Although Pesach is also called Hag Ha-Aviv - the "Spring Holiday," it certainly feels more like summer. Temperatures are in the 30s throughout the country. Combine all of these things and what do you get? Thousands of Israelis travelling - out of the country and all over the country itself. There are traffic jams everywhere. National parks across the country are filled with people and the beaches are packed.
|Hexagonal Pool Trail|
|Hexagonal Pool Israel|
At the bottom of the hike - Nirvana. A beautiful Hexagonal pool serving as the base of a waterfall and the collecting pool for water from the Jordan river. The water was about 18C - quite cool and refreshing. The pool reaches a depth of 17 metres at parts. But when it is 35-36C outside and you have just hiked down a 3 km trail, 18C water is incredible.
|Hexagonal Pool, Israel|
When the swimming is over, the fun starts. Time to walk back up the trail - 2.5 km of uphill path. The trail is reasonably steep and includes some very rocky areas and some real climbing. In mid-day summer heat, after having walked 3 km down - this type of activity offers some challenge for people like me....but it was well worth it.
|Golan Heights Winery|
We decided to find something to eat. Since it was Pesach, we had, of course, brought along lots of food, featuring delicious Pesach rolls. But no one really wanted another one of those rolls. So we decided to look for a Kosher for Pesach Restaurant. This can be a bit tricky. Many restaurants are closed for the holiday. We couldn't find anything suitable in nearby Katzrin - so we decided to drive down to Teveria (Tiberias) and find a place there. We settled on a South American meat restaurant that was "Kosher l'Mehadrin" but, for kitniyot eaters of course. We decided to eat there anyways and told them to hold the kitniyot. They get lots of requests for this, apparently, so we were fine.
The whole kitniyot thing on Pesach is still confounding us. Although the Conservative movement in North American opted to permit Conservative Jews to eat kitniyot this year - and many Israeli rabbis (Orthodox Ashkenazi included among them) have made that same decree in the past, we have continued to stick with the traditional Ashkenazi mode of avoiding rice, corn, beans and other legumes during Pesach. This is particularly challenging if one wants to eat out. We see restaurants across the country open for Pesach serving corn flour bread and rolls - and other kitynot-based bread substitutes. But after 50 years of doing things a certain way, it is difficult to make the leap to switch over and start eating all of those other things on Pesach. It is also creates an even bigger gap between Israeli and non-Israeli Jews. So we skipped the tehina and humus and ate our skewers with matzah, cabbage and some other vegetables.
Today the temperature in Israel was even hotter - a veritable heat wave. But there are predictions that things will cool off to "reasonable" by Friday, the last official day of Pesach in Israel this year. Of course, Pesach will actually continue for those who observe it until Saturday night - since there would be no time between the end of Pesach and Shabbat to change over dishes, buy back Hametz, etc.,
So now we have a few days to find a Moroccan friend who is hosting a Maymuna (an end of Pesach celebration). But until then we still have time to enjoy matzah brie, matzah lasagne, matzah rolls and other delicacies. Chag Sameach to everyone - and make sure to eat lots of prunes.