Israel is home to approximately 140,000 members of the Druze faith, but today there are a dozen or so young students waiting patiently for me as I park my car next to the Shrine of the Prophet Bha’a Aldeen, a local Druze holy site. By this point, I have spent several months in Israel and have only heard whisperings about the Druze community. They remain something of a mystery to the outside world, with terms like “secret religion” and “hidden in plain sight” used at times to describe them. But Green Horizons, an organization that offers outdoor educational activities to Israeli youth, is hoping to shed new light on their fascinating world by connecting Druze youth with nature and Israel as a whole.
I had long wanted to travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia. I looked forward to swimming in pristine waters, sunning on rocky beaches, kayaking around beautiful islands, hiking mountains overlooking the city, attending classical music concerts, and learning about historical sites. There is also a “Game of Thrones” tour, as Dubrovnik is the filming location for that television series.
Fresh mountain air, sublime prayer services, world-class speakers, and the best food I have ever eaten on Pesach. These were the highlights of my Pesach at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut.
A rabbi in Bangkok? I looked around the living room for signs of a Jewish home in this townhouse off of fashionable Sukumvit Road in Thailand’s capital.