Last Fall I had the incredible honor to visit Israel with a company called Vibe Israel. To say it was amazing would fall so short of how incredible it truly was. From the best food and gorgeous scenery to the rich history and most beautiful people, I was changed by this wonderful experience. I’d love to share some memories and pictures and hopefully inspire you to visit for yourselves!
Flying home on the plane I wrote the following words. I cried as I wrote them, because the emotions of the trip were so fresh in my heart. (I still cry when I try to explain what this trip meant to me):
This tour was about food. We were meant to experience the best food of Israel. But food is about so much more than eating. Food is gathering together. Food is connection and learning about each other. Food is love.
We were treated to amazing meals prepared by the absolute best chefs in the nicest restaurants. Families opened their homes and welcomed us as their own, feeding us dish after dish with love and open arms.
We ate some of the best food of Israel and I’ll remember the tastes and flavors for a lifetime, but it’s truly my heart and soul that were fed during these 8 incredible days. I’m forever changed by the experience.
Looking back a few months later, I still struggle to put into words all I could say about my week in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Galilee. There’s so much more I want to see, so I know I’ll be taking Pat and Henry back sometime soon. It’s just too magical to see all in one week.
All photos from the amazing and ridiculously talented Amir Menahem.
Our first few days were spent in Jerusalem. The tour of the old city and visiting the Western Wall is something that I will remember for a lifetime. The Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) is considered the holiest place in Jewish Culture. We were able to write out prayers/hopes/dreams and leave them in the cracks of the wall, and God is sure to hear. There is a person who collects the notes each night and buries them in the ground. I was so touched and moved by seeing it in person. I can’t put into words how I felt in those moments.
We ate amazing food, bonded over photography and common experiences, and just had the best time. On our way to Tel Aviv we took a stop up in the mountains to visit a goat farm and meet one of my favorite humans ever, Dairy Farmer Shai Seltzer. We then headed to a restaurant of the renowned chef Nadav Malin who taught us some of his favorite dishes. What an experience!
It was such a pleasure one day to take a trip up to the Galilee countryside. This is a part of the country where Jewish and Muslim people work and live side by side. We had a cooking class from two women who practiced different faiths, but both loved each other and loved good food. It was incredible. Thank you Hagit Lidror!
We then took a detour to Lotem Winery where more good food came our way. If you visit Galilee or want to see one of the most beautiful wineries OF ALL TIME, Lotem is a must. Overlooking the Sea of Galilee, it can’t be missed. The food is amazing, the wine is treated to 24/7 musical serenades, and I was in heaven.
Tel Aviv is SO BEAUTIFUL! It’s much more of a metropolitan city than Jerusalem or Galilee and there is something for everyone. The restaurants are top notch, the beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world, and the culture is second to none.
One of my very favorite nights of the trip was attending a Shabbat dinner in the home of a local family, put on by a company called Betzavta. If you’re visiting Israel, checking out this company is maybe my #1 recommendation. They will pair you with a family that would love to host you for a night, and there’s simply no better way to get to know a place or its people.
Our host Dafi Kremer and her beautiful family had us into their home, where she had been up cooking since 4am for our arrival that night. We were treated to the most amazing experience of fellowship, delicious food, and togetherness. I can’t say that I’ve EVER served people in that way, and it was just such an unforgettable night.
I’m so touched every time I think about that experience.
On the last night of the trip, everyone we met from near and far came back into Tel Aviv for a goodbye cocktail party. Some people we had met along the way came over 3 hours to attend. I get chills thinking about it. That feeling summed up the trip for me. Connection with people.
People who served us, fed us, housed us…came all that way to then THANK US for visiting their country.
We are all the same. We are all human. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, American, Israeli, young, old…HUMAN. We all love, laugh, and want connection.
To say this was the trip of a lifetime would be not doing it justice. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to visit again. For more info please visit Vibe Israel and all the amazing work they do!