January 15 – Forest Day! Ah, sunshine, blue skies and warmer temperatures. Perfect day to work in the JNF Forest. Usually, Tuesdays are our forest days.
After an fulfilling Israeli breakfast we boarded our bus, with Zaharia, our CAARI driver, and off we went. Driving along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea is breathtaking! On to the highway driving towards Jerusalem to the JNF’s Ayalon Park Canada. This is a Jewish National Fund recreation national park covering over 1750 acres.
Everything in Israel has a story as Neil, our guide tells us.
And, you can’t go far without seeing some aspect of the work of the Jewish National Fund, from taking care of the forests, to reservoirs, etc. . Historically, going back to Biblical times in the Book of Joshua, the Park is a site where many battles were fought to control the Ayalon Valley.
There are also fascinating places in the park to visit, such as an aqueduct, burial caves, secret tunnels, a crusader castle and church ruins. In addition, it is the Dedication Center for contributors for JNF Canada. JNF cares for the park’s fruit trees and has planted additional trees, along with developing scenic roads, parking areas, scenic lookouts and many recreation areas for all to use.
It is ‘winter’ in Israel, but this is the time to get ready for spring and summer, when the Park is heavily used. Israelis love having picnics, taking nature walks and enjoying the outdoors. And…there are lots of picnic tables and places for barbeques. This was our project today – painting and picking up litter
JNF foresters met us at the picnic site, in the middle of the tree shaded area, gave us painters clothes, gloves, paint and brushes and of course ‘schmatas’ to clean the tables before painting. Off we went to do our job. We painted the 20 + tables and barbeque stands in a little over an hour. The foresters were surprised, so off we went to another site and then another! In total we painted over 80 tables and stands! Go CAARI! Now, time for a picnic lunch for us!
After lunch, on Tuesday January 15 we drove to Binyamina, to the Tishi Winery for a unique wine tasting experience. Tishbi Winery, is Israel’s sixth largest and the only winery in Israel who makes cognac. Back in the late1800’s, the Tishbi family was commissioned by Baron Edmond de Rothschild to plant the first modern vineyard in Israel. Everything has a history! This was a different kind of wine tasting. Each type of wine also went with a different type of chocolate. So, it wasn’t just for wine lovers, but for those who are chocoholics!
On to a short tour of the charming village of Zikron Yaacov and a history lesson, by Neil, on the founders of the town and some the early pioneers, from the first Aliya!
Time for a WONDERFUL dinner which we tremendously enjoyed at the Tishbi Restaurant.
Great day for CAARI!
Enjoy the pictures!