Monday, September 24, 2012


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Monday, September 17, 2012

A Raisin Celery

My sister in law's vegetarian gefilte fish on apple slices!

Happy New Year! Last night we had family over to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and my mother-in-law brought along a delightful little service to accompany what I can only describe as the most delicious Jewish New Year meal I've ever had. Just like with Passover we had a seder plate filled with the season's offerings: beets, dates, cabbage, pumpkin, carrots, figs, pomegranate, apple, honey, celery and raisins. And each fruit came with it's own blessing for the New Year. The family favorite this year was "lettuce have a raisin celery". Mr. Rosen accompanied on guitar. The kids were squirrely, as with anything new, but it was a lovely way to begin the evening.

And then came the food. Everyone brought their best game and each dish featured some traditional elements. I made a spinach salad with goat cheese and figs, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, sweet noodle kugel and cabbage salad with carrots, beets, raisins and apples. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law brought a lentil salad with fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds, baked quinoa stuffed onions, vegetarian gefilte fish on sliced apple with fresh horse radish. Mr. Rosen made his green beans and onions. My mother-in-law brought seven vegie and seven herb soup and her famous plum cake for desert.  It was as much a feast for the eyes as it was for the tongue. It got us talking about whether beautiful food tastes better than unattractive food. The answer is probably yes for reasons both scientific and psychological. Although I had a steak and eggs this summer at a cafe in Tel Aviv that looked like a dead jellyfish (the waitress warned me) and it was unbelievably delicious. I guess there are exceptions. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, said the jellyfish.

Wishing everyone a sweet new year!

Mmmm... Spinach, fig and goat cheese salad.

Rosh hashanah Seder featuring the new blessing: lettuce have a raisin celery. Shanah Tovah!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



Well as it turns out I took the whole summer off. I had every intention of keeping you abreast of our adventures but I was too busy having them. In brief, summer was long and hot and fun-filled. It included a family wedding, many visitors from America, a month-long trip to California and New York and a lot of jetlag. It also included some time thinking about how I'll spend my days once summer is over.

So summer is over. And I am back to work with commissions lined up and ideas bursting out of my head. Having taken the summer off from work I've had the chance to step back and evaluate what it is I want to do. But there are so many pieces you see. The art, the blog, the business, the purpose and the nitty gritty stuff like understanding the Israeli tax system! It's a mighty puzzle. For instance, one of the things I've been wanting to do for ages is unify everything I do under one "brand". But how does Inner Toddler fit in with Mishmish. And now that my kids are older, their crazy stories are sometimes disturbing to me and I kind of don't want to write about them. I mostly just want to bury my head and forget about them. And the baby, he's cute, but none of his schtick will provide the kind of frenzied dismay that the others generated simply because I've pretty much seen it all (famous last words).

So it's a puzzle which I am slowly figuring out. Numbering all the pieces like a good archeologist and hoping to unearth something extraordinary along the way. In the interim, over here I'll be playing dress up, moving stuff around, seeing what feels right and reconnecting to what I do and why I do it. Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Today is the twentieth

Rene, Harry and Stanley, circa 1942

Twenty years is a long time.
A lot can happen in twenty years.
You could graduate from college.
You could travel in South America for six months.
You could move to Jerusalem.
You could meet the love of your life.
You could travel together around the world.
You could move back to America.
Get a masters.
Marry the love of your life.
Start a career.
Buy a house.
Have a son.
Have a daughter.
Start a new career.
Have another son.
Sell your house. 
Move back to Israel.
Start over.

Twenty years is For. Ever.
And yet it's gone like that. poof.
Twenty years is today.
I was 18.
Now I'm 38.
It's a long time to be missing your dad.

And an even longer time to be missing your son.
So while I am profoundly sad to have lost my grandmother two weeks ago at age 91, part of me is glad that in my childish vision of the next world, she and my father and my grandfather are together again raising their martini glasses to their legacy. L'chaim guys.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The picture I wanted

Birthday Boy

This is the picture I wanted. Well not exactly but pretty close. I wanted a picture of my little boy with his crown of flowers, next to his cake, with his one candle, surrounded by adoring friends and family with their mouths in various states of half open singing Happy Birthday to him. I wouldn't have minded a smile too. But this picture is close enough. And it almost didn't happen.

I hit a low point last week right around the baby's birthday. On the actual day of his birthday we didn't really do anything. By the time Mr. Rosen came home from work (which was pretty early actually) and made the cake with the big kids, it was already nearing bed time and darkness. I hadn't had time to make his crown. We barely put up some construction paper garlands. And it was just us. No other family or friends. Entirely my fault. It was midweek and everyone was busy and anyway we thought of having family over on the weekend so I just let it go. Then on the weekend the plans got miscommunicated and suddenly there was no party. Not even family. And I started feeling very sad to be far away from my family knowing that had we still been in California I would have just gone to Michael's, picked out some streamers and napkins and whatever, some cake decorations and made him a little party with our closest friends and cousins and everyone would have found a way to come.

Mr. Rosen felt partially responsible for having downplayed the importance of this event. Indeed I downplayed it myself. But I was secretly wishing the party would plan itself because I have really reached the upper limit on sleep deprivation and plus there's no Michael's here so I don't know where to buy party supplies.  So Mr. Rosen made some calls and in fact a few of our closest friends planned to drop everything and come.

Except they didn't come because the next day Mr. Rosen contracted some nasty stomach bug and spent most of the day throwing up. So I cancelled the party. But the baby's aunt and uncle still popped over with some treats including the blackberries from their garden which I used to decorate his cake. The kids had all spent the night at their grandparents so I actually slept eight hours and finally had the time and brain functioning to make his crown out of the bougainvillea in our yard.

So in the late afternoon Mr. Rosen's parents arrived with the kids and we celebrated our little boy's first birthday feeling grateful for all of the people in our lives and everything they have done and continue to do to make us feel at home here.

And I got the pictures I wanted.




Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A year in the life

Dear Smiley McPoint and Whimper,

Where did the time go sweet cheeks? I turned around to get you a new diaper and you turned one! How'd you do that? I'm petty sure this has been your BEST. YEAR. EVER. I mean, what with the canon shot delivery, the road trip we took for your entire third month of life, the moving to a new house, the moving to a NEW COUNTRY, the moving to another new house, the seven day rash that looked like measles, the sleep training and retraining and retraining and giving up, the babysitter that I loved but you hated, the freezing winter when we never bathed you because that would mean exposing you to the elements, all of the handling by well-intentioned siblings, the baby album I never made you because you're the third and anyway I haven't even finished your sister's and she's five? I'd say it was a pretty awesome year. And you were a champ.

It's hard to believe that a year ago we were signing the papers on our house sale and bringing you home from the hospital. You were supposed to be the charm. The third one and last and easiest. You were supposed to take a pacifier and a bottle. You were supposed to sleep through the night at three weeks. Or three months, MAX. You were supposed to be the one who happily went to anyone's arms. You were the one who would sense my mood swings and behave accordingly.

Turns out you were not easy. You neither took a pacifier nor a bottle nor do you suck your thumb. You've been "sleep trained" so many times it is unclear who is the trainer and who is the trainee. We're hoping you sleep through the night by three YEARS at this rate. You prefer the arms of Mommy and Aba with very few exceptions. You cry all the time no matter if I'm tired and having a bad day or deliriously energetic and mother-of-the-year. You're kind of a piece of work.

But you make up for it in countless ways. Like how when you hear music, you conduct! And you nestle your head into my lap while we're sitting on the carpet and stay there while I'm on the phone. So considerate! And how you speed crawl over to Aba when he comes home from work screaming ADA ADA! Ada likes that a lot. You also eat olives. And just about everything else. And you do tricks for Grandma on skype. That makes her feel great. And how you play peek a boo from behind my back. And behind the door. And behind anything. And how you like to climb on the dishwasher and pull out the knives. Why just the knives?

Yours is a different kind of charm, Chicken Legs. You were the one that finally convinced me to start letting it all go. All of my notions of what a mother should and should not do. All of my expectations. All of my judgements. All of my guilt. All of my type A-ness. You were the one who finally got me to accept that cereal can be fine for dinner, it's just as easy to find what you want to wear from a clean laundry pile on the floor as it is from the inside of your closet and a back-to-back Disney movie marathon can be a great way to restore quiet to crazy house.

Anyway, this year has been unforgettable for so many reasons but none of them hold a candle to you sunshine. You completed our family.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fresh Paint

Fresh Paint, Adam Sher
Fresh Paint Contemporary Art Fair, Tel Aviv (piece by Adam Sher)

Today was another fun day in Tel Aviv, best city in the world. Every time we go and I tell Mr. Rosen that I want to move there, he makes excuses for the awesomeness. Like, well today is the sabbath so there's not much traffic. Or this is an unusually cool day for May. I don't buy it. Tel Aviv is rad and that's all there is to it. I lived there in 1998 so I should know. Although we both recalled how I hated it. But I think that's because I had a crappy room in a crappy apartment with crappy roommates and a crappy job and my boyfriend lived in another crappy city...and my crappy bike was stolen...

But this day was totally non-crappy. First a lovely birthday party for our two-year old friend Liri whose parents we adore (Dad is also a fairly recent transplant from the SF Bay Area so we are grateful to have him in country). And then Mr. Rosen took the big kids to the beach and me and Toothy McSlobberChops met a friend at the Fresh Paint Contemporary Art Fair in North Tel Aviv. There was a lot of cool stuff to be sure, but yes, there was also a lot of art that, while technically impressive and/or interesting and/or creative, was not especially attractive. Alas, beauty is in the eye of the beholder of thousands of shekels. This art was not cheap.  But it was a lot of fun to see what's new and fresh on the Israeli art scene. The place was mobbed and we were kind encumbered with our babies in their strollers, but we maneuvered in and out of rooms and saw quite a bit of the fair. Here's a sampling...

Fresh Paint, Yonatan Levy
Yonatan Levy

Fresh Paint, Adi Shalmon
Adi Shalmon

Fresh Paint, Barak Bendel
Barak Bendel

Fresh Paint, Boaz Noy
Boaz Noy

Fresh Paint, Yuri Katz
Yuri Katz

Fresh Paint, Hila Laviv
Hila Laviv

Fresh Paint, Ran Barlev
Ran Barlev

Fresh Paint, Yonatan Ullman
Yonatan Ullman

Fresh Paint, Shlomi Nisim
Shlomi Nisim

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jerusalem Tour

Armenian Quarter, Jerusalem
Window, Armenian Quarter

We had a day off from school yesterday for a holiday called Lag B'Omer which at its best is an occasion to have a bonfire and sing songs and roast hot dogs and marshmallows (at its worst its pyromaniacs and thieves wreaking environmental havoc). It celebrates the 33rd day of the Omer, a period of time between Passover, liberation from Egypt, and Shavuot, receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. It's treated as a period of mourning when religious men don't shave and you can't get married etc. Except on the 33rd day, which was yesterday, when you can get married and many people do, including Mr. Rosen's parents (in fact, once we went to three weddings in two days. No joke).

The 33rd day is the day that Jewish mystics say the Kabballah was revealed (apropos Madonna's upcoming concert in Tel Aviv) and also commemorates the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire when a bunch of Jews fought for an independent states which lasted two years until they were eventually crushed. Anyway, we light big fires now to remember how Bar Kokhba and his warriors communicated back in the day and kids also make bows and arrows and homemade pita on the taboon. I wrote about it a few years ago here.

So I met up with some friends in Jerusalem for the day and we soaked up the magic. We did our usual walkabout through Jaffa Gate to the Arab market, the Christian quarter, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall, the Armenia quarter and the Tower of David, stopping for lunch at Lina's, my favorite hole in the wall humus restaurant. It was a beautiful day and the kids were only a little bit bored and cranky. They tried to stage their own Bar Kokhba style revolt but we squashed it with ice-cream, Roman army style and order was restored in the land. It got a little tricky explaining about Jesus and the cross as depicted in the gory mosaic inside the church. That's kind of the stuff of nightmares. But the kids took it in and were soon distracted by stuffed camels and belly dancer costumes.

Ceramics, Armenia Quarter
Ceramic dishes at Elie's, the only seller who posts his prices.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Mosaic, Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Christian Quarter, Jerusalem
Prayer beads, Christian Quarter

Seventh station
Seventh Station on the Via Dolorosa

Bedouin textiles, Arab market
Bedouin textiles, Muslim Quarter

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock, View from the Jewish Quarter

Direction of Mecca, 16th century
Incription at the Tower of David pointing to Mecca, 16th century

Western Wall, taken by my son
Western Wall prayers, taken by my son.

Ice cream break, Jewish quarter
Ice-cream break, troops replenished.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Home is available as a print on ETSY.

I don't know if it's because my son weaned himself this week after a nasty cold made it so he couldn't breathe and nurse at the same time. Or because we're nearing our six month milestone in Israel. Or because I'm starting to plan our trip to America in the summer and wondering how on earth we will see everyone we want to see and what it will feel like to be there. Or maybe because I keep fast forwarding ten years and my oldest is entering the army. All of it together has me feeling a little vulnerable.  I keep coming back to the idea of home. Where is it? What is home? What will it be for my kids. Is it worth fighting for? Is it worth dying for? Or is it just a place, like any other.

Mr. Rosen and I have spent a lot of time thinking about where we want to make our home and whether or not there is a perfect place for us and our family. We don't have the answer yet but we're getting closer. We might be over thinking it. It might be exactly where we are now. It might not be a place at all, but a connection we have to each other, tethering us to the present.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Song of Solomon

Art Appreciation 101

Behold, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing is come,
and the voice of the turtle dove
is heard throughout the land.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

ps. the painting to the left of Crawly McHands Off is available now as a print on ETSY.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ducks in a pile


Do you ever decide you're going to get started on something - a project, an assignment, a new endeavor, a trip, a remodel, your life - but only when everything is aligned in your favor? When your ducks are in a row? This is my tendency. I wait until there's some kind of magic moment. Or, more accurately, I wait till I have enough time to myself to really focus and get down to business. It turns out I never have that kind of time. Even before the baby, when the big kids were in school and I had four hours every morning to work, it was really more like three hours after drop off and pick up. And more like two after I showered, did the laundry, went to the grocery store, picked up a birthday present or went to the post office. So by the time I got down to business I had maybe an hour and a half of unfettered time which I would decide was not enough and I would daydream instead. Or tinker. Or at my most productive I would print out and package some orders. But I would never paint. Painting required my undivided attention, partly because watercolor dries so fast that once you start, you sort of need to get to a good ending point, otherwise you have blotchy. (psst. Did you see how I just rationalized not painting, even as I write this short essay ostensibly about how to get over all that and move forward?)

So, true to character, I decided once things didn't work out with my babysitter and I was again a full-time companion to Sweet Cheeks McTiny Tush, I put my painting aspirations aside. Again. Babies are such a good excuse for so many things! Tardiness, flightiness, forgetfulness, looking tired and unkempt, being chubby, whipping out your boobs in public...and, yes, procrastination. And I figured I would wait until September when my baby will start going to a family daycare and I finally have the time I need to focus on my work.

But then a number of things happened. First I reached out to a friend asking how she managed to be such a prolific painter while her babies were little and she said she is all over the place. But she threw out the question, can you do your work in layers, like 15 minute increments? It's not really how I work. I need time. I need space. Because I hate taking out supplies and then putting them all back which is what you have to do when you work at the kitchen table.

Layers. 15 minute increments.

Then I went to this woman's website, having heard rave reviews about her workshops, and nearly fell over and died when I saw her work. It is so beautiful, it sings. It made me cry! And not because I wished I was her, which is where I usually go in these moments, but because I could see her joy spilled out in her work. That's when I got out the acrylics and some old canvases I had painted 10 years ago and, starting with the "grounds" technique I had learned at a workshop last year with Jesse Reno, I just put on paint and more paint while the baby napped. And for fifteen minute increments while he played. And at night if I wasn't too tired. And I let the layers dry, because that's what you kind of have to do with acrylic  before you can add another layer. I moved my box of supplies to the shelves next to the kitchen table and the oil cloth is now there semi-permanently. I'm just getting used to the acrylics and how they work and what I can do so there is much to learn, but I'm doing it.

So there it is. My ducks are in a pile, all squawky and flappy and cattywampus and I am happily painting almost every day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So long McMiserable, hello McFerrin

Hangar 13
Hangar 13, Port of Tel Aviv

Twenty years ago I saw a rising Israeli singer named Achinoam Nini play at the Berkeley Hillel for $5. Soon after that she sang Ave Maria for the Pope and launched herself into international stardom. Last night Mr. Rosen and I left McMiserable and the other two in the capable hands of Mr. Rosen Senior to see Achinoam Nini play with Bobby McFerrin and a few other Israeli artists at the Port of Tel Aviv. Hangar 11 to be exact (my picture of hangar 11 is not as nice as this pretty one of hangar 13 at dusk). We almost didn't go when the baby spiked a 103 fever an hour before our estimated departure. But I looked into his watery eyes and said, listen baby. Don't worry. Be happy. Or maybe I said that to myself. Or maybe Mr. Rosen Senior said that to me. Either way, we bid our threesome farewell and headed off to the big city.

I think I've mentioned that we kind of live in the sticks out here in the Judean Hills. Sounds pretty rustic and biblical, which it kind of is. But an hour away is an oasis of culture, style and traffic. The Port of Tel Aviv was completely overhauled starting about ten years ago. Not quite sure when they finished but it's basically a long boardwalk on the Mediterranean and a series of hangars filled with shops, cafes, restaurants, and concert venues big and small. We don't get out much, for the obvious reason that we have three small kids and fall asleep in our clothes at 9:00 every night, so this felt like a real treat. Plus it's always fun to watch city folk being their stylishly awesome selves. And my hair volumized to twice it's normal girth with all the humidity.

And the concert was amazing. Bobby McFerrin is pretty spectacular and Achinoam Nini was equal parts adorable in her admiration of this musical legend and astounding in her own vocal virtuosity. They could definitely be a superhero duo together. Form of an iceberg!

We ended the evening with a delicious pastrami sandwich, fried spicy potatoes and apricot soda at Delicious Deli Bar (that's calling a spade a spade in my book) in the hangar across the street and then headed home happy and full in every sense.

Bobby McFerrin concert with Achinoam Nini, port of Tel Aviv
The part where he invited people to come dance on stage. 

Spain week at the port market in Tel Aviv. Me gusta mucho.
I might have to head back today for Spain Week at the Port Market which looks like it will feature a lot of meat. Me gusta.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In bloom


I unpacked the acrylics the other day and while Hot Cheeks McSnotface slept, I had some time to paint. I've become obsessed with weeds since Spring arrived and let me tell you there are some wild zingers over here. As beautiful as they are prickly. Not unlike Israeli women.*

* this does not apply to all of my exceptionally wonderful Israeli women friends.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

When your sixty-four

Israel Independence Day
 Flags for Independence Day

We got back yesterday from a long weekend in northern Israel. It was Memorial Day on Thursday and Independence Day on Friday so Mr. Rosen and the kids had a few days off. Memorial Day here is very different than it is in America. There are no door-buster sales, for one. Nor does it mark the season for wearing white pants. It's kind of a serious day. None of the cable television stations broadcast and network TV is all either interviews with high up veterans or patriotic performances. There's even a nationwide moment of silence for two minutes in the morning. An air-raid siren goes off and everyone stops what they're doing. Even cars stop in the middle of traffic (though that's an everyday occurrence also). And then at sundown, the Independence Day fireworks begin and the country is happy once more.

Anyway, we headed up north and spent a few days based in Tiberius exploring the upper Galil and Golan Heights. We hiked up to the top of the Arbel, a beautiful cliff above the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). We had lunch in a banana grove above a cave with open tombs and bats (for real!). We found a great little restaurant at Yehudia junction that's open 24 hours, 365 days a year, even Yom Kipur and serves a tasty roast beef sandwich. We hiked up a stream to a very old water milling station and the kids got soaked. We visited a friend of the family and spent the day swimming at her community pool. The next day we drove home along the eastern border with Jordan and watched the green fields of the North fade to the crispy tan of arid land. We made one final stop for lunch in Abu Ghosh, an Arab town outside of Jerusalem, and enjoyed some grilled chicken skewers and middle eastern salads.

To be honest, when we got home I was wrecked. For the obvious reasons - kids fighting in the car, baby up at 5:00 am, packing and unpacking and daypacking and repacking. But also I think my brain is just completely saturated. It's so much to absorb! And more than just the sites. It's the constant juxtaposition of old and new. Glittery and gritty. Orchards and desert. New construction and demolition. Poverty and wealth. Sea and sand. It's one minute we're mourning and then next we're celebrating. It's our own brand of extremism and it's exhausting.

But never mind all that. Happy 64th birthday Israel, you crazy spring chicken. I hope I'm as feisty as you are when I'm your age. Something tells me you won't be retiring next year...

Memorial Day, Israel
 Memorial Day wreaths

The Arbel
 View of Lower Galilee from the Arbel

Banana blossom
 Banana blossom

Secret cave under banana grove with tombs and bats.
 Secret cave under banana grove with tombs and bats

Hike in the Golan
 Water mill hike in the Golan

Pretty weeds
 Pretty weeds in the Golan

Garden gnomes near the dead sea
 Garden gnomes near the Dead Sea

 Camel in finery

Abu Ghosh 
Graffiti in Abu Ghosh

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The kindness of strangers

Gefilte fish year round
The Gefilte Fish aisle at Rami Levy's

The other day I took the baby to a supermarket in a neighboring town. We'd never been there before. In fact, we'd been there the day before, with all three kids, and my daughter remembered as we were about to park that she wanted to go home and put on her tap shoes. She could not go on. Plus, even if she had agreed to go into the supermarket, her recent string of unpredictable lash outs make her a wild card in public places. I opted to cut my losses and head home.

So late morning the next day I take Stringbean McToothy Face to the very same supermarket, cautiously optimistic that we can get in and get out without too much disaster. You see, this is no ordinary supermarket. This is a Rami Levy supermarket in an ultra-religious city in the West Bank. But I am dressed modestly (though wearing pants which is frowned upon) and it is Wednesday (as opposed to Thursday which I know means a mad rush for sabbath prep). Turns out Wednesday is also a mad rush and I should have just turned around when I saw the parking lot. But then I'd have to admit defeat twice in two days which I just couldn't swallow. So I park and we charge ahead, the baby as my shield.

The allure of Rami Levy is that it's cheap. I'd say 30% cheaper than other supermarket chains, especially the one in our town, Mister Zol, which means Mr. Cheap. In fact it's Mr. Expensive, even more expensive than "Half Free Warehouse" in Beit Shemesh which should be called "Twice as Much Warehouse". Who comes up with these names?

We hustle our way through a sea of black hats and modestly dressed religious men and women and after a little less than an hour we are ready to check out. This is when I start to sweat. There are lines three and four people deep at every check-out and these folks are not here to pick up a carton of milk and a loaf of bread. These carts are meant to feed a family of ten for a week so they are spilling over into the aisles. That's when my copilot decides he'd had enough. Now I am caught with a screaming baby in a half hour check out line with a full cart of food. I am just about to abandon my groceries when a lovely Yemenite looking guy in front of me with a knitted kippah asks if I could use some help. He suggests I take the baby to my car and feed him and he would watch my cart and call me when it was time to come back. So without thinking twice we exchange phone numbers and I leave my cart including my diaper bag and my wallet, grab my keys and take Starving McChompers to the car for some lunch.

Twenty minutes later I come back and my friend is nearly finished checking out. Perfect timing. I strap the baby back on, thank him profusely and load up my groceries. Seeing that I am encumbered with a giant baby on my chest, the checker (religious Jew of Middle Eastern descent) calls over a bagger (likely Muslim Arab) to help me get on my way. They exchange a few friendly words in Arabic and have a few laughs (they're probably laughing at me come to think of it) and I'm left to wonder why it is again that we all hate each other? I mean if the Yemenite religious Zionist Jew can help out the American Ashkenazi Progressive New Immigrant Jew while the religious Moroccan Jew makes jokes with the Palestinian, then can't we just all be friends?*

* I realize just the fact that Arabs don't shop here though they work here points to a wider, more systemic segregation issue. But I can't ignore these brief, friendly interactions. They're happening all around me. Everyday. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

This year in Jerusalem

Staples of Passover
Religious Jews hoarding Passover staples

Psst. I'm still alive over here. We are coming off a nearly three week Passover school holiday break and I have been remiss about posting blog entries. I have however been posting lots of pics on Instagram and I invite you to follow my meanderings over there. I'll follow you right back. It's quite fun! A billion dollars worth of fun, so says Facebook.

I wasn't prepared for such a long break in the middle of the year. But we threw together a pretty fun itinerary packed with visits with friends, travels north, south, east  and west, a trip to some enchanted caves, a fantastic seder, a surprise and mysterious visit from Elijah the Prophet and camping in the desert. We even had lunch one day with Mr. Rosen at his work in Jerusalem.

I will say that spending Passover in Israel is a very rich experience. Between the meticulous nation-wide spring cleaning (removal of all bread and crumbs from the home), hoarding of eggs, potatoes, onions and matzah, and the throngs of Israelis hiking about the country, it's really a lot to absorb. Never mind that we personally experienced no less than five out of the ten plagues (blood, lice, boils, hail, and darkness). Let's just say it's enough blog material to last forty years wandering in the desert, if only I'd had the energy to write it all down. Dayenu. Maybe I'll be more on the (matzah) ball next year.

For now's here's a smattering of pics from those three weeks. Enjoy!

Dead Sea with view of Jordan
Dead sea and view of Jordan

Saba grating the bitter herb with traditional protective eyewear.

Seder table including rice cake "matzah" cover for our glutton free guests

Saba carrying his weight
Elder carrying small Israelite during the exodus.

Passover hike in the Negev
Obeying the voice of God, Moses and Miriam put their arms around each other.

Camel helping us reenact the exodus
Biblical ride

Stalactite/mite awesome
Enchanted stalactite cave

Not bear proof, but hyena proof.

I found an oompa loompa from the tv room up on this ridge! Doopadee do!
The oompa loompa I found on top of Tzin Wilderness

Descent to Nahal Gov
Descent to Gov River Valley

Escaping the burning sun
Respite from heat.

Desert in bloom

At Kibbutz Sde Boker