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Guest Post: Robin from Israel!

December 30, 2009

Remember when I went to Atlanta for Robin’s wedding?  Well, the lovely Robin agreed to do a guest post!  You may remember that she lives in Israel, so she wanted to share some her life in in the Land of Milk and Honey/the Eretz/the Iz with you!

Morgan has wanted me to try a guest post for a while, but the truth is I am a little nervous.  I am a blogging virgin.  How do I start an entry?  What should I write about?  There were two things in the last week that I thought were fitting for Mo’s blog.  So, I’ll give this a shot and tell you about them.

The first thing was the “merutz madregot” or stair race.  I work at the University of Haifa.  Fun fact about the university, my husband’s grandfather helped found the university.  The university is situated at the top of the Carmel Mountain range in Haifa.  It’s the highest point in Haifa and when you are on the other side of the bay, in Akko, you can look across and see the buildings from the university on the horizon.  The building that sticks up the most, is the Eshkol tower.  Another fun fact.  Dotan’s grandfather’s second marriage was to the daughter of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol; hence the name of the tower.    The tower stands 30 floors high.  

Last Thursday there was a race that started on the other side of campus and ended at the top of this tower, via running up 504 stairs.  The day before the race a friend of mine, coincidentally the same friend that had the idea for this race one year ago and helped to organize it, called me and invited me to join.  So, without training I said, “sure.”   We were broken into 4 groups: soldiers, men, women, and “mature adults.”  Only about 8 women ran, and I placed 4th.  The girl who ran it the fastest made it in under 5 minutes!  The boy who did it the fastest was actually in the soldiers group and he ran it in under 4.   Here is a (blurry) picture of me running. 

The second thing I thought I would talk about is the holiday season here in Israel.  As I mentioned, I work and live in Haifa, Israel.   It is known to be a city of co-existence and every year there is a festival that runs on the weekends for the month of December.  This festival, called the “Holiday of Holidays” brings the cultures, traditions, and foods from Ramadan, Chanukkah, and Christmas together all in one place called Wadi Nisnas in downtown Haifa.   So, Dotan and I headed to the festival to eat, drink, and be merry (or to live, love, eat, and play as Morgan’s blog says!).  Dotan’s aunt, uncle, and three young cousins (two are twins and the other is 3 months), joined us for the occasion, too.  Here is a picture of me, the uncle, and the really cute twins:


At the festival we saw all kinds of great foods including:

Calzone-looking thingys: 

An Arab woman making laffa which is kind of a cross between a pita and a tortilla that is often served with labaneh (a certain kind of goat cheese), and zaatar, a common spice here in the Mid East and drizzled with a bit of fresh olive oil.  YUM!


And incredible amounts of deserts including all different kinds of baklava, halva, and, my personal favorite, knafe which is an Arab desert made with cheese.  I can’t describe it other than warm gooey goodness, so come to Israel and I’ll get you some! 

Dotan took all the pictures you are seeing here,  and I got him a fish eye lens for our wedding, so I apologize for the artsy pictures and hope they still give you a sense of what we saw there.

In addition to food, we also saw concerts: 

 a small drumming parade: 

and an Arab Santa Clause, complete with the singing of Jingle Bells in Arabic.  I kid you not.  

The holiday season is VERY different here in Israel.  Not nearly as commercialized.  You will see a chanukkiah (menorah) in nearly every window during Chanukkah, but it’s not a gift giving holiday here in Israel.  There are no special decorations or sales in stores.  Dreidels here say “nes gadol haya po” ( a great miracle happened here) instead of “nes gadol haya sham” (A great miracle happened there) as they do in the US.  Chanukkah actually has little religious significance, relatively speaking, and is not a major holiday as many in the US believe it to be.  As such, we had to seek out the holiday cheer that I was kind of missing after growing up in the US.  So, this festival did the trick. 

So, there you have it, food and exercise stories to fit Morgan’s blog.

What did you all do for the holiday season?  Have any of you spent the holidays in a foreign country?

Thanks for reading and humoring the ramblings that are my first blog entry.

Happy New Year!


Thanks Robs!  I can say that all of the food I have had in Israel (and I didn’t try all of what Robin talks about is AMAZING!  Remeber when I raved on about falafel?  YUM!).  I miss you girly and I hope I get to see you soon 🙂

Don’t forget about the Aurorae mat giveaway or the Wusthof giveaway!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2009 10:44 am

    Ahh, you’re making me want to hop on a plane to Israel. It’s been a while. Thanks for the guest post!

  2. December 30, 2009 2:41 pm

    Great post! I’ve always wanted to go to Israel. I spent the holidays in Costa Rica visiting family.

  3. December 31, 2009 2:36 am

    Great guest post! That race sounds like so much fun and I loved hearing about all the amazing foods. The laffa sounds so tasty!

  4. lee goldberg permalink
    December 31, 2009 10:14 am

    Great and interesting post, Robin! – you always explain things so simply and clearly, and we can get a real picture of the goings on. Sounds like all is well and fun and you are doing great — keep it up and keep on blogging your “events”!

    Aunt Lee


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