Friday, August 1, 2014

Akko - and the wisdom of taking a day off

[Hmmm... this is a post from 2010 that popped up now...]

You'd think that I didn't need to take a day off--after all, I have Shabbat, right? Well, yesterday, I did just that. After a quiet day in Ra'anana and an evening in TA, I went to Akko on Sunday with a friend who was here for a family wedding. We left late, drove up leisurely, and by the early afternoon, were walking around the Old City, watching families and kids do the same. Here are some boys jumping off the city wall, cooling off:

Akko is a city in some distress. Many stores in the Old City are closed, and the whole place could do with a serious face-lift. Reports about lousy municipal services abound.  Yet, I was again enchanted by the crusader architecture, and annoyed that the guides want to tell me everything about every stone (here! a refectory! a dungeon! a tunnel!) but nothing about the motivation of people who gave up everything to live here, on this fleck of land, 3000 miles from home. Or about the people living there today. But that might be asking for too much.

We also went to the Bahai Gardens in Akko, where the Baba had spent his last years. Incredible flowers there, planted on a narrow stripe of perhaps 60 meters in an otherwise arid landscape. Surreal for sure, but beautiful.

At night, enjoying a warm October night on my balcony in Jerusalem, Levanah purring in my lap, I was strangely content, although I had not written a line in two days. Clearly, I need to do that more often. It is easy to get sucked into the business of everyday life, into teaching, grading, meetings, prepping, and reading, and to let time just pass by. While I only teach 2 classes per semester, my 100-120 students do feel like a lot and it seems difficult to make the time. After all, I have no good excuse not to work, right? No partner, no children, no family... And so, I am planning to visit the Herodion, perhaps Massada, Mar Saba, and a bunch of the churches in the Old City in my remaining two months in the Holy Land. Stay tuned!

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