Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's late afternoon on a Thursday, end of February. I've been doing a little cooking for Shabbat. Today was so beautiful, I actually hung my laundry outside to dry. It was sunny and in the 60's, with more to come for several days. I guess our oil heater broke at just the right time; it will take about ten days to get it fixed.

I went back to the doctor this afternoon. After a week of antibiotics, nose spray, cough medicine, and ear drops, my earache has gotten worse. I haven't been able to hear out of it for several days. It seems that the infection is now in my ears, so I'm back on (a different) antibiotic plus all the other stuff. The 11th was the first I realized I wasn't feeling well, and now it's February 28! It seems like everyone (both here and in chutz l'aretz) are sick with the same stuff. Enough is enough already!

I actually left the house for the first time in two weeks late Tuesday afternoon. Miryam and I hopped (perhaps stumbled would be a more apt description) onto the 5:05 bus into Yerushalayim and went to a taping of the Tuesday Nite Live in Jerusalem show. It was so enjoyable. First of all, I ran into two friends from Ramat Beit Shemesh that I hadn't seen in awhile. Also, my non-Jewish cleaning lady from St. Louis came to Israel at the beginning of the month to volunteer for six months at a humanitarian aid organization, and she was also there. Pam loves everything Jewish; she just believes in you-know-who.

The show itself was fabulous. The first half was dedicated to the people of Sderot (pronounced stay-rote). Sderot is a town down south within shooting distance from Gaza, and they've been under attack now for seven years. Qassam rockets fall daily there; the entire town (those who've stayed) are traumatized. When the siren sounds, they have no more than 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter. Most of the schools and homes don't even have bomb shelters, so there isn't even a safe place to go. People can't sell their homes so most of them can't leave. Our government isn't doing anything to help them - private organizations and non-profits are the ones stepping up to bat. So the Palestinians can do anything they want, but Olmert is negotiating with them to give even MORE land back. They're shooting from the homes of the Jews who were ripped out of their homes over two years ago, and what has that accomplished? Certainly not peace! Now they can - and do - shoot at Israelis from a closer distance. And the government wants to give them part of our holy city of Jerusalem, and all of the west bank (where we are living, by the way). David and I read a very scary article saying that the government is contemplating just pulling the IDF out of the west bank and giving it to the Palestinians while leaving us all here for the terrorists. They (the government) intends to start a campaign to "show" that the Jews living across the green line are just a bunch of crazy religious nuts, so the world won't condemn them when the Palestinians start to murder us. They have no idea who lives here! We're just regular people living and working in our neighborhoods; there are tens of thousands of Jews that the government would rather leave to the terrorists than to have to protect us or pay us to move. There are very few (if any) "illegal outposts." Nearly all of these towns and cities and neighborhoods were all built with government approval. Sorry, I've gone off on a very long and passionate tangent. This blog was started as a light-hearted attempt to keep my family and friends posted about our lives here; it's sometimes hard to do that when the survival of our people and our land is at stake.

Anyway, the second half of Tuesday Night Live was also great. Rabbi David Aron of Isralight spoke. His message was interesting: G-d loves us. He said that most people think of that as a Christian concept and they think of the Jewish G-d as demanding and to be feared, but in reality Hashem really loves us and wants what's best for us. The show also had the musical guest Chaim Dovid and his band. I had never heard him before (and my plugged-up ear made it hard to hear him that night as well) and he was fantastic. He used to play with Shlomo Carlebach, and played a lot of his songs. After the show, he stayed and gave a short concert for whoever wanted to stay. Just so you know, all the Tuesday Nite Live shows can be watched at either or The Sderot prgram airs late tonight (Israel time) and the Rabbi Aron/Chaim Dovid show can be watched next Thursday night online.

Yesterday morning I had to go back into Yerushalayim for my Alexander Technique therapy; I've missed three appointments over the last couple weeks. It was such a beautiful day and I hadn't been out in so long that I walked from the Takanah Merkazit (central bus station) to my appointment at the very end of Jaffa. I have no idea how far that was. (Maybe two miles? Maybe less.) On the way back to the bus station I stopped at the Village Green, a vegetarian restaurant, and had a bowl of soup. Altogether I was gone about four hours, although when I got home Emma acted as if I'd been gone for a year!

It was so funny when I walked in the door - on our couch we have two comforters, five pillows and lots of sheets from our mahmad (sealed room) that have been cleaned and bleached. We're waiting for our landlord to paint the sealed room so the beds are up on end, and there's nowhere to put the linens. Emma has discovered that if she climbs to the top of this very soft pile, she can be high enough to look out the window and bask in the sunlight. Also, when I was in the kitchen making dinner, she had a perfect view to keep an eye on me (you know, in case something really good falls to the floor; sometimes she gets there so fast the food hasn't even landed yet!). I'll see if I can't post a picture of her on top of the heap.

Guess I'd better get some dinner together for the breadwinner of the family.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's motzi Shabbat and David just finished moving my computer from the sealed room (aka guest room, aka my office) to the dining room table. We also took apart the two single beds that were in there and I'm washing all the bed linens. Yesterday I had actually opened the window for the first time in months since the weather was pretty warm and I wanted to get some light into the room. Just before Shabbat as I was closing them up, I found - to my horror - that the two walls on the outside part of the house were totally covered in black mold! It was all over the front end of the beds, the back of the filing cabinet, on the cords plugged into the outlet, and halfway up the walls. Now my being sick so often makes sense. I tested positive for mold allergies as a kid. Penina told me tonight that prolonged exposure to something you're allergic to lowers your immune system, and it seems that's what's happened. I've been sitting in that room at my computer for hours every day!

Okay, enough of the doom and gloom. As of this morning the antibiotics seemed to have started working. I still have the earache and a disgusting cough, but I can now breathe through my nose. We didn't have any guests for Shabbat, and David and I went to bed at 9:30 last night. I got up at 7:30 this morning, but David didn't stumble out of bed until 8:30. I'm sure my coughing has been keeping him up the last few nights, so we both needed the sleep.

Today was a gorgeous day. We opened up all the windows and after lunch the three of us (Emma was so excited!) took a leisurely walk. We didn't even wear jackets. It was with considerable reluctance that we closed the windows at Shalos Seudas. Darn! I just looked at the weather and it looks like it will be partly cloudy and 59 tomorrow, and then two days of rain. Oh well. I'm going into town Tuesday night (for Tuesday Night Live) and again Wednesday morning for my Alexander Technique appointment. Did I explain that already? I must have.

So let's go back in time, shall we? How about three weeks ago, February 1st? Emma got to stay with Choco and Vanil (Penina's dog and cat) while David and I went to Beit Shemesh for Shabbat. We left early in the morning that Friday and visited with Ellen and Kalmon, and the Turner family from St. Louis. Just before Shabbat we dropped our bags off at a friends' parents (what a house - it looked like it had been transplanted from the states), changed our clothes, and headed down the street.

David went to shul and I went to the home where we were having dinner - along with our friends from Connecticut, Peggy and Avi, who had come to Israel for Avi's son's wedding. They were staying with friends of Peggy's from college, and we had such a wonderful time the entire Shabbat. Being at shul the next morning for the auf ruf was the icing on the cake - I haven't been to shul since Simchat Torah and I miss it so much! (There just aren't any shuls that work for us where we live.)

That Tuesday I met Peggy in town and took her to Geula, Mea Shearim and Mahane Yehuda shuk. She's never been to Eretz Yisrael before, and because of the upcoming nuptials, no one had had a chance to show her anything yet. Thursday night was the wedding at the Great Synagogue in Yerushalayim. Whoo-ee! What an affair! It was definitely not an Israeli-type wedding. The kallah's family lives in Ramot and daddy started some kind of bio-tech company so they have money. The wedding had a smorgasbord kabalas panim with some weird colored liquors at the bar and a sit-down dinner for 400. The best part was - everyone spoke English! I loved it! Okay, sorry - the best part was really the very sweet choson and his beautiful kallah. The choson came to Israel a year ago on his own to fight in the IDF, and all his soldier friends were there. You can't imagine what it's like to watch these young people who are defending our country dancing with wild abandon out of love for their friend. We all felt extremely safe that night, actually, because it looked like an overwhelming majority of the men there were carrying firearms. David felt very left out.

We were invited to sheva brachot the following Sunday. Avi's brother-in-law and niece cooked up a delicious dairy meal and they had it at their shul (a very lovely shul in Baka, I must add. Baka is one of the neighborhoods in Yerushalayim). Unfortunately, the kallah didn't seem to be feeling well and we heard she woke up the next morning with a fever and they had to cancel the last sheva brachot (unless the choson went without her; I don't really know the outcome).

Peggy and Avi were leaving the next evening, but I met them (and Peggy's beautiful niece, Rivka, from St. Louis) for lunch and a little bit of shopping. It was wonderful to spend so much time with Peggy; they were actually our last stop on our "Farewell Tour" in July 2006 just before we hopped on our El Al flight to make aliyah. Could it already be 2008?

At the end of December 1999, I was vacationing in Boro Park with the then single Peggy, sharing the last night before Y2K hit. It was a Friday night, and we barely made it to midnight to watch some fireworks out the window and to make sure that the electricity and plumbing still worked before we went to sleep.

You know, before David and I got married in 1998, I had hardly gone ANYwhere. In the first few months after the wedding, we went to San Francisco and to Eretz Yisrael for the first time. Since that time I've been to Fargo, North Dakota; Moorhead and Minneapolis, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Washington, DC; Postville, Iowa; Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland, New York City; and Fairfield, Connecticut. And now I live in Eretz Yisrael!

And what I wish so much, at times almost overwhelmingly, is that my parents were still alive to have shared it with. They both were niftar in 1996, breast cancer and congestive heart failure, and both in their 60's. I would say that my outlook for long life doesn't look so rosy, but my father's mother lived until 97 - plus we all know that Hashem's plans don't preclude anything. It's amazing sometimes how many of my father's mannerisms I see in my husband. Kind of gives me the chilly willies...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I haven't blogged even once this month?

The nutshell version is: spent a week and a half with my friend, Peggy, who was visiting from Connecticut, and have spent the last week and a half sick. Does that cover it? No? You want more? I'm always happy to supply every minute facet of my life in excruciating detail, but right now I have the mother of all earaches and a nose so stuffed that the simple act of swallowing makes me feel as if all my insides are being sucked up into my head. What? Too much information? You can't have it both ways, boys and girls - either you get the gruesome details or you get nothing. Since I'm shivering under my warm jammies covered by a robe covered by a huge, thick sweater and my fingers are like icicles on the keyboard, I think we're going to have to end here and hope that I have more energy and wit tomorrow; day 11 of this unfortunate malady (of which many people are currently suffering). So I bid you adieu, buenos noches, laila tov, dosvidanya (sp?) and good night until we speak again...