Author: Nicole Maloy, W’95
I never expected to see Israel. It was a place I hoped I might one day see, but such a trip was nothing I foresaw actually happening, let alone any time soon. Enter my colleague, Emilie, who works with the Penn Alumni Travel program. She came to my office door one afternoon with a smile on her face, and a glossy brochure in her hands. It read, “Israel: Land of Cultural Treasures.” Turns out the program needed a staff host, and that host would be me, if I was interested. If. Ha. Prudence dictated that I should reflect on it overnight. But as soon as she left, I looked at my new brochure, then skyward and said, “We both know I’m going, right?”
My time in Israel, just weeks ago, was by turns educational and surreal. I visited the Temple Mount. I walked among Roman ruins. I planted a tree. I toured a kibbutz. I heard a blessing in Hebrew and drank a toast upon entering the city of Jerusalem. I entered what remains of the synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus taught, just steps from where Peter lived. I heard a man trying out a shofar at the market. I stood atop Masada, and understood why it had been chosen as a fortress. I drew in a fishing net on a boat in the Sea of Galilee. Side note – I caught three fish! Woo! Of course we let them swim away – I think I heard one of them shouting, “FREEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOM” as it leapt from the net back into the water.
Below are just a few scenes from a trip, and a land, that I will never, ever forget.
Interested in taking a trip with Penn Alumni Travel? Check out their new website here.