6:30 Another rainy day! We may have lots of other problems, but at least this is a rainy winter - well above average so far. It is uncomfortable at times, and the constant wetness makes it impossible to do anything about the mildew spot growing in the upstairs hallway, or the weed-overgrown garden, but I'm not complaining. The dog and I manage to get in our morning walk during a let-up, and I notice with satisfaction that the channels I dug yesterday in the mud next to the sidewalk have allowed the rain to wash mud off of, instead of on to, the path leading to our hostel (after a weekend group tracked mud all over the carpets in the clubroom...).
7:15 Check emails, work on workplan for our educational staff.
8:00 Meet with R., a Galilee Fellow, to discuss our proposal to set up a two-month program for kids with time to burn between high school and army: study, volunteer service, communal living. Unfortunately, we will need to do quite a bit of work before we get the answer to our grant request.
9:00 It is now the depths of the off-season in the Galilee, and the "situation" and the uncertainty about the Second Gulf War have eliminated any potential customers in our hostel, so the workers are all on "vacation." But this week we have two rooms of guests from Tel Aviv, workers doing a project nearby, so I take out their garbage and change their towels; and while I'm at it, pick up the disposable diapers that the dogs have pulled from the garbage and scattered on the lawn.
10:00 Meet with our marketing director to discuss whether to continue our expensive experiment of advertising our catering services on the local radio station; we leave it open pending further thought (is it worth it? can we afford it?).
11:00 Drive to the bank in Karmiel, where I have been summoned by our "personal banker," as our overdraft is at an unacceptable level. We discuss a number of options, none of them satisfactory or realistic. It finally dawns on me that maybe things really are not going to get better for tourism after... the elections, the winter, the war, Pesach [choose one].
12:00 Answer a few calls, get my things together and make a quick sandwich to eat en route, and set off for Tiberias, between rain squalls, and only get lost once looking for the absorption center in Tiberias.
1:30 Board a bus with 35 kids from the UK and North America, here on the Young Judea year course. I am to do a program on "settlement," sponsored for them by the JNF. Their affect is not promising, but you never know. We drive back across the Galilee, which is absolutely magnificent at this season; howling squalls alternate with bright sunshine, on a vista of cows contentedly grazing on lush green meadows. The kids are pretty self-absorbed, but I am having a great time looking out the window. We drive up to a roadside overlook above Karmiel during a period of sunshine, and I line the kids up at the railing and explain the human mosaic spread out below us in the Bet Hakerem valley. Some show interest; others are too busy being cold. In a few minutes we are at Shorashim doing coffee and cookies, which they really seem to appreciate.
2:45 We do "Utopia Now," a simulation of building a community. This is a fairly standard values clarification-type exercise, not original, but it always works like magic; working in groups of six, they are to choose their communal values and design institutions consonant with them; they really get "into" it, and listen attentively as I intersperse real-life stories from the history of Shorashim. I had been told that I had until 4:45, but at around 4:00 their counselor informs me that we have to leave for Tiberias by 4:15. Then, at 4:15, the kids all want a brief tour of Shorashim, and nobody seems too upset by a 15 minute delay. Many of the kids come up to thank me, and I am pleased that all the way home the two boys behind me are having a thoughtful conversation about how Israel should be Jewish.
5:15 As we arrive in Tiberias in a downpour, the young Druze security guard asks me if he can jump start his car from mine. I figure that providing the electricity is enough of a contribution, so I sit in my car, dry, while he braves the weather to make the connection.
6:00 I arrive at Nigun, the Orthodox/non-Orthodox study group I attend at Oranim College, in time for a discussion of an essay on Talmud by Emanuel Levinas. This group is the first time in my education that I have encountered Levinas, and I find his ideas appealing, though today I have trouble concentrating.
9:15 Home, dinner with Tami.
10:30 Walk back up to the dining room to shut down the heat and lights and lock up, after the biweekly meeting of our "Jewish-Arab women's circle" (About 30 participants, half and half).