A friend back in Brooklyn recently asked if we had made any friends since we’ve been here. Did we have anyone fun to hang out with? With all of the traveling we’ve been doing to take advantage of the holidays, we haven’t had much quiet time to just hang out. This weekend was devoted to spending time with friends, relaxing, and eating well.

Fri. night we had Shabbat dinner with Anat & Menachem. Roy was able to reconstitute some dried sourdough starter, so he’s been able to start baking again. The 2nd loaf was his contribution to the meal. Menachem thought that Roy should spend his sabbatical opening a bakery.

Our charming hosts: Anat (my host for the year) and Menachem

Tamar, Anat’s daughter, was also there with her family. They have their own Noach, who is about 6 months younger than our Noach and we had been wanting to get the boys together. It is hard for us to tell how much Hebrew Noah is learning because he won’t speak Hebrew with us. It was so interesting to see Noach Echat and Noach Shtayim communicating with each other. They were playing a board game & our Noah has no trouble counting & saying the colors in Hebrew.

Speaking the universal language of Legoes

At one point Noah dropped a toy in a chair cushion that Menachem was sitting on & he said, “Kadima, kadimah, l’mallah! (forward, forward, get up)” so he could reach it. I was impressed.

Noah and Avi

On Sat. afternoon we went to a zoo in the kriot (the suburbs) of Haifa with the family of a classmate of Noah’s. Mark, the dad, had kindly been one of my interpreters at parents’ night at Noah’s school. Mark & Nataly speak Hebrew, Russian, and English, but the children speak only Hebrew & Russian. They thought it would be good for Daniel & Noah to play together to exchange language (sensing a theme).

Noah & Daniel at Chai Park (with Emus)

The best part of the zoo was the open monkey cage where we could be in the enclosure with the monkeys. One of them tried to nibble on Noah’s finger when he was resting his arms on a railing!

up close & personal

It was hard to get Noah & Daniel to play together at the zoo, where there is always something to run off and see (or in Noah’s case, scooch forward in the stroller to make it roll where you want to go). But, we’ve been invited to a BBQ at their house so the boys can have a playdate with more opportunity to talk.

Since we were at Anat’s for dinner Fri., our weekly grill was moved to Sat. night and we had our friends Yaffa & Menachem over. Roy’s 3rd loaf was gone in less than 24 hrs.

Old NYU buddies, together again

Roy & I went to the shuk talpiot on Fri. morning & bought fish to grill which had been caught just that morning. The fish are laid out whole in crates, some of them still flopping around. When you tell the guy what you want, they take it in back & scale it & gut it. Depending on how many people are in front of you in line, you might wait a while until your fish is cleaned (which we did). We learned the “right” way to buy fish: those in the know buy their fish first, then go do the rest of their shopping at the other stalls, and come back later to pick up the clean fish. We learned the hard way, but now we know for next time.

Two people (hi, Mom) reminded us that this week was parsha Noach. Apropos of that, it rained Fri. night and tonight. It was only for a few minutes each time, but apparently it always rains in Israel on parsha Noach.