Shofar, So good

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.

This is an ancient theater in Caesarea.

This is an ancient theater in Caesarea.

My stage debut. Thank you, Judea!

My stage debut. Thank you, Judea!

Pardon the windy hair situation – just note that the camel is looking directly into my camera.

Pardon the windy hair situation – just note that the camel is looking directly into my camera.

Original mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue in the city of Beit Alpha.

Original mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue in the city of Beit Alpha.

Closeup of some of the decoration on the church built over the remains of Peter’s house in Capernaum. Check out the fish.

Closeup of some of the decoration on the church built over the remains of Peter’s house in Capernaum. Check out the fish.

At the Temple Mount, in front of the Dome of the Rock.

At the Temple Mount, in front of the Dome of the Rock.

Planting a tree as part of Israel’s reforestation effort. I named this one Ben Franklin.

Planting a tree as part of Israel’s reforestation effort. I named this one Ben Franklin.

Adorable baby ibex greets us at the Ramon Crater.

Adorable baby ibex greets us at the Ramon Crater.

Reception in Jerusalem with the regional Penn alumni club!

Reception in Jerusalem with the regional Penn alumni club!

At the Israel Museum – below this dome are the Dead Sea Scrolls.

At the Israel Museum – below this dome are the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Move over, Indiana Jones! Penn alumni step into the country of Jordan to visit the beautiful, ancient stone city of Petra.

Move over, Indiana Jones! Penn alumni step into the country of Jordan to visit the beautiful, ancient stone city of Petra.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Interested in taking a trip with Penn Alumni Travel? Check out their new website here.

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2 Comments

Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Nicole M., Penn Alumni Travel, Travel

2 responses to “Shofar, So good

  1. Kevin Urbanek

    Wow! I wish I was there! Great pics and writeup.

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