Another year, another wedding! This time, I and my family flew off to Israel to celebrate my cousin’s wedding, then stayed to celebrate Passover. Accordingly, I’ve been playing zero Magic lately. While I’ve been following the spoilers with rapt attention and am delighted to hear of how the team did at GP Philadelphia (and how Hunter WON a PTQ this past weekend), I’ve got no new Magic stories to share (and I’m certain that you’ve heard plenty of opinions about the spoilers already). Instead, I’d like to tell you a little about my trip. The Kotel Israel’s pretty awesome. I’ve been twice before—in my teens with family and two years ago, on Birthrite. Each time, I go to Tel Aviv (unsurprising, since that’s where the airport is, and it’s a great modern city), Jerusalem (which has many of the most significant religious sites in the nation/world), Haifa (where my cousins live), and Ein Gedi (a spectacular oasis near the Dead Sea). This trip was no exception, and I visited all of these places. This excursion was particularly special, since I was accompanied by my grandmother (who’s been twenty-nine years old since I was born) who’d never been before.Special WallThis is a new and very special (and very, very old) place. It’s Robinson’s Arch, an egalitarian area at the Western Wall. It might not seem like a big thing, but allowing women and men to stand together at the wall is a huge deal (and an ongoing debate/evolving discussion). I didn’t think I’d ever have the chance to be here with my mother or sister, and yet I did. It was most definitely one of the most special parts of my trip. Ein Gedi outsideRemember that desert oasis, Ein Gedi? This is what it looks like outside, by the Dead Sea.

Ein Gedi insideHere’s what it looks like inside. World-class botanical gardens.

Oases are neat.

A new friend

These folks live at Ein Gedi. I guessed that they’re some kind of ibex, but I’d bet you know better than I. Perhaps it’s a Zodiac Goat.

Most of the best stuff I couldn’t/didn’t take pictures of (Passover, the wedding, being in the Dead Sea), plus I wouldn’t want to bore you with an album of places you weren’t. Instead, I’d like to focus on one particular gem of the trip—somewhere I’d never been before.

On the last full day of the trip, we traveled from Haifa to Tel Aviv. It took less than an hour by train—Israel’s a pretty small country. We visited a family friend, had lunch, and I found myself a stone’s throw from the Dizengoff Center. I had a suspicion that there was Magic there and I had to check. I was not disappointed.

The Hunt is on

A good sign.

(Does anyone know why there’s a statue of the Predator in the middle of a Tel Aviv mall?)

ComikazaFound it! Behold, Comikaza!

Inside Comikaza

Comikaza’s a cozy shop nestled into the Dizengoff Center. As you can see, it’s got quite a lot of comics. I was pleasantly surprised to see the store doing so much business considering that it was a holiday; most folks were home with family and new comics weren’t shipping during a holiday week. It took a long while for people to empty out so that I could get a clear shot of the space.

OriThis is the owner, Ori. You couldn’t ask for a nicer guy to have behind the counter. He has impeccable English—he was born in Ohio (and moved to Israel when he was two weeks old) and studied illustration and cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Those comics he’s holding? He made ’em. Heard of Marvel comics? He worked there. That store he’s running? He reopened it six months ago and it’s already got a vibrant community. Ori’s a man with some great stories and I wish I’d had more time to hear them.

Nextwave!It’s Nextwave! All of the full page spreads from issue 11!

This screen’s an auto-scroll through my child/adulthood and I loved every second of it.


There’s an entire gallery of original comic artwork! This page from Invincible caught my eye the most. Love that series. (Yes, I know what happened in last week’s issue and I’m not spoiling it here.)

Alas, my time was short. I ran out, then doubled back when I remembered that I had a little bit of Israeli money and hadn’t bought a darn thing. Naturally, I had to purchase a booster.

What’s your P1P1?

IMG_20140416_223232_616(It’s always Akroan Skyguard.)

That’s my trip, and Comikaza, in a nutshell. When I’m next in the neighborhood, I’ll be sure to return on a day they’re drafting (yup, they do Magic events, too). If you’ll be there, I highly recommend checking Comikaza out at the Dizengoff Center. If you’re not, you can scope them out on Facebook.

Collective Voyage

It’s great to travel and it’s great to see how nerddom, in all its forms, is welcoming no matter where you are. Next time you’re anywhere far from home and have some time off of sightseeing/family/partying, I highly recommend finding the local comic/hobby/game store and getting to know a new (yet always familiar) environment. You won’t be disappointed (unless they’re closed—check the schedule first when you can!).

I’ll be back next week after Journey Into Nyx prerelease. Looking forward to swapping stories with you all. As always, thanks for reading!

—Zachary Barash

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner and performer, improvising entire musicals every week with his team, Petting Zoo. Zach has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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