That Time I Visited Ben Gurion to See the Stars

Last year, at the end of August, my now husband (then boyfriend) said he was going to take me to see the celestial light show (shooting stars, lots of them!) in Mitzpe Ramon which is deep in the south of Israel.

It didn’t happen.

One year later, I was still asking. I am enamored with space and the sky and I have barely seen one shooting star in my life, let alone a whole sky full of them! I needed to see this.

The summer was going very slowly. In Israel, there is nothing organized about August. It’s a big mess. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what to do with the kids and if you are a working parent, you are trying to figure out what to do with your kids and keep your job.

I especially had a crazy August because I was doing a lot of driving all around Israel for movies I was producing. So the kids (from my first marriage) were mainly with their Papa (my now husband) and they did different activities each day. But they needed a trip! A getaway! Something!

So I asked my incredible Aunt and Uncle in Haifa if we could come for 2 nights/3 days. They were amazing and they took my kids for an entire day trip without us and it was a really fun-filled few days with all kinds of awesome activities. It was also special to be with my family!

The last evening, we only finished up the day’s events at 10:30 at night and we were planning on driving back home to Gush Etzion. We started to drive and suddenly I had an idea!

‘Hun’, I said smirking.

‘Member you made me a promise to see the stars last year? I hear it’s the prime season. Let’s go!’

‘Now?’ he asked. ‘But we’re in Haifa! It will take hours!’

I told him the kids would sleep and when I almost backed out realizing it was over 3 hours of driving, he threw the YOLO ball at me and said ‘YALA, let’s do it’.

We were driving and driving…

And driving.

We were tired. And the deeper down south we got, the crazier we realized this idea was.

Finally, it was just too crazy. YOLO is nice and all, but after seeing the stars, we would need to then drive home which was still 3 hours away!

Suddenly I thought… I could have just looked this up on YouTube.

At some point, I turned to my husband and said, ‘It’s dark enough out here, let’s just get out of the car. We can’t make it all away.’

The next sign was for Sde Boker. Now, I had never heard of this place but anyone who knows anything about Israel knows it was Ben Gurion’s Yeshuv and also where he is buried. Yalla, I thought, let’s visit the first Prime Minister and see some stars.

We pulled up to the gate at 2:30am. The gate was locked and there was no guard. Suddenly, someone pulled up behind us very surprised to see us. We explained we were looking for shooting stars and he told us that off the road a bit outside the gate, we could just park the car in an open space smack in the middle of the desert, and see them.

Off we went.

We parked and woke the kids telling them that we weren’t home, but that we wanted them to see the most spectacular light show.

What happened next was like the ending of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Unlike classic films where everyone lives happily ever after, in an expected manner, the most unexpected thing happened.

It was pitch PITCH dark. We were in the middle of the desert with no signs of anything. Everything was black besides the open sky. It was a prime season for seeing the star show. We were here, in the middle of the night, with the family was ready to be wowed.

And nothing.

And still nothing.

And ‘I’m tired mommy, can I go back to sleep?’

And ‘Oh, I think I saw something… or not..’

And a lot of, ‘Why can’t we see anything?’

After 45 minutes of lying on the dusty floor telling the kids: ‘You will stand in the dark, in your PJs, in the middle of the night, in the desert, looking at the sky whether you like it or not!” … We gave up and got back in the car.

The boys and I fell asleep and Super Papa drove us home. We arrived safely just as the sun was coming up.

So I didn’t see any shooting stars.
But I now know where Ben Gurion is buried and anyway, it’s all about YOLO… Right?

YALA, next year!

About the Author
Sarah Nathan made Aliyah in 2007 from NY- single and passionate. She has two kids and lives in Jerusalem.
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