36 Hours in Northern Israel

In the lush Galilee, families spend Shabbat soaking up their surrounding nature.

36 Hours in Northern Israel  758 (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
36 Hours in Northern Israel 758
(photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
After living for many years in New York City, Daphna and Chaim (Cary) Tamler show us what their family’s Shabbat looks like in
Yuvalim, a small town in the Misgav Region in Northern Israel.
9:00 AM
Making Challah
On Friday mornings in Misgav, children have no school so our kids sleep late. When they wake up, I’m already preparing the dough for the challah. It’s been my tradition to bake challah since they were born.
Because Friday is both the day to prepare for Shabbat and to get errands done, we spend the morning cleaning up and getting organized. Our oldest son, who was a contestant on The X-Factor in Israel, practices his guitar, while singing.
12:30 PM
Baseball in Israel
Our family heads to the baseball field in Misgav to watch our 14-year-old son pitch. His team
is a part of an Israeli baseball league, and last year they won the Israeli championship. Most of the teams throughout Israel are made up of American Olim kids, but in Misgav, all of the kids are Israeli born except for our son.
4:00 PM
Misgav Health Club
The health club is a state-of-the-art complex where just about everyone in Misgav has membership. On Fridays, Chaim takes the kids swimming there. There are outdoor and indoor pools and tennis courts. It’s a beautiful place and they always run into people they know, especially our daughter, who’s in first grade. 
7:00 PM
Beit Knesset
Chaim and the kids go to the synagogue, which is a one-room building in Yuvalim. Before we arrived, there were only a handful of people who attended services except when there was a bar mitzvah. But with my husband and two sons, we brought another three. My husband created a weekly Friday night kiddush, with fruit, vegetables, dip, smoked fish, and of course, some alcohol for a L’chaim. Now there’s a guaranteed minyan. 
9:00 PM
Shabbat Dinner
My mother who lives in Haifa is staying with us for Shabbat, and when everyone comes home, we sit down to a huge Shabbat dinner of homemade challah, salatim, Moroccan fish, schnitzel, and dessert. As always, there are tons of leftovers. After dinner, we sit around drinking tea and talking. Our seventeen-year-old son heads out to meet up with some friends in the area. 
9:00 AM
Beit Knesset
Chaim goes to synagogue and our sons join him a little bit later. One man in the community always reads Torah, and my husband usually reads the Haftarah. 
11:30 AM
Rosh Chodesh Brunch
Once a month someone in the community hosts brunch to celebrate Rosh Chodesh. It’s a dairy potluck and there is more than enough delicious food to go around. While the kids play, the parents sit around talking late into the afternoon. 
4:00 PM
Hike in The Valley
Across the road from where we live, there’s a downhill that leads to a beautiful valley in the forest. It’s an easy walk and full of trees and colorful flowers. Sometimes we even run into a few cows there. We bring a picnic with us and sit in the middle of the quiet nature and eat, enjoying our calm surroundings.
While many people travel from all over Israel to hike in this area, it’s part of our everyday life. Life in the Galilee is casual and freeing, with tons of fresh air. 
6:30 PM
We take our daughter to the playground. Because it’s a small community, she inevitably runs into classmates in the park. Our sons find their friends and spend the last few hours of Shabbat hanging out with them. 
8:00 PM
Motzei Shabbat
After Shabbat, all of the technology is switched on again. Our kids finish up their homework and go on the computer. In the winter, we head to the mall after Shabbat ends to finish up the errands we couldn’t get done on Friday. But in the summer, there’s nowhere to go. We can just relax before the week begins again. 
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