Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Several things stand out in my mind from the last few days. Two not happy events. Followed by an additional one!

First of all, our dear friend of some 30 years died Wednesday morning from Alzheimer's and the funeral was that same afternoon at 3 pm. Strange but Moses had asked me the day before when we visited Mt. Herzel what the Jewish customs are after death.

We took a cab to the funeral in Beit Shemesh but were able to get a ride back on a chartered bus. The rabbi from the shul in Yemin Moshe where they had lived for so many years gave the eulogy. We all laughed because Mike was known for his jokes and the rabbi totally captured his humorous as well as his charitable side. As a matter of fact, Herbie and I visited him a few days before he died. Herbie leaned over the bed and told him, tho he was essentially gone but with a breathing tube, that he was going to miss talking about their mutual friend, Sanford Bernstein, originally from the Bay Area. The rabbi made a point of talking about the friend and how they were always in competition as to who was the most charitable.

In case you have forgotten the fun story of how we met the Kramers,  Marc was a lone soldier, Jennifer was studying in Paris, it was Christmas vacation and we were meeting the kids for lunch in the Old City. I had read about a new fiber arts gallery and Herbie and I visited while waiting for the kids. Gloria was not there but Mike was. I took one look at him and said, "that's my father reincarnated"! Turns out the Kramers had moved to Israel from Chicago where my father was born. Then we brought the kids in and they exclaimed, "that's grandpa"! Of course I became a good customer of the gallery and we have been friends ever since. They "adopted" Marc while he was in the army. They visited us once in the states many years ago. I do believe we have seen them on nearly every trip here.

I took a few photos surreptitiously and had I realized how no one would see me I would have taken more. It was a fascinating burial with nine very religious men walking in circles before the body was lowered into the ground. The religious do not use coffins but wrap the body along with the tallit or prayer shawl and put it directly into the ground. Then men who looked like they worked there began shoveling dirt over the body and others shoveled small amounts of dirt after. We asked about the stones we see on graves and they are to show people visited the dead. Moses felt compelled to shovel dirt and said their Christian and Hindu funerals in India are very similar. Then men lined up and the male offspring walked between the mourners and the women did the same for the female family members. There is also a custom of washing after looking at a body.

I found it fascinating that Moses felt completely comfortable and at home with the entire service.

On Sunday we paid a shiva call. There are special chairs for the widow and an empty one with Hebrew writing on it for the deceased. I have never seen so many people at a shiva and a family member told me people have been coming all day every day. Everyone loved Mike!


This news has recently been in the papers but I got it first hand. Once again I took the photography course in the shuk Herbie and I took two years ago. There was a group of soldiers crowding around a merchant who was feeding them watermelon. I noticed one young man dressed in black haredi garb instead of a regular uniform. I wrongly assumed he was an interloper. Some young religious men who wish to serve in the army are unable to go home to their neighborhoods and family. They are shunned and, as was
teacher and 3 guys
recently reported, are stoned and sometimes worse. The soldier who answered my question pointed out this was a religious unit and they were all wearing black kippot (plural of kippah). Then they asked me to take photos of them and post on the internet. If someone wants to tell me how to do that I will.

Every trip I feel I learn something and hopefully pass on to all of you as well. It's not always pleasant but it is interesting!


It never ceases to amaze me the free events the city offers its inhabitants. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of the City, there is a sound and light show on the outer wall between city hall and Jaffa Gate, running thru June. It features historical milestones in history plus numerous citizens of all ages popping out of windows telling how much they love the city and why. Then several well known Israeli male and female singers entertain on the outcroppings of the wall. There is music playing over loud speakers and while I was taking pics I found my body moving to the infectious melodies.

It was so enjoyable I took Herbie and Moses some days later. They too thought it was wonderful. The use of videos has so enhanced our enjoyment of performances, theater, etc. here and at home and this is the perfect example.

In a few days another free light show will open with artists creating pieces of art out of LED lights   throughout the old city and on one of the outer walls. We saw this show a couple of years ago and I am looking forward to this fabulous event.

(Minus Benjamin who is in SF.)
Daniella and Simone are food mavens and Daniella chose a wonderful place, Maysha, in a boutique hotel, Mendeli on Rehov Mendeli.  They had taken Benjamin there before he left for the states. Fabulous meal celebrating Simon's18th birthday and her graduation from high school. After the brunch she passed her driving test on the first try and was accepted into the Sheirut Leumi position in the money laundering and counter terrorism government office. She is so happy! Sheirut Leumi is the year-long volunteer service for those who are unable to go into the military.

(not to confuse things, we were told we are to call the baby Rachel but then I hear the family calling her Nechama so go figure!)

And what a dinner it was! We dined outside at our other favorite Italian place Luciano, in Mamilla. The baby entertained throughout and she and Moses were pretty darn funny! She was lying in her pram part of the time and in everyone's arms the rest. He would look at her and make noises and faces and she would imitate him. And the waitstaff kept coming over to see her. She could win a Miss Personality contest! Chana Tsipora and Talia were with us but Shalom Simcha was on a school day trip.


Rivi, Ashira, Talia (Chana Tsipora is still in school till next week) and I had brunch at their invitation and the two babies joined us.  Eighteen-month-old Ruti took a nap part of the time but Miss Congeniality at ten months was awake throughout! I loved the way Ruti tried to smother her cousin Rachel and "kill her with kindness"! Rivi's English is coming along and she is really trying. The girls had to translate much of the conversation but she and I can communicate with help. I am so proud of both Rivi who will be starting an arts education program to become a teacher and Ashira who is getting her bachelor's degree and teaching English at a top girls school and to adults. With husbands who learn (read study) the wives need to work but these two are very motivated to do what interests them.

After Moses, Herbie and I had dinner tonight,
I took the train to the shuk as I always do to get to my apartment. As I was walking across the street, a police car pulled up on the tracks facing the train going towards where I had come from. Shortly after, all the passengers got off and the police cordoned off the train. Someone left a backpack and the bomb squad of one arrived about 10 minutes later. Naturally my camera and I were amongst the crowd that gathered. We were told to stand back and a very short time later the one man
bomb squad departed from the train holding an empty backpack. I made the mistake of walking towards his vehicle and snapping a photo closer and he caught me. He was pissed because I didn't ask first. Asked me if I spoke Hebrew and then read me the riot act in
English how I must ask before taking photos but that it was OK. In view of the fact the photographer who led the class in the shuk had said the same thing, I asked as I took a couple more walking thru. Live and learn!

Yesterday morning I fell in my unit and ended up in the emergency room at Hadassah Hospital for 5 hours. I am not enclosing a photo as it is really gross! I hit my face next to my left eye on the hard floor and what is now red will be a shiner soon! I had 6 stitches and hope the pediatric surgeon did a good job! I could have moved elsewhere and had a plastic surgeon but chose to let the wonderful doc work on me. Everyone was so nice but Marc who had taken me and spent the whole time with me and I decided to leave before the last test result came in. It was a chest xray to make sure pneumonia didn't cause me to fall. But my chest sounded fine so I wasn't worried. I had a bad stomach in the morning and apparently fainted after going to the toilet.  Not enough water! It is just as frustrating waiting in Israel as in the US! Hopefully, by the time I arrive home on Sunday, July 9, I will be (nearly) back to my usual self!

My kids decided they didn't want me staying alone so Moses moved me to the house. I am sleeping in the basement while he is in the den and Herbie in the bedroom. It seems to be working fine as my husband has changed to a much much nicer person! I am thrilled as his nastiness had caused me to move in the first place.

The landlord could not have been nicer.  He said if he rents the place during this week, he will reimburse me whatever he gets. At least I stayed two of the three weeks!

I loved staying near the shuk and plan to have a special blog just about the shuk. Now I have to walk there! Being across the street was a real treat. Walking thru there at all hours of the night and day exposed a new way of life here and it was a wonderful experience!  Stay tuned....

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