa from Eilat was easy-peasy, and dealing with traffic simply took a moment to adjust. The downside to the experience was dealing with the manual transmission in our Fiat 500x. Throttling through traffic was quite annoying and the weak Israeli engine stole all the that driving a standard offers in the first place.
Noah Falkner is a University of Maine student. He studied abroad in Haifa, Israel in Spring 2018. This article originally appeared on the Haifa International School website.
Read Noah’s previous articles
Studying Abroad in Israel – BBQing, Gilbao, and Goodbye
Studying Abroad in Israel – Shoelaces, Pan Lids & Homework
Studying Abroad in Israel – Purim in Tel Aviv
Studying Abroad in Israel – Hiking & Haircuts
Studying Abroad in Israel – Field Trips & Groceries
Studying Abroad in Israel – Welcome
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