20 Pounds: A Memoir (Fred’s Trip to Israel)

Word Count: 400 |  Time to Read: 3 minutes  |  Time to Complete: 21 minutes


Thanks to the generous benefactors of the Taglit-Birthright program (shameless plug alert), I spent nearly two weeks on a whirlwind trip around Israel– my first time outside of the United States.

After landing in the spectacularly modern city of Tel Aviv, we headed north for the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee, an oft-contested area with Syria, before dipping south for the Negev and the desertous terrain that makes up the majority of Israel’s landmass.

Much to the chagrin of my fellow Birthrighters, composed of students from Wes as well as Harvard University, I took to filming several bits of each of the stops we made and the wondrous landscapes we experienced. These short videos have been compiled into a montage of sorts, complete with auditory nuances and crafty transitions. I’ve really outdone myself!

Casey Neistat, a YouTube director who grew up a half-hour outside of Wesleyan, served as the inspiration for the stylish themes present in this short film. I thought it wise to give him credit here.

Of the many plans I described in a previous post, only a few remained on our schedule.

  • Hiking Mount Arbel in the northeast
  • Touring Tzfat, one of the Four Holy Cities in Israel
  • Hiking Mount Meron near Haifa, one of Israel’s highest peaks
  • Touring Jaffa, famously associated with the biblical stories of Solomon and Jonah (sensing a theme here?)
  • Clubbing in Tel Aviv
  • Visiting Independence Hall
  • Riding Bedouin camels (the best kind of camel)
  • Floating in the Dead Sea
  • Hiking the Ein Ovdat Canyon
  • Touring the Old City of Jerusalem

The title, as might already be apparent, refers to the reported 20 pounds of hummus consumed by the average Israeli in a year. Upon my return to the States, I conducted an exhaustive assessment of the amount of hummus I ingested during the course of the trip. The results are absolutely smashing!

Given the 16 falafel sandwiches I ate in the span of 12 days and the availability of that delectable mix of chickpeas, tahini, and spices at every meal as well as the flights both to and from Israel, I can confidently say that I consumed about 2-3 pounds of hummus.

Heck, I might as well just make Aliyah and move to Israel right now!

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