Mickey here, the latest addition to the MIGHTYminnow team. I’m writing after just having returned from a whirlwind 10-day trip to Israel with a pretty special group of people. We ate. We laughed. We slept far too little. Read on to hear the juicy details…
The Adventure Begins…
Each of the past four years, I’ve travelled to Israel as part of an organization called Taglit–Birthright, which provides free trips to Israel for Jewish young adults. The first year I went as a participant (amazing), and the last three years I’ve volunteered as staff (doubly amazing)!
Hundreds of different groups participate each year, but our particular trip is unique in that it’s specially designed for people with disabilities (an idea I’m in love with, as a wheelchair user myself). This year we planned a fully accessible itinerary (which is saying a lot in Israel, a land of cobblestone, sand, and stairs) featuring a ton of awesome highlights.
- Climbing Masada
Masada is an epic mountain fortress that is an important historic symbol in Israel. The hike up is normally a grueling 1-hour trek in desert heat, but we got to take the speedy gondola straight to the summit.
- Swimming in the Dead Sea
This is the lowest place on earth, and one of the saltiest bodies of water on the planet – which makes floating a piece of cake. We managed to get everyone in, leaving wheelchairs and walkers on the shore.
- Touring the Old City of Jerusalem
Jerusalem is probably one of the most significant historical/religious sites in the world, and was a fascinating stop for our whole group.
- Sailing on the Mediterranean
There’s this great organization in Israel called Etgarim (translates to “Challenges”) that runs adaptive sports programs for people with disabilities. With their help, we all piled into two sailboats and took a cruise just off the Tel Aviv coast.
- Syria Overlook
We ventured right up to the border, within site of the UN demilitarized zone, for a group discussion about the present-day conflict in Syria. Midway through the discussion, we heard muffled BOOMs in the distance, and looked up to see mini mushroom clouds of dust no more than 15 miles away. Quite different from reading about it in the newspaper.
- Hummus, hummus, & more hummus
I have to admit, one of the things I look forward to each year is getting back to the amazing hummus. It’s creamy. It’s rich. It’s sooooo good.
The Adventure Continues…
I have to admit, it feels great to be home. Coming back to my apartment, my girlfriend, our 17-year-old, 3-legged, deaf cat (this warrants another blog post – coming soon) is just what I needed after one-and-a-half weeks of serious adventure mode. And, I have to say, it feels great to come back to work. No, my boss did not pay me to write that. I love what I do, and I missed it while I was gone. I love creating, building, problem-solving, and I love love love making cool stuff, which is what I get to do on a daily basis!
So, until next summer’s trip, you know where you can find me – at my desk, drinking far too much coffee, making awesome websites.
Special thanks to Netanel Yehuda Halevi for the great photos.