Saturday, October 17, 2015



It really wasn’t funny but if I don’t laugh I’ll cry! We arrived late yesterday, unpacked and dined with Marc. This morning Ashira called to ask if I would go to Machne Yehuda (the shuk) to buy a list of items for Saturday night third meal. She is having friends over plus we female family members and she and her mother are exhausted.

Herbie and I had our usual first shakshuka breakfast at Tmol Shilshom and went to the train. I have a Rav Card (like our Clipper Card) but he does not. At the City Hall station I began fighting with the machine although in English and was holding onto my wallet. Put my purse down next to H on the bench, continued to fight with machine and train came, we both jumped on train and I realized my purse was still where he had been sitting. Jumped off at next stop, boarded train back and told the police who are now on the trains what I had done. None of them spoke or understood English so a passenger translated. There are police everywhere now with all the stabbings and shootings. Then the train stopped in between stops and I figured one of the policemen who had been near the stop had found it and it had been blown up—i phone, glasses and Ashira’s grocery list and the Bomb Squad had told the train not to approach the City Hall stop it did its job. Another passenger told me that a dozen times a day someone leaves something and delays the trains.

Mr. Handsome Undercover Cop with gun on his side, dressed in tight black t-shirt and black pants got off the train with us to talk to the cops guarding the stop and suddenly we hear sirens and the other cops start running. There was another stabbing right around the corner. Mr. Handsome Cop walked us to and through Jaffa Gate to the police station across from David’s Citadel in the Old City. He explained to the cop in the guard booth what I had done. He was gone for what seemed like an eternity but was really only a few minutes while we waited outside. After Mr. Handsome Cop returned, the cop in the booth told me to come back in an hour. My purse was not there as one of the cops who had run to the stabbing had my purse with him. Oy!

I told H to go home and I went to the shuk alone with wallet in hand but without the purse or list! Why would anyone send someone who knows very little Hebrew to the market on the busiest day of the week with a list of certain items, none of which she knows in Hebrew and all of which had to have a certain Hecksher or Kosher symbol?! 

It seems that the new sights one is able to see at the shuk are never ending. From Fiddler on the Street to a do gooder in a wheel chair! After making it through the shuk, I took a taxi to the Friedman house to deliver the goods. Then I took a taxi back to the police station to the same cop in the booth who brought me in, removed my camera and wheelie grocery bag, tested them and me again and sent me through the big gate to the Bomb Squad on the right. I felt like I was on a movie set but even I was too nervous to use my camera. The Bomb Squad cop gave me my purse and I tried to apologize but he was all business. Oy again! They need people like me when the news here is so bad.

EREV SHABBAT AND SHABBAT (no pics allowed)
Quiet Friday night dinner with Marc and Alexander. The latter is getting taller every time we see him and I guess it's his time to get married next. Hope it's awhile!

Saturday lunch was a real treat at our old friend Joyce Klein's. She was Marc's teacher when he was 11 at Temple Beth Abraham and they have followed each other from Bay Area to NYC to Jerusalem. She made a fantastic Moroccan lunch and a very lively conversation with the other three American guests ensued. The three women (incl Joyce) are Jewish educators and one is in charge of a very interesting program at the Hartman Institute here in Jerusalem.

It is for Muslim, Christian and Jewish clergy from all over the world to learn about each others religion plus how to train future clergy as relating to Judaism and Israel. Usually they attend separately but this past session had all three together. Harvard educated Marci who is in charge of a section of the program and teaches religion as well, told us that the clergy were broken up into small groups to discuss themselves. A rabbi in one of the groups asked the Imam why all terrorists are Muslim. Not PC! The other rabbis tried to shut him up and when Daniel Hartman found out he called the group together to apologize. The Christians and Jews were horrified and the Muslims said it's over, no problem. We accept your apology!

Saturday third meal H spent with Marc while I went to Batya's to celebrate with Ashira, her female siblings and her friends and the groom's mother and aunt.  It was a joyous occasion with singing and dancing after the meal. The nicest group of young women I can remember meeting at one time. Ashira never took the radiant smile off her face. 

Sending good wishes to the bride!

Being the mature young girls they are, our two great granddaughters were invited as well. Three and a half year old Yael Hadassa was very bothered by the noise so she sat quietly but year and a half year old Batsheva was fascinated by the singing and dancing! As fatigue set in, mommy Rivi had to read to her.  

The tichel, also called a mitpachat, is a headscarf worn by married (Orthodox) Jewish women in compliance with the code of modesty known as tzniut. Tichels can range from a very simple plain color cotton square with a simple tie in the back to very elaborate fabrics with very complex ties using multiple fabrics. As with any other form of clothing, it serves as fashion as well as its function of modesty.

Ashira's friend Bracha threw together a party for close to 20 female friends Monday night and held it in the basement apartment at the Friedman house. The renters left for the evening with their baby, a most generous gesture. We all brought something to snack on from fruit to salads to chocolate mousse! Once again the girls sang before and after the tichel opening, their beautiful voices harmonizing. 

cheek full of carrots!
Bracha adapted a game for the occasion where she asked Ashira all kinds of personal questions about Zach. She of course had interviewed him and had all the answers in her hands! Any wrong answer meant Ashira had to eat three carrot slices and the questions came every 7 seconds. Hilarity reigned! Another lovely pre wedding evening. 

Here we are about to celebrate our granddaughter's wedding tomorrow night and the stabbings, shootings and car rammings continue all over the country. We did numerous errands yesterday so thankfully can lay low today. 

Tonight we attended Jerusalem's first Death Cafe sponsored by ElderOptions Israel at Tmol Shilshom, the bookstore/cafe. According to

Death Cafes have spread quickly across Europe, North America and Australasia. As of today, we have offered 2383 Death Cafes since September 2011. If 10 people came to each one that would be 23830 participants. We've established both that there are people who are keen to talk about death and that many are passionate enough to organize their own Death Cafe. - See more at:

Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session. - See more at:
NPR covered this movement in 2013. They are in 30 countries and this is the first in Israel. 

 (This space is here for no reason other than Google's obstinance!)

Death Cafes have spread quickly across Europe, North America and Australasia. As of today, we have offered 2383 Death Cafes since September 2011. If 10 people came to each one that would be 23830 participants. We've established both that there are people who are keen to talk about death and that many are passionate enough to organise their own Death Cafe. - See more at:

Welcome to Death Cafe

At a Death Cafe people drink tea, eat cake and discuss death. Our aim is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.
- See more at:

Welcome to Death Cafe

At a Death Cafe people drink tea, eat cake and discuss death. Our aim is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.
- See more at: group was divided into two smaller groups and we were asked to discuss a few questions. One was how we remember those who died and I found my answers very interesting. As I get older I remember my mother's cute witticisms which I then pass on to others. My father had a pretty funny one (a bit raunchy, however!) and I repeat that one as well. To remember my late brother who was an architect and project manager, every trip to Israel I bring books, magazines, etc to Yvan Lang. He designed our house remodel and is our son in law Philippe's brother. I was also able to tell how Herbie memorializes his father. No quick ATM for him; he goes into the bank to kibbitz with the bankers just as his father before him! 

The questions were thought provoking and the final one was to write a bucket list. To say this was a serious group would be an outright fib! We had three generations of a family who had us cracking up. H asked the husband if he did stand up! 

The road to Damascus Gate where a stabbing had just occurred.
We go out less but do go to the Mamilla Mall to pick up newspapers and eat in a couple of the restaurants. But the mall is empty compared to prior trips. The stores can't survive on the numbers we have seen. On our way to Marc's last week, a stabbing had occurred not too far away but in East Jerusalem. The roads were blocked by barriers and police cars. At Marc's corner there were two police cars and many religious neighborhood kids crowded around watching. I inquired if it would be safe to walk home after dinner. The policewoman said as long as we stayed on the west side of the street. There had been two prior stabbings on the street we walk and I have to say my head was on a swivel. It was dark and desolate. Jennifer was so upset she contacted a cab driver to make sure we go to and from in a taxi even tho it is shabbat and a no no. 

Truthfully I have been pretty relaxed about the situation until...two days after we had been on the same street after leaving the bus terminal, a 70 year old woman was stabbed but managed to escape serious injury. There but for the grace of g-d go us!

I am including the link to Jennifer's blog below. The top two tho it is the second one down I suggest everyone read and weep.

Tune in for my next installment: THE WEDDING—October 14, 2015

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