Time travel is eye opening, inspiring and educational. And it’s exhausting.
When my family and I stepped off the El Al aircraft and headed to Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, our time traveling journey began at what may have seemed like the beginning: 1948. I’ve listened to the dramatic events that led to the declaration of Israel’s independence several times, but each time it washes over me as if it were the first. Shivers run down my spine as I absorb the sounds of the Philharmonic Orchestra playing Hatikvah.
But 1948 is far from the beginning. So we headed to Zichron Ya’akov, one of the first Jewish settlements founded in 1882.The settlers, who introduced agriculture, helped shape Israel’s future. We saw that future in the eyes of the preschool children innocently playing in the gan (kindergarten) at Kibbutz Malkiya. Located in the northern part of Israel, butting up against Lebanon, it’s easy to become ensconced in the idyllic views. The kibbutz is peaceful and quiet, but well aware of what lies just on the other side of the border.
The realities of 2014 were thrust upon us as we passed a rocket lying quietly along the roadside. It suddenly became evident that the close proximity of Kibbutz Malkiya’s gan to its bomb shelter was a strategic decision that underscores the importance our Israeli brothers and sisters place on building strong roots.
As we traveled through history, I never quite expected the journey into Biblical times to be quite so peaceful and rejuvenating. Riding camels, we traveled 3,000 years back in time and into Abraham’s tent.
Greeted by Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, we were given the royal treatment and educated on the importance of treating guests kindly and respectfully. Our hands were washed gently, and our bellies were filled. We savored many gastronomical delights of Biblical days, but none could compare to the silan chicken. Bathed in silan, a date syrup, the chicken quite literally fell off the bone. For just this moment in time, we truly felt like royal guests in Abraham’s tent.
As we watched the sun gracefully set below the Moab mountain range in the distance, we knew it was time to journey out of our past and back into the present. This time, we traveled with a stronger understanding of the deep and rich history that shaped our present—and, of course, with very happy stomachs.
As I stepped off the El Al aircraft again, this time onto US soil, I knew I needed to recreate that silan chicken. I knew we all needed to feel a little bit of that peaceful feeling we experienced in Abraham’s tent. And with each bite, we remember our past and pray for our future.