Author: Aryeh Green
Year Published: 2018
Aryeh Green, the author of My Israel Trail, is a good friend of mine. We see each other almost once a week, and share a love for Israel, a passion for Israel advocacy, as well as an appreciation for fine whisky.
Since Aryeh hiked the “Shvil Yisrael” (Israel trail) a number of years ago, his proclivity to mention the “Shvil” in almost any conversation of any context has become somewhat of a joke among his friends (a joke Aryeh is very much part of). Kind of like the way the Golden Girl’s Rose Nylund mentions St Olaf at every opportunity.
So it came as no surprise that Aryeh would actually write a book about it. The perhaps surprising part is that this book is very difficult to put down – given it is about a months-long hike across Israel. Not exactly The Bourne Identity.
But the truth is, the book is really about a whole lot more than the 1,100 km or so physical trek. It is essentially a deeply personal account of a middle-aged man trying to come to grips with a painful divorce. It is as much an emotional journey as a physical one.
That is not to say Aryeh’s descriptions of the physical trail itself are not without excitement and suspense. Sure, we learn on a number of occasions what he had for breakfast (literally!). But it is far from boring, and there are some suspenseful moments like when Aryeh narrowly cheats death, even though we know he obviously survives (no need for a spoiler alert).
Aryeh also meets some very interesting characters along the way, from different sections of Israeli society, whether it be secular Jew, religious Jew, Arab or Black Hebrew (the latter being when he spends an entire Shabbat with the enigmatic Black Hebrew community of Dimona, for me a particularly fascinating part of the book).
But I especially loved hearing about Aryeh’s growth and the lessons he learned while on the shvil: humility, acceptance, appreciation, forgiveness and purpose. Aryeh provides real life examples as to how he has applied these, and I would be lying if I said I found them purely theoretical and without application to my own life.
I offered to review Aryeh’s book because he is my friend and, free book. But I was never under any obligation to love it. That just happened, and I am happy that I can whole-heartedly recommend it to you all.
You can purchase My Israel Trail here.