Am Yisrael

Pilgrimage Part I. Jewish Cowboys




Part I – Jewish Cowboys

Santa Fe


May 26, 2012

Many years ago I read We Lived There, Too! – an account of Jewish American Cowboys.*  I learned about Jewish immigrants who were settlers, farmers, ranchers and businessmen in the Western United States in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. 

(There were plenty of Jewish farmers in the East as well.  My friend Allen once worked on a chicken farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York State and when I was a boy my family spent the summer at Feigners’ Farm.)

But in the West, I have a fundamental family connection:

Pilgrimage Part II. Santa Fe

The Pilgrimage

Part II – Sunday in Santa Fe


Even pilgrims get the blues.

Sore Back

Stiff Hips  

Uncertain Knees  

Everything’s closed

 Aha! A River Cruise



More Water

More Jungle

And More Water

And More Jungle

Let’s Eat Lunch

Today – Jewish Holiday … Shavuot

G-d gave the Torah and Commandments to Israel and to Mankind

Gave Where? Mount Sinai

Gave to whom?  משה … Moshe … โมเสส … Moïse …  موسى … Моисей … Μωυσής … Musa …   Moisés … Moses


Tomorrow … G-d willing …   I drive to Moisés Ville

The Pilgrimage resumes.

The Pilgrimage Part III - The Ride

The Pilgrimage

Part III – The Ride

On my escape from the boisterous city streets of Santa Fe, I miss only one turn but I quickly right my way and drive north on Highway 11.   After Highway 11,the route is west on Highway 70 towards Esperanza.  I am ever hopeful for a pleasant day.

I am driving an unfamiliar standard shift vehicle on an unfamiliar busy road.  And what if my Spanish is inadequate in case of who knows what?   Still, I anticipate a trouble-free pilgrimage to Moisés Ville.

On the outskirts of Santa Fe on Highway 11, I encounter a honking congestion of vans, panel trucks, tractor trailers, construction vehicles, cabs, cars and local buses that all maneuver for an advantage on the less than adequate route.  I recall the outbound artery in New York City called the Boston Post Road in the Bronx with clothing stores, small markets, and an unending gamut of gas stations, vehicle repair stalls, used tire shops and a car wash or two.

It’s a short distance on my map from Santa Fe to the turnoff to Route 70, but on the ground, will I ever break free from this ugly traffic? 

The Pilgrimage Part IV - Moisés Ville

The Pilgrimage

Part IV – The Destination - Moisés Ville  


As they approached Jerusalem, the Seven Hills were clearly visible to the ancient pilgrims.  And from afar, the towers of the Canterbury Cathedral surely beckoned to the medieval faithful.   But out here on the plains of Santa Fe, no landmark guides this determined traveler.  No signs.  No mile stones.  In the midst of vast fields, nothing at all rises on the horizon from any direction.



Bangkok, Thailand

May 19, 2007
1 Sivan 5767

"What!! You've never been to Israel??" scolded the Israeli man next to me on a flight in Thailand. "Shame on you."

"Jan, your travels are incomplete" said a friend to me just recently.

"I am hoping to read your Travel Letters from Israel " said Jeff in Bangkok.

"It's always a good time to go to Israel" said a fellow congregant at the Beth Elisheva Synagogue here.

Well, my friends, now is the time. Finally, I am taking my first trip to The Middle East.


Tel Aviv and Jaffa

Tel Aviv


June 13, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,
Boker tov. Good morning. 

I just finished a tasty Israeli salad and a satisfactory cup of coffee at an outdoor café on the campus of Tel Aviv University.

The University sits on a hillside, and from the cafe I have a fine sunny view of the suburbs. In the distance I count at least four tall construction booms swaying back and forth over this busy city that seems to be growing in all directions.

I am shocked at what I see here at the University. But in a good way. Despite the fact that too many of the kids are smokers, there is not one cigarette butt anywhere. The students are neatly dressed and attractive. There are no scruffy outfits or torn jeans or gatkes hanging out. The lawns are green and smooth. The trees are pruned. There is not a paper bag or plastic cup rolling around. Not one poster or handbill is pasted on any wall or lamppost. No graffiti defaces any building. This campus is a clean and beautiful parkland.