Tuesday, March 20, 2012

JERUSALEM POSTCARD #3 March 12-19, 2012

What a day for a marathon! Here is the city's description for choosing March 16:  "The city of Jerusalem is blessed with the type of weather and humidity level which facilitate pleasant conditions for challenging and gratifying sports such as this marathon."
Overheard, from a runner, "Oy, Tel Aviv!"
And some ran while babysitting!

After nearly a week of very nice weather, a respite from the very cold and wet prior two to three weeks, it is again in the 40s which wouldn't be so bad except that it rained off and on and even hailed for a few minutes to say nothing of the strong winds that made it even colder for the runners! All streets in the city were closed to traffic and we walked to our two favorite bakeries on Aza to purchase for Shabbat and came into direct contact with the marathon. There were many levels as only Israel would have: marathon, half marathon, 10k, IDF soldiers, 4.2k, 800 meters and some ran for charities such as the ENP to support Ethiopian youth. The chosen routes traced the history of Jerusalem beginning near the Knesset and Israel Museum and winding through the Old City and back out. And as always in marathons everywhere, the Kenyans and Ethiopians won both the men's and women's races, the winning man shaving 7 minutes off the first Jerusalem marathon. In both photos there is a sea of people  both in back of and in front of the runners.

Some 15,000 runners from 50 countries participated!  

Curtain for Hot Jazz series at the Behar Center, Jerusalem
If you ever see the name Igor Arias Baro with a group of musicians, dance right over to buy tickets! Having been to Cuba last December, we jumped at the chance to get tickets for this group at Hot Jazz (a series) and were amply rewarded! A lovely young man who was born in Cuba and has been in New York for 19 years, Igor played with a group of Israeli musicians, one of whom is an amazing flautist who plays with him in the States. There was an electric guitarist, fantastic pianist, fabulous percussionist and best of all Igor with his soft Cuban voice and his amazing Congas playing. I spoke with him after, telling him how we had been to Havana and fell in love with everything about it and he replied that everyone does! He leaned over and very quietly told me the Cuban Embassy in Havana invited him to play there! By the end of the non stop 90 minute show, we were all either dancing at our seats or in the aisles. Can't rave enough!

Note the arrows pointing to our house
After a week without the incessant jack hammering, it began again but this time only alongside our house, (the front side being in a different stage of building) causing all the pictures to need a daily straightening and the removal of the pieces in the upper window ledges. We had put them back up when it was quiet but it was wishful thinking! When will it ever end we and Lauren keep asking ourselves?! She guessed construction has been going on at least five years but it feels like forever!

The constant drilling and banging is causing  damage to our home. As Lauren so aptly put it, "You've definitely had it rough - camping in your own luxury home..." It is the first time I am ready to go back to Piedmont in spite of all the good stuff going on in our collective life here! 

Thankfully we discovered on Friday and not Monday, that our safe no longer opened and we could not get our money, passports and tickets. Marc's man came at 9 am today/Sunday and after that man giving up and calling the company who produced the safe and them sending another man out, they finally got it open 2 hours and 600 NIS (nearly $200) later! They had to break the code (which only Marc knew) and we can only use a key (which is what we have always done anyway). And indeed it was from the drilling and banging which caused the ring inside to move so neither the key nor the code worked.

And then there is the heat. Marc thinks our problems with heat come from the deluge of rain and that water got in somewhere. I still think some of it could be all the banging but then he is the property manager and I am only his mother. Last night I slept in two pairs of PJs and a sweatshirt and never broke a sweat. And Herbie who rarely has cold hands and feet had four blocks of ice! I do hope your weather has been better than ours and you do not have cold tile floors with underfloor heating as well as some of the regular heating not working!

The original is on the right connected by an interior walkway.
The new addition to the Tel Aviv Museum is quite an architectural beauty, both inside and out. It has already garnered awards including from Travel & Leisure (see below). Jennifer met us and we visited all the nooks and crannies including a show by Anselm Kiefer. The spaces are conducive to hanging art unlike some other "starchitect" designed museums.  The architect is chair of the Graduate Dept of Architecture at Harvard. (Following is a press release from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.)

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has won Best Museum Award in the prestigious Travel and Leisure Magazine Award 2012 for their new Herta and Paul Amir Building, which opened November 2, 2011. Travel and Leisure which is considered one of the most influential travel magazines in America, commended the Tel Aviv building, stating that "In contrast to many dramatically shaped new art museums, it succeeds in being at once breathtaking and deferential to the art on display." While architect and T+L judge Billie Tsien, said: "The Tel Aviv museum is quite a piece of sculpture, but it is a sculpture that accepts art."

The 195,000-square-foot, $55 million building, was designed by Preston Scott Cohen, Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The freestanding concrete-and-glass building is a tour de force of complex geometry and light-filled space. The unique structure includes five levels - two above grade and three below - which twist from floor to floor, to accommodate large, rectangular galleries within the compact, irregular site.

Before returning to Jerusalem, we met Benjamin on his way home from work to say a proper goodbye before he goes into the army at the end of the month. He is still not sure what job he will have but it will no doubt have to do with his computer expertise. Thankfully it will not be in a combat unit, especially the way things are going in this neighborhood.

Each Thursday after five days of ulpan, there is a graduation ceremony where students must introduce themselves in their own level of Hebrew to the teachers and other students. Some are advanced, some are beginners like me, some are somewhat more advanced like Herbie. Since we spent two weeks of five days and a third of three, we had three graduations! We both improved quite a bit, especially me since I did not have a background except for the ulpan we took some 19 years ago in Netanya. The method of teaching is incredible as it is one on one plus one of the five days is spent with another instructor visiting and learning about a neighborhood and having coffee in a restaurant. We must use our vocabulary while in "Cafe Ulpan", as the day is called, and I was so excited when I could actually read a menu for the first time. We will be continuing twice weekly on Skype when we return home and must force ourselves to keep up in order to return in the Fall to more classes. I found it be incredibly exhausting, a rarity for me. but at our age it aint easy to attend very intense classes where so much is expected and do a couple of hours of homework daily. Furthermore, Hebrew type is very small, also an age thing!

Batya had originally sent us in August and we signed up then. She is amazing as in the over 20 years she has lived here she had been unable to master the language. She is now having conversations with her daughter in law Rivi who seems to understand quite a bit of English but does not speak it. All the teachers at the school know Sarah Batya/Batya and consider her one of their biggest success stories. Now that we have experienced the ulpan and see the dedication necessary, we too are very proud of her and, I might add, ourselves!

New Grandma getting her jollies!
I took Batya, Marc, Ashira, Talia, Chana Tzipora and Shalom Simcha to the show. When all was said and done, it was a toss up who enjoyed it more, the kids or the adults! Batya and nearly 17 year old Ashira stayed longer going on the Monster Slide (Nikki di Saint Phalle) while the rest of us waited outside to "chill out" (read warm up in cool not cold weather).
The show is supposed to last thru April but I have my doubts. I noticed a difference from the time we first went in that some of the colored ice is lighter and there are

drips in various sculptures. I guess  -10 is not cold enough!

Clockwise from left: Ashira, Batya, Talia, Chana Tsipora and Shalom Simcha

Young man who questioned us at airport: why do you have Israeli passports? Us: because we have a house. Ym: I have heard lots of reasons but not that one! Us: for tax reasons. Ym smiling the whole time: I will tell you a joke. A pastor and a rabbi were talking and the pastor sees a good looking guy and says, I want to f--- (he spelled it) that guy and the rabbi responded, how!

Then we walk into first class (after purchasing business class) and a female flight attendant gives me a big smile and a hearty greeting. I say, oh were you on our outgoing flight? She replies, yes and I remember your necklace! It is my $5 horoscope animals necklace from China that started out as a hanging string and a lady made it into a necklace for me!

Sitting in United Lounge in Newark awaiting our flight home, again in First Class! If this is what happens with a merger, I'll happily take it! Till October...

Great Zayda saying farewell to 10-day-old Yael


No comments:

Post a Comment