Friday, November 6, 2015

POSTCARD FROM JERUSALEM October 29 - November 5, 2015

Daughter Gal of our Hadera cousins, Ilan and Yael, is a member of a very avant garde dance company in Jerusalem. Frankly, this performance made me very uncomfortable although the performers were excellent. It was a war scene from an opera and after it was over, I asked the choreographer why in a country like Israel he would  choreograph a war scene. His response was that this is what we live with and it's important to recognize it thru art. The mostly female dancers fought and moved like panthers and our cousin was actually thrown around from soldier to soldier and even thrown on the ground and sat on. Fortunately she didn't hear my soft scream over the music! It was difficult to take pictures as the lights were quite low but I managed a few.

The second performance was only two young women, one Israeli and one Ethiopian. Their dancing
combined both Israeli and Ethiopian dancing into one number, each doing her own thing and sometimes together. More my kind of dancing, choreographed by another choreographer in the company.

Suzy is in the middle!
Friday morning Suzy Locke Cohen and friends Stephen and Debra came to the house and I took the ubiquitous photo at the door. It was Stephen and Debra's first trip to Israel so Suzy came ahead of Marv before the Weizmann Institute meeting. Suzy joined us at Marc's on Friday night. All the grandchildren including the newlyweds and great grandchildren were there and we had a lot of laughs. Suzy was impressed with the warmth and fun the kids of all ages have together., a tribute to their parents. I always get a kick out of the fact that 8 year old Shalom Simcha is an uncle and 11 year old Chana Tzipora is an aunt!  No photos are allowed on Shabbat so we took them Saturday night at Batya's where once again the cast of characters was the same!

We celebrated both Shalom Simcha's 8th and Alexander's 19th with lots of desserts at Shabbat lunch. Then everyone did their own thing for the afternoon, from sleeping to reading or playing outside while Talia and I played our favorite board games. Why do the kids nearly always win?!

Randy the dog is kept away from the girls!
After shabbat a lovely couple, friends of Ashira and Zach, joined us and Zach and I took numerous photos! Everyone loves to use Grandma's camera!  Nearly 4 year old Yael Hadassah and nearly 2 year old Batsheva were totally enthralled with Uncle Shalom Simcha's birthday presents his family gave him. Of course he can't play with any of them on Shabbat as they are all either electronic or use batteries! It's good because he spends more time reading.

From left: Batya, Zayda, Ashira, Chana Tzipora, Grandma, Talia
Unlike the US where it takes months, the wedding proofs arrived via email so we poured over some 2000! The photographer allows one month to choose or he will levy an extra charge.
Hello? It's the front half of a real cell.
Alexander @19!

Sultry Yael Hadassah with purse, ready for bed.
Shalom Simcha @ 8
Like the front tooth? At least it grew in finally!

Ashsira and Zach with Rosenbergs. From left: Brachie, Ashira & Zach, Baruch

Again I took the sherut, this time to spend a few hours with my daughter, a rare treat! Lunch at a bookstore cafe, a walk through and around Rabin Square, more walking and a visit to a very nice mall nearby.

Rabin Square was especially impressive as the night before had been the 20th anniversary memorial event with President Clinton as one of the speakers. There were enlargements of photographs from the Rabin Museum mounted and spread around the square.

Rabin was not murdered in the square but about a half a block away. He had finished his talk and was going to his car when a good chance for peace in the Middle East ended. Such a sad and emotional time every year The day of the Oslo Accords was the day shortly after Benjamin's birth 22 years ago that Judy Balter SeriLevy, Jennifer and I watched on TV taking turns holding the new baby.

Here at this place Yitzhak Rabin Prime Minister & Minister of Defence was murdered in the struggle for peace 4-11-95  (read 11-4-95)

To end this day on a happier note, umbrellas seem to hang in malls from Israel to Australia and places in between. I suspect it is a very inexpensive way to decorate while lending color and good cheer!

Agricultural minister backtracks on 'transfer plan for stray cats
Since I really can't improve upon the article I will quote parts of it here: Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel yesterday backtracked and apologized for his controversial proposal to deport Israel's stray cats to another country.

The minister drew outrage and mockery after suggesting transferring some of the thousands of stray cats that walk Israel's streets. ...Ariel cited Jewish law against animal cruelty as reason not to neuter cats and a biblical commandment to populate the earth. In stead of the population transfer, Ariel has decided to reallocate the entire budget for spaying and neutering cats to research. This budget totals 4.5 million shekels ($1.2 million) a year. Ariel's decision means the state will not transfer any money for neutering and spaying street cats this year. His refusal to allocate funds comes, as far as is known, from the fact that it goes against his beliefs. A local nonprofit called Let the Animals Live is expected to petition the High Court of Justice today against his decision.

In another article one MP said she thought that the minister should be given a transfer to another country!

Here is a country rife with problems from bad neighbors to stabbings to bullets to poverty and you name it and this is what hits the front page of a respected daily newspaper! I guess it lends a little levity to everything else in life here.

(I mentioned this in a prior blog but this is new information.)

The Biennale took place while we were there in a half a dozen venues scattered around the city but in long walkable distances from each other. When Batya’s cousin Seyburn was here for the wedding, we went to two venues, the first being the Tower of David. The show I most wanted to see by an artist I like was out for repair. The second was at the Tachana, the First Station and was quite wonderful. Women artists who were each assigned a parsha from the Torah, but two other venues were closed during open hours. We became disillusioned and quit even though we had purchased tickets.

A couple of days before we left Jerusalem yesterday, I was walking by Hechel Shlomo, part of the Great Synagogue and one of the venues near our house, so I went in. One of the artists was there, a lovely young woman by the name of Alana Ruben Free from Canada and she gave me a tour after I told her of Seyburn’s and my original experience. I discovered that she had partnered with our dear friend David Dudu Gerstein and they created a very moving piece. It is an open egg made from metal by Dudu with blankets and pillows inside created by Alana. One can go in alone or with someone. I went in alone and came out very relaxed. We are encouraged to sit with eyes closed for at least two minutes while breathing slowly and calmly and reciting: I love you. I trust you. I respect you. I appreciate your presence in my life. The name of the piece is Presence=Present and is part of the exhibit “The Art of Motherhood.” Alana invited us to attend the closing event the next night where we would be able to visit with Dudu.

Talking Torah with Zayda
The night before we left, we dined with Marc, Talia, Chana Tzipora and Shalom Simcha and then went to the closing night event. 

To quote Alana “In our technologically complex world with continual distractions, alienation and loneliness are common conditions. …Presence=Present is committed to growing the bonds of intimacy between individuals and connecting people more deeply with their rich, interior world. “

Dudu and Alana sitting quietly in the egg.

Alana explaining her piece.
Meanwhile, Dudu is very successful in Europe after business slowed down in the US. He moved outside of Jerusalem and has a very large space with some 30 assistants working with him. Some of his pieces are mass produced and are in many museums and galleries, others are originals as the two in our backyard in Piedmont.

As an aside, the woman sitting next to me looked so familiar I had to say something (of course). I felt like I knew her personally but after exhausting that subject she asked if I ever see English speaking theater in Jerusalem. It turned out that she starred in a play we had seen at AACI with our friend Joyce Klein last trip. I had to include one small world story!

How Marc fit us, two large duffle style suitcases and two wheelies plus the desserts and the flowers and the dolls into his mini  Nissan or Mitsubishi is beyond me! Why did I not think to take a picture of this "clown" car? But he did and on the way to dinner we stopped at Zalman's and Rivi's to give child size soft dolls to Yael and Batsheva. They made a big hit but not big enough to get thank you hugs and kisses. Maybe by the time they get married they will adore their great grandparents! May we live to 120!

The Sterns are renting an apartment very close to the Friedmans. But with their busy schedules they only see each other on Shabbat at either Marc's or Batya's.

Ashira and Zach invited their grandparents to dinner on our last night. So sweet! We were the first to eat at their new table and chairs and sit on their new sofa from Ikea and see their two bedroom, very spacious apartment. They fixed it up beautifully; they are both good cooks and they look and are very happy as newlyweds! Ashira's lasagna and Zach's salad were delicious. We brought the dessert to round out the meal and ourselves! Ashira has always set a beautiful table and tonight was no exception!
Ashira is loving teaching English to 5th and 8th grade girls. She has another year at school to get her credential. Zach enjoys working with kids as well and will probably also become some kind of educator with boys.

A cab picked us up there to go to the airport for what we thought would be an uneventful trip to Newark and SF. It was except we barely got our luggage in time to recheck and get to the second flight. Unfortunately, we haven't flown enough to realize that one cannot get away with packing booze in a carry on. I was concerned it could get stolen from our checked bag so I put it in H's wheelie. We got caught and they told me to check the bag through at United.
A security guard led me back through the line and sent me to check in. It was too late and United told me I had to throw the bottles away. It was a very special gift for our very wonderful driver/caregiver Michael and I was not happy. Another agent took me back through the line to security again and I did get through with the other gift that was small bottles of oils and vinegars for our special bookkeeper Maxine and of course no problem with the tea from India for Moses, our other wonderful driver/caregiver. By the time I got to the gate I was in tears of frustration only to discover that Herbie had not checked in. The United gate agent closed the check in, closed the doors and called for Herbert Friedman over the PA system twice.

Finally he appeared in a cart and told me he had gone to the original gate on the boarding pass instead of the gate posted on the board and that I had told him. Understandable! Meanwhile the gate agent had gone onto the plane to make sure he hadn't gotten by her while another agent made a phone call and let us in. Incredible service by both the people who work for our government that everyone loves to hate and United, the airline everyone loves to hate.

The man sitting next to me on the plane said he had put booze in his carry on once and that I too would only do it once! He also said I should have poured out the liquid and kept the special bottles from Germany we bought at Sarona in Tel Aviv but how/where could I? Lesson learned!

Until next trip...

1 comment:

  1. Auntie Marianne- LOVE these postcards, sonehow I am always very hungry after reading them:) xoxox