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Purposes and Journeys


Welcome back!


Good morning and welcome back to the saddle. It's been a full week since I scribbled my bits as I traveled afar for a Middle East blitz. Old school Minyans know that I'm not prone to prolonged absences but this trip was the grist of life. As I've been sans Minx, I'm gonna use this opener to share the tale and shake some lag. For those looking for nuts and guts financial stuff, please jump to the Buzz and I'll do my best to play ketchup.

The genesis of this journey was rooted somewhere between my heart and soul. The young lady I'm dating-we'll call her Winnie-asked me to join her and her family in Israel for the front end of the holidays. It's been 26 years since I've set foot on that powerful swatch of land and I jumped at the chance to revisit my roots and plant some seeds. Imagine Meet the Parents, Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Masada rolled into one and you'll get a sense of the journey intense.

We landed last Friday in Tel Aviv and drove up the coast to Netanya. As the sun touched the water to the west, I was struck by the serenity that surrounded us. The mainstream media paints a prickly picture of Israel as the headlines highlight bombings, strife and conflict. In contrast, calming warmth absorbed us as we soaked in the energy, established our bearings and prepared to touch the four corners of the country.

The family introductions were seamless and the mojo powerful as we stepped into her mother's abode. I won't say that there weren't any eggshells but they were self-imposed and surprisingly soft. After a hearty meal, endless conversation and a good night's sleep, we packed some belongings, grabbed her sister and drove north to Tiberias.

Minyan Sol, a fine fellow who I've known virtually for five years, picked us up Sunday morning and gave us a homegrown tour. We began at the Banias, explored the springs, caves and grottos, and took a walk down History Lane. These remains date to 198 B.C.E, which is quite amazing, and I couldn't help feeling very small as I stood before the ancient ruins. From there, we drove along the borders of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon before settling in for a fantastic feast on the Sea of Galilee.

The following morning featured a trip through Zefat, one of Israel's four holy cities, and a swing through Rosh Hanikra. As we were sans Sol at this point, I had assumed the driving duties and was quite conscious of my precious cargo. Still, in what was almost an international incident, the Lebanese border somehow flipped from my left to my right as we raced back in Netanya for Rosh Hashana. We never left Israeli soil, as it turns out, but it you couldn't tell from the pace of my pulse.

As the holiday edged into the rear-view, we packed up and drove into Jerusalem. There aren't many words that can aptly describe the energy of this city but suffice to say that it was special. After dropping our bags with my pal Dave, we quickly headed to the Kotel for some spiritual refocusing. This was a particularly powerful moment as the last time I stood at the Western Wall, my grandfather Ruby was beside me. And I'm quite certain that his hand again steadied my shoulder as I shared some quiet reflections.

Thursday arrived in the blink of an eye and we headed east to the Ein Gedi Kibbutz. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, has a salt content ten times that of the Atlantic that acts as an organic floatation device. As Winnie and I bobbed gently in the warm water and cast a gaze across Jordan, the absence of sound provided fertile ground for fresh thought. After a lifetime of experiences and events, I had once again arrived at a place of new beginnings.

We awoke at 4:30 the next morning for some spiritual legwork. And after a long but enjoyable hike, we stood atop Masada and watched the sun paint the sky. In an age connected by computers and consumed with work, the natural beauty served as a subtle reminder that we indeed work to live. It took a trip around the world to once again see it but I'm quite certain that I'm a better man for it.

Thank you for indulging me as I edge back into the real world. They say that vacations are a respite from reality but it somehow feels like the roles have reversed. As we ready anew to digest the twisty turns of the minxy muck, I'll ask each of you to remember the beauty that surrounds us daily. This world is far from perfect but its our world--our individual reality--that defines us all. Take the time to appreciate it for tomorrow, as we know, is promised to nobody.

Good luck today.


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