After about two hours of driving northward, we finally emerged from Highway 90 at the shores of a fog-blanketed Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, where a few rays of sunlight poked through the clouds and reflected off the waters on a chilly January morning.
For Caroline Kohles, cardiovascular fitness is a vital part of both her career and her personal life. Kohles, 48, has been the Health and Wellness fitness director at the JCC in Manhattan since it opened in 2002. Both an athlete (she has participated in triathlons) and a dancer, she is known for her combined emphasis on mind and body in every workout, a trademark that specifically comes to life in her work as a Nia martial arts trainer and black belt teacher.
Waking up as the tour bus crawled to a stop on the shoulder of an otherwise empty Israeli highway, I opened my eyes to see eight strangers piling their luggage into the bottom of our bus and climbing up the steps. Clad in identical olive-shade uniforms differentiated only by their multi-colored berets, they walked down the aisles among the 40 wide-eyed Americans, taking the empty seats we had left for them.