Saturday, April 27, 2013


So much went on during this time it is difficult to even remember it all let alone blog it! But here goes...

Thanks to Jennifer, we found out about two wonderful exhibits,  Lady of the Daisies, A Tribute to Lea Gottlieb 1918-2012 at the Design Museum of Holon and Saris from India at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat Gan.
Overall view of Lea Gottlieb exhibit
Born in a small village in Hungary, Lea Gottlieb settled in Israel in 1949 with her husband and two daughters. Much of her inspiration came from the pallets and designs of famous artists and there was a display of all of her art books with many pages still marked. She became an icon in the textile and fashion business, creating the world renowned  Gottex label, famous for its swimsuits and other beach attire (I had one!). She has been mentioned in the same breath as Golda Meir for her contributions to the State of Israel. In her 94 years, she won every textile award in the world and left a lasting imprint in the fashion industry, in Israel and worldwide.
For more information and photos on this incredibly fascinating lady, be sure to visit the Design Museum of Holon website. And if you are in Israel, the show ends on May 4. Not sure who enjoyed it more, Herbie or us/we females! We took a sherut (12 passenger van), a taxi and over an hour to get there to meet Jennifer but it was well worth the trip!

A sampling of the beautiful fabrics

As part of the Celebrating India in Israel Festival, the Sari show is also worth a visit. After having visited India and finding it to
Israeli designs
be a treasure trove of colors, we really enjoyed the beautiful saris. Most interesting was a small group of clothing made by Israelis inspired by the sari designs but much more subdued in color.

There are films and other exhibitions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as part of the festival.

The library in the park. The books are in 15 languages.

Again, thanks to Jennifer, we went on a 3 hour tour of the immigrant area in South Tel Aviv led by a friend of Lauren's.  It focused on the situation of migration with particular emphasis on refugees and asylum seekers. We visited locations in the area frequented by migrants including the Central Bus Station, Levinsky Park, the Community Immigrant Library, and Neve Shaanan and Levanda streets.

The "new" Central Bus Station is considered such a blight in the neighborhood that the city apologized and added some amenities to the area. The station is also a mecca for matchmaking Israeli men with Philapinas!

There is a church/synagogue for everyone. There are stores and products for everyone. We saw
There is bedding piled up everywhere.
several styles of dress, tho mostly Western. Because the people prefer to live in their own tight little groups, the apartments are overcrowded. When weather permits some leave their crowded quarters and sleep in the park.  

We saw how they live and our guide Lisa told us about their hard life before and after arriving in Israel. Most of them are from Sudan and Eritrea. Many of the Eretrians are laborers or caregivers. Sometimes they are hired for a short time and never paid. They do not wish their photos taken as some are political escapees from their home countries. Since Eritrea was once part of Ethiopia, it is difficult to tell the two peoples apart.

Adam, now 28 who came from Darfur in 2003, told us his personal horrifying story just like many I heard in Ethiopia. Since arriving,  he has been a cook, a gardener and a servant.

There is a lot of prejudice in Israel and it's understandable but until those who wish to return to their native land are able to, they stay here. "They can die here or die trying to go elsewhere."

Over the years we have made several close friendships and thus far on this trip we have spent time
with both old and new. Joyce Klein who was Marc's teacher at Temple Beth Abraham when he was in the seventh grade, danced with him at his bar mitzvah and was principal of Temple Isaiah Religious School and, coincidentally, ended up going from Oakland to New York to Israel as did Marc. She is an educator and a theatrical playwright, actress and speaker. In my personal opinion, as well as Herbie's, she is a genius with her original ideas to bring Jewish subjects to the people thru clever programs such as at the Israel Museum when it reopened.

We had lunch and later that day, she met us at an incredibly fascinating lecture. She brought Roz and David Moss whom we had not seen in quite a long time. David spent several years as artist in residence at the Magnes Museum Carriage House teaching and producing Hebrew calligraphy in the mid 70s and I was one of his students! We all had dinner together after the lecture and enjoyed each others company so much that we now have two more acquaintances who have now become friends.

Herbie's sister, Mona, was so impressed with Joyce that some months ago she sponsored her trip to be an artist in residence in Rochester. When Mona and then Joyce told us what she had done there, we too were impressed and want very much for her to return to the Bay Area as artist in residence either at a synagogue or the Jewish Federation.

We have also seen recently widowed Vivi Artzieli, Lorna Sakalovsky and Mike and Gloria Kramer who moved from their home in Yemin Moshe facing the Old City walls to a more modest apartment without stairs.  We hope to see a few others upon our return from our week in Berlin.

Yes, it's old news that Deborah Lipstadt won her libel case against Holocaust Denier David Irving. But Professor Sir Richard Evans gave us a whole new perspective from that of a participant. Evans is a historian at Cambridge and was asked by the judge to serve as the historian for the trial. He went into great detail about his and his graduate students research and how they and others in other fields were able to show that indeed David Irving was a Holocaust Denier and Deborah Lipstadt had not libeled him but told the truth. The judge handed down a 350 page judgement in her favor.
Irving served as his own barrister and at one point addressed the judge as "mein furor."  He considered the judge a benign authority figure.The judge was a senior barrister as are all civil judges and their appointments are not permanent. This particular barrister was chosen because he was a successful libel lawyer.

You could hear a pin drop and the all English speaking audience asked many questions. This was one of the most fascinating lectures we have ever been privileged to hear. Evans wrote a book about the trial but no publisher would publish it for fear of being sued by Irving. Finally a year later a publisher took on his book, "Lying About Hitler. History, Holocaust and the David Irving Case and it was published in the US. Years later it was published in London.  Herbie went up to him after and told him he was as good a speaker as Chief Rabbi of London Jonathan Sacks whom we heard at Berkeley and he was very flattered!

 It is indeed hard to believe that Marc and Batya's eldest daughter turned 18 a few days ago and that
Ashira before the purchases!
Alexander will be 17. Ashira's birthday request was to go shopping with me for an outfit and have dinner. We met at the Mamilla Mall, five minutes from our house, and after going in just about every women's store there, she chose the outfit from the first store! It is a lovely purple pleated skirt and a white lace top. We made a joint purchase of a very pretty gold and purple Swarovski crystal necklace.She wore it this shabbat and looked very pretty and grown up.  The two of us dined at Rimon and she celebrated with Ben & Jerry's ice cream for dessert!

Meanwhile, Herbie took Alexander out to dinner. We are no longer buying him shoes as he wears a 12 1/2! He still growing into them!

Over our wall facing our house

 HaMa'aravim towards Agron
Those who have read my past blogs know that the surrounding noise here has been horrific for many years. Well, the noise was OK the first weeks but built up recently. Not only are they working on the building next door, (the Waldorf Astoria in front being nearly completed) but they dug up our entire street to replace the asphalt with nice stones. Simple, yes? This has apparently been going on for several months and they have laid stones down and dug them up three times! For some reason the city employees neglected to check the drainage pipes below before paving over them. You would think the third time would be the charm but...Doubt that we will be able to walk on HaMa'aravim till we return early next year. Fortunately the World Center for North African Jewry in back of our house created the  beautiful Moroccan style park that we can walk through to approach our house a different and more attractive way.

The Belgian family across from our front gate invited us to drinks with Lauren. Olivier, Natasha and 16 year old Victoria plus two beautiful and very unusual Siamese Cats moved in over a year ago. Olivier works for the Belgian Consulate as a political consultant and has been posted in over 40 countries. They plan to stay here for five years but never quite know. Natasha who speaks more English than she understands and fluent French, was a PE teacher and interior designer. What she did with that strangely laid out old Arab style house is indescribable. And we thought our decor was nice! They collected from all over the world and, among other interesting items, use a wooden Chinese bed as living room furniture for both seating and a table. Their nightstands are seats 1 and 2 from the old Brussels Opera House where Olivier's father worked.

Because Natasha was a PE teacher she is very athletic. She continues to ski in the best places in Europe. She brought out the walking poles they use for exercise here and I tried them. Will introduce Janet to them when I get home but they are more for level ground than hills. Very fun and exercises the whole body. Unfortunately i did not take pictures but will at some future time. Meanwhile, here's Lauren and Herbie on his tiptoes at our front door!

Spent the last two Friday night dinners and Saturday lunches at Marc and Batya's. Had a delightful time with the kids tho Zalman and family were absent this week. This shabbat we laughed till we cried, Friday night because Alexander told us a hilarious story and then Marc told fun stories and Jewish jokes. Saturday lunch they invited a 68 year old widow who lives down the street. Very difficult to describe her but will say she is on a weird diet to lose some 80 lbs and rarely if ever stops talking. The thing is she nearly always says something that cracks everyone up! She's usually right on target!

Alexander, who has grown up in Zalman's shadow has turned into a still quiet but very delightful
16 1/2 year old. He too goes to the yeshiva that Zalman went to and will live there starting after the Jewish holidays this year. The story he told: He was walking with a friend and approached a priest in a grey robe without a cross. He asked him why he wasn't wearing a cross and the priest replied, "I am a bishop but others wear crosses." Then Alexander asked, "why do priests wear crosses? If your father was killed by a car, would you wear a car around your neck?" I haven't laughed that hard in years! But hope this doesn't offend anyone!

Various religions

Kingdom of Pork in Israel?!
Computer solutions from Darfur to Tel Aviv!
Had an American flag above.
All kinds of clothing

We are being picked up at 3:30 am for an El Al flight that was changed after we booked and will spend a week in Berlin. Our friends Mark and Lori Horn from Marin will be staying at our house on a home exchange. They have done this all over the world very successfully and offered us the opportunity to stay in their NY apartment. We stayed there a week in February and loved it! Would happily do it again.

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