What a long flight. The first couple days, we could hardly move. We arrived in Tel Aviv and located our apartment in Tiberias. What a beautiful surprise it was! Large, bright, and airy. We ventured out for groceries and explored the town, had dinner with our hosts, and explored our first sites. #1-#11--St. Peter's Church in downtown Tiberias
What’s in a Name? During our first full day in Israel, my wife and I entered an old make-shift mini-synagogue tucked away in a corner of downtown Tiberias. Once inside, we saw a few men praying. One of them shuffled over to us and affectionately (as if we were his own bubbulas) escorted us to the curtained Ark. Then he placed his hand gently on my head, ready to recite a blessing. But before he began, he addressed a white-bearded compatriot, whom he called Schlomo. I then blurted out that I had the same first name: “Ani (I) Schlomo.” Both men seemed to be delighted by this revelation. They chuckled and jabbered and jiggled. Eventually, our ingratiating host blessed me and then my wife. He could not have been more endearing. Just after the ceremony ended, however, he grabbed my arm and harshly said “money.” It had not occurred to me that his services required a donation; he sure emphatically reminded me of my obligation. Taken aback, I slid whatever coins I had into the slot that he unceremoniously directed me to. I guess that all of the good will that everyone had generated up to that point and even my being named after a royal member of the tribe (Schlomo was King Solomon’s Hebrew name) didn’t give me a shekel-free ride. Later that night, while my wife and I were trying to locate an address near a landmark called the Solomon, I asked an elderly lady for help. At first, it was futile. Repeatedly but respectfully, I said the word Solomon. Even though she didn’t understand what I meant and was getting as flustered as I was, she hardly gave up. Without warning, she shouted out Solomon to someone at a nearby house and to anyone else in the vicinity. They all were stumped. All of a sudden, I switched gears. I said “Schlomo.” The woman then asked, “Melech (King) Schlomo?” As I nodded, she got real animated. Waving her hands, she pointed up the street and almost in a frenzy shouted out “Schlomo, Schlomo!” I graciously thanked her (she didn’t demand any money for her trouble) and within a few steps, my wife and I approached the Hotel Solomon—thanks to my namesake and the kindness of a stranger.