Thursday, June 22, 2017


While waiting at the gate at SFO, a family entered—a very pretty mother with three very pretty teenage daughters and a younger son. They sat on the floor and proceeded to blow up a large balloon appearing to be getting ready for a celebration. I couldn't see what they were doing until Dad entered, sat on a chair and was adorned with a golden crown. Then they broke out in Happy 50th Birthday Dad and ate their cupcakes. It was such a nice family event to watch. No, I didn't take a photo as I felt tho it was in public, it was their private moment.

Has anyone ever had a seatmate on an airplane who actually changed into jammies and slippers? No? Well I had one, a male Professor of Architectural History at Stanford, no less! I had all I could do to keep a straight face when he told me he was going to change! And yes, he changed back before arrival!

In a long line for Passport check and trying to use my phone to message the arranged driver as  instructed, it didn't matter what I did, it just didn't work from my US phone to an Israeli number. The Israeli phone company was already on my phone as soon as we landed. (My Israeli number kicks in on the 15th.)

A young woman in back of me offered me her phone. She was wearing her head covered which meant she was Orthodox and married. I accepted her kind offer. One thing led to another and she turned out to be married to a hairdresser, a full time mother of four and therapist and returning from Manchester where her nephew had become a bar mitzvah. Because she had been so kind and friendly, I offered her a free ride with me. It turned out she lived quite close to my rental so no problem. On the ride to Jerusalem we poured our hearts out to each other and as she got out she turned to me  and said, "I feel like I want to see you again." I hugged her and we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. How lovely to meet someone of a younger generation and have her react to me in that way. We had a good laugh when she told me her recent very sad family story and I replied she needed a therapist!

Oy! It has a large bedroom, 2 other small rooms, a half descent kitchen with a few amenities, barely
OK for breakfast. Nachalot, the neighborhood, is across from the shuk which is very fun. If I understood the owner correctly, the bedroom used to be a cistern which means there is a noisy blower of some kind on all the time, but I need to turn it off at night. The
bathroom is hilarious but I must admit has great hot water pressure in the so called shower. If I were too much larger I wouldn't fit! My cosmetics are on a night table I moved outside bathroom, visible in bottom photo outside bathroom door!

view from my eating desk!
Jennifer met Deborah Sosebee, an old friend of ours from the Bay Area—here to baby sit her grandson— for coffee and then came to me to spend the night. She couldn't believe I was  actually staying in this hippy pad in a combo religious and hippy neighborhood. I think it's exciting! Definitely not the free class act Marc found for me last year! This one came at a cost from VRBO.

Nechama, Ashira, Jennifer
Friday afternoon Jennifer drove Herbie and me to spend Shabbat in Ranaana. Philippe and the girls made dinner so that we could visit with Ashira and her 10-month-old Nechama before leaving Jerusalem.

Simone turned 18 and graduated high school. She will be spending a year doing volunteer work as she is not eligible to go in the army.  She intends to start college the following year. Daniella did very well on the SATs and is writing her essays for college apps. Being in the Army/Air Force has influenced her future plans. It sounds to me like PR/Public Policy in the science/medical field. She is applying to Georgetown, Columbia, U of Chicago and possibly others. Her time in the military has been incredibly positive with awards and excellent feedback from higher ups. We are very proud!

We also paid a visit to Burt Edelstein at his beautiful senior living apartment. Burt is the son of Herbie's parents dear friends and the brother of Maury in case any of you San Franciscans recognize the name. He is sharp as a tack in his late 80s and very political!

While we were in Ranaana, Herbie's companion Moses took a long day trip to Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee and Jordan River. It really adds to my enjoyment to have him see the Christian sights. To refresh your collective memory, he is a devout Christian from Delhi and he enjoyed last years trip here. We will try to take him to whatever we missed before plus introducing him to new Jewish places and events. We are making him an honorary Jew/Israeli!

Of course they are all adorable but Ashiras is the first Friedman of both generations to immediately
come to me! The others always preferred their Zayda/a male. She is friendly to everyone as her mother attends school and teaches English and has to leave her well tended by her Aunt Talia after her school (summer vacation) or a baby sitter or a nursery group. Another example how leaving babies in good care is healthy! Zach learns at a yeshiva so he is not always available. He claims the baby is a Stern not a Friedman which accounts for the friendliness!

Zalman's wife Rivi and the girls met us for dinner, along with Chana Tsipora and Talia with
Nechama (Ashira's), Shalom Simcha and
Marc at one of our two favorite Italian places, Pear & Apple. Deborah was our special guest.  The owner knows us by now and came out of the kitchen to entertain us and the rest of the patrons by singing Italian Opera. A good dinner and good time was had by one and all! The kids love to play on the stone cushions in the back of the City Hall. I believe it was once a temporary art installation but they seem to have kept it and rightfully so. (see below for more pics)

As some of you know Batya was married to Pinchas, a lovely man, on June 1. She was having such a good time dancing with all the ladies, she fell and broke both ankle bones. Had to leave her wedding party on a stretcher by ambulance! She is very happy and upbeat tho must remain housebound for quite awhile.

Marc and the kids found two new places in the Old City to show me. Moriah, named after Mt. Moriah, makes mostly Judaica out of leftover pieces of excavated Jerusalem stone. They add gold and diamonds from chips to larger pieces. 

The Faberge egg is incredible! Talia and Chana Tsipora purchased necklaces with their belated birthday money from us.  The manager and salesman fell in love with the girls and baby and gave them a nice discount! The other, is a large gift store with ceramics, silver, etc., for everyone's gift giving. All Israeli made and themed.

Alexander invited us to dinner with him and Racheli at Entrecote, one of the few Kosher places they
 Zalman and Alexander with proud Zayda
will eat. Their baby is due early July so hoping to be here. Yes, that was the wedding last August! Zalman rode his bike for a short visit on his way home. I told him I was so amazed at how outgoing Alexander has become and he said marriage raises self esteem. Two terrific young men! I blew it and forgot to get a photo of Racheli as was concentrating on the two grandsons with their Zayda.

Rivi and Ruti giving us directions
Another oy! There were four children at Rivi and Zalmans, not three, as evidenced by the photos. The difference between Zayda with Ashira's sweet, quiet 10-month-old Nechama and his behavior with 5-year-old Yael Hadassah, 3 1/2-year-old Batsheva and 18-month-old Ruti was like night and day.  He called them vilda hiya (wild animals) when he did the inciting!  He likes being one of the kids!
Herbie in his favorite position!

Sticking their tongues out!
Batxheva the leader. It's the red hair!

bom, bom, butz
 We visited Ashira and Nechama the same day. Zayda played bom, bom, butz, a Yiddish game where he lightly bangs foreheads with little ones. This one loved it and kept bending for more! Moses recorded all of her antics as she is a real show off and so friendly. He was even down on the floor with her offering his finger as a teething implement!

Once again Moses and I visited The Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Shortly after we were there last year, they uncovered a new window into where Christ is said to be buried. No photos allowed and too dark to sneak one. We waited in line and it looked the same to me as last visit but a window was opened in the rear.  Moses was very happy to be there again and hopes to one day bring his wife and daughter. He is most appreciative of the opportunities afforded him here in Israel. We also visited another area of the church that was blocked off last trip. The mosaic floor has a depiction of Noah's arc. Once again we left Herbie with his newspapers enjoying the sunshine and quiet in the yard.The building next door is finished and quite ugly. Looks like an institution or office building. Reminds me of the defunct Jack Tar!

JUNE 19, 1962
Couldn't resist Batman in Hebrew, Jerusalem below.
Marc's birthday today. I told him we would take him wherever he wanted.  He had read about a new place, Skyline, at the top of the Jerusalem Gardens Hotel. Even if the food was not the best Marc or any of us has had in Israel (it was), the view was worth the price.

At last, after trying since it was completed in 2008, I got the perfect photos of the Calatrava bridge near the entrance to town. In daylight it is really quite unattractive. It is known as The Chords Bridge, The Bridge of Strings or the Light Rail Bridge. We had no idea it was lit at night until we passed it the night before and it puts on quite a show. It reminds me of the Bay Bridge installation. If I knew how to video you would see one will have to do!  (see below)

His real present was a compendium of all the Batman episodes on TV.  I had seen the book when I visited my Cousin Bob in LA as he wrote two of them in the 80s (I think). We both decided it was the perfect gift for Marc as from the time he was a very young child he walked around in a batman cape! Not at all sure if he took it off just before college or earlier!!!! (Smiley face here)



ChanaTsipora and Nechama
Yael Hadassah
Yael Hadassah, Shalom Simcha, Batsheva

Rivi, Ruti, Batsheva, Yael Hadassah, Uncle Shalom Simcha, Aunt Chana Tsipora


  1. was more than eager to receive and read/enjoy your first blog of this trip!
    great photos, especially the one of you and Ashira and Zach's precious little girl.

  2. Fabulous Marianne! I am reading your posts to greg as we plan his first trip to Israel! Be sure to throw in a bit about the beautiful Mediterranean-I know he will love it when he sees it in person!!