A million years ago, when I was learning in Israel, I occasionally used to drink this stuff,  that was basically bug juice, for those of you who have been to camp. You would make it with this outrageously sweet syrup that was a concentrate form– Mitz Petel (raspberry juice, but I think it also was in different flavors, but the mind plays tricks).  Yes, it’s also the name of a children’s book.  They still sell it, the petel, and I’m sure it’s cheaper than most sodas that Israelis guzzle, like the rest of the world.  But the reason that I’m bringing it up now is that even if they don’t drink it as much, it really symbolizes Israel; everything here is so concentrated.  That’s why having 2 days of Yom Tov in Galut makes sense; we need more time to get things there.  Here, it’s all quick.  Get it fast and get it good.  No time to waste; nothing to waste.  So it’s so much more intense here, everything.  Not too many people would say that Israel is sickeningly sweet, however; I think the image of the sabra fruit is still quite apt–prickly on the outside, and sweet on the inside.

On our way back from birding yesterday up in the Hula Valley, we went to the Galil Winery (not so sickeningly sweet at all!) and then wound our way to Beit Shean.  On the spur of the moment, we decided to go see the antiquities there.  I hadn’t been there in oy! about 40 years, so I figured things might be different, and the husband had never been there.  I remembered mosaics and a shul, but I think I was getting Kfar Nahum and Beit Shean mixed up.  Anyway, it’s quite amazing with all the digging they’ve done since I was there; it’s an enormous space.  There’s a house from an Egyptian governor, a whole huge part of a city from the Greek time, the Byzantine era–look here for a more complete picture, if you want.  But this is my point; Israel is this concentrate, of history, of religions, of languages, religions, etc…

and don’t forget about fashions…

Here’s an interesting take on things here, btw:


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