We spent a day in the Old City, where my kids thought every stone wall was the Kotel, and were astonished when they actually saw the huge stones of the Kotel for themselves, a lot of time hanging out in the Tachana Hamerkazit, and a lot of time visiting my brother’s family and other relatives. Otherwise, our most enjoyable day was our final day one, when the sun broke through the clouds, the temperature reached a pleasant sixty, and we took the kids to the Biblical Zoo.
If you are based in Jerusalem, there are three buses daily to Kever Rochel that only cost 10 shekel round trip, sponsored by Mosdos Kever Rachel (www.keverrachel.com). My husband and I snuck out one night, and had an extremely uplifting and emotional visit within the span of two hours, thanks to the efficiency of the bus.
We did manage to make it to Tel Aviv for a couple of days. Despite the soggy weather, we enjoyed the desolate beach, and decided to treat ourselves to dinner at a lovely restaurant; right on the boardwalk that boasted stunning views of the ocean. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how frequently soy is found in Israel foods, and my sensitive baby had an allergic reaction after he ate a soybean that was hidden in a salad. Under the concerned eyes of the waitresses, chef, restaurant manager and medics, we decided to get Noach checked out by Dana, the children’s hospital in Tel Aviv. Naturally, his symptoms had already subsided by the time we got to the hospital, but nonetheless, we enjoyed our small interaction with the medical system in Israel. The hospital and the staff left us with a wonderful impression with their concern and efficiency. However, if you are traveling with someone with allergies, carry an anti-histamine or epi-pen with you everywhere you go.
In regards to phone and Internet, both are necessary. We got a great deal on a cell phone, about 45 dollars for 8.5 days. The one catch was that we didn’t have easy access to Internet, as my brother didn’t have a computer. For me, spending a week without a computer was quite liberating, but my husband didn’t quite see it that way. We spent a lot of time searching for Internet kiosks, when perhaps the time could have been better used for something else. If you don’t have easy access to a computer, definitely make sure to rent a smart phone.
In summary; a week is just too short to go to Israel with kids, especially if you are going to go during the worst weather period of the whole year. In addition, a trip to Israel is a big deal. It’s not worth saving a few dollars if it’s going to take away enjoyment from your trip.
Surprisingly enough, even with the bad weather, and the challenging learning experiences, I felt a real sense of yeridah when we returned to our home in Brooklyn. So that very night, after the little ones collapsed into their beds, we started planning our next trip to Israel. This time, without the kids.