Before I left home, many of you asked how I find time to blog when we do so much while here. Let me tell you, this time it aint been easy! I took the new United direct SF-TA for 14 hours and it was heaven! Not only did I get business class but the food was really good and diet shmiet I ate the whole hot fudge over vanilla ice cream with coffee poured over and when melted poured back into my coffee cup! That is worth UA and I miss it when not in business class!
I arrived alone and moved into the house. I spent four days walking around with my camera, visiting my favorite haunts and people and generally just taking it easy. Summer heat is definitely here along with a multitude of cheery and colorful decorations in the downtown Ben Yehuda/Yoel Salomon area. They range from umbrellas to soccer, lanterns to flowers.
|Shalom Simcha, 8; Talia, 16; Chana Tsipor, 12|
Zalman and the girls. Alexander, the 19 year old groom to be, walked me home and was a delight to talk with! Can't wait to meet Racheli, his intended, to tell her how much I appreciate how she has brought him out of quietude into a delightful young man. Always been sweet and kind but not very sociable/talkative. Their story is wonderful and I will attempt the short and sweet version.
Shabbat lunch we spent at Marc's where I attempted to play a new game with the kids but passed out. Guess my euphoria of the shorter flight wore off! Late in the afternoon we walked to Batya's and had the "third meal", a light repast but a necessity in the Orthodox world.
Sunday dinner I took the bus to Tel Aviv where Philippe and Daniella picked me up to dine at Miss Kaplan's vegan restaurant in Sarona. By far the best vegan/vegetarian restaurant any of us has ever been to. According to Vogue and another US magazine, it is the best in the world, if my source is correct! The signature dish is a hot dog in a bun that tastes exactly like it sounds. However, the hot dog is a carrot soaked in Jack Daniels to get the smokey flavor and the bun appears to be similar to the outside of a Chinese bow/bun. Incredible! Unfortunately, however, as many kudos and 5 star reviews as it has gotten, it will be closing and relocating. Apparently it is too unusual to be in that location. Definitely will follow its reincarnation and revisit next trip. (Jennifer and Simone were in India and Philippe and Daniella left on Wednesday to meet them.)
CHANA TSIPORA'S BAT MITZVAH
Monday late afternoon and evening more than a dozen females, family friends and relatives, celebrated Chansy's (for short) 12th birthday and her becoming a bat mitzvah. Orthodox girls become a bat mitzvah at 12 tho the boys still do it at 13. And we all know why, right?!
was busy taking pictures as usual. The preparation and the steps were really fascinating especially to me as I have never even tried to bake bread of any kind, let alone braided!
|Ashira with friend Bracha|
|Talia with her challah creation|
Herbie arrived with his companion Moses on Monday evening, the same flight as I had. Next morn we breakfasted at Tmol Shilshom, the bookstore, all of us savoring our Shakshuka!
THE CHRISTIAN SITES
Beginning with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where it is said Jesus was crucified and buried and on to the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, the property of a foundation of the Evangelical Church in Germany, ending our day walking the Via Dolorosa or Stations of the Cross. It is known as the path
Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion.
|Where Jesus was placed before burial. Church of Holy Sepulcher|
|They heard the hammering of the nails from the original rock beneath|
|Not sure how this is connected but adorable!|
We happened upon an exhibit on the way out that starts in the Weinstein Gallery of the Ruth Youth Wing, that turned out to be a highlight for all three of us. Called Wire(less) Connections it is a treat of cleverness for all ages.
|Recall this is string and pins. Site specific with string going off on both sides.|
|Note the cell phones!|
We must have spent a good hour enjoying it ourselves and watching kids of all ages enjoying it as well. When we got outside we discovered a maze for kids only and pleaded with the young ladies to let us in! We were all cracking up! Moses took pics of us being silly hanging yarn on the mesh walls.
|close up of hanging dishes|
At the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed we saw the entire bible printed on a nano chip thru a special scope. Technology and religion at its finest!
Found a path we had never taken in the Billy Rose Sculpture Garden where we saw two spectacular pieces. We see so much more when we are showing someone else!
|Look closely and you will see a body on top.|
MOUNT OF OLIVES
|Where Jesus wrote the text.|
We spent considerable time at the top admiring the view as well as people watching. An entire busload of young women appeared covered from head to toe but using cell phones! Somehow this seemed incongruous to me and I snapped away. There were also two young women in pants and
t-shirts pointing out the sites..
|Tomb of the Patriarchs|
Wending our way down the narrow road admiring the greenery and the thousands of Jewish gravestones we could see thru the wall on the side of the road and ahead.
Two young Danish women asked us why there were stones on top of the graves and we couldn't answer. Called Rabbi Marc but he couldn't answer either so I called upon Rabbi Google the next day. The consensus seems to be that placing rocks has been a custom for many years as they show someone has visited the grave and they last forever whereas flowers die. However, there are numerous other ideas floating around but this one seems to make the most sense to me!
Our visit to the beautiful Russian Orthodox Church, also known as The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, with the gold spires that can be seen from many vantage points, was especially memorable. While Moses went up to visit the church and Herbie and I remained below, several young nuns were carrying sliced watermelon to their private houses. It was very hot and the watermelon looked very good so I said rather loudly, "that looks really good"! One came right over with a big smile and gave us a piece to share! I joined Moses in the upper church but was not allowed to photograph. Got this one in quickly before being stopped. Really beautiful!
|Thought to be the original tree.|
|Classic male multi-taking! (and that is not a musical instrument he has in his mouth...|
Till next time, visits and wedding festivities...