What a week! So much going on these days; nothing important or earth-shattering, just stuff happening.
On Tuesday, Miryam, Shaya, Penina, Pinchas and I got on the 3:35 PM bus into Yerushalayim. They all bought their chofshi chodeshi (monthly bus pass) at the takanah merkazit (central bus station) since it was the first day of the month. I had been to town the day before so I already had mine. Then we all hopped on the #18 and headed down to Ben Yehuda Street, where we had dinner on the meat side of Cafe Rimon. Dov and Lisa came a little later (they had to be home when their kids got home from school), and David met up with us as well when he got off work. After dinner, the eight of us walked up King George to the Hechal Shlomo building (it may have been a shul; I'm not sure) for the very first live show of Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem. We had gotten free tickets to be in the studio audience of this new television show that will be broadcast on Shalom TV and another non-Jewish cable network, broadcast around the world. It is also shown on Arutzsheva.com. It was so much fun!
David was stressed out from work and ended up leaving before the show started. There were a lot of seminary girls in the audience who were screaming seemingly without end (everyone was pretty excited) and he didn't think he wanted to sit through that. The other seven of us enjoyed the show immensely. They actually taped two shows - the first half you can see on Arutz Sheva now and the next week's show will be on the website next Thursday. I just watched the first show and the taping didn't turn out so well. They're going to have to learn a whole lot about lighting and where to place microphones. The taped version doesn't do justice to the excitement of being in the audience. Everyone in the audience (from kids to a 92 year old woman) were Anglos who had either made aliyah or were studying here or just visiting from other countries, but we all had one thing in common - we were Jews who love Israel! We can't go to the next show because there's a wedding on our yishuv in two weeks, but I'm hoping to go to the following taping at the end of January.
On Wednesday I got the urge to clean (finally! I was wondering when this house was ever going to get clean again) and spent most of the day sweeping, mopping, washing, etc. Then, for some reason, I decided to do all my Shabbat cooking on Thursday. Somehow my neshama (soul) must have known that I needed to do that because late in the afternoon I got an email from a friend of Nathan's who lives in Ramot inviting us to the pidyon haben of his son the following day. A pidyon haben is a ceremony that you have on the 30th day after the birth of a son. But there's a lot of conditions of who can actually have one: it has to be the first pregnancy and the first born has to be a boy. The ceremony involves the father "redeeming" his first born son from a Kohain; he has to say that he either wants the baby or five silver coins; the Kohain gets whichever one he doesn't want. The rabbi (when speaking later) said that he hadn't met a father yet who wanted the money instead of his child (Baruch Hashem)!
The nice part about it is that Yishai (who's been a friend of my son's since they were in eighth grade) also went to the same to yeshivas in Israel that Nathan attended, so all the rabbaim (rabbis) who came knew my son, plus there were other friends and relatives of Yishai that I knew as well. They held it at a dairy restaurant in Har Nof. It had been called for 11, and of course David and I were the only ones who showed up then. We just can't get it through our heads that everyone here goes not just by Jewish time, but by Israeli time so you can always add at least a half hour to the "suggested" start time of any event. The ceremony didn't actually start until after noon, which was followed by lunch, and Shabbos started at 4:25 PM yesterday. We left the restaurant at 1:30 and got home in plenty of time, even though --
We drove all the way into town and all the way back with no problems. We've known for at least 2-3 weeks that our car was not feeling well so David has been taking the bus to work every day and I've only been using it to get groceries and to pick David up from the bus stop at night. When we got back to the yishuv, we stopped by the mailboxes to get our mail and as we were pulling out onto the main street we heard a loud noise under the front end and a clanging noise. David very slowly backed into the empty lot behind us and we took out our belongings and locked it up. We kept saying, Thank you Hashem for letting us get all the way there and back before it fell apart. We had passed several accidents on the way home, and all we could think of as we walked home from where the car was parked was how grateful we were to be back on the yishuv, safe and sound - especially two hours before Shabbat. Hashem really looks after us; we are so, so blessed in so many ways. There's so much to be grateful for, every single day!
Yesterday (Friday) was the first time that it's rained in awhile (which explains all the accidents), and by dinner time it was really coming down. Miryam and Shaya joined us as usual, and we enjoyed their company. At 8:00 PM we were supposed to go to a vort/dessert reception at Dov and Lisa's for the couple getting married a week from Tuesday. Shaya walks with a cane and David is still limping from his knee, and the vort was down at the bottom of the yishuv (remember, we're on the very highest street). But we went! And it was really nice! David's never really had a chance to meet other English speakers on the yishuv. I've been meeting the women because of the Shabbat afternoon shiur every week, and because we all do things for each other and help each other out. Not a lot of people came in the rain, but enough did that it was an enjoyable evening. At least it wasn't raining on the way home, but we had to stop pretty frequently so Shaya could catch his breath. This was the second time this week we made him walk a pretty good distance.
Today the rain was kind of on-again, off-again. It didn't stop ten ladies from coming to the shiur at my house late this afternoon. There are two rebbetzins (rabbi's wives) who take turns speaking every other week about the parsha (weekly Torah portion). This was the first time I've hosted it. I actually made Rice Krispies treats which a lot of people remember from the "old" country; I even took some to the vort last night. They don't have real Rice Krispies here, but they do have another American off-brand which is better than the Israeli version. Also, the only bags of marshmallows I've found in this country are a mixture of strawberry and regular, so I had to use marshmallow fluff which didn't hold the squares together too well. But I think people liked them anyway.
The daughter of the rabbi who paved the way for my becoming observant lives here in Israel and just had her first baby. Her mother, Brocha, came to Israel just before Shabbat so I'm hoping to see her sometime while she's here. Leah and her husband just moved to Kiryat Sefer which is north and west of Yerushalayim, but Brocha's sister lives in Ramat Shlomo which is fairly close to us. Unfortunately, and I say this for a number of reasons, President Bush is coming to Israel on Wednesday.
Besides a number of major roads in Jerusalem being closed down for three days, his agenda in coming here makes me sick. I HATE reading the news. I can't stand to read what Bush and Olmert and Rice and all the other politicians have to say about giving away our holy land or dividing up Jerusalem or trying to pretend that Israel isn't a Jewish country. It's sickening to hear Olmert blame Israelis when we get attacked by terrorists or to hear people say that the only way to have peace is to give and give and give without getting anything in return. It doesn't make sense that people can be so blind. How can they not see that the Arabs don't want to make peace? How can they not see that they want to wipe us off the face of the earth? How can they continue to give them arms, to release the terrorists from jail, to give them our precious land that Hashem gave to US, to the Jews? The only answer that makes any sense is that Hashem is hardening their hearts, like he did to Pharaoh when we were slaves in Mitzrayim (Egypt). He must be setting the stage for Moshiach to come and finally bring peace and understanding to us humans. Please may it be so!
I'm very thankful that the writer's seminar I'm going to is on Tuesday, before Bush gets here. Unless it's to see Brocha, I'm not going into town after Tuesday!