Freedom From Work

Freedom From Work

When you think Passover, you think seder.

In Israel, they also think beach and picnic and tiyul. That’s Hebrew for an excursion or hike.

In the Promised Land, where tourists flock for inspiration, the natives vacation. Forests, bucolic trails and nature preserves attract those with a bent for the outdoors. Museums and galleries are packed. All sorts of institutions, religious and secular, sponsor educational and cultural programs. Music is everywhere: in concert halls, on the street and on the radio.

The seven days and single seder night of Pesach — it’s eight days and two seders only in the diaspora — are time off from school. Many Sabras use that period as a break from their jobs, traveling around the country, often bearing matzah-based snacks, seeing friends, family and the land. Hotel rooms are at a premium.

Beaches are a popular venue. Along the Mediterranean coast, early-spring warm weather brings out the crowds at Tel Aviv and points both south and north, including Netanya, above, and at Eilat, on the Red Sea. There, visitors frolic on the sand and spend time at popular tourist sites, including the Dolphin Reef research center.

Of course, Passover is primarily a religious holiday, and the Western Wall is crowded with thousands and thousands of pilgrims, especially for the mass Birchat HaKohanim, the blessing by members of the priestly caste.

On Tuesday, Passover is over in Israel. Israelis think back to work, back to school. And the visitors from abroad go home.

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