Joy of Israel: Kurdish Cuisine, Caves and Kabbalah

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Jamie Geller
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Don't miss the latest in my Joy of Israel series. Let's learn to cook Kurdish cuisines, visit the caves and maybe a bit of Kabbalah.

You know how it goes.  In life we often travel to far off places, in search of happiness, success, spirituality, opportunity, adventure.  For the last episode of Joy of Israel with Jamie Gellerwe trekked almost 4 hours to the northern tip of the country, a stones throw from Syria, to sled and see Israeli Cowboys.  It was an incredible family trip but like all trips (especially those with young kids), it was good to go and even better to come home.

That got me thinking about home, and what adventure, opportunity and excitement may in fact be right here in my very own backyard.  We tossed around lots of ideas for this second episode and we decided to cover one of our Israel firsts, our first Lag B'Omer.  With that, everyone immediately suggested we shoot in Meron, the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai who many consider the father of Kabbalah.  Lag B'Omer marks the anniversary of his passing.

Meron is also up north and a looong ride when you consider the traffic created by the 10s of thousands who make the annual pilgrimage.  So we decided instead, to stay close to home this time (in fact we just went across the street) to experience this day with our family and neighbors.  And from there we built our 2nd episode.

When I dreamt of moving to Israel, I had one place in mind, Jerusalem.  And when we decided on Ramat Beit Shemesh (for various reasons included among them family, friends, schools etc...) I was underwhelmed to say the least.  I mean who ever heard of this place?  And if you heard of it who ever dreamt of living there?  I often compared it to dreaming of moving to the States and setting up shop in Aurora, Nebraska  No offense to Aurora, Nebraska (any of you from there?) but I'm the type that's drawn to major cities like New York, London, or what I consider the most major - Yerushalayim.

So I decided to take this opportunity to fall in love with my home - to see that what I used to consider the middle of nowhere is in fact the middle of somewhere, somewhere special.  Replete with exotic cultures, ancient archeological sites and mystical celebrations.

Watch and learn more about my neck of the woods, through Kurdish Cuisine, Caves and a hint of Kabbalah.  Of course the episode wouldn't be complete without a little new oleh supermarket humor...