Friday, April 25, 2008
Pictures from the Yam l'Yam hike (Sea to Sea [Med. Sea to the Kinneret/Galilee])
2 rocket strike sites (roof with tarp, hole in front of building), and bus station/rocket shelters
Visiting Sderot, looks outs on gaza, sderot, food distribution,
Pictures from my hike in the Yehudiya Nature Reserve
My trip to the City of David with my archeology class: the Arab neighborhood Silwan
A traditional Ethiopian food - yes, thats actually popcorn.
Taking part in a Buna, traditional coffee ceremony.
Being shown an Ethiopian musical instrument at the community center in Ramle.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
My grandfather had been hospitalized a while ago and had been back and forth between better and worse. My father went to Greece for about a week and a half and my grandfather had been doing better at that point. Whatever, it wasn't such a good day. Thank Gd, he was pretty healthy for a man in his mid-80s who lived through things that really help you put things in perspective. I was also lucky to have a pretty good relationship with him given that my Greek isn't what it could be. Two summers ago we sat down with my grandfather and videotaped him telling his life's story. That was amazing and I hope to add subtitles to the cd my father made of it. My grandfather was born when Greece had a king, lived through a Greek dictator, Greek civil war, Nazi occupation, and a split between fascist and communist parties (not necessarily in that order). He grew up on an island in southern Greece, didnt finish high school (and im not sure if he went at all), left home at 17 to do physical work in Athens, came back to the island a few years later,married my grandmother, moved back to Athens, bought land, built a house, and raised a family. I do wish I'd been able to communicate a bit better though I am really happy that I got to know him in the way I did, and was fortunate to be able to visit him so often. I hope that his memory will be a blessing and inspiration to our family to model our lives after the many good and respectable things that were part of his life. I hope I'll be able to learn from how he worked through challenges and, at the end of the day, sit with my grandchildren and tell them the things I learned from him, and maybe even a little bit I'll put together on my own. Here's to the man who sat at lunch and hit his (once) big belly for me, for the man who taught me to swat flies and then helped me graduate to wasps, to a man who rocked old aviators, walked with his hands behind his back, gave up smoking, enjoyed a good cucumber, tomato, or melon at the end of the day, talked to me with his teeth in or out, often communicated wordlessly with faces and shrugs, and never let us leave the island at the end of the summer without tears in our eyes or his. Love you and miss you Papou!
Friday, February 1, 2008
Leaving to come back here was a bit hard. I really enjoyed how much time I spent with my family, especially my parents (and I would have also like to spend more time with my sister). That said I became very excited to come back a few days before I left. I also hit a day or two when I was sad about it and the airport was harאd but that’s how things are.
So guess what? My ‘uncle’ here made my flight arrangements and wasn’t thinking about my Shabbat plans (i.e. wanting to be at my Shabbat location before Shabbat) and so my flight left Thursday at 9:30 (was supposed to leave at 9:10) and though it was supposed to get in at 2:10 got in closer to 2:30. I got out of the airport around 3:10. Candle lighting was 4:30. No problem right? It would’ve been no problem but my sherut (communal taxi) driver was a real character. I find this guy whos going to Jerusalem, and get in the sherut. We’re sitting there waiting for it to fill up with seven people. Finally its full and I go to tell the driver who is waiting and smoking a cigarette. He tells me its not full despite my just having been in the sherut. I go back in. He comes with two people and realizes I was right. He then runs around for a few minutes, when I go after him to see if we can leave he says something about waiting for a receipt. OK, we get on the road. What can I do to make it faster? Nothing, certainly not worry. So I call a few people to announce my return, including B – my friend in the army, haven’t mentioned him for a while, well he finally was inducted and is about 9 weeks into basic training of about 13 and doing well. I take in the scenery and remember how awesome this place is. Green fields, brown hills, red-roofed towns, a blue sky (at least the day I came in), and sun. Well the driver proceeds to drop off all the people who don’t care one way or another about making it for Shabbat first despite there being three people in the sherut who are clearly religious. When I ask him when he’ll be dropping me off he responds only by asking me “ata ortodoxi or reformi?” - are you Orthordox or Reform – “What? I’m religious” I respond. “So am I” he says, though – without getting into an argument of what it is to be religious- ill tell you he was at the very least not concerned about getting anywhere for Shabbat. As I debated whether to get out and hail a cab I got free advice from other passengers about my chances of getting in on time, how one measures the time that Shabbat comes in, offers that my ‘sins’ will be on someone else’s head, and comments from the driver on how he had several good passengers that day and some bad ones though he promised not to name names. How nice of him.
Well I got dropped off at five to five which was possibly cutting it close. However just to make sure things went well I got to run up and down the street I needed to be on trying to understand how the house I was looking for, #16, could exist when the houses stopped at #14. I took out my phone – which I maybe shouldn’t have been using at that point with a kipa on my head – and called my cousin – no answer, of course. I take out the piece of paper with the address on it, Oh, its actually #14. I ‘run’ to it dragging two suitcases, a backpack, and a laptop, and sweating in my too-warm-for-Israel winter coat. I pound on the door and after another minute of sweating am let in. Blah blah blah Shabbat was ok though I could have gone without waking up at 4:30 and then getting up 6:30 because of my jetlag. On the other hand reading People magazine, a family favorite, for a few hours before shul was good. The rest of the day was nice and right after shabbat I drove back with family friends to Efrat, went to bed, and the next day got up at 6:30 to start my month at Yeshivat Hamivtar...