Sunday, September 18, 2011

POSTCARD #2 SEPT 9-17, 2011

Master Bedroom
Cartons Master Bedroom and Study Area
We had scheduled our trip here to coincide with the Langs arrival hoping to help them get settled. However...Jennifer, Philippe, Daniella, 14 and Simone 12 made aliyah on August 24 to a totally unfinished remodel job of a home they purchased in Raanana. Their lift (the container with all their belongings from the US sent by ship) arrived as scheduled shortly after their arrival. For the first few nights the female family members stayed with friends and Philippe slept on a mattress still half in its box to guard their stuff. No alarm system installed, no plumbing, no nothing, just a mess of boxes! Finally the family decided it needed to be together and moved into the house. Jennifer slept with Daniella and Philippe was still on the mattress until they could finally sleep in the guest room along with unwrapped furniture, unpacked cartons, etc. The girls were able to sleep in their own rooms on beds but surrounded by more unpacked boxes. I could go on but just this week the kitchen sink was hooked up so the rest of the appliances followed. They have been living with only a refrigerator and bathrooms without shower enclosures and only one or two sinks to get water.

Benj speaking at a conference in Palo Alto
Benj & Charleigh at our door
Meanwhile, Benjamin who just turned 18 had left White Plains on June 19 for Silicon Valley to participate in the Teens in Tech incubator for teen entrepreneurs. He started his own web company, MySchoolHelp, while still in high school and was chosen along with about a dozen other teens, ranging in age from 12-19, to participate in this program. Although he was scheduled to return to NY on August 6 after the program ended, he chose to stay on and postponed his Israeli Army service until early March, arriving in Israel this past week. He stayed with a cousin of ours near Silicon Valley and took the train and BART to us on weekends that became longer weekends until we left for Israel. He had mentors through the program, met young people like himself and, best of all, attended numerous events where he collected lots of freebies and met many Silicon Valley big (and smaller) wigs! "I met Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple with Steve Jobs." His goal of meeting Zuckerberg, however, was not quite reached. "He was too busy to meet because of the upcoming Facebook Conference F8 but if I stayed longer I would have met him without a doubt!" Because he had signed up for the Israeli Army he finally had to leave California and all it promised! Before he left, his business was chosen by Mozilla Firefox to participate in their WebFWD program, thus he will continue having mentors on line and hopes to get the company to open an office in Israel. His girlfriend, Charleigh Barricks, who lives across the street from us in Piedmont and with whom he went to nursery school thru second grade before the Langs moved to NY, is here on a "gap" year program about an hour away from Jerusalem, definitely an added attraction!

Sunset at the Dan
Entertainment of sorts!
Jennifer doesn't ask for things very often but this was definitely heard by her parents as a plea for sanity! Thus we removed them from the craziness and the six of us spent shabbat in Herzaliya Pituach at the Dan Accadia, a lovely hotel on the beach. It is about 20 minutes from their house and about an hour from here (if direct). It was a nice way to celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary and get the four of them out of the mess if only for one night. We spent time by the pool and on the beach and eating sumptuous buffet meals. Saturday night after shabbat we walked to the Pier 39 of Israel lined with restaurants, many hundreds of people milling about eating and buying crafts and other goods from the stalls scattered about. There was even entertainment of sorts! They returned home after dinner as the girls had school the next day but we stayed on till early Sunday afternoon.

"Sabbath Table"-cast glass
"Splash"-fused and slumped glass
We drove to the Eretz Israel Museum where we saw Israeli Glass 2011. This was only our second or third visit to this wonderful venue on the campus of Tel Aviv University in North Tel Aviv. The 67 participants were the finest Israeli glass artists and designers in the largest exhibit of its kind ever to take place in Israel. Both of the pieces pictured were graduation projects from The Dept of Ceramic and Glass Design at Bezalel as were many others.  We found out that those graduates had studied under our friend Louis Sakalovsky from South Africa. This is the second glass show presented there and we had seen the first a couple of years ago. Naturally I had a few favorites and of course they had a bit of whimsy to them! We also visited the museum's permanent glass collection that dates back centuries thru contemporary. The Bay Area's Marvin Lipovsky donated a piece in memory of his parents and there is also a Bertil Valien head.

Gali, Bruria, Alon and Yael
After the museum we visited the Calics in Hadera. The Langs joined us and, as always, most of the family came. I do not know of a warmer, more welcoming family than these Calics and a better cook than Yael. The late Uncle Yitzi was Herbie's late mother's brother. All ages blend together and so enjoy each others company. The eldest brother Yossi and wife Idit's daughter Ronit is getting married in December; youngest brother Ilan and wife Yael's eldest, Gali, is in the IDF Intelligence Unit stationed in Tel Aviv and is also pursuing her dance career. She will be going to Paris for a week with her dance class, the highest level before turning pro, to perform next month. Her brother Roi will enter the IDF around the same time as Benjamin. And Aunt Bruria at 81 looks wonderful and spent the whole time visiting with us.

Bongo lessons in the park
One could attend a concert, dance performance, club, theatre in Hebrew and sometimes English, art opening, special event, etc every day or night all year around but especially during the summer and up to the holidays. In our short time here we took Sarah Batya and Ashira to see Riverdance. It has been playing around the world since 1994 and the Israelis love it! We also attended two performances of The Chamber Music Festival at the YMCA, as we had done a couple of years ago and took them to one of those as well. Sarah Batya calls us Herbie and His Harem! The performers are all top professionals, some solo and some groups and the 13 day festival is in its 14th year. Then there are the odd ball things such as a bongo drum class in Independence Park near our house!   (My camera is always in my purse!)

Herbie browsing!
Shmoozing with our South African friend Lorna is a total pleasure and she is always full of good advice and ideas! This time she sent us to an incredible book store on Rehov Shatz that is a rabbit warren of nooks and crannies with several floors lined with shelves holding literally many thousands of used books and with furniture from all vintages to sit on. As at any used book store, they pay for your  castoff books and people purchase them. It is doubtful you would be unable to find a book in any language and for any age. We spent a bit of time just wandering through the maze and Herbie purchased a $26 book in English for about $11. Not a great bargain but a great experience!

From the moment Benjamin arrived the day before, he complained about a smell outside our front door, which then migrated inside the house. When I had opened our storage shed to get a broom I had noticed a horrific smell and assumed the shed had been used as a maternity ward for cats as well as a litter box! When  Marc came over earlier he had gone into the shed with a flashlight and saw nothing. However, by the time Philippe and Jennifer arrived it was noticeably worse! Philippe opened the door and moved a stool and voila, a kitten with rigamortus! Lauren tossed him a covering for his nose and mouth and our hero scooped up the dead animal onto the top of our BBQ we never use and threw it in the garbage! Needless to say, I instantly grabbed my camera as this was a Kodak Moment! It brought to mind the rat incident some years ago when Herbie was the hero!

from left rear: Rivi, Zalman, Alexander, Shalom Simcha, Benjamin, Ashira; front: Daniella, Talia, Chana Tsipora, Simone
It is a rarity that all the Friedman/Lang clan is in the same place at the same time but there we all were spending a lovely erev shabbat and shabbat with our now 10 grandchildren (Zalman's wife Rivi). Marc welcomed each Lang plus Benjamin's and our friend Charleigh with an appropriate tongue in cheek statement and a good time was had by all. Of course the shabbat table was overflowing with yummy food, most catered as we like to give Sarah Batya a break when we are here. As always, during the day Saturday, the kids and I played RummyKub and Blokus, my favorite games. What is so great about both of them is there is no language barrier: one is numbers and one is colored pieces with the purpose of blocking the opponents. Everyone was shocked that I won twice at Blokus since I admit to never really understanding the strategy!

Lots more going on starting today! Till next time, M

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