by Janet Mueller
Every summer my family and I travel to Israel for about 3 weeks. I will give a little history. My husband Natan, an Israeli, is one of nine children. I, an American, am an only child. All of Natan's siblings with the exception of one live in Israel. So these trips give us a resurgence of being with family.
There have been Israel trips where we have gone with family from Israel to Turkey, camped on the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), volunteered at Yad Sarah and the Israel Guide Dog Center. This summer we spent time with relatives and basically just hung out. We went to the Dead Sea, went on a nature hike in cold springs and went to the beach in Bat Yam (on the Mediterranean, just south of Tel Aviv).
One very special evening that will always be remembered is when I took my 17 year old fishing in Bat Yam. We set off at about 9pm looking for the pier to fish from on the beach in Bat Yam. We asked someone where you go fishing and he pointed to some rocks. At the end of the rocks was a lone fisherman. I do not know what I was thinking at the time, but I let my daughter make her way with her fishing rod to the end of the rocks. I pulled up a chair on the beach next to a group of people. They were speaking a language that I could not place. I heard some Spanish words intermingled with other words that I did not recognize. I asked one of the woman what language they were speaking. She said ‘Ladino’ (a Judeo-Spanish language that is a mixture of Spanish, Hebrew, Greek and Turkish). It then made sense. The group were Turkish Jews.
I felt very safe and at home sitting on the beach listening to Ladino and knowing my daughter was enjoying herself.
Until next summer when I get to go back.