Monday, July 16, 2007

As of last Friday, we have been Israeli citizens for a WHOLE YEAR! Is that totally amazing or what? I am so very grateful to Hakodesh Baruch Hu for making it possible for me to be here. And also for our friends (all over the world) and our family and our home and our puppy and our car and our parnassah and our health -- we may not have much money left but we are so wealthy, it amazes me! I don't particularly enjoy hearing gunfire and firecrackers nearly every night from neighboring Arab villages, but I love this yishuv and our life here.

Let's recap the last week's events.

Last Monday, my neighbor across the street, Miryam, and I took David to work and then went to a women's writing seminar in Har Nof. It was a really nice day; the speakers were wonderful and gave over a lot of useful information.

On Thursday afternoon I took a bus from Kochav Yaakov into town. I left the house at 4, intending to take the 4:10 PM bus, but no bus showed up until 5:30. Apparently a bus broke down, but I'll never know because everyone else waiting at the bus stop found out what happened and were telling each other -- in Ivrit, of course. A lot of people "tremped" (hitched) rides, which is very common here, but I stuck it out. David and I were meeting Tzi and Toby from Ramat Beit Shemesh at The Red Heifer for dinner at 7. We've been wanting to eat real steaks since we got here, and boy, did they have good ones! Tzvi also offered me a job while we were there. He's director of one of the Aish learning programs for women and while I would love the job, I don't really want to work full time. He wants me to work 9-5 Sunday through Thursday. I wouldn't have time to do anything else! When I get back from St. Louis I'll go in and speak with him and we'll see what we can work out. It sounds like something I would enjoy and be good at and he even said I could bring Emma as there's a yard in back! But I think she would be a pain and want a lot of my attention; she'd be better off at home. I'm not going to think about the job yet.

While we were in Yerushalayim, we got two Shabbos invitations by phone! David and I had planned to have two quiet meals at home on Shabbos and then go to a neighbor's down the street for Seudat Shlishi, but apparently people here decide on Thursday nights to invite guests. So on Friday night we went to the home of the Ashkenasi rabbi. The rabbi's wife is very personable. After we benched, David and I sat speaking with her for a long time. Four of their kids were there; the oldest three are married. The two older girls at the table (post high school age) couldn't stop giggling and laughing; they were so cute! The rabbi learns a perek of Mishlei with his family every Friday night and we enjoyed listening to them learn together.

For Shabbos lunch, we walked to the totally opposite corner of the yishuv to the most beautiful house. Deena, the wife, also works for the transcription company I work for, and her husband, Jordan, is the brother of someone we knew in RBS who went to our shul. They added rooms to their house when they bought it and it was so lovely. Their kitchen was double size; one side was fleishig, half the other side was dairy and the other half parve. Three separate sinks, 2 refrigerators, two stoves and two dishwashers, plus six bedrooms upstairs. I tried really hard to stuff that green envy stuff way down in my innards... They were such nice people and their children were so cute. How is it that each family we meet is nicer than the one before?

After lunch we came home and rested for awhile, and then Lisa, Miryam, Penina and Penina's daughter, Rochel, came over for a couple hours of mahj. We would have played longer, but David and I had been invited to an early Seudat Shlishli. Julia and Eliyahu had a funky house (they decorated their kitchen with really cool cabinets from Ikea) and some little, active kids. We stayed there a long time talking.

The English speakers in the yishuv are really close with one another, maybe because there are so few of us. Last night I actually hosted a women's Rosh Chodesh program. It was called for 8:30 PM but no one started showing up until about 8:40, and then they just trickled in. By 9:15, thirteen women had showed up, which was good because I made a lot of refreshments. The speaker was great; she spoke about women and the Mikdash, and it was sort of interactive with everybody throwing in their two shekels worth. Afterwards they stayed for awhile and ate and talked. I'm getting familiar with the faces now that I'm meeting more people. Baruch Hashem! Poor David was stuck in his office with Emma for a couple of hours; I think he fell asleep in his chair.

Emma seemed to need a change of scenery this evening, so I took her out on the leash for maybe the second time since we moved here. We walked to the end of our street (we're the fourth house from the end) where there's an open fence leading to higher up on the hill. I can't believe I hadn't gone up there before now. The view was spectacular! You could see hillside after hillside with small settlements on them (mostly Arab). I can't wait to take my camera there tomorrow. In fact, we haven't taken any pictures here yet. I'm waiting for David to have some time to hang up three curtain rods for me so I can hang the curtains I bought, and that's really the last thing I have to do on the inside of the house. The women last night couldn't believe we were totally moved in already. Some of them said they still have stuff in boxes after living here for a long time. I like to feel moved in as soon as possible. It definitely feels like home now!

It's just so wonderful to be living in Eretz Yisrael. I was supposed to take a bus into town this morning with Penina and we were going to spend the whole day there shopping, but I had a bit of a stomach bug. Hopefully we'll go later in the week.

Th -- th -- th -- that's all, folks!

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