Floating in the Dead Sea, Israel

Dead Sea

The water looks like nothing special. I walk out till I am thigh-deep, then lean all the way back and kick my feet out from under me. I find myself lying back as if in an (invisible, wet) armchair. I am one of the more than one million foreign … [Read more...]

Eating Your Way Through Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market

Mahane Yehuda market fills with people on a Friday afternoon (Photo by Rachael Cerrotti)

Nir walked onto our bus with a decadent smelling plastic container fogged over from freshly baked warmth. This was one of the perks of having locals on our trip: Being Israeli, Nir had known exactly where to go when our tour group stopped at Mahane … [Read more...]

Hiking up Masada in Israel

The steep Snake Path winds up Masada (Melanie Radzicki McManus).

The air still holds the night’s chill, although the inky sky is beginning to show just the faintest hint of light. Throngs of students laugh and joke and generally clog the ramp leading to the top of Masada, an arid rock plateau south of Jerusalem … [Read more...]

Blundering Into Bethlehem

The Grotto of the Nativity, where it is said Christ was born. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

The rental car is safely back without a scratch and filled with gas, and the hold on our credit cards is off. So the story can be told. We were SUPPOSED to drive to the main checkpoint leading into Bethlehem, which is located just across the border, … [Read more...]

What to Buy in Israel: Souvenir Shopping in the Holy Land

Armenian Pottery in Jerusalem

I am standing on a street Jesus might have walked on, touching a coin he most certainly never touched, but could have -- "could have" in the sense that lawyers on TV use the words when they bellow, "So it's possible then that my client was just an … [Read more...]

Exploring Tel Aviv, Israel, by Bicycle

Tel Aviv from the Bike Path

The traffic is snarled and the rules of engagement remind me of a cross between the New Jersey Turnpike and mid-town Manhattan during a gridlock alert. Finding a parking space looks to be a national sport – although one with very few rules, as … [Read more...]

Watching a Tri-Continental Bird Migration in Israel’s Hula Valley

A herd of cranes

If you were a bird, and for some reason known only to your creator, you found it essential each year to fly thousands of miles between the northern reaches of Europe and the southern end of Africa, somewhere in the middle of your trip, you would -- … [Read more...]

Snorkeling and Diving with Dolphins in Eilat, Israel

bottlenose dolphins

The dolphin is swimming so close that I could reach out and touch it, and it looks much larger than I had expected. I remind myself that being underwater has a magnification effect; things appear a third larger than they are. Even so, this toothsome … [Read more...]

Diving the Red Sea in Eilat, Israel

red sea diving

The Red Sea is one of those mythical dive destinations that you hear about almost as soon as you get your C-card. Although the Red Sea extends south to Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia  (on its western shore) and to the southern part of Saudi Arabia … [Read more...]