Day 3: Tzfat and the Galil Winery

Hey all! So today was an interesting day, as I expect every day to be. Despite the “super-cold” temperatures, rain/sleet/hail/snow/intermittent sunshine, we managed to work in a visit to Tzfat, the city of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah, and a visit to the Galil Mountain Winery. Tzfat was an interesting mix of ancient ruins and modern city. The underground excavations are covered by a modern metropolis of Jewish scholars. We were given a brief open-air tour of the old Jewish Quarter and a couple of synagogues and then given a VERY basic presentation on the ideas of Kabbalah, namely its spiritual connections to the Jewish faith. We were rubbing shoulders with other Birthright groups and locals the whole time. The kids were out of school due to the weather and were making the best of the slushy snow by starting snowball fights with everyone, we threw right back. We visited a local, and very historic, candlers shop where I picked up a few gifts and thoroughly admired some of the really artistic wax candle creations on display. I had to talk myself out of buying candles shaped so precisely like crocuses that I thought they were actual flowers. I was rather stunned by the artistry on display.

After walking through a market street full of artist shops that were very much a tourist trap, we hopped back on the bus and headed on toward the Galil Mountain Winery with a stop for lunch, schwarma, along the way. The winery is really young, having been incorporated in the early part of the 2000s. Despite their youth, the winemakers their have won numerous international awards for their vintages. The tour was rather intriguing as I’ve gone through brewery tours, but never vintners tours, so learning of the different processes of fermentation was quite entertaining and educational. Of course the tour ended with a wine tasting and I did end up picking up a couple of bottles to bring home for the family. Whites for my mom and sister, and a nice red for my dad. Of course the wine is kosher and a FAR SIGHT BETTER than Manischewitz.

We made it back early to Kibbutz Malkiya and now after all the scheduled activities are over everyone else is popping open their own bottles Dionysus’ gift. They’ve gotten rather silly, but no one is getting wasted. I’m not up for drinking so I’m just observing and jumping in here and there. I wanted to get this posted so I’ve stepped out for a couple minutes so I’ll say goodbye and see y’all tomorrow! Be sure to check out the gallery (click on the GALLERY button below) to see photos of the day!

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