Wed. night was the first night of Sukkot, which marked the beginning of vacation season. Noah is off of school or has only half days during the holiday, so we rented a car and have planned a week of travel. Noah had a short day on Wed., so when we picked him up, we went to Mt. Carmel National Park. This is a nature reserve, over 20,000 acres, at the top of Mt. Carmel, right here in Haifa. It is just a couple of minutes walk from U. Haifa & I can look out at the park from my building. We took a short hike and enjoyed the views of the mountains, the valley below, and the sea. We are in the middle of a city, but in just a few minutes drive by bus or car, we can be hiking.

We’ve been referring to a really useful book, Discovering Natural Israel, as a guide and trip planner. We learned that there are a number of protected areas in the park including wildlife refuges and breeding programs for animals that used to live in the park, but disappeared due to hunting, run-off from pesticides, and arson. The Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority has reintroduced wild goats, roe deer, fallow deer, and wild sheep. Other animals that live in the park include badgers, gazelle, wild boars, bats and more, but we didn’t see any on this trip. We will have to go back many more times to really experience all that the park has to offer — we barely made a dent in our 2 hrs. there.

View from Mt. Carmel Park, Haifa

Roy & Noah, scenic overlook, Mt. Carmel Park

Sarah & Noah, hiking Mt. Carmel Park

We celebrated the 1st night of Sukkot at our friends’ Anat (my host at U. Haifa) & Menachem’s home. Noah made them a decoration for the sukkah and he & Anat hung it together. It was a wonderful evening. Anat told us a lovely story about the word for almonds, “shkedim”, to illustrate the beauty of the root system of the Hebrew language. The root of the word conjugates to mean “dedicated” or “committed” and is often used to describe students. Almond blossoms bloom in February, but the almond itself is not ready to eat until summer. So, scholars are dedicated to their studies the way the tree is dedicated to supporting its fruit.