Three generations of Greenbergs visit Israel together
[by Phyllis Shaikun, Special to Community]
(See full image gallery at the end of this article.)
When Ruth and Ron Greenberg and their children and grandchildren traveled to Israel on July 20 for a 10-day stay, Ruth considered it a special occasion for many reasons. “When dealing with schedules for 11 people,” she explained, “being able to be together at the same time in the same place is reason enough to celebrate.”
Although she and Ron had visited Israel several times, they felt blessed to experience it once again with their family, Jennifer and Jeff Tuvlin and Craig and Rachel Greenberg and their grandchildren, Andrew, Ethan and Jared Tuvlin and Daniel and Ben Greenberg. “It was a phenomenal trip,” she said, “and everyone loved every minute of it.”
They initially contacted Rabbi Robert Slosberg and spoke with others who had traveled to Israel with young families to determine how best to arrange their own visit. Jennifer worked with the travel agent and did much of the groundwork, Ron purchased the tickets and everyone had input as they worked for a year to plan their dream vacation.
They sought and found a family-centered guide who liked children (the boys range in age from seven to 12), could talk on their level and would be flexible to their needs. This was Rachel’s first trip to Israel, so it was fun for the others to see and feel her unique excitement as they travelled together.
The children were engaged from the outset and peppered the guide with questions. Ruth compared them to little sponges absorbing all of the information they were given.
“I truly believe they will always remember this trip,” she says. “Our hope is that they will establish a deep and committed relationship with the country and with their heritage. Standing in the Golan and watching and hearing bombing blasts in the Syrian valley below drove home the fact that the Middle East is a vulnerable place.”
On the lighter side, Grandma Ruth arranged for the family to be together for “A Taste of Jerusalem” (Cook in the Shuk for short), which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. The cook, Ruth (Ruti) Yudekovitz, picked up the family on Friday morning and guided them through Mechane Yehuda (the Shuk or Arab Market), where they divided into teams to purchase the foods they would need to cook for dinner.
They returned to her home in the Abu-Tor neighborhood, where the boys baked challah, Ruth prepared grape leaves and the others did their part for the meal. Late that afternoon, they paid a pre-Shabbat visit to the Wall before returning to Ruti’s lovely home to enjoy the meal they had prepared.
The Greenbergs consider themselves lucky to have been part of a small group that had the services of a private guide and minivan. They spent long, exhausting days where they rose early and often stayed out sight-seeing until after 5 o’clock. Their visit began in Tel Aviv, where they spent two nights; they then spent two nights in the Hula Valley at Kibbutz K’far Blum and five nights in Jerusalem, which served as a base for day trips to explore Ein Ghedi, the Dead Sea, Massada and other sites. During the trip, they were on the borders with Lebanon and Syria and drove through the West Bank several times.
Although the desert was the hottest spot they encountered, the children loved the camel rides in Genesis Land, a place where they experienced life as it was in Abraham’s time. The boys also enjoyed the interactive Palmach and Herschel Museums and particularly loved their archaeological dig, which included a tour of an unexcavated cave system.
If she had it to do all over again, Ruth thinks she might have added a stop in Petra or included an extra day at the end of the trip so they could have relaxed before heading home. All in all, however, the family felt Israel was the perfect place to experience together and they are delighted they made the trip.