What you're not seeing is 300 photos of various stone textures that I took throughout the one-week trip, haha. I just love all the textures around Israel, and figure I can use the images in other projects.
Yep, texture on texture on texture with that classic old lady shot. She caught up to us as we stood in a courtyard, looking at textures.
And, after a long trip, I even had a bat mitzvah! As it was explained to those of us who never had the ceremony, you 'are a bar or bat mitzvah when you reach age thirteen,' and at this point you read from the Torah in front of your family and peers. Back in the day, people who already spoke Hebrew didn't need a year of training - they were native speakers and were good to go. Now in Israel, we were given the weekly Torah passage or Parshah, and found a section with which we could each identify. Israelis from our group helped with the translations (thank you!), and some of us also supplemented the ceremony by picking our Hebrew names.
I chose the Genesis Chapter 40 passage, "And they said to him, 'We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter for it.' Joseph said to them, 'Don't interpretations belong to God? Tell [them] to me now.'" This was quite something, considering I know little to nothing about religion and my own Jewish roots, despite nine years of JCC summer camp. My chosen Hebrew name is 'Gila,' not only similar to my own name but chosen to represent joy and loyalty, creativity and friendship. Thanks to my new friends Marissa and Shiran for the help on this - and thanks to Google, too, haha.
My friend Itamar captured it all on video, and one day I may share it with you. Suffice it to say, it was apparently quite the tear-jerker.
And thus ended my trip to Israel! Going through these photos, writing these posts, has been the closure on that trip that I needed. As soon as I got home - well, first I slept 18 hours - and then, I began looking for opportunities to head back over. Who knows what the future will hold!