One lovely tradition in Israel, regardless of level of religious observance, is spending Friday night (Shabbat) dinner with family. We have been graciously welcomed into the Yeshurun-Ben Menachem family and have spent several Shabbatot with them since we arrived, but there is nothing like being with your own family. Last week, Noah skipped school on Friday and we drove to Jerusalem. Noah got to spend 2 full days with his cousins and Aunt Deborah (Sarah’s sister) & Uncle Dani – what a treat. Deborah graciously kept an eye on Noah for us Fri. morning/afternoon and we went to Yad VaShem (the Holocast museum) located on Har Hazikaron (Mt. Remembrance) in Jerusalem. We can’t describe it as a pleasant or fun experience, but it is something that everyone has to do. Roy had never been and Sarah was last there 17 years ago., before a big, recent renovation. It is a powerful and moving place with every last detail thoughtfully functional and/or symbolic. Children under the age of 10, including infants, are not admitted to maintain a respectful mood.

After a quick trip to Machane Yehuda to get our favorite cheese in Israel, we checked into our hotel near Deborah’s place and headed over. Noah was so happy to be with his cousins and I was so happy to get to cuddle with Chaya Rachel! Turns out that we were visiting on a special weekend because Dani & Benyamin Tzvi finished a chapter they had been studying in the Mishnah and we got to have a siyum (a special celebration for finishing). Kol Hakavod!

Also interesting about our timing that weekend: The day that we arrived was the Jerusalem marathon and earlier that week was a terrorist bombing at a bus stop near the central bus station (across the street from our hotel, as it so happens). This was the 1st such attack in several years and in several discussions I’ve had in the aftermath, we noted the sense of complacency that Israelis (and visitors) have been feeling lately, and the irony that the only person killed was a Christian.

We are all a bit under the weather this week to varying degrees, so we’ll briefly hit the other highlights of the week:

  • Tuesday evening there was another Fulbright event held at the home of the Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Kfar Shmariyahu, just outside of Tel Aviv. After an elegant dinner, we heard a talk by Ofra Bengio, a senior lecturer at the Moshe Dayan Center for middle east studies at Tel Aviv U., on the latest events unfolding in the Middle East. We had a very interesting discussion afterwards, particularly about the implications for Israel of all of the recent turbulence/revolution/uprising in N. Africa. We are in a very unique position to be able to observe the events, history in the making, from a relatively close and relatively stable place.
  • Roy was one of the class parents who accompanied Noah’s class on a field trip to the Ecological Garden on the Technion campus

Yaffa passes out freshly-picked chamtzutz--cape sorrel. You suck the sour juice from the stems and pucker.

Algae from a stagnant fountain is lots of fun.

Happy at the end of a nice trip

  • Today may have been the 1st day of summer (80 degs!).
  • Noah decided to pick wildflowers in our yard.

    He's such a big boy - you can tell he dressed himself too!