Ki Yachol Nuchal!

New olah; mom and wife. In small ways, every day, trying to rectify the error in judgement of my zaydies, the meraglim. "See these big grapes? We can make really big wine!"

Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

Sunday Sojourn #1

Posted by rutimizrachi on 17/11/2008

Yom sheni, 19 Cheshvan 5769.

In 1991, the Dearly Beloved took me to Israel for the first time.

He wanted to show me all of the tourist sites that he remembered from his visits in the ’80s.  But I already had the seeds of aliyah sprouting in my soul; and I told him I wanted to spend our time experiencing the life of the residents.  He’s an understanding fellow; so, instead of showing me Masada, he let me drag him to the makolet.  Instead of visiting the banks of the Yarden, we were sent from teller to teller in the banks of Yerushalayim.  We visited families, and listened to them talk about what real life in Israel was like.  It was just as beaurocratically ridiculous as everyone said.  It seemed like an interesting challenge.  When we got back to the States, I told my husband that I would take the time to be a tourist when I lived in Israel. 

Over Shabbat last week, the Dearly Beloved informed me that it was time to make good on my 17-year-old promise.  And that Sundays would be “tiyul day” for the two of us.  After all, the kids get to go on tiyulim through their schools.  It’s not our fault we’re too long in the tooth for yeshiva.  And now we have these special bus passes for olim, that allow us to travel anywhere in the country (except Eilat) for a very reasonable price.  Why not use them?

The first stop was a visit to one of our favorite bakeries, very near the tachana.  The pastry is as good as is pastry everywhere in Israel.  What makes this bakery special is Amir, who makes a great cup of cafe shachor, and treats everyone like a mentch.  (Throughout my marriage to the Dearly Beloved, the guy who gets our money isn’t always the cheapest.  He is good at what he does, and treats us the way he would like to be treated.)

After that pleasant visit, we added another photo to our catalog of the “Most Exhaustive Photo Essay of Every Possible Angle of the ‘Bridge of Strings'”.  This project has picked up a more feverish pace since the new mayor-elect, Nir Barkat, has expressed his desire to tear the thing down.

In 2005, I sat at my computer and watched, day after day, as the soap opera that would become the nightmare of Gush Katif unfolded.  It was a surrealistic time; and the only people with whom I could relate on the subject lived in Cyberspace.  More accurately, they lived all over the world; but we shared the need to “live” the Gush Katif drama at a depth most people around us couldn’t seem to fathom.  So we became an internet support group, holding virtual hands throughout the trauma.  The Gush Katif Museum is tucked into Agrippas Street.  We discovered it quite by accident.  It is a stop we would recommend for every tourist.  We expected a small museum, filled with facts and photos.  There were those.  The time line makes it painfully obvious that Israel has built herself, only to tear herself down at the world’s insistence, many, many times.  My favorite photos were of children.  One was holding orange ribbons in each hand, stretched out to invisible hands outside the left and right frames of the photo.  Another shows rows and rows of young soldiers.  In the foreground, his back to us, is a tiny boy, offering a few cookies to the tenderly smiling soldiers in his chubby hand. We did not expect the poignant paintings, full of the intensity of the youth who stood their ground.  Nor did we expect to spend an hour sitting together and crying.  Whichever side of the argument you fell out on, you will find that the film is a fair representation of the good and bad on both sides of the struggle, and of some of the pain each side endured. I don’t usually suggest that people take time to be sad…  but there is a time for everything, as the wise king said.  And there are, unfortunately, more events in Jewish life to which the expression “never again” must be appended, and repeated to ourselves, in full video sound and fury.

Well, after that, a little fun was certainly called for.  We stopped into Emek Refaim at one of our favorite restaurants.

  After I seasoned both our dishes of Temani Meat Soup with a little charif, the Dearly Beloved said that he would prefer to handle this task for himself in the future.

Look.  My main job in this climate is to get a lot of water into each member of my family every day.  You can see, by the empty water bottle at his right, that I was very successful.  
Next week:  Tel Aviv, and the quest for the wily Dancing Camel pub. Stay tuned.

Posted in aliyah, Gush Katif, Jerusalem | 3 Comments »

Free for Soldiers

Posted by rutimizrachi on 14/11/2008

Yom shishi, 16 Cheshvan 5769.

I love living in a country that treats its soldiers this way.

Just seeing the sign makes me smile.

(The sign offers free internet surfing to the soldiers at the internet cafe in the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem.)

They don’t seem to mind it, either.

Shabbat shalom u’mevorach!

Posted in IDF, Jerusalem, soldiers | 2 Comments »

A Day in Yerushalayim

Posted by rutimizrachi on 17/08/2008

Yom rishon, 16 Av 5768/17 August 2008, Sunday.

We picked a very hot day to see how people “do summer” in Yerushalayim. If hot, humid Baltimore would adopt some of these hobbies, life in that city might be just a bit more pleasurable, I think. Kids were playing in public fountains all over town — and no one was yelling at them. In fact, there were fathers sitting and learning nearby. Families were enjoying outdoor barbecues in the parks.
We met some friends for lunch in a busy restaurant in the Ben Yehuda shopping mall. Once again, we were reminded of a positive difference in the dining experience in Israel: in the States, there is a sense of being rushed from one’s table for the next customer. In Israel, one dines and shmoozes, and actually needs to accost the waitperson for the check. (Of course, there will always be exceptions. If you can find that sort of restaurant — other than a serve-yourself establishment — on the Eastern Seaboard, please let me know for my next visit.)
We stopped in at our favorite bookstore, M. Pomeranz Bookseller, on Be’eri. The books we had ordered had not yet arrived. But we had a lovely chat with the proprietor and one of his long-time employees. That held us in place long enough for a very old friend to stop in. More chatting, and another reminder that there are no coincidences. Call me biased, but this fact seems even clearer in the Holy Land.

In the Old City, an older man walking with a young man, both in tefillin, reminded us of the preciousness of being in our own Land. Was this a father and son, or a rosh yeshiva with a beloved talmid? It didn’t matter. In the Rova, every kind of Jew can be himself, without feeling out of place. The shawls handed out to some women at the Kotel may have given them food for thought; but every Jew is welcome.
The main theme of the day was that life is about time with people and Hashem. When we Americans are working so many long hours to live the American Dream, it is sometimes impossible to take time for that reality. Israel can afford us the opportunity to enjoy a simpler life, if we don’t try to recreate the USA here. There are no guarantees for an easy life; but I don’t remember tripping over that option in the USA either. But Israel has allowed us to emphasize the things we cherish the most: human interaction, time to be ourselves, an increasingly central relationship with our Creator. I am so grateful that we have this privilege. I pray that Hashem will not take it away from us. I pray that more and more of our dear friends will be able to join us at Home.

Posted in barbecue, Jerusalem, Old City, summer, tefillin, Yerushalayim | 5 Comments »