Monday, March 12, 2012

JERUSALEM POSTCARD #2 Feb 29-March 11, 2012

New Grandma and New Mother
Approximately 36 hours after giving birth and spending 12 hours in the hospital in order to receive a subsidy from the government, Rivi attended the family Purim party. She gave birth at home with the same midwife who attended Zalman. It took approximately 5 minutes and she didn't want to miss the party! She tied for the award with her daughter, Yael Hadassah. Having been born on Purim,  they chose the middle name of Hadassah, that being the name of Queen Esther in the Purim story. Yael was held by nearly every family member and a few others and nary a peep was heard. Although she is wearing a blue cap, she is indeed a beautiful little girl and we  are very excited to be great grandparents! I, personally, am not that excited to have a son as a grandfather and turning 50 in June!

Yael sleeping peacefully on Uncle Alexander's lap!
Although this is the most recent and exciting news, many other fun things have happened since I last had time to blog. Following are a few of them that transpired in between attending our Ulpan classes five days for two weeks and three days for this third and last week.

Our kids hosted a party to celebrate our joint birthdays and anniversary. Although our 55th is not until next year, we both turn/ed 75 this year, Herbie in January and me in December.   They invited most of our extended family from Hadera. Philippe and Jennifer took care of all the food and Philippe spent most of the evening in the kitchen making French sandwiches on the waffle maker! Everyone had a wonderful time and we even had greetings from some family members in the US, Herbie's sister Mona (Mark) and niece Jill (Brian). A wonderful time was had by all and we are indebted to the hosts and hostesses and the relatives who drove in the rain. The next day a few Raanana friends came over to either meet or greet us. What a delight to catch up with Judy (Balter) and Amos Seri Levy, Judy being Jennifer's pediatrician friend from the age of 13 and Phil Nadel, Jennifer's first boyfriend, she in high school and he the youth leader at Temple Sinai in Oakland. He and his family live one town over from Raanana and Jennifer is friends with his wife. A very small world indeed!

Jennifer and Philippe's home is lovely tho not quite finished. They have applied for a permit to put a small pool in the backyard. And they need more living room furniture but on the whole it is a very comfy home with a yoga studio in the basement. I'm sure things will come together by our next trip in the fall.

While it was snowing in Jerusalem we were in Raanana and Tel Aviv and missed the whole event! But we spent a delightful day with Jennifer, Daniella and Simone walking around the various neighborhoods and markets in Tel Aviv. The twice weekly craft show was rained out tho there were a few hearty souls and we ended up walking thru the Shuk HaCarmel where the big chefs from the nearby cities buy their food. Unlike the Jerusalem shuk, this one is not covered so we were walking through puddles and dodging people as we made our way to a yummy Yeminite restaurant where they are known primarily for their soup. As you can see by the picture it is a hole in the wall with a few pots on a stove of sorts. There is a main soup and they offer to put in every part of several animals or vegetarian! We suspect this restaurant is run by a family and they do the cooking upstairs and bring it  down to the pots. No way could they cook on what we saw!

The first time out we did not accomplish everything so we had to tie up (pardon the pun) loose ends before the bat mitzvah! Twelve year old Talia, the bat mitzvah girl, brought her 7 year old sister and 4 year old brother on the bus and met us in the very religious neighborhood of Mea Sharim. In order not have to wear a skirt I wore my long raincoat over my pants tho the rain is over!  It is very difficult to describe the scene except to say the streets are a sea of black: black clothes, black hats, long side curls, women and men pushing baby carriages with many others in tow and because it was nearly Purim, stores crammed with people and Purim baskets and costumes. When I spoke with Batya on the cell she suggested I pretend to be Margaret Meade doing research! Because the people, men in particular, do not like their pictures taken and hide their faces with their hats, I didn't take many.

TALIA BECAME A BAT MITZVAH ON PURIM (Thursday elsewhere, Friday in Jerusalem)
Jennifer and Family with Talia

                                     Marc and Family-Alexander is the snowman

The Orthodox girls in Israel do not read from the torah nor do they do anything in a synagogue as they might do in other countries.  The celebration lasted for three days, beginning with the birth of Talia's niece on Thursday. Talia was very relieved that the baby came before! Friday the Langs and us and some of the Hadera family with a few friends of Talia's and Ashira's gathered at the house in Purim costumes for pictures thus, as you can see, we are all looking rather silly! Ashira and her friend decorated the living/dining room to look like a winter wonderland and the family came as penguins! They rented the costumes from a friend who had sewn them and used them a prior year. Not knowing this ahead, we  brought our penguin and polar bear hats from home and looked like the poor relatives! The Langs came as an Indian family and looked lovely. Since photos cannot be taken on shabbat, Talia's real birthday, there was no choice!

We came home after lunch and returned for erev shabbat dinner that evening (out of costume). Rivi, Zalman and Yael had moved into the house after the hospital visit and joined us as much as possible. Needless to say there were many excited kids (to say nothing of the adults) taking turns holding this nearly 7 lb baby. I kept saying to Rivi, "this is amazing! In our day we were in the hospital for maybe 5 days and we never took a baby into a crowd much less allow everyone to breathe on it!" The Langs and us walked back to our house and returned again in the morning for an early lunch and then what is called "the third meal" at 4:15 with females only. The men ate outside as the orthodox are not allowed to hear females singing. All of us said something to Talia and then she gave her speech about the Torah portion and personal thanks.  After shabbat we quickly returned to our home where we had a catered wine, cheese and dessert party. Talia gave her speech again and a good time was had by all! Like a Polish wedding! Since we were not in costume and it was after shabbat, we were able to take pictures in normal clothing!


No words to describe this event other than amazing!  In a 1500 sq foot building at the Old Train Station in Jerusalem, 35 ice carvers from Harbin, China, created a masterpiece of sculptures; from Jerusalem landmarks to animals to Cinderella to a merry-go-round to slides and a bar with real vodka. Some of the carvers have been doing this for over 40 years and the festival in Harbin has just finished its 28th year. Although  they have done this in many other countries, this is their first festival in the Middle East. If anyone is coming here before the end of April, do not miss it but dress warmly as it is minus 10 degrees! My hands took a half hour to unfreeze! They do give jackets but...

Proud Grandparents

Proud Great Grandparents

Boys will be boys even on ice!

Great Great Aunt Bruria
Proud New Father

A penguin on a scooter?!

Even Chana Tsipora and Talia know how to use an iphone!

And in parting, you may all have a good laugh on me! Every night I have been using my iphone as an alarm to get up for Ulpan. This morning we had to be there a half hour earlier so I set it for earlier. However, I keep both iphone and computer on CA time in order to keep my calendar straight. I bet I do not need to tell you what happened! I had no idea the time changed in CA and it took me about 10 minutes of looking at every clock in the house with a very grouchy husband complaining bitterly that he had been awakened at 5:45 until I finally went on line to check Jerusalem and finally CA!

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