Photos by Victoria Schneps
Blake reads his Torah portion.

The extraordinary opportunity to visit Israel for my grandson Blake Sohmer’s bar mitzvah took us to many sites in this sliver of a country surrounded by massive powerful Middle Eastern neighbors.

We began in Tel Aviv, staying at the Hilton perched right on the Mediterranean Sea with little time to enjoy the pool and beach. During our stay, we were off to old Jaffa then to the ancient city of Caesarea, then went for a swim in the Jezreel Valley springs.

The next day we made our way to Jerusalem by visiting Caliber 3, a counterterrorism training facility, which allowed us to shoot real bullets.

Then off to the remarkable archeological find: the Western Wall Tunnels.

Blake’s bar mitzvah was held at Robinson’s Arch adjacent to the Western Wall, the holiest site in all of Judaism. Our celebratory dinner/feast was under a canopy of colorful open umbrellas at Piccolino restaurant.

In Jerusalem, we stayed at the Herbert Samuel hotel for five nights. From there, we made unforgettable trips to the Dead Sea, Masada, Yad  Vashem, the Mahane Yehuda mobbed market, an Armored Corp museum, an ATV ride through the Judean Hills and an archeological dig at an area from Biblical times, completing our memorable trip.

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