Smack in the middle of my dad’s fatal brain cancer diagnosis, he was asked to speak at conferences in both Saudi Arabia and Tel Aviv. When he announced that he was going, we all thought he would come back from the home land (nope, not Saudi Arabia!) having had some religious awakening about life and Judaism and coming to terms with his own mortality. Yet when he returned, he was basically like, “yeah, it was nice, good-night.” I mean…nothing. I obviously chalk this up to his neurons running totally hay-wire at the time, but ever since then I’ve been down on the mother ship for failing to transform him, in the way that I so desperately needed him to. Until I met my friend Nati, that it, who hails from Jerusalem and gave me a fresh, new, exciting perspective on Israel. Youthful, physically breath-taking and not in-your-face religious – is how she describes it – and once I discovered the Beresheet Hotel in the Negev Desert, the country has officially been pinned on my “YES” board. It’s gorgeous in a serene way (it’s fashioned mostly out of stone), but you will definitely have to put on your adventure pants, as activities include repelling, trekking, canyoneering and mountain biking. But as it’s just a two hour drive from Tel Aviv, it might just be the magical place where I could have my very own religious experience.