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I moved from dank, dark North Manchester, U.K. to Karmiel, Western Galilee, Israel in March 2010. It is, believe me, one of the sunniest, loveliest towns on earth. With a background in local Jewish journalism I continue to write freelance. I manage several blogs, have  appeared on Technorati and Blogcritics and now contribute to the online magazine, 'Live Encounters'. My main blog is Alwayswriteagain (http://wwwalwayswriteagain.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

“Bliss Was It In That Dawn To Be Alive”

Acco.26.10.10 001Today we had an ‘away day’.

So did some young and ‘parfit’ knights!

Today, as we rode a mere 30 minutes from Karmiel back to the time of the Crusades and the 12th century Knights Templar, a group of local heroes planned their own trip under the2.Acco.10 noonday sun.

We collided in Acco (‘Acre’) where a hot if breezy morning, cloudless bright blue sky and shining sea belied the dying days of October.

Acco.26.10.10 003As we beat the trail round this charming and eccentric town - showing tourist Israel at its best - our boys defied the gods and jumped headlong into the rocky sea, just off the shore:

Their high-jinks  encapsulated Acco’s achingly gorgeous blend of ancient and modern, so strikingly reminiscent of Rhodes in Greece; its frustrating maze of badly signposted streets, the startling and upsetting photographic exhibits at the Okashi Museum then the exciting jewellery shops and shabby restaurants, nestling cheek by jowl with falafel stands and tourist tat.

We loved getting just that little bit lost in the heart of the Old City which - so very nearly - could have been  Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim – and where for 10-15 minutes Acco.26.10.10 010on end we were surely the only non-Moslems in view.

Within a half-hour we had wondered round the market, made our first-ever visit to a mosque and sat for a while in the exquisitely tiny ‘Ramchal Synagogue’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This synagogue, still used for prayer, is named after Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the 18th century Italian-born scholar and mystic who first fled to Holland before settling in Palestine, where he and his family died during a plague only a few years later.

There is no evident bima (raised stage) as is customary in most synagogues worldwide and if we understood the caretaker correctly, Rabbi Luzzatto, renowned for his humility, prayed and delivered sermons from a cellar beneath the main sanctuary. Also on view was a dark pink-coloured page from a deconsecrated Torah scroll, dyed in pomegranate juice and over-written in black ink.

But back to our crazy boys ….














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