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The Special Occasion of Vacation

Special occasions

Jewish families get together for special occasions… shabbat, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, bar and bat mitzvahs, births, graduations, and more. Here in Israel, the month of August is also a special occasion. At some point during these 31 days, the typical Israeli family goes on an extended tiyul (hike, but loosely translated as any vacation type of trip to anywhere, and often does include some hiking). Anyway, holiday time and the month of August are high peak season in the Holy Land.

Family Vacation not for any special occasion

As a parent, I really needed fun family time, but my husband did not want to fight the crazy traffic in August, nor pay the high peak season prices.  So, we waited until after the holidays, and just this past week, during the first week of October, not for any special occasion, we went on a family vacation.

My kids are getting older and my family is growing, thank G-d.  Everyone is in different stages of life with different schedules, and this made planning somewhat challenging. Israel is not that big however, and we were able to convince almost all our kids (and grandbabies) to take off 3 days and drive two and a half hours up to the Galilee, by the Lebanese border where I found a nice tzimmer (think house with a pool and whole lot of other amazing amenities) in a moshav called Shomera. https://www.hayokra.co.il/en/villa/villa-toscana-shomera


Day 1

The first day we rappelled down Maarat HaKeshet (think most of the time being suspended in mid-air many meters above the ground, hanging by a single rope). Quite a thrill! We also hiked to a hidden stalagmite cave and then with headlamps, we crawled (and climbed) through the dark, slippery, rocky cave. Quite an adventure! We ended the tiyul in the beautiful pools of Nachal Betzet. Then hiked out of the nature reserve to enjoy our obligatory post tiyul ice cream bars. Quite a day.

I can’t believe I did it! Hanging mid air Maarat HaKeshet
Hidden stalagmite cave
Nachal betzet pools

Day 2

The second day we were supposed to kayak through the grottoes of Rosh HaNikra. Unfortunately, due to choppy sea conditions, we had to settle for the cable car ride down to observe the grottoes from dry land. It was a lovely outing complete with golf carts and bike riding along the coast. The day ended in Nahariya watching the sunset on the beach and a little steak and pita for dinner. (And of course some obligatory post tiyul pareve ice cream).

Rosh HaNikra
Nahariya Beach

Day 3

The final day, we left Shomera, and made our way to Maalot where there was an iJump trampoline park. When we got there, it was closed.  They only open at 3pm during the school year. It’s October, not August… (how did I miss that? So much for planning ahead). I decided to investigate anyway.  Maybe there was a way… 

Sure enough, a very nice man happened to be on the property when I was trying to pry open the locked iJump doors. “Can I help you with something?”  he yelled from across the way. 

“Yes,” I answered, “Maybe you can help me save the last day of my family trip to the north!  We just want to jump on trampolines before we head back for home.”

Well, this guy (Tzion, whom we now love, by the way. See him on far left in the picture below) happened to work for the regional council and he took pity on the mother who poorly planned her family trip activities.  He made a phone call and then opened up iJump JUST. FOR. US. !!!! We had The Best Time Ever! (And needless to say, we all enjoyed our obligatory post tiyul ice cream bars afterwards).


Bonus Stop

Just to top it all off, thanks to my wonderful husband, we made one last stop before heading home.  Our kids with their little ones (grandkids) had already left. With our remaining, over 18 year old kids (legal age in Israel) we went to a wine tasting at Tulip Winery in Kiryat Tivon. This winery is unique in that it sits in the center of Kfar Tikva, The Village of Hope for adults with special needs. The village residents are given the opportunity to work in various jobs at the winery.

Lucky for us, on the afternoon we were there, a hi-tech group was just finishing up their kosher catered lunch, so they left us a few full trays of sandwiches and vegetables. In addition to that, the winery staff was very generous with their tastes of wine.  Let’s just say, our last ones standing….

did not last standing very long…

All in all, our three day family tiyul will always be remembered as a truly special occasion vacation .

On Any Occasion

So far, my new papercut designs this year express appreciation to G-d for all that we have, especially family. And speaking of family, I’m excited to showcase one of my new designs below. A Prayer for Parents is an amazing gift for someone special in your life, on any occasion.

A Prayer for Parents, papercut by Marci Wiesel, 40.6 x 50.8 cm / 16 x 20″

A parent wants his child to be healthy, happy, balanced, well adjusted, and a fine upstanding human being.  This design features a prayer that a parent can say whenever he wishes. It asks G-d to assist in the parent’s role of teaching and raising each child well.  In the prayer, we ask G-d to help us be the best parents we can be, in order to positively influence our child.  The design itself features silhouettes of various parent-child interactions to which most every mother, father, or parental guardian can relate. Here’s the link for details or purchase:

I wish you all continued happiness, fun, and adventure with your families!! Don’t forget to Work AND Play (but mostly play ;))

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