“New” is an interesting term. In some cases, it can be well defined, but in other cases, “new” might not be so black-and-white.

I’d like to focus on some applications of the word “new” on the radio and on the road. Here goes!

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Differing fonts on the road

WARNING: Do not try this in your car! I took a picture of these two nearly-adjacent gantries while driving. But there’s a difference between them (other than the number of miles stated).

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[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 3 of 11] Take a hike!

July 22, 2011: We hiked in the Golan Heights and prepared for Shabbat after a long day with a few mishaps. The journal intentionally went only from when I got up in the morning until we brought in Shabbat, and so my reflection will only consider that time.

This sentence is a link to the original journal.

And now, I want to reflect on hiking and leading a pack.


In the journal, I referred to the hiking on the Gilabon trail as “great cross training” since I was training for the Wrigley Field Road Tour that summer as well, and I wanted to have some physical activity during the trip in order to make up for the missing cycling activity.

Well, we definitely got THAT (physical activity) during the trip! I did not have a pedometer on me (and I don’t think that any fitness watches commonly existed at the time), but I would imagine that we all exceeded 10,000 steps each day, possibly excluding the שבתות (Shabbatot). Touring around and moving about a lot can still create good exercise!

Prior to this trip, I never thought that I would enjoy the walking as much as I did. Maybe it’s just that I never liked walking alone or preferred biking as a way to get around. Naturally, this would not have worked on the uneven, rocky terrain of the Golan Heights! But, once again, the social  facilitation of my new friends on Birthright gave me a new view of it.

Though I haven’t done any “hiking” (i.e. traversing uneven terrain) with anyone since Birthright, low-key walks with my friends has become a favorite activity of mine in the last five years. You don’t need to spend money in order to have a good time, and there are plenty of scenic walks in Evanston, Chicago, Menomonie, and the Twin Cities (as well as Lincoln, though walks around my block were the most common walk that I took there).

I can understand how hiking on uneven terrain is great training for the IDF soldiers, as this place has been used for training, both historically and even nowadays.

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My sub-group for the trivia contest prior to the hike.

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The hike began with a downhill jaunt, following the red-and-white markings.

Prior to the trip, I was usually a follower in many senses of the word–initiative was surprisingly not really a part of me. On this hike, however, I was at the head of my sub-group, leading the hike with alacrity. Though there was one mis-step which nicked me a little bit, I shook it off easily, laughed it off, and sometimes acted like a drum major with fake Marching Band steps. Marching Band steps didn’t work very well, since uneven ground would not be common terrain when carrying a trumpet!

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Ah, a shady brook (though Brooke was not in my sub-group) :p

Though leading a group in hiking isn’t really “leadership” per se, I still felt that it was an extroverted action that I might not have otherwise had the spirit move me to do. As I said yesterday (and have probably implied or stated at other times in my blog), 2011 was the year which let me know that I’m actually quite open and extroverted!

There’s one more thing that I’d like to reflect on. Though Birthright gave me some major changes and some subtle changes, there were some things which remained the same. That includes my fascination with road signs and distances. During the first two days of the trip, I was particularly interested in the road signs, and it became a mission of mine to catch road signs in my camera lens. On the first day of the trip, I sat on the left side of the bus and had a hard time capturing road signs.

But on this day, and most of the rest of the trip, I took a window seat on the right-hand side of the bus. Nevertheless, my timing was rarely good for catching the signs. So, let me show a Win and a Fail (and also translate if the sign doesn’t have translations).

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Win! The sign shows a roundabout with arrows. Up goes to Har Avital (Mount Avital [and Bental]). Right goes to an IDF base. Left goes to Merom Golan [a kibbutz].

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Fail! Too late to capture the sign. (Five years later, I don’t know what the sign was.)

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Quasifail due to the glare! (On Route 90, this point is 29 km [about 18 mi] to Tiberias, 75 km [about 46.6 mi] to Haifa, and 149 km [about 92.6 mi] to Tel Aviv).

Oh, and another thing: the sign with different destinations and different distances with arrows was atop Mount Bental. And I was fascinated by the Hebrew-and-then-English transliteration of بغداد‎‎ (Baghdad)! Moreover, 240 km is only about 150 miles, which means that Israel is a very small country. Until you are there, you might not appreciate its relatively small size. (In fact, north-south, Israel is only slightly taller than Nebraska!)

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Check out the remaining entries in this sequence!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective] The Travel To Israel

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 2 of 11] Achim Simcha

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 3 of 11] Take a hike! (You are here!)

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 4 of 11] A Shabbat in Israel

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 5 of 11] Awwwwwesome

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 6 of 11] Primary Sources

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective-part 7 of 11] Sinat Chinam (and Ahavat Chinam)

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 8 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 9 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 10 of 11] Coming soon!

[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 11 of 11] Coming soon!


Kenosha: 10 days.

Orientation: 24 days.

Day 1: 47 days.

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Gallant Gantry

He stands tall and bravely.

He loves telling people information, even when most people would rather listen to Sat-Nav. Sometimes, his information is fixed, but sometimes he can be more dynamic.

He feels the wind every day. And the snow, and the rain, and more.

Not to mention the wind of cars and semis and other vehicles over which he stands.

But there are always the people who appreciate him even when they know where they are going. And for that, he stands steadfast.

He is… a Gallant Gantry!




Finals Week: 9 days.

Lincoln: 16 days.

Joint Mathematics Meetings: 29 days.

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