Saturday, April 4, 2015


This second post will certainly not be as exciting as the first but lots of fun as well as serious stuff going on. The elections have taken second place to the Iran talks. The newspapers are ravaging President Obama for his stand on Iran and Netanyahu. Frankly, I find it a bit embarrassing to be an American as well as an Israeli at this time. And that certainly does not mean I, nor nearly anyone we know, (except our son and family) is a fan of Netanyahu. There just aren't any real leaders left in either country.

I am not knowledgeable enough to opinionate further but here is a sampling of headlines from the Jerusalem Post, the more right paper—"As Iran deal nears, PM steps up criticism; Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is dangerous to humanity and it must be stopped" and "Detoxifying US-Israel relations" on the editorial page;  Haaratz, the more left paper—Israel reduced to heckling Iran pact from afar and "Israel will ride out the Obama Doctrine,""The U.S. president appears to be giving Iran some slack at the expense of Israel and Saudi Arabia." The International NY Times on the Opinion page has an editorial by Ross Douthat, "The method to Obama's Mideast mess." And in the election news it sounds like once again the religious parties will be dictating what Israelis can and cannot do. That's the idea of a coaliton government!  (This is as of a few days ago when I started the blog)

Jennifer and Philippe had gone to friends in Raanana to hear Tuvia Tenenbom talk about his new book "Catch the Jew." Because he sounded very funny they invited us to join them and their friends at the book launch in Jerusalem. He is a very funny man on a very unfunny subject that sometimes comes over one way, sometimes the other. For this, his second book, he interviewed people in Israel and the Palestinian Authority during a seven month period. The best way to describe him is to quote the German paper Die Welt: "Tuvia Tenenbom is Michael Moore and Borat in one." He is both a journalist in Germany and on line and is the founder and artistic director of the Jewish Theater of New York. He claims to be a fitness reporter as well which is probably the funniest part of his shtick as he is nearly as round as he is tall.
His publisher tries to calm him

None of us has read the book yet so I cannot comment. However, during the Q&A a youngish rabbi who represents Rabbis for Human Rights stood up and lambasted the author, calling him a liar and a fabricator and you name it and caused quite a bruhaha. Tuvia got so angry at this "failed rabbi" that he used profanity and looked ready to either explode his round body or heaven forbid have a heart attack. Apparently this rabbi has been following the author around and heckling him at every event, accusing him of inaccuracies in his book.  He and his organization are in the book as is Jennifer and Philippe's Australian friend with whom they came.

It's Passover vacation for the schools, some have two weeks, some longer so the grandchildren are available earlier in the day.  We took a nice walk with Ashira, Talia and Chana Tsipora through Mamilla Mall before going on to the Old City to meet Marc and Shalom Simcha after the latter got out of yeshiva.

Mamilla Mall has changing sculpture exhibitions and Ashira was taken with the artist, his paints and his easel. Being a very fine artist herself, she chose to model with him for this photographer!

Shlumsky, as his siblings call him, is known by all the older yeshiva guys because he usually gets picked up by 18 year old Alexander and delivered to his ride home outside the Old City. He walks right up to Alexander's classmates and they kibbitz with him. They usually ask him questions about what he is learning
which he answers (correctly).  Seems to be following in his eldest brother Zalman's footsteps!

As we walked, Marc took us in and out of streets of the Jewish and Arab Quarters and up a stairway to the roof of the shuk where we could look down as well as out. What a treat! We walked all over looking through grates and over railings into the world we had just ascended from. And out to the church steeples and the golden Dome of the Rock.

The biggest treat, however, was when we got down and were walking through the Arab Quarter. Marc's tailor Sammy who is the Mukhtar/head of the Syrians in Jerusalem was in his shop. You can see by the photo that even the younger children thoroughly enjoyed this delightful man. He had us enthralled with stories and photos of all the famous people he has met throughout his many years in Jerusalem. The best was his meeting with Lord Snowdon who was married to Princess Margaret for 18 years and is a professional photographer. He took Sammy's photo with the late mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek that appeared in an out of print book (see photo). Marc found and purchased the book on line.

One day I will get the perfect picture!
On our way to the bus station in a taxi, the driver asked where we were going. He made us an offer we couldn't refuse. After two hours in traffic of back and forth shtick we finally arrived! He even took a photo for me of the Calatrava Bridge as we left Jerusalem as his view was better than mine.

Herbie, Simone, Jennifer and I went to a photography show in South Tel Aviv/Jaffe. Held in an old school with several floors featuring numerous photographers, there were rooms showing several photographers and some with only one.

Then we walked to the renovated Shuk a Pishpeshim or flea market. Formally selling "antiques" and junk, now catering to the upscale younger generation and tourists. The restaurants were filled as were the streets.  We visited last year as well but there are more new stores with ceramics, clothing, shoes, accessories and restaurants as well as so called "antiques."

The next day was girls only so the four of us Jennifer, 18 year old Daniella and nearly 16 year old Simone and I went to the Eretz Museum at Tel Aviv University. Once again we made it to the yearly glass show, always featuring exceptional work. My personal favorites were a grandfather's tailor shop as remembered by a granddaughter all out of glass except the table bases.

The H2O showing various countries' water consumption by showing plastic bottles made of glass is quite brilliant. Israel is in the middle with the US first and various African countries last.
The H2O sign above is made of branches that will dry out by the end of the show demonstrating what will happen if we continue at our current rate of consumption.

 Outside on the grounds: Blossoming with Age,—1600 seniors from 70 senior centers all over Israel created 10,000 ceramic flowers under the guidance of  artist Shlomit Hepher. Some had never done any kind of art project before.

Simone, nearly 16; Daniella 18 and headed for the army summer 2015!
 Late Shabbat afternoon two families came over for "tea" and we sat outside under the very large awning with a light warmish rain coming down around us. Philippe has turned into quite a gardener and the landscaping surrounding the lovely pool creates a very serene setting.  Plus the whole family cooks and bakes. I told Simone I thought she should open a restaurant as she is not only very clever but willing to experiment. Both girls prefer vegetarian and would be vegans if their mother would allow! They seem to have convinced their parents to eat veges most of their meals.

ON TO VISIT FAMILY IN HADERA  (Family matters so others may skip this section)
Jennifer and Simone drove us to Hadera, Our Hadera family always welcomes us with open arms. Because it was a workday, only Ilan, Yael and Gali, Roe and Alon home with only one week remaining in the army. Idit, Ronit and her little guy came over. As always Aunt Bruria looks great and is so enjoying her first great grandchild. (Remainder of photos in family emails.)

That night Ilan, Yael and Bruria drove us back to Jerusalem in time to see Gali perform in a modern dance program. Big news is she has been accepted into a dance company while she will still continue dance school. She is not only beautiful but moves her body with grace and beauty. One day we will see Gal Calic as the star of a company!

A Most Violent Year is as it had originally been reviewed. A compelling, superbly acted story that keeps one on the edge of the seat. It won a Golden Globe and some other awards but was quickly bypassed for Oscar nominations. I still cannot get used to the Israeli way of having an intermission in the middle of movies usually at the most suspenseful moments!  Tuesday is senior night for less than half price. So we still have a movie left on our special movie card from last year!

The shuk/Machane Yehuda is my latest addiction. I can't seem to get enough of it. I always take my camera as I find the people absolutely fascinating! In prior years, I took numerous pictures of the piles of beautiful fresh produce but now I concentrate on the people; their hair, their dress, their expressions, while they are shopping, working or just walking— both shopkeepers and patrons. Although I know I have sent pics before, following is the first installment of my just meandering with my camera.
Fish monger decapitating and slicing fish
Night time is bustling with young people!
Best fish & chips ever! Rare tuna and salmon. Yum!
What a mix of people!


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