Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday in Jerusalem

In the morning, Chana and I had the privilege of attending the bris of "Baby Boy B".  Baby Boy's aunt, Ariella, is Chana's very close friend who came early for her seminary year to help out her brother and sister-in-law with their (highly adorable) toddler and new baby.  The B's (I guess that should be "the Grandparent B's") are our friends who bought our former house and are now settling in amidst their boxes.    So it was a lovely-but-slightly-odd thing that we were there for the bris and Grandparent B's were not (but, no fear, Grandma B is coming next week).  It was very sweet to be there and I was quite impressed that that B's son (Baby Boy's father) is fluent in Yiddish *and* Hebrew.

Met some lovely people including two middle-aged women and their mother, who must have been in her 90s.  The mother had just made aliyah last week, but not on the big flight we were on ("NBN told us to take her separately so it would be quicker to get her out of the airport without the big party". Seeing how frail this woman looked, I was impressed she was able to make the trip at all).

We also had  a nice time talking with a young woman who does playgroup with "highly adorable toddler".  I assumed she had her toddler and one on the way.  Then her baby started crying and I assumed she had just the two (she looked SO young).  Then she got up to leave announcing she had to pick up her other kids from school!  I was stunned, but Chana reminded me that she had said she had been in Israel for 7 years, so that was probably how long she had been married for, and she probably had 4, if not one more!

Amusing cultural factoid: the celebratory meal after a bris here is fleishig, not the bagels and lox we're used to in the US.  I noted that I had never eat chicken at 11:30 in the morning before (and, actually, although I had an egg roll with meat and thus ruined any possibility of having pizza until my 6 hour waiting time was up, I did not indulge in the chicken or shnitzel.  I had skipped breakfast knowing we would eat at the bris, but definitely not planning on a chicken leg for breakfast!).

While we were out, PB and Ilana remembered my old story of letting their older sisters watch "as much TV as they wanted as long as it wasn't in English" when we were in Israel way back when.  Happily, the TV hadn't been on yet, so there is a statistically Happy Medium somewhere between 4.5 days of no TV and .5 days of back-to-back episodes of Hebrew "Arthur" (which I remember watching and did learn some new vocab from).

SS spent several hours trying to deal with our cell phones, which should have been working in the morning but weren't.  He shared his wonderful philosophy with me: we should assume that it takes at least twice to deal with anything, and if it happens with only one visit to the store, it's amazing, but not to be counted on.  He should know because he went to the cell phone store three times (after my 1.25 hours there Friday.  We have now spent a solid 1/2 day dealing with getting cell service.  But, wahoo, since it's on now, I won't complain any more.  Although I haven't included how long we will be on the phone with our carrier to get the American numbers that are included in our plan.  I gave up after 10 minutes yesterday.  I will definitely need to be tougher....).

He also went and waited in a very long time at our HMO to try to get our insurance cards, before finding out that I needed to be with him for that.  Later in the day, we spent another hour over there, together before emerging with our cards.

Definitely one of the nice things about going on the "party flight" is that we know (I'll use that term loosely) 232 other people here whom we didn't know before.  Early in the day at the shuk, Penina and another woman were staring at each other until the woman asked, "were you on the charter flight?" and Penina told her she was just going to ask her the same thing.  While we were at the HMO, we ran into an older couple who had been on the flight (coming to retire to Israel and spend time with their grandchildren.  How hard, though, because they have four kids, two in the US and two in Israel.  Some kind of modern "Sophie's Choice" re. who you live near....).  It was nice to reconnect and we were all pleased to find out that we weren't the only ones who had spent hours at Maccabi that day (and when the lady waiting on line next to us heard our conversation, she warmly welcomed us to the country and told us how much she admired us for making aliyah.  I love that stuff!).

We shlepped back to one of the appliance stores we had visited with Gil on Thursday and ordered a refrigerator and stove.  They will arrive Wednesday, so we are staying in our J'lem rental another night and will officially move in on Tuesday.  Can't wait until our lift gets here.....It's been very nice to have a week of sleeping on a real bed rather than an air mattress on the floor.

Later, the kids and I went to the Old City to the Tower of David Sound and Light Show.
So beautiful to see the flags flying over Migdal David (wish I was a better photographer)

Who in the past has walked by these walls??
All of us thought it was amazing and this is official notice for anyone coming to visit us that it's on the "must do" list (trust me, you'll love it!).  Then back to our favorite restaurant, Agas v'Tapuach .  Man, that guy is some cook!!!!  (As an amusing sidenote, the chef's name is Ottolenghi, and when I saw that online before our first visit, I was thinking, "Wow, the most famous chef in Jerusalem and we're going to eat his food our first day in the country!  Hmm, but I thought that chef's restaurant wasn't kosher?  Hmm....".  As soon as we walked in and met the jovial, middle-aged Italian chef I knew that there was more than one chef named Ottolenghi in Jerusalem.  Here is the other Ottolenghi, in case you're interested.)
Taking the light rail home


  1. So nice to discover your blog, Ellen. Make sure to let all your old NEJHS friends know about it. Sorry we didn't have the chance to get together before you left. Audrey sends a big hello to Chana. We'll miss you here but look forward to reading about your adventure. Audrey may visit Israel next summer.

  2. Israeli TV is uncensored, just beware, even in all-Hebrew programs. Junk the TV, you don't need it. My experience in EY led to my hearing other olim from other countries other than US who let their kids watch English programs on Israeli TV, especially the Simpsons.?? Hashem Yerachem!

    Agas v'Tapuach homepage said that it has an American OU certification. Why American OU? They need an Israeli Mehadrin kashrut certification. The majority of the shuls in RBSA require Mehadrin standards. OU, even Israeli OU is not in the mehadrin list.

    Yes, fleishig meals are the norm in EY, from brissim to school lunches -- everybody who enrolls
    in the school lunches eat fleishig. Just beware in your daughters' schools too.

    Sorry for the harshness....