My name is is Max and I am 14 years old. When I was 10, my family went to Israel for my sister Ruby’s Bat Mitzvah. Even though Ruby’s birthday was in January, we went in the summer because my parents are teachers and we were all on vacation. We stayed in Jerusalem, in the German Colony. There is a street there called Emek Refaim where there are lots of stores and a really good pizza shop called Pizza Sababa. I learned that the word Sababa means “cool”. Kind of like if someone says to you “Is this ok?” and you could answer “Sababa”. I still use that word.
The first day we got there we were all on crazy sleep schedule. We live on the US West Coast so we were 10 hours behind Israel. We were all wide awake at 4am, my mom decided we might as well go hiking. She decided we should go to the Negev Desert and since it was summer, she told as that it wasn’t a good idea to hike in the middle of the day anyway.
We drove down to Ein Gedi, which is an oasis in the the desert. I have a sister named Yael and we kept yelling “Hey Yael, there you are on the hill”. Yael means “mountain goat” in Hebrew, and as we drove down to Ein Gedi, we saw tons of mountain goats on the side of the road.
We got there at around 8 am and hardly anyone was there. It was already pretty hot, and my mom put tons of sunscreen on us and made us all wear nerdy hats - the kind with material that comes down to cover your neck. We hiked up this very cool path that had rocky cliffs on the side. My brother and I ran up and down them as my parents and little sister walked on the trail. Just when we were getting really hot, we got to pool with a big waterfall that we jumped in to with our clothes on. My mom has a picture up in our house with me and my brother Jake standing under the waterfall with our arms around each other from that day.
After the waterfall, we walked back to the entrance of the park. As we got to our car, buses were just starting to arrive. And our clothes were mostly dry already, so we these people were going to hike in some serious heat.
My mom suggested that we go to the Dead Sea since we were right near by. It was really hot outside already so she told us we couldn’t stay for long because she didn’t want us to get dehydrated. It was a really weird feeling and the water was warm and salty. You couldn’t sink in even if you wanted to. That part of the trip ended when my brother splashed water at me. Let me tell you, you DO NOT want to get the Dead Sea in your eye. My eye was red all day and didn’t stop stinging all day.
On the way back to Jerusalem, we stopped on the side of the road where a dude had a camel. My dad thought the ride was expensive just for a few minutes and a picture, but we all wanted to go on and my parents said we could. Going on a camel is like sitting on a high couch - because the camel is piled high with blankets. And then when the camel stands up it’s like the huge couch starts to move. And those camel’s are TALL, so it’s actually a little scary. But we did get cool pictures.
By 5 o’clock we were all ready for bed. My mom managed to keep us up for another hour by taking us to Emek Refaim and obviously - some Pizza Sababa.