Whether you are religious or not, Shabbat in Israel is a special experience. Tel Aviv, where we are right now, is very different from Shabbat in Jerusalem where we will be next week. On Shabbat, although in Tel Aviv, many restaurants are open, very few shops, with the exception of supermarkets are open. The beach is packed and beach volleyball courts are jammed. We took a long walk to see where the Tel Aviv fairgrounds were in relationship to the hotel, since the JFNA GA will be held there, and Sunday we will go over to set up our booth. I wanted to walk. If you know me, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, until the conference changed the exhibit hall opening time to 7:15 AM from 9, I had expected to walk there every day. If you track your steps, you can relate to the 22,494 steps I took on our “little” walk.
We had options for walking to the fair grounds, and I wanted to take a route alongside HaYarkon, along the Israel National Trail. The park, since it was Shabbat, was packed with families picnicking on the grassy areas. Children were playing soccer, the rock wall had lots of climbers. A perfect Shabbat.
Israel is a small country, and the many wars affected every family here, whether directly or because the injured or killed were friends or children of friends. In the park are memorial stones with the names of the fallen. The stones are grouped by wars. The largest group of course is the group of stones with the names of those killed from 1947-1949.
We made a new acquaintance during our stroll – the hoopoe bird. It’s the national bird of Israel and I don’t remember ever seeing one before. It seems to be all dressed up in stripes. Kinda cute, right?