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6 Borekas

July 24, 2010

What is an exact measure of laziness?

overgrown beard?  not doing homework? not going to work? not cutting toenails because they’re too far away?

Captive audience, I have come up with an exact measure of laziness that might one day win me the nobel prize, so pay attention.

Laziness is determined when one only needs to eat 6 borekas to get through the day- that my friends is a lazy day!  That is the kind of day I had today, this Saturday.

Now, this week hasnt been all Borekas and afternoon naps- I accomplished lots since I came back from greece.  Let’s see…

On Tuesday, one of the girls on the kibbutz invited me out with some friends to go travelling- my coordinator, Oshra, showed mercy by allowing me to skip work and join them.  We went to the Banyaz River, went swimming, drank tea, and ate pretzels.  Then, we went to the Kinneret on the other side of the counrty (about a 35 minute drive) to go on a river hike.  That is a hike in a river.  There were signs before starting warning us that we would have to swim on some parts of this hour or so hike.  Well, about 15 minutes later into the hike, we passed by a park ranger asking us when we would arrive at the swimming part of the hike.  he started laughing and told us that the signs were clearly out of date.  the water never really passed our knees.  He also told us that were 3/4 finished.  we laughed.  but on a serious note.  even if the signs were 20 years old… this river was once deep enough to swim- now it’s only up to our knees.  That is a very steep drop in water level!  it is also a major concern for the Israeli government and Israelis everywhere.  What do we do next?

After this hike, we went to the kinneret to swim.  That was tuesday.

On Thursday, I went with my host family to Rosh Hanikra.  we rented bikes (or a variation of one), went to the beach, went to lunch and returned to the kibbutz at 230.  At 3, I went with the kibbutz kids to the hot springs at Chamat Gader.  these hot springs were 40 degrees hot!  and sooooooooo smelly because of the rich concentration of sulpher.  Made for a smelly bus ride home.

Then on friday, I went to tzfat, took a nap in tzfat on a mattress on a rooftop- and went back to the Kinneret that evening.  In the evening, dinner at the host family and a trip to Naharyyia for Ice cream.  I had Ferrerio Roche ice-cream!

All that hard work- I deserved a break, no?
Question to pose to the group: When was the last time you fell of a bicycle?  4? Maybe 8 years old?  Well, one of the guys on the kibbutz invited me to go on a bike trip with him.  So he lent me a spare bicycle to test out.  I wanted to practice off road bicycling… and fell off the bike.  I figured that maybe I had to put more air in the tires.  Filled the tires up, went back to the same small trail, completed it, but then when I was turning back up a dirt road, i fell off of it again.  lucky i was wearing a helmet!  but my confidence and ego were also bruised and bloodied 😦  I decided not to go on this bike trip.  Not necessarily because I felt like I have the bicycle skills of a racoon, but because it was 20 km long.  12 km is uphill in some way.

I guess that one of those times where it wasnt smart to ‘get back on the bike’ and try again!

Here are some random pictures that I found that I haven’t posted yet.

Also, I wanted to try and do an ‘Ask Justin Anything About Israel Forum.’  Do you have questions about life in Israel?  Jewish things.  Military things?  Kibbutz, culture, health, remedies?

Ask away, please!

Enjoy the Pictures too!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Miriam Sharpe (aka mOm) permalink
    July 25, 2010 3:35 am

    Fabulous photos Justin!
    These and the added ones!

    So, my 23 year old baby, tell your mOmmy about the motorcycle in the pictures! ….

    🙂 Keep in mind that I’m are ignoring the fact that I learned to ride on an Enduro(?)that looked similar!

    And then… send more photos.

    Loving you!!!! and Missing YOU!!!!!!!

  2. A. Dale permalink
    July 25, 2010 11:14 am

    Hi Justin,
    Let me be one of the first for your ask Justin anything about Israel forum.
    Have you been to Afula? When I was there (1975) my favourite town was Afula. It’s further south than where you are now, but if you get down there, you can take some pics for me; I would love to see them.
    Is there still a subway in Haifa? I remember it was all built on steps, kind of like a car built over an escalator.
    Do they still make falafel with french fries as a topping?
    Thanks for the pictures – you look very happy and relaxed.
    Love you lots,
    A. Dale

    • July 27, 2010 6:56 pm

      Hey Aunty Dale,

      I haven’t been to Affula yet but if I do I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures. As for the subway- are you refering to a TTC type subway or the restaurant? I don’t recall seeing the restaurant there but I wasn’t too hungry when I arrived in Haifa.

      As for falafells, just today, I bought a falafel and all the guy put in was fries (called chips) and falafel balls without any room for salad of pickles!!! In Israel, I’ve seen fries go in anything and everything- shwarma, falafel, eggs, salads!

      Love ya lots!

  3. Aunty Jill permalink
    July 26, 2010 11:48 am

    In case you really wanted to know, I was biking down one of the gravel roads near Laura Secord House, in Niagara, and wiped out “majorly” and needed to pull the stones out of my knee with tweeters. My leg was cut, and bruises galore. No helmets back in those days. I was 15 years old – so that was 39 years ago.
    Love you and so happy to keep getting these updates.

  4. Dad permalink
    July 26, 2010 4:12 pm


    Nice pics! Nice bike! Great stories! Love the donkey pic!

    You look soooo happy!

    As I look into my crystal ball, I see more adventures are on the way!

    Love you and miss you!!!!


  5. Arthur permalink
    July 26, 2010 5:04 pm

    Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time. Great pictures.
    Enjoy the balance of your trip. Sounds like the best is yet to come!

  6. Sandee Sharpe permalink
    July 26, 2010 9:38 pm

    Who knew you’d find the one and only donkey in Israel. (There is only one donkey and one camel – right?). Love the pictures although I confess that my favourite is still the jump in the air photo. How about replicating the jump at different times in Israel and on your bike trip -but not when you’re on the bike. (Kind of like my paddle in the air photo.)
    As for a question about Israel…. I’ll go to the core of our soul – music! I seem to recall Israel being umm rather behind the times. What’s the music like these days? (Here’s hoping it’s more than Prince and Michael Jackson!) Any suggestions as I look to widen my music horizon 🙂
    Wishing you a very very safe month ahead. Remember that the bike wheels are on the ground and you’re on top of the bike…smiling! Love you lots, Auntee Sandee

    • July 27, 2010 7:08 pm

      Just to clarify, that donkey that I commandiered was from Greece. To my knowldege there are no donkeys in Israel, apparently they are the sworn enemies of Camals and Israel is trying to grow it’s camal population. Word on the grapevine is that the only camal in Israel is pregnant with twins (hence two humps!!)

      In regards to music there are a couple good ones in Hebrew that I really like. Look up Shlomo Artzi- Eretz Hadasha as well as The Train to Cairo (ha’rakevet l’keero). Also, the world cups songs are really popular and any top -40 English song is really popular. Currently, there’s a Shakira song where she goes ‘sa-bida bi da eh eh wakka wakka eh this is Africa’ and the kids can’t stop singing it!

      Love ya!

  7. auntie c permalink
    July 27, 2010 11:40 am

    Great blog…I almost can taste the bourekas
    I was at Hamat Hagader with Nancy, David, Joey and all fot hegirls… they were very very young and yes it was freakin smelly… its also attached tot eh alligator park— what a treat (not) to see alligators feasting on raw chicken!!!
    I will pose the atypical Eretz questions… how many cats have crossed your path say in the last half hour? ask an old Israel what an asimon (pronounced a-see mon) is– us old israeli tourists know!! Have you been south yet? gotta check out the horse back camp? school? close to eilat that helps kids with physical and emotional challenges ride,gain confidence and be independent–sorry can’t remember its name? have you come face to face with an m-16? is your kibbutz known for any special field work– mine was plastic melon holders—dont ask!!!also picked bananas.
    As for bicycling—well—think you might have another kick at that can–maybe–maybe not
    ….hmmmmm…. cally has bandaids with her :).
    speaking of Cally—hope you guys get a chance to connect. She is so happy to be there too.
    Have a blast Jussssssttttiiiinnnnnn.unlike alligators I highly recommend sticking to bourekas and not raw chicken- teee heee

    • July 27, 2010 7:20 pm

      Hey Aunty Chari,

      In the last half hour I have come across 4 cats that were in my direct path and 3.5 in my peripheral vision (half cuz I don’t know if it was a cat or a rock that looked like a cat.). But I imagine there were at least 10 cats watching my every move waiting for me to drop food!

      I have come face to face with an m16 but thankfully not eye-eye (as in I have never looked downthe barrel of one). However, I was in a car with a park ranger and jn the back seats he had enough guns to start a small war. I asked him why he had to many. His answer: hunting. I was a little freaked out to ask him what he hunts. There isn’t what would be considered big game in my neighbourhood.

      My kibbutz makes very popular deli meats! That is currently a significant portion of my daily intake of food. There are also some private companies that make stuff involving plastic but no matter how many times I ask- I still don’t understand what he does (kinda like tylers job!)

      As for alligators, the most exciting part was when a bird landed on a patch of grass beside the water and 10 alligators immediately swarmed to that side of the pond. The effentually left and the gators lost out on dessert.

      I am meeting up with Cally for shabbas this weekend! Should be lots of fun!!

      Love ya!

  8. Bubby Ann permalink
    July 27, 2010 1:13 pm

    Hi Justin
    Enjoyed your latest blog,so much adventure packed into a few sentences. I also like being lazy as long as I’m having fun. I don’t think I could make it through a day , however, on 6 bourekas. I need real food to boost the battery. Speaking of food, I learned yesterday, at a lecture that one should not eat meat and dairy together. It had nothing to do with being kosher. Apparently, meat contains iron, dairy contains calcium. When both are combined at the same meal, the iron in the meat does not let the calcium in the milk to be absorbed. Our religion, when it comes to food, definitely promotes good health. Washing the hands before a meal, less germs when eating. Salting meat to remove the blood which contains bacteria of the animal and eating the meat well done, are also a good ways to promote healthy living. There is a lot of logic to many of the Jewish laws.So much to learn and only one life time. Loved the pictures, do you get to keep a puppy, they are soo cute. Do you also get to keep the donkey, very reasonable on gas. Really don’t know too much about life in Israel, so all of your comments are a learning experience for me. Sounds as if you are making the most of every moment, way to go!!!! Justin. Good luck on your bike trip, it also sounds very adventurous. Looking forward to lots more blogs. Enjoy every moment!!!!Lots of love and hugs, Bubby Ann

    • July 27, 2010 7:24 pm

      Hi Bubby,

      Stray dogs are free for the taking. In fact, one of the girls from the kibbutz brought one back from Tzfat one day. Such a cute pubby. A mini black lab pubby. But I realized that within minutes of touching the dog I broke out into hives and had to see the doctor. So one always needs to be careful!

      Love ya lots!!

  9. David K permalink
    July 27, 2010 2:46 pm

    Hey Justin, What’s the biggest difference between a 23 year old Israeli and a 23 year old jewish kid from Thornhill?

    • July 27, 2010 8:17 pm

      Hey Dave,

      I was just thinking about this one the other day. Where to start?

      There are many differences depending on SES, where one lives, rural vs
      urban, religious affiliation, etc. Ill talk about the ‘forks in the road’ per say, where the significant differences begin.

      The most obvious difference is the army experience. Most israelis (men and women) want to be combat soldiers but a select few get to be in those units. And those who think they deserve or should be in those elite units have to cope with being in the ‘2nd best’ unit. That’s really hard on them because for guys they have to spend the next 3 years being ‘2nd class’ without much or any opportunity for change. Additionally, leaving the army is looked at poorly for social reasons and can be later brought up in future job interviews. so when you cant switch units in the army easily and you cant really leave the army, for some soldiers, a sense of Learned Helplessness is acquired especially when the ‘easiest’ way to get out of the army is by convincing a psychologist that you are suicidal. I

      Other differences come in the pursuance of post secondary education. OSAP does not exist here. After the army, people can work in ‘needed industries’ for a period of 6 months and get 8000 sheckles from the army (usually pumping gas or working on a farm). taking into account that salaries are less while the cost of living is higher, family savings are smaller. also, an interesting point that i learned a few days ago! I’m not sure what percentage of the population lived on kibbutzim in the 70s and 80s but it had to have been about 30%- so these kibbutzim provided everything to the members from clothes, to food, and also a free university education. When kibbutzim privatized, free tuition also stopped, however, families were not compensated for the difference. so, the kids born to those parents (and those kids are about my age now) belong to families that have very very little savings and no means of acquiring enough cash to support 4 years of university. because of the lack of access to post secondary education, many israelis travel- but not backpacking like what Josh or Robin did. they find jobs, and live like that. usually in india or toronto. At the same time, there are significant numbers of people who save and work from a much earlier age and do the traditional backing trips- usually to South America.

      Those are 2 of the bigger differences that I can think of off the top of my head. When more come up, I’ll post them.

      Thanks Dave

  10. Noa Gurvis permalink
    July 27, 2010 11:15 pm

    Hey Justin,

    Can you bring me a puppy?? Sheepdog, Saind Bernard, or German Shepard, please, and make sure it has been tested beforehand.

    Just kidding. Are there really a lot of dogs there?Two years ago, when I was there, it was all cats. Hmmmmm…

    Anywho, it sounds like you are having a lot of fun. Other than falling off a bike twice…

    Looking forwards to the next post!!

    All the best, love you, Noa

  11. David K permalink
    July 28, 2010 3:40 pm

    Thanks for the quick reply Justin. Affordability/accessability of higher education is a major issue for most industralized countries. (much like affordability of health care) Sad to consider coming out of 3 years in the military with little finance or educational opportunity.

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