I sometimes puzzle friends when I tell them that I did my honeymoon in Israel. Are you Jewish? they immediately ask, wondering if my WASPY appearance belies a history of Yom Kippurs and Saturday morning services. I am not Jewish, not that I know of anyway, but I am intensely curious about Jewish history and culture, and in my mind there was no better place to get a sense of this, let alone a sense of our common history over all, than Israel. Of course, Israel is more than just the cradle of Western culture. It is more than one of the most historically rich places on the planet. It is also a lovely, friendly, adventuresome place that I believe everyone should visit in heir lifetime.
I could go one about all the great things you can do in Israel. Floating the Dead Sea, grabbing dinner and drinks in Tel Aviv, scuba diving the Red Sea at Eilat, hiking the hills of Bethlehem. But probably the most interesting place in the country is its capital city: Jerusalem. The city is a marvel of sights and sounds, of history and heritage, of tastes and smells. I have not thought about Jerusalem lately other than what I read in the news. I have not thought of it as a tourist destination. But this piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer reminded me how much I love Jerusalem, and how much I’d like to return. The piece does a fine job laying out many of the allures of the city, its well-known historical sites, the thriving markets, the taste of history and culture that hangs in the air. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back and spend a few weeks.