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More from the Jerusalem Cultural Fellowship

June 22, 2010
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From Elise in Jerusalem:

June 19, 2010

So much has happened since I last wrote – my family is here so I’ve been a bit distracted. The wonderful thing (one of the) about Israel is how many different terrains you can cover in a couple of hours. We went to Kibbutz Ein Gedi, abundant in flora, astonishingly so given the desert all around. We floated in the dead sea, mudbathed and sulphur showered off, and floated indoors in yet another sulfurous pool.

Exhausted from our relaxation we didn’t get up on time for the planned trip to Masada but drove thru, incredulous at how anyone would have thought 5000 years ago that this would be a land of milk and honey. It was so incredibly hot!!! But after winding thru to Arad and heading north towards Tel Aviv, we passed forests, farms, factories (even Ben and Jerry’s!) and found our way to meet our fellows at the extraordinary beachfront restaurant Manta Ray.

Columnist Tom Friedman stopped by halfway thru our lunch and we all had a magnificent meal and time.

The fellows had toured Neve Tzedek that morning, including meeting Ohad Naharin at Batsheva’s studio in Suzanne dellal Center. After lunch, we had a promenade up Rothschild boulevard where we learned about all forms of Bauhaus architecture (except for my husband and son who went to Old Jaffa in search of the perfect sword).

A dip in the Mediterranean freshened us up, and Jellyfish notwithstanding (they’re early this summer) we had a wonderful time.

June 22

I covered a lot of terrain yesterday and it seemed the worst day in Israel to be on the train which is how I traveled. First from Kfar Sava to Tel aviv which involved a 40 minute delay followed by a shuttle bus from Bnei Brak to Tell Aviv Univ (which is kind of funny when you think about it). I spent time with the lovely and incredible Ruth Calderon of ALMA who showed me around her childhood home and neighborhood, which is where she lives with today with her gorgeous children. Then took a train to Haifa (another long sojourn considering what a short ride it is – felt like the A train at the height of rush hour) to see Reggie Wilson teaching the Beta dance company, a group of semi-professional dancers who work from authentic Ethiopian dance materials. The amazing Ruth Eshel – a teacher, former dancer, and critic – is their leader. They were amazingly beautiful and adored Reggie, who taught some basic improvisational skills, but so beautifully, and appropriately took in their fabulous movement vocabulary.

More to come! Check out all the photos here.

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