By Frank Sheftel
I have always felt like I’m a well traveled person. I’ve seen some ofAmerica, been to Europe several times, and have cruised all over the world includingJamaica,Mexico, andAlaska. As much as I have a fear of flying, I still like to travel. But I just got back from the trip of a lifetime. I spent three weeks traveling all overIsraelwith my parents, Mel and Gloria. It was supposed to be the bar mitzvah trip I never had. And it really was incredible. From the beautiful blue beaches of Tel Aviv to the gorgeousBahiaGardensinHaifa, I was surprised at every turn. The emotions of standing at the western wall inJerusalemnext to my 84-year-old father and praying were overwhelming and brought tears to my eyes. From growing up hearing everyone say “Next year inJerusalem” to actually standing deep in the tunnels under the City ofDavid, it was surreal. I never knew all the treasures of the Middle East thatIsraelheld, including many relatives from both sides of my family that I hadn’t met. But the best part of the trip besides sitting atop a tank at the Syrian border in the Golan Heights or touring the ancient ruins of palaces and temples on the historic Mount Masada, even better then the five star resort at the Dead Sea and floating in the spa’s saltwater pool, the best part of the trip was sharing the adventures with my parents. My mom and dad told me that they couldn’t have done this trip without me. And that was only three days into a three week trip and a week before I had to get a wheelchair for Mom because the walking was becoming too difficult for her. Despite all the physical challenges — my father’s lack of hearing as one of his hearing aids wasn’t working and Mom’s falling on the stairs at the old city ofJerusalem– I think they had a great time too. My parents have opened the door to a part of my family’s history that I never knew. I met relatives for the very first time that I will now keep in touch with. And the three weeks I spent with my folks will forever be etched in my memories as one of the greatest times we’ve shared. The bar mitzvah trip of a lifetime, only about 40 years late.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Readers can friend me on Facebook at Facebook/Frank Sheftel and see pictures from our trip.