Thursday, June 12, 2014



Waffle bars seem to be very much in vogue, at least in Jerusalem. We took the kids, their mother and their sister in law and nieces to dinner. The waitress highly recommended the special of a smoked salmon waffle. Being game to try something new, Herbie and I shared it. The salmon was not lox but real smoked salmon. Do I need to admit it was quite good? The added touch was finishing off Talia’s dessert waffle with chocolate and carmel. Oy!

The real special treat of the evening was taking the girls—Ashira, Talia and Chana Tsipora— to Teddy Fountain that we had so enjoyed two nights earlier. It was a comedy of errors. First of all the Waffle Bar tried to get us a large taxi and was told that because it was Yom Yerushaliyem or Jerusalem Day very few taxis wanted to drive in the crowded streets. We found a 4-passenger cab outside and piled in before the driver could say no. Chansy was on the floor at my feet due to the threat of a 1000NIS fine if a policeman stopped the driver.

I told the driver our destination but all he heard was Teddy Park. He took us for an 85NIS ($25US) ride all around Jerusalem to arrive at the Teddy Stadium on the complete other end of town with a Teddy Park that has been around for years. He finally got us near enough to where we wanted to go; we jumped out, walked rapidly down a narrow road and arrived in time to watch the fountain for the last half hour. Although this was a school night, because it was also the celebration of a national holiday marking the liberation of the city and its reunification after the Six-Day war in 1967, people were out in droves celebrating. You can see in the photo the teen boys romping through the fountain in either their undies or swim trunks on a chilly evening. Boys will be boys!

That day and evening saw literally thousands of high school kids bussed in from all over the country. Each city group had a different color t-shirt. There were wall-to-wall buses on all the major streets and fireworks, parades and programs in all the parks. Quite an amazing sight!

Morton and Amy in Israel for a week with Amy’s 9-year-old granddaughter Nikki. Nikki, her parents and two older siblings live in London and it was her turn to travel here. What a lovely girl, so patient with the adults! We played catch up, something we rarely do at home while enjoying a very lovely buffet at the King David Hotel.

Amy is the president of Israel 21c, an on line publication that tells about Israel behind the headlines, from science to technology to fun stuff. All good and all interesting! I encourage you to subscribe!

Such a happening place! Barely a year old and it is already a central meeting place for mostly secular but some religious. There are a few Kosher eateries and a Kosher Mehadrin opening soon. It is open 7 days a week and thus far we have not heard of the religious complaining about it being open on the Sabbath. Mayor Nir Barkat, is seeing to it that the city be for everyone not just the religious, a live and let live attitude. He is succeeding in stemming the exodus of young people to the more secular and lively city of Tel Aviv.

Activities at the station range from Yoga at 7 am to concerts at 9 pm. The night we met our friend Vivi Artzieli for dinner at Kitchen Station The Ummagumma Band played Beatles music. As part of the citywide Israel Festival a tent was erected as a jazz club, straight from New Orleans. Between May 28 and June 20 the First Station will host a variety of jazz performances by ensembles from Israel and around the world. All the entertainment is free with some chairs and lots of standing room.
There were hundreds of people of all ages rocking to the music. Loud? Yes, but great rhythm and not too many people were sitting or standing still, including us I might add! We ended up staying there well over an hour after dinner.

View from dinner of stalls and sunset
There are shops and restaurants, a market place that sells fruits and vegetables and baked goods, juice drinks, chocolate and on. It’s hard to resist some of the rotating vendors who set up shop at premade stands under umbrellas. There are numerous jewelry makers, some very clever items I personally have not seen before. There are handmade children’s clothes and bibs, toys, art and foodstuff such as olive oil.

As I write, they are building a new event space that we hope will be finished before we leave. But we know that by next year’s visit we will have many more surprises!

Herbie’s sister Mona from Rochester stayed with us for a week and our niece Jill rented an apartment with her son Sam who had been in Jerusalem since January and whose program ended shortly before the wedding. We were attending the wedding of a cousin once removed, the middle son of our Hadera cousin. But first Mona’s son Marty had arranged with his friend for us to visit the friend’s family’s winery northeast of the wedding locale.

Five of us piled into a rental car and drove to an area in the Golan
Heights to the Pelter Winery. Tal Pelter, the Israeli born son of a US born lawyer began the non-kosher winery on a kibbutz very close to the Syrian border (see photo). Tal studied in both Israel and Australia before opening the winery in 2005. His wife raises goats and makes the most delicious cheese and yogurt any of us has ever tasted. How sad we couldn’t take some home!

Syrian border with blue UN sign on right and guard post
After a very short tour, the very cordial and knowledgeable Tal served us wine, cheese and yoghurt and even I, the non-drinker, enjoyed the mild, non-acidic flavor of two of them.

Tal had told us they are able to hear the gunfire and see fires from across the border so we decided to take a quick look from the car. We did stop a UN vehicle first who assured us all was quiet and we could indeed get very close. It lent a little excitement to the long ride.

After checking in to the hotel where the family had rented 40 rooms, we drove to the site. It was at the end of a dirt road and filled with chairs, tables, buffet tables, lights a dance floor and a DJ, and ultimately 450 people. All our grandchildren, except Alexander, were there and it was a wonderful family event. An elderly couple by the name of Friedman whom Herbie and Mona had never met was seated at our table. Since they only spoke Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian, two of our granddaughters translated. The man was Sol Friedman’s brother’s son! (On the way home Marc phoned us to say he was listening to the CD of a family history done many years ago of Sol and it mentioned his brother, Naftali, this man’s father. What an amazing story!)
Mona, Anat (groom's mother), Oded, Amy, Friedman and Lang women plus H

Oded Nadav (brother), Sam, Donnie (Oded's father), Friedman, Lang men
The ceremony was delayed until the arrival of the two rented buses, one from Tel Aviv and one from Hadera, the latter bringing Grandma Bruria and numerous other guests. And what a ceremony it was! First of all, the bride and groom mingled with the guests for perhaps two hours. They were perpetually smiling for photos. We were summoned to the chuppah where thankfully some chairs were set up and I was lucky enough to sit in the front row with Bruria and others.

There were quite a few people waiting under the chuppah aside from the parents of the bride and groom. There were brothers and friends who were to read aliyahs during the service. Plus the four holding the chuppah posts. While walking down the aisle irregularly lined with most of the 450 attendees, Oded lowered Amy’s veil, both still smiling.   

The rabbi who performed the ceremony is the uncle of the groom’s mother. He is the principal of a religious girls school and this was his first wedding. Tho we couldn’t understand 99.9% of the verbiage, we could tell by the reactions that it was very personal and loving. I was able to take pictures until the breaking of the glass and the kiss as all their young friends rushed up to surround them. Never have we seen anything like this but several people told us this is a typical modern Israeli wedding. We had only been to several religious ones and although it was explained that all weddings are religious, this was definitely a different kind of religious! You will see by the pictures that the couple was constantly smiling.

Oded and Amy had been living together for several years and were 27 and 24 respectively. They are an adorable couple and we wish them many years of health, happiness and prosperity together.

The sumptuous dinner, various meats and salmon bbq’d to perfection, along with numerous salads, vegetables and fabulous desserts were set up for the repast. The bride and groom, along with their friends took over the dance floor and it was frailich (Yiddish for happy).

The party broke up and all the drivers had quite a surprise leaving. It seems that Israel is setting up roadblocks when they know there has been a wedding or I assume other happy occasion. All the drivers had to take a breathalyzer test, most for the first time (at least that’s what they said)! Mona was driving and we were laughing as the policeman was trying to explain to her how to give a long exhale!

A taxi took Jill and Sam very early the morning after to the airport to catch their plane back to
Philadelphia. Mona, Herbie and I took off for what we thought was going to be a couple of nice stops but…it was Friday and usually things close early for Shabbat but where we headed was closed all day! So we went to a new promenade
in Naharyha on the coast and as usual found a bride and groom with a friend and a professional
photographer posing for their wedding pictures. What was unusual, however, were the beautiful headdresses both women were wearing. It was a gorgeous Israeli Arab couple who posed for us. The groom spoke a little English so we could communicate. I like to think any pleasant encounter between Jews and Arabs counts a little!

After lunch in the town we drove to Ra’anana to spend Shabbat with Jennifer and family. It was a very relaxing time swimming, schmoozing and reading. Our jam packed and fun trip ended in Jerusalem late Saturday night.

From left: Margie, Mona, Sheila and moi
Through a series of small world stories I will try to condense, Mona and I met her childhood friend Sheila Wall Stern and Margie Tutnauer at Roladin in the Mamilla Mall. Sheila and her family have been in Israel since the 70s and she and Mona had last seen each other eight years ago. I met Margie in the writing group and had put her in contact with Mona as she had been with her late husband in both SF and Rochester. The small world stories went from funny to funnier and smaller to smaller and we couldn’t stop talking and laughing.

Mona left for the airport Sunday evening after dinner. Since it is neither my style nor desire to cook I picked up vege quiches, salad, melon and cookies for a casual dinner. Lauren (our friend and tenant from upstairs) joined us for a nice farewell.

Marc, Talia, Chana Tsipora and Shalom Simcha picked us up and we went to the Israel Museum. We
began in the Youth Wing where we went to its beautiful library. A volunteer was bent over filing books and I snapped a picture. When I showed it to her she told me to have the librarian show me her book. She turned out to be an expert on Yemenite embroidery who self published a beautifully illustrated book., unfortunately only in Hebrew. She is around 85 years old and has been volunteering in the library for years.

Because we and Chansy had already seen the temporary exhibit, “Dress Codes: Revealing the Jewish Wardrobe,” Marc took Talia and Shalom Simcha there while we toured elsewhere. Before meeting at the store at closing time, I took Chansy to the model of the Second Temple and we walked through the Shrine of the Book to the exit in one or two minutes as they were closing. We still couldn’t climb on the Big Bambu as the opening is today. Guess we will make a third visit. Chansy took pictures of everything just like her father and grandmother!

We had a very yummy dinner at a fairly new Kosher Mehadrin restaurant on Emek Refaim. Soyo Open Kitchen Café opened in London in 2011 and in Jerusalem in 2013.  Each page of the menu has a description of the various food groups such as protein, fats, grains and vegetables and a multitude of delicious choices. We intend to return and I would even order the same things: salmon ceviche and beetroot salad. Herbie had a fresh tuna salad, a rarity here. The desserts are to die for and certainly do not fall into any of the healthy categories mentioned above!

ALL FOR NOW…except this extra treat! Tho not cat fans, this was a pretty adorable site!As the saying goes, necessity is the motherhood of invention!

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