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Judean Eve

Perspectives on the Jewish Journey

Updated: 2017-12-26T14:21:52.531+03:00


Rocks and Rolls


You all win. I cannot let all of November go by without blogging once. Being very busy is no excuse. I mean it kinda is, but if I was more organized I could do this as some of my faithful readers get on me to do. I guess I figure that people have much better things to do than read my blog, so I'm being self fulfillling by letting this die a natural death. Or just looking for an excuse for not keeping up. Whatever.

A good part of my busy-ness is due to my tour guide course which is a lot more time consuming- and a lot more intellectually stimulating- than I thought it would be. We have had incredible lectures on geomorphology (yes, really!) so that I can now explain the chemical process that leads to holes in limestone and stalactite caves, how gorges are formed, that frost can cause landslides and why granite is found in pillars and not layers. Yawn if you must but for me it's fascinating stuff. Even as I broke every nail and bruised both knees on our hike through Wadi Kelt last week I was lovin' it. (Okay, could have done without the mudstains on my new shirt but that was my fault for wearing it.)

Last Friday night there was an earthquake at about midnight. Earl woke me up to ask if I'd felt it (??????) and proceeded to roll his eyes in his head along with the Richter scale, because while still half asleep I told him that the Jews started to rebuild the Third Temple at some point but when an earthquake hit they took it as a sign from God that the time was not ripe and dropped the project. I then got annoyed with myself for forgetting the date this happened. All while not yet fully conscious.

So he's convinced that I'm obsessed and my kids want to know if every Shabbat meal they will be regaled with some little known detail of our nation's history and my friends got glassy eyed at dinner out the other night and I have rediscovered how much I dislike doing homework.

Hmphh. As midlife things go I thought this was cool. Was I wrong?

Maybe I should have gone for the manicures and the vapid 'let's do lunch thing' and the kind of life a lot of other women my age have. I don't think so, just not me.

Although the manicure is sure sounding good right about now.

Three Foreskins


What with my radio show expanding to 2 hours and the first week of my tour guide course (more on that another time; suffice to say that I'm soaking up so much information that my brain hurts) I had a busier than usual few days last week.

I did make time to go to 3 brises (how do you pluralize that?) also known as ritual circumcisions, obviously on newborn boys. Islam does a version on girls, horrendous as that sounds and is, but we Yiddles just whittle away at the males, which apparently protects against a host of nasty diseases like HIV, although that's not why we do it. As with Shabbat and kashrut and the laws of family purity and/and/and..... there's a bunch of modern, scientific support for what we've done simply as a show of faith for a few millennium. I guess Whomever (note the capital W) asked us to comply with all these laws was actually and unbeknown to us doing us some favors, as well.

But, as usual, I digress. The first bris was that of our nephew's son, and they gave him my late father-in-law's name in the hope that he not only live a long life but a very accomplished one. As with so many joyous occasions in this country, it was also a victory of life. The baby's mother lost her cousin and uncle in a terror attack a few years ago, murdered the night before the cousin's wedding. The Spero/Applebaum family will never be the same, and every addition to their family- and our mutual one- is cause for celebration.

The next was the bris of the child whose parents I met a few years ago when the husband and I took a course together on building tolerance in Israeli society. (Great course, we all like each other. Wish we could extrapolate the relationships of the 20 of us of to the rest of the country. Oh, well.) She was in the midst of years of surgeries, including brain, for injuries suffered in a car crash which she barely survived and which cruelly terminated a pregnancy, leaving them with a toddler daughter. Well, despite her complete lack of abdominal muscles (she has mesh holding her body together) a son was born to them, an absolute miracle, even made the papers. That was one bris I was not missing, not a dry eye in the house when the blessings were said.

Last but not least was the bris of my cousin's first grandson. He's the cuz closest to my age and the only one to make aliya, pretty much because his 2 oldest sons came to do army service and refused to return to America. So they're all now here and these 2 boys- I guess to sweeten the move for their parents- married and both had babes this last month, one girl and now the little guy. These are the first children born to their family in Eretz Yisrael- that they know of -in about 2000 years. Pretty big stuff.

Since no less than Avraham Avinu had his bris (see the Torah portion for yesterday) too, I suppose it was an appropriate way to spend the week. I certainly had my fill of bagels and lox.

Now I'm going out to take 12 Christian German pro-Arab women on a tour of the Gush to try to show them a side they're not at all familiar with. This should be interesting. That covenant that the bris implies is the one connecting the Jews to this place promised us so long ago. But something tells me that they may not get it.

Sigh. Wonder what their grandfathers did in WWII, and when I let them know that I would not have been born had my dad gone to Auschwitz as did a good chunk of his family. And all the while wondering how much they even care now. I do so want to believe in the inherent goodness of mankind, a la Ann Frank. Surprise me, please.

To Believe or not to Believe, that is the Question


I just read Debkafile, the website that has sources in Israeli intelligence. According to prevailing wisdom, they are right about 50% of the time, which makes them essentially worthless. I mean, how do you know which 50% is correct and which isn't? So by all rights I shouldn't read it, but just like one is drawn to the slot machine- with a lot lower odds- I find myself checking in every couple of days. Ya never know. More than once I read something there and days later it was validated in the mainstream media. Not that the msm is so reliable, but at least it means that the disinformation is consistent. Or whatever.

Today they are reporting that Syria has called up their reservists and put their hospitals and civilian defense systems on alert. So what am I supposed to do with that tidbit? Clean out the bombshelter? Stock up on water? Say Psalms? Eat cheesecake because what the hell, might as well have a pack it on before the cockroaches munch on what's left after the chemical/biological/nuclear fumes dissipate? All of the above?

So since this added info is not adding to my general state of mental health, I should probably stop reading the site. My problem is that I'm an information junkie. Not necessarily news- I stopped that long ago- but I do like knowing things so that I can make my own mind up about them. That's why I just watched the Ann Coulter interview (I think Donny Deutsch went overboard, she's no anti-Semite, she's just a believing Christian. It's not the same thing, in my mind, anyhow) and read the Bar Rafaeli interview (she clearly has more beauty than brains, what a self centered twit) and am in the middle of a color book (not coloring book). It's so that I'll understand what different colors represent in cultures and tradition before I buy a new bedspread and reupholster my living room chairs. (For example, never do a kitchen in purple; it's the color of royalty and mystics, neither of whom hang out in the scullery. Yellow, however, wakes people up and whets the appetite so go with that.) The color of my room could have far reaching effects so I have to be careful.

Why do I believe the color stuff? Dunno, just makes sense to me. So if that's my guideline, then on reflection Syrian aggression makes sense, too. Sigh. Guess in that case I'll have to buy some H2O sixpacks and recite some 'yea's, 'thou's, 'art's and 'Lord's.

I'll hold off on the dessert, though. Don't want to explain to anyone that I can't fit into my skinny skirts because I thought we were heading for Armegeddon . That's too bizarre. Even for me.

The Irony Age


We spent yesterday afternoon trekking back and forth to the Eitam Hill, one of the 5 new outposts that were established by those who have not yet given up on the idea that Jews should be able to live in all parts of Israel. No one is under any illusions about the viability of these places in the short term. (Meaning, no way this government is going to let some ideologues- nasty word- interfere with their pathetic groveling to our enemy to please, please take our land away from us and establish another terror state there. Excuse the run on sentence; what are the chances that former English teachers of mine are reading this blog, anyhow?)

So we walked, and walked, and I was happy that the sciatica that has plagued me for nigh, over 2 months now, has mellowed into just an occasional tingle and numbness, and that we were collectively doing a little tingle to counter the national numbness that has affected the vast majority of Israelis who despise this government but can't do much about it. For me it's all about my kids and exposing them to the good people who are dedicated to this country in the ways that count. So we went.

Today's news carries a quote from some defense official claiming that our activites distract the security forces from fighting terror. Perhaps he should direct his concerns to the Prime Minister who has, in a "good will gesture to moderate Abbas", agreed to release nearly 90 terrorists from jail today, including the guy who handed Saddam's incentive cash out to families of suicide bombers. Me thinks that may actually be more detrimental to the ongoing battle against terror than some enthusiastic Zionistic teens and young families who go up on vacant hills. Not to mention that the forces out there to either protect us or evacuate us- depending on orders- are not the terror fighting units. But maybe that's just my illogical thinking.

It does makes for good copy to blame settlers once again for everything. Getting kinda stale, though.

Off to take a bus from a tour group through the Gush today. Hope I can sit for a bit.

Whale Watching


On Yom Kippur we read the book of Yonah, the prophet who tried to get out of his celestial 'mission impossible' to travel to Ninveh, an enemy of Israel, to warn the locals to repent so that God wouldn't destroy them. By trying to hide from God he got a 3 day whale of a ride and had to go anyhow. Adding insult to injury, they actually did repent (at least for awhile) and so he had to deal with that, too, along with a lesson in God's mercy to all humankind.

It's obvious why we read this (allegorical?) tale on our own Day of Repentance, coming to a synagogue near you this Shabbat.

It's less obvious but becomes clearer with time (read: age) that there is no hiding from God and it's best to acknowledge Him, even, or maybe especially, when we'd rather He wasn't watching and/or listening.

It's just flat out strange that the name Yonah has been appearing in our local media all week. You see, the day after Rosh Hashana 8 Israelis were killed in a plane crash on the Thai island of Phuket. The entire week has been devoted to the tragedy and the attempts to identify their badly burned bodies. In addition to the sorrow of 8 young lives ended, there was tremendous poignancy regarding 2 honeymooning couples, all friends, who died together. Coverage of their families focused on, yes, Kfar Yonah, a small and little known community where 3 of the 4 grew up and still lived.

What I used to see as coincidences I increasingly interpret as signs. What they mean, though, often eludes me, although since I love to talk to people I get a lot of interesting ideas back when I share my thoughts. I don't know what's right (I'm not young enough to know everything anymore) but lfe is certainly a whole lot more meaningful.

Off to scarf some food, since it's considered as big a mitzva to eat on the day before YK as it is to fast on YK itself. (Ya gotta love this religion).

A meaningful fast to all. May our sins be forgiven and forgotten, and may all of mankind merit the mercy of our Maker for the coming year.

The Eve of Rosh Hashana


Yes, 'tis the season of soul searching and repentance, the anniversary of the creation of mankind.
With that I ask forgiveness from you, my loyal readers, for this month long break in my postings. There are a few good reasons and more than a few so-so ones, but my Jewish New Year resolution list includes breaking my bloggers block and getting back to business here. This post will be short and to the point. (Mainly since there is still much to do before this 3 day holiday commences.)

I just heard yesterday that as the astrological sign for this month is Libra, symbolized by scales for justice, it's clearly not only the tribe of Israel that saw this time of year as one for reflecting on one's own life and vowing to do better in the future. Would that we all will succeed in doing some tinkering, since being a better person is inherent in becoming a better Jew.

Ah, Dani is home from the base. I hope that means the tension has lessened and war is not imminent. If it is, may our leaders make the right decisions and for the right reasons, and may it end quickly with no casualties and in a decisive victory over those who wish to destroy us. Please G-d. So now you know what is on the top of my wish list, ahead of blogging regularly. Just.

Shana Tova to all Am Yisrael. May Hashem grant us peace in our Land, whether we deserve it or not. Hopefully, though, because we do.

California Dreaming


We're in San Francisco for a few days, leaving tomorrow back to LA to finish our trip before we head home next week. It has been very busy hence the non-posts. I know, no excuse. ('Resistance to blogging.' Is that a new psych term, like resistance to therapy?)

Anyhow, we're having a great time, even Earl who runs to shul 3 times a day to say kaddish. The only Orthodox minyan here is a 45 minute bus ride away so he gets up at 5:30 and is away from us in the evening for 2-3 hours as well. I feel badly for him but am amazed at his devotion. Tonight is "Jewish Heritage Night' at the baseball game; he probably should have gone and would have had an easier- and better- time praying there. Last night he rounded up 9 guys at the kosher deli downtown which was quite a feat. The Vancouver rabbi was very happy and the other Israeli- Americans were pleased, too. Came for pastrami on rye and got G-d. The missionary outside in the plaza under the 'Open your heart to Jesus' sign wailing 'Knock, knock, knock on Heaven's Door' completed the scene. Guess you had to be there.

Today we walked around Nob Hill, hit the aquarium, the sourdough bakery tour, the cable car museum, Chinatown and the wharf to see the sea lions who have mysteriously taken up residence there. It has been cold- 15 C, 60 F, but while we shivered the sea lions looked happy. We think. For some reason we seem to be findiing the Northern hemisphere cool zone this summer, very odd. I know, it's hot in the Holy Land, we'll be sweating soon enough. The first night we hit the 3 story Old Navy store- now that was exciting. Luckily I had a 20% discount so while Earl wasn't as happy as a sea lion he could have been more miserable. And there are still some shopping days left in LA.

Yesterday was the Golden Gate bridge, Muir Woods, Sausalito and Alcatraz. The latter was really terrific. There's a ferry out to the island- sold out 2 weeks in advance but since I was warned we bought tickets last week-and an excellent audio guide walk through tour of the prison that makes the whole place come alive with what it was like in it's 'heydey'. Pretty scary. Of course Mickey Cohen was an inmate (what makes us Yids look for members of the tribe- no matter where we are?) as was Al Capone before he died of syphillis. Yech. The big debate was if the 3 prisoners who escaped survived the frigid Pacific waters, murderous currents and occasional shark, since they were never heard from again. I think they drowned, that water is mean, but who knows. Really a great tour, though. Wish we had some place like that now for some of the murderers in our part of the world.

Lots of bikers here, too, but they wear helmets and have mountain bikes so they lean unlike in Holland. Suddenly I'm an international biking expert. Makes me miss my spinning. I'm gonna pay for this trip but good.

Dutch Treat


I'm writing this from Amsterdam, where Earl and I are spending 5 days with the 3 youngest on our way to LA to visit my dad. We're not away from Israel for too long because with Dani in the army I don't like leaving for an extended period, even if Assad is behaving for now. Poo poo. We chose to come here because we needed to go somewhere that Earl can pray 3 times a day with a minyan since he's saying Kaddish for his father so we looked for a place with members of the tribe, and because London is expensive and Paris is full of French people.The affiliated Jews here don't live in the city center anymore but a bit out, in the Dutch 'burbs, so we tram it in every morning and back at night. Or what should be night; it's 10 PM and still light out. (That's why we came here after the fast of 9 Av.) Shabbat should be interesting, we're eating with an (Israeli, of course) family who does this for extra cash. I had falafel (really did, don't laugh, I'm not a big carnivore) for dinner at the Israeli run meat restaurant. (They're very homesick, I had a long shmooze with the owners. We hit the Israeli owned pizza place last night; he was closed but made us pies anyhow since we looked so pathetic. Did wonders for the chat I was having with the kids about Jewish hospitality to Jewish travelers over the centuries. Nothing like a real time 'chessed' to drive a point home.)This place is so fascinating, canals, cool architecture and incredible museums- we all know lots about Rembrandt and Van Gogh and the stunning dollhouses that wealthy Amsterdam woman had built in the 1700's with money their husbands made importing spices and other goodies from far away. Tomorrow we take a walking tour in the afternoon of the old Jewish area which should be fun considering that at times today it poured and more is coming. Yesterday we went through Anne Frank's house and the Annex; it's extremely moving, even to the majority of visitors who are not Jewish. How can you not tear up at the site of the pencil marks on the wall marking the children's growth during their 2 years of hiding? There are a few commemorations to WWII and the Holocaust around, 90% of Dutch Jews went to the camps. We'll learn more tomorrow, but we already know that a big reason for the Dutch being a marine superpower in the 1600's was the influx of Portuguese Yiddin after the Expulsion from the Iberian peninsula, due to the relative freedom of religion here. We make things happen, that we do. Then they kill us. Is that stupid, or what?I got a nice feeling telling the kidlets that the royal family was called....the House of Orange. Gush Katif notwithstanding.The rest of Europe- and back home- is sizzling but here we wore jackets, and got sprinkled, as did all the cyclists whizzing by, talking on phones, with dogs and or toddlers in baskets. Maybe we'll rent some on Sunday and ride around. Be nice if my spinning muscles got a workout before they atrophy. But we'll stick to one of the beautiful parks and not the trafficky areas, not sure I want Nili dashing through a light on 2 wheels with 3 trams, 4 buses, 5 motorcycles and a bunch of pedestrians all vying for space.Feeling lousy that I missed the Efrat attempt to settle the Eitam yesterday but just watched the YouTube clip and read all the updates. And there's more to come; I have a feeling that there will still be room for me to do something besides a housewarming party on the hill when I return.So far we managed to avoid anything overtly red light, although what some people wear (and judging from some whiffs, smoke) on the streets comes as no surprise after what we've heard about the city. Not too bad, though, and certainly not a reason to skip a visit. We won't have time to do everything on the list, it's an amazingly diverse place. And we haven't even sampled the chocolate yet.....[...]

The End Game


Last Shabbat was very nice and most importantly, we didn't run out of food. (Or sand either, for that matter.) Thanks to all who asked and my deepest apologies for not posting sooner and keeping you in such a high state of suspense. We also did not get hit by Kassams, although a helicopter did spend many hours hovering over the beach. Maybe the pilots like bikinis.

Since this week has rapidly moved right along, I found myself shopping today for, you guessed it, this coming Shabbat. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite things to do and actually, given how many hours of my life have spent doing it, it probably ranks #1 on my personal ratio chart of time:disliked activity. I mean, labor was no fun but the sum total for 7 kids was maybe 50 hours so I've gotten over it. Especially since they became teens and I had new horrors to deal with. But shopping for food is still with me.

One of these days I'm going to sit with an industrial designer and redo the damn carts. The whole shopping thing is incredibly inefficient and stressful (unless you enjoy ice cream melting onto your your nectarines, meticulously culled from the pile only to end up bruised anyhow.) I know the issue is money- these carts are cheap- and the need to provide storage for homeless people, but really, in 2007 I think we can do better.

We were low on toilet paper so I moseyed down the corresponding aisle. I wanted cream color, but the only brand they had in that color smelled like vanilla. I don't know about you, but in my humble opinion vanilla is a flavor for food, not for bathrooms. Not flagging, I spied a package of rolls that looked yellowish and could have passed for cream. Getting closer I saw that this wonder smelled like.....pineapple. Pineapple? Who is doing the marketing research around here- some Fijian? Has anyone bothered to check out what the, er, end user would like? Now maybe I'm all alone on this one, but does anyone really want their privates smelling like a fruit basket? I live in such an olfactory sensitive environment that I haven't even changed my perfume (Obsession, if you must know) for years because no one liked me wearing anything else, even Paloma Picasso, which I adored on my aunt. (My good friend Marilyn innocentlyly asked me why I was slathered in mosquito repellent. I know, I know, body chemistry. And $54 down the tubes.)

Most of the other choices had dog or ducks or hearts on them. I finally found a nice, soft package of plain white, 3 ply, now on the shelf awaiting use. No cream, guess we'll dim the lights.

So proud of myself that I can do apolitical posts now and again. Except ya know what, that joke about diapers and politicians needing to be changed often and for the same reason just crept into my head. Darn, so close.

Beach Boys


We're in Ashkelon for Shabbat at the beach apartment of a nephew who not only has a good business head but is generous about sharing his largess. Doesn't always go together, fortunately for us in his case it does. Earl just went down to the beach with the girls so I have a few minutes. (That makes 2 posts this week, I'm so proud.) Guys heading here on their own steam.

What was supposed to be an easy, quiet Shabbat turned a bit, well, noisier. Nili is the only one home these days and she wanted to join us but bring a friend. Fine, actually better since we don't have to entertain her; throw a noodle or 2 in their general direction and all is fine and dandy. Then Dani came home from the army for the weekend and decided that instead of having the house to himself he would come as well, with 2 friends also out for Shabbat (the other 3 that he invited couldn't make it).

Actually, I'm happy to spend time with him (he's a great kid, always was, and his friends are terrific as well, what a coincidence, that) so it's a pleasure. Still didn't spend the day in the kitchen, but did hit 4 places up this morning to load up on prepared food for these very hungry boy/men. And am not so sure that it's enough. (The bane of Jewish mothers everywhere- jostling for prime worry time with our concerns for everyone we love is the niggling fear that we may- gasp- run out of food for our guests.)

On the way here we heard the national radio news, the usual reports accompanied by our usual disgust at the time our public figures spend covering their you know whats. But then after the weather update (cooler for a coupla days) I heard what reminds me of why I live here, in the only Jewish country in the world. The times Shabbat begins in the different cities in Israel, and the name of the parsha (weekly Torah reading). On the main radio station. Those little things make up for a lot.

Boys just came in and left for the sand, grabbing the bag of my homemade chocolate chip banana muffins (snatched by me from the deep freeze on the way out the house door at the last minute in case the bakery stuff went). Managed to rescue 2 for Nili and Co., but that's the end of that. Oh, no, do I have enough chicken?

Oblivious to the Obvious


The 4th of July found me at the American consulate reception in Jerusalem. I have been there before and they didn't disappoint and served Ben and Jerry's, which I ate in embarrassingly copious amounts. They also had a nice kosher table (dairy this year, so I could eat real food AND ice cream) for those of us who couldn't avail ourselves of the shrimps and other delectables that were being passed around by the Arab waiters. Listen, I still pay taxes to Uncle Sam so I felt okay with the birthday gorge. At least on the fiscal level.

It was quite a Jerusalem mix; former MK Menachem Porush was there in a wheelchair, some nuns and men in cassocks, a very colorful crew and medley of languages. I decided to stand far away from arch terrorist Jibril Rajoub and even further from Salem Fayyad, the new Pal PM. Didn't see anyone selling him life insurance either, but I guess it wasn't the forum for that kind of thing. I did see some friends of ours from the medical profession including a psychiatrist, though. Hmmm. Nah, he must have been there for other reasons. The bar, perhaps.

I really wonder if anyone believes in this whole road map/Oslo/peace process anymore or if a lot of people are just too invested to admit the failures and the mess. The consul's speech was very telling. He spoke about the American Civil war and how horrible it had been, till everyone realized that all Americans needed to unite for the common good. (He neglected to mention how Arab slave traders set up that war by kidnapping Africans and bringing them to North America, causing black slavery and the controversy that came from it. Not too politically correct, I suppose.) Anyhow, initially I was confused. Was he referring to Israelis and Arabs? After double checking with the guy from Bnai Brith who was listening, too, I concluded that he was talking to the various 'factions' within Pal society. Did he think, though, this quite intelligent man, that quoting the Gettysburg Address re all men being created equal, and the American mandate for 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" was in any way going to get these guys to knock off their death culture? Can the government of the world's superpower still be so oblivious to the obvious?

Not possible. I guess they're going through the motions, letting people get tanked so that others can fill their tanks, and hoping for the best.

With my own PM letting terrorists out of jail I can't exactly complain that the Americans are entertaining some. They really can't be more Catholic than the Pope. And speaking of the Wholly C, he's now allowing an anti-Jewish liturgy back in their prayers. What a great idea. Now we know who Avrum Burg is advising.

I hope that next year I'll still see cassocks, not Cossacks. But the way things are going I wouldn't bet on it.



I have been busy with groups coming through in the past few days. Of all the challenges that I face in getting them to understand that the 'settlers' are not the cause of the problems here- or anywhere- there is one thing that stands out time and again:

Westerners have absolutely no clue how the Middle East works. They think that if we're nice to Arabs that Arabs will stop believing what they believe. It is an incredibly naive, arrogant and patronizing attitude. Like it's all about how we act to them, not about how they feel the world should run and the obligations they have, religious and otherwise, to make that happen.

8 doctors, privileged and educated are implicated in the British terrorism plots. The West's fault?

And as for here. One woman yesterday told me that she 'read an article' that Jewish and Moslem medical staff that work together really hate each other. When I told her that I know from personal experience that it's just not true, she demanded to know why there was little socializing. I tried to explain that while the Jews can have the Arabs over we have been told by the Arabs that live in Judea and Samaria that they can't return the favor for fear of being killed by their neighbors and that they can't guarantee our safety. Tends to put a damper on the wine and cheese side of things. But she repeated that she 'read the article'.

Just call me a liar and be done with it, lady. I mean, why let facts bother your notions. The hypocrisy of the liberal left, when pointed out to them, makes them squirm. Why isn't anyone screaming about the internecine violence in Gaza? To only harp on Israel doesn't really fit what is supposed to be honest policies.

Another one repeated that she just won't accept that there is no solution. I guess the dissonance is too hard for them to overcome so they prefer to blame us rather than have to deal with the idea that the solution to this is not what we'd like it to be, and not because of us but because of them.

That's 2 serious posts in a row. Well, fasting today put me in a lousy mood. Having my soldier son tell me that his last week was spent learning to identify dead bodies didn't help, either. And trying to get through to people who are sure they know it all- from their comfy Beverly Hills digs, just adds to my malaise.

So frustrating. I'll try for lighthearted next time.

2 Philadelphias


Begin rant:Just in over the news wire that quite a few soldiers were hurt today tracking down terrorists in Schem, including 2 officers severely wounded. Our boys are out there risking their lives to stop them and in the end the murderers are let out of jail because their terror organization demands it before they'll release an Israeli hostage. And we're fighting Fatah, while we prop up Abbas and feed the collaborators with Fatah terror in Gaza.Something here is so wrong. How can the world not see it? Or actually, why even expect the world to see it when my own government is following such a policy. Let Egypt deal with the crisis in Gaza, maybe fill the trucks coming over the Philadelphi corridor with food instead of weapons. Why is that demand not made? Because we know that it bothers Israelis more- even righties like me-to see Arabs hurting, than it bothers other Arabs. Maybe the biggest dirty little secret of the Arab world, how little they care about each other.Where are the humanitarian liberal lefties? Why are they not publicly skewering Hamas and the Pal civil war? Or do they only yell at Israel? That would mean that they are-gasp- say it ain't so, hypocrites. Shocking. Well, not really. To follow their behavior over the years is to realize that they only criticize Israel, because, after all, we won't kill them if they do, while their Arab friends don't take too kindly to that sort of thing.Intimidated false liberalism. How sweet.I met with a group a few days ago, university students from the States. 4 hours with me, 4 with Dror Etkes from Peace Now. I didn't- but maybe should have- told them that many Israelis consider him a traitor for going to European governments to fund their overflights over Judea and Samaria to track settlement expansion. (They don't track illegal Arab building, of course, although the vast majority of building out here is exactly that.) What I definitely should have mentioned is that the PN report that was released to great fanfare a few months ago turned out to be a major falsification of facts, although that correction was barely noted in the press, as usual.Maybe at some point I subconsciously decided not to waste my breath. Most of these kids are so brainwashed by the Pal line, that they're the poor victims of Israeli aggression who have no choice but to explode everything around them. The 'cycle of violence' I heard ad naseum, the extremists on both sides. Like one Baruch Goldstein equals 500 terrorists. Seth Mandell spoke with them about the help he and his wife Sherri give to terror and violence victims as far afield as Philadelphia, Penn. Did they get that? That one can make a choice in their grief, to choose life or death. And that free choice is for the Jews one that seeks to improve the world and help others, while for the Arabs it's an excuse to deepen their death cult worship.While assuring me that they believe there should be a sovereign Jewish state (thanks so awfully much guys) they espouse opinions that will lead to our demise or at best a war that will claim many victims.Nice kids, all of them. Just typical examples of college campuses and the huge gap there is between the facts and the what they believe to be true. A vacuum that to my growing frustration the Israeli establishment is unwilling to deal with in the way it should be done.Anyone out there want to fund an Al 'Jew'zeera? I will work my butt off for you if you do, and I'm not alone. (Yes, have a gym near the studio, that, would work, too.) But seriously, we're not just fighting the game badly. We're not even in the frickin' ring.End rant. For now.[...]

Sun Stroke


There is a heat wave in the country now, tomorrow is supposed to be 50 degrees Celsius (122 F) in the Jordan Valley.

I think our 'leadership' was outside without a collective hat on. The perfect opportunity presented itself last week to show the world what we have been dealing with vis a vis the brutality of the Pals. But no, they're running around asking for help for Fatah. The 'moderates'. Like Goebbels was a moderate compared to Stalin, or Pol Pot compared to Genghis Khan. This is insane.

I had an argument a few days ago with someone who thinks we should let them all rot. I disagreed, we should provide medical care to those who were shot, and let food through. I'm of 2 minds on the water and electricity that we supply. On the one hand it's the accepted way to get a civilian population to surrender, but we don't want them surrendering, we want them throwing off Hamas. But they voted in Hamas so why on Earth would they fight them? They're not happy with the brutality but, heck, Hitler was elected, too and brought on a mess for Germany. Sometimes you get what you asked for. So I'm holding off on that for now.

But risk Israeli lives to help any of them? Remove roadblocks to strengthen Fatah in Judea and Samaria? Have we completely lost it? Like they will only use the newfound mobility to track down Islamofascists and not target buses in Jerusalem or schools in Netanya. Give me a break.

Actually, give me a few days at the helm of the Information desk for the state of Israel. We might actually then broadcast something that makes sense for a change. If I do say so myself. Hey, this is my blog.

Shabbat Shalom. More after the peace of the Sabbath day has gone.

The Graduate


We're invited to my sister for lunch tomorrow so I actually have time to write some more now. I admit that it's also an excuse to avoid the laundry room, where it's like a squid has gotten loose in the washing machine. You see, when Dani requested that I wash his (very filthy and stinky) uniforms before he returns to base on Sunday he neglected to take a pen out of the pocket.....

I'll deal with the ink later. Maybe Peretz as his last act as Defense Minister will change the traditional khaki to blue? He's done stupider things, so one never knows.

Yesterday was a big day around here. It was Earl's and my 26th Hebrew anniversary. Yup, doesn't seem that long but it must be. After all, Elisheva is over 24 and as she mentioned once, we've been married longer than she's been alive. (Old fashioned, aren't we? She was blond then when she said that.) Anyhow, Sivan 28 it is. We went all out and celebrated by..... going to Amiad's high school graduation. (Guess we peaked at 25). That was after I came home early from a bar mitzva party in the Maon forest in the South Chevron Hills. That family is definitely not in Teaneck anymore and gets major points on originality.

I was 7 weeks pregnant with Amiad exactly 19 years ago when we made aliya from LA on June 14th, 1988. The morning sickness has thankfully passed, although I sobbed my way through a nice chunk of the ceremony. Earl didn't understand why. (Sigh. You'd think after all this time he would get it.) Fortunately, sitting on my other side was another Jewish mother (read: person who is sensitive, emotional, on-line with the Creator with regards to our children at all times) who completely understood, and she's the school counselor, not even a mom of grad. (She's also the wife of Rav Yaakov Meidan, Rosh Yeshiva of Har Etzion in Alon Shvut. Wonderful, warm, unpretentious, a delightful person. He's also great.)

I mean, how can you not cry? Thirty two 18 year old man/boys, all going to serve in the army within the next year or so depending on what programs they attend now. What are the odds of all of them getting to a wedding canopy unharmed? It's makes us, kids and parents, all really appreciate the good times, and delight in their joy at being done with school, and the strong bonds they have made and experiences they have shared. These boys hugged their rabbis and teachers with such affection. Whether out of relief to be finished or not, it was really special to witness the tremendous caring there.

In the hope and prayer that they will remain safe and strong in the faith and knowledge that they worked so hard to attain. And that their parents (me, for starters) will find the strength to help them through.

Kinda puts the morning sickness and sleepless nights of yore into perspective.

Gastronomic Ideology


Have to run out in a few minutes to get the Shabbat challot and cookies just in from the Sderot bakery (where the Kassams get shot to from Gaza so we're trying to give them some income); the cherries from Amona orchards (where 200 people got beaten up last year trying to prevent 9 houses from being destroyed); the blueberries we ordered from Kedumim (in the Shomron, thankfully quiet right now but happy for the encouragement in their new venture) not to mention the dates from the Jordan Valley that I picked up this week, too. We seem to do a lot of ideological eating, or what you can call committed consumerism. This is in addition to the usual purchases we make in our area to make an effort to support local businesses, and I still go out of my way to find Gush Katif lettuce and herbs as they build new hothouses and attempt to re-establish their markets.

The highest level of charity is actually to help someone earn an honest and respectful living, so this is win-win. It's just lucky that I live in the land of milk and honey, imagine if I was in England. Boiled beef would probably make a renegade leftist out of me.

While on the the subject of milk and honey: I was advised a few weeks ago by a naturopath to eat goat's milk products instead of cow, good for the blood and digestion. I happen to love dairy food (in general cows have nothing to fear from me, I'm not a big meat eater) so I figured I wouldn't cut out the moo-moo completely but add something of the Bill Broagin (sp?) variety to my day. I found a brand of yogurt- with lots of fruit- from G'vaot Olam, a ranch in the Northern Shomron (natch, see above) that I can stomach, but it's definitely an acquired taste. I had some for breakfast today about an hour before a 50 minute spinning class. Let's just say that I won't be following that time frame again, since I ended up, er, reacquiring the taste during class. Live and learn.

Concerning honey, wouldn't it be nice if Israeli scientists figured out why so many bees are going to their celestial hives. Seems that 10 billion (!) have died in the US alone recently and the ramifications for crops they pollinate- nothing important, just wheat, for starters- are potentially devastating. I know, I know, the biblical honey associated with the Land of Israel is actually from dates, but I already mentioned them in another context. Sheesh, some people are such pedants.

Hot in Judea on this erev Shabbat and beginning of new month of Tammuz. Hotter in Gaza, though. More on that another time, me thinks the subject is not flash in the pan. Speaking of which , off to put up the soup, will try to post again later.

The Guns of August


It's really hard to plan vacation around the possibility of war.

That sounds bizarre, but it's what many Israelis are going through now. The tour companies and bed and breakfast places are in a tizzy. Every August we head north -or occasionally to the coast- with a few other families, close friends all, to enjoy the Golan and Galilee as the summer wanes. Thousands of others do the same and the area is usually packed with kayakers, hikers, jeep riders and just plain lazing on the beach types. (We do all of the above. One of the group breaks a sweat popping open beers. Since I break a nail doing the same I hang with the more active side of the crowd. And anyhow, I dislike beer.)

But- what if the threatened war with Syria breaks out? If Hizbollah renews their attacks, as reports of their replenishing their bunkers with even longer range missiles are mentioned daily in the press. Gaza is always ready to explode, but the Western Negev desert is not a (vacation) hot spot, anyhow. How on earth are we supposed to do summer? And has anyone ever noticed how most of the wars are in the summer months? Does the Mid Eastern heat and haze give our enemies sunstroke or something?

So we plan and hope for the best. Last summer we hosted northerners in Judea in July and then went to a B & B in the Lower Galilee just after the war ended and the Katyushas stopped. The area was eerily empty. Burnt forests and fields, shattered buildings, bombed out tourist attractions and morose shopkeepers were part of the tour. We not only had a great time, though, (no lines anywhere!) but felt good about leaving our shekels where they were clearly needed.

This year a war will, sadly, not come as a surprise, since last year's one was not really concluded. With a son in the army it's a constant worry. We plan on going north, booked a lovely place on the Kinneret with our gang and even reserved a place for him in the hopes that he can get a few days off and join us for some R & R. Depending of course, on quiet.

But you can't live here always waiting for the worst. In 1991, during the First Gulf War, we planned a Purim party and set a side a room for everyone to leave their coats....and gas masks. That day everything ended and we joyfully yanked the plastic protective sheeting off the windows. So, too, we'll send in the deposit now, load up on sunscreen and check the rafts for leaks, and hope for the best.

I'm sure we'll get a full refund if if if. What, that's not a consideration?

In this land of miracles and madness, though, ya just never know. Boring it never is.

A Lot of Eilat


Earl and I were in Eilat for the weekend, a 4 hour drive each way for 48 hours in a 5 star hotel. It was worth it.

One of the health funds that Earl works with had their convention there so it was subsidized, a perk (just about the only one), for being a physician in the Holy Land. The food was amazing; I'm sure that I temporarily lost the battle to keep my weight and cholesterol lower than my IQ, so now I'm back on track, left with just memories and jiggles. Yum. And Aargh.

Eilat is the closest you come to leaving Israel without taking your passport. As you drive south on the long highway from the Dead Sea there's a palpable sense of getting away to some peace and quiet. The odd thing is that from the North Beach you can see 3 Arab countries, Egypt, Saudia Arabia, and Jordan. I know we have a peace treaty with 2 of them of them but at least concerning Egypt......nothing to rely on. The Saudis are responsible for the Wahhabi plague of global radical Islam so nothing to discuss on that front. I guess one day it could get noisy there and they did have a terror attack a couple months ago, but we all like our illusions and this one comes with a pool and air conditioning.

Every time we pass the huge Dead Sea Works factory I wonder at how it can be that a private company is allowed to mine a national treasure, nay, an international one, for profits in potash and magnesium. Just one more coin in the cache of corruption that has so hurt this place and that I hope one day will end, with leaders of a different caliber. I know every country is like this but I can't help but feel that we deserve better. Too many people sacrificed too much for this to be what it is now.

On Shabbat we struck up a conversation with a British young couple who want to move here within the next year. They are both newly religious and feel that this is the place to be. I agree (surprised you there, didn't I?) and we talked about how despite it all, there is no place like home. With apologies to Dorothy and Oz.

Tonight there are bridal showers all over Gush Etzion and other Jewish communities for the Gush Katif brides of this summer. It's a huge act of kindness/chessed, an example of what my friend Anita Tucker, of the destroyed community of Netzer Hazani, wrote to me is the only thing that will save us all. Everyone is bringing gifts to help them get started in their new lives. It's an honor to be a part of it. Now they certainly don't think hotels are fun after spending months living in them after their communities were wrecked.

It's all in your perspective. Hot and getting hotter in Judea.

(Fall into) The Generation Gap


As I was reading Megillat Ruth on Shavuot (and yes, the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting was a hit) I noticed something I'd never realized before. The lineage of King David listed at the end includes Nachshon ben Aminadav, the intrepid guy from the tribe of Judah who waded into the Sea of Reeds up to his nose till it parted for the Israelites leaving Egypt. It doesn't surprise me that he's in there; there was clearly a leadership gene in that family. (Guess who Olmert and crew are NOT descended from.) But I digress.

What struck me was that he was Boaz's grandfather. (Boaz is the elderly Judge who marries the Moabite convert Ruth and is great-grandfather to David.) That means that he would have heard from his own grandfather and/or father about was it was like to be a slave in Egypt, the aforementioned parting of the Sea, the giving of the Torah at Sinai, the 40 years in the desert, and Joshua's conquest of the Land of Israel. If Nachshon was over 20 when the spies came back with a negative report on Israel then he didn't make it out of the desert (all men over 20 died in the desert as punishment for believing not nice things about the Land) but then his son must have already been born and borne witness to the rest. So far, fine.

The thing is, the time period of the Judges was 400 years. They were incidentally, the time period seen as very socially fair and egalitarian as evinced by archaeological evidence of similar sized homes, too, but that's another story. Boaz was likely one of the earlier ones, which my sources tell me he was and which makes sense since his granddaddy was an adult at Sinai and you have the 40 years and those of conquest so even if he was old with Ruth he was one of the openers. Now, only Oved and Yishai came between him and David according to the Megilla, so sure as heck not only did these men not smoke but they lived and procreated, er, begat, till very ripe old ages. You have to cover a few hundred years in just a couple of generations because we know that David is born at the time of the Kings, after Judges (see Book of Samuel).

I never had put all this together and was excited and thought I'd share. If anyone out there has anything to add please do so. When you read a fairly short book every year you start assuming you know the story; it's so cool to figure out something new. At least for me.

Off to cook for Shabbat, the kids have friends over so chickens will be consumed. Maybe I'll get Amiad to barbeque when he gets back from the pool and has thighs and breasts on his mind anyhow......

It's hot here in Judea, my impatiens flowers will suffer on a waterless Shabbat morning. Oh, well. Have a good one.



Shavuot starts in just a few minutes, hence the brevity of this post.

It's far and away my favorite holiday. One day, no cleaning or building or lighting anything special. We fill the house with flowers, our tummies with cheesecake and blintzes, and our minds with Torah. It's the holiday that celebrates the harvest of the first fruits of the Land of Israel and the giving of the Torah, 2 things that are bound up with the Jewish people for eternity. Living just south of Bet Lechem (House of Bread) where the story of the Book of Ruth, read tomorrow, happened, just makes it more poignant and relevant.

And has me once again so very thankful to be living in this time and place.

Wishing for peace for all of Israel and especially the brave souls on Sderot and the south who are paying the price for the misguided leadership of today.

Back after chag. I'll let you know how my carrot cake with cream cheese frosting went over. (Yes, I used 5% cream cheese. That way I can have a bigger piece).

A Wet Jerusalem Day


As I sat in traffic today- it took me almost 2 hours to get to Beit El to tape my show for Arutz 7- I realized that there was an upside to the mess on greater Jerusalem's roads. There were a lot of people on their way to our capital. How wonderful that is. The rain was a bit bizarre; I can't remember it raining on Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day before and it wreaked havoc with some festivities, but the sons have returned to their borders for real and that is great.

Yesterday we went to Ir David with some other families from the 'hood. I hadn't been there for a few years and it was fascinating. Archaeologist Eilat Mazar thinks she found David's palace there (looks palatial to me), there's a fabulous 3D presentation of how Jerusalem looked pre, during and post First Temple times, and the whole thing must be seen to be appreciated. Of course it's in the eastern part of the City, what's often called 'traditionally Arab East Jerusalem'. All part of the Big Lie.

You can understand, though, why the Arabs are so afraid of our taking out the shovels. The more we dig the more our ties to here, our history, our narrative comes to life. 51 stamps for wax seals were found just in one place, one with the name of a buddy of Jeremiah mentioned in the book of said prophet. The location of finds also makes sense in view of the topography- the Temple was above this area. Across the valley is the Mount of Olives cemetery, so much of it still a wreck thanks to the Jordanians who, during their 19 year occupation, used the gravestones to build roads and latrines.

I had a thought after the tour based on what we learned. Life and renewal usually arrives accompanied by water; Creation, the Flood, birth, the mikva ritual laws, the parting of the Red Sea in which slaves went in and a nation came out, etc. Jerusalem was conquered from the Jebusites by David to become the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and his soldiers came in through ----you guessed it, the water cistern system. As I was ruminating on this (you can do lots of thinking while stuck on the road) it began to absolutely pour.

Very weird.

A look at the headlines without any archaeological input at all will show that the sons of Ishmael are still living by the sword. When will the world get it?

It's 40 Years after the liberation of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan, too. Gosh, it's nice to be home.



Shabbat preparations are winding down, the house is, well, if not neat then at least clean (kind of) and the turkey smells great. I'm not sure why I made turkey even although a whole fresh turkey is a find here so I grabbed it. Maybe I'm subconsciously thinking about our prime and defense and foreign ministers. That actually makes more sense. They're getting cooked, too, but not fast enough for most Israelis.

We had a demonstration this morning at the site of the rock attack that severely injured my former neighbor. She's on a respirator with head injuries and a daughter getting married in 2 weeks. I know that I'm not a security expert but it seems to me that we have lost our deterrence ability. I would have gone to the house where the rock was thrown from and very politely told the possible homeowner/probable squatter that if he doesn't find the terrorist then his house comes down. Let's see them start wanting to stop attacks- not for love of Jews, I'm not that stupid- but because if they don't then they pay a price. It's ridiculous how Israelis have to be afraid. These are people who use Mickey Mouse to teach hate to their kids and the world wants to give them a state and blames us for what's happening? A missile almost hit the Ashkelon power plant today, it's just a matter of time before a huge tragedy happens in Sderot, and Jewish blood is cheap.

Insanity. The historians will have a field day. Hope I'm alive to read the books. The forwards will have to be written by psychologists, though.

Speaking of Turkey, maybe, just maybe it won't fall to radicalism. They had some million people demonstrate against the mullahs and their moollas so who knows, they just may wake up in time. Wouldn't count on importing their water for a parched Israel, though. See above for turkeys and their brilliant policies.

Shabbat Shalom from Judea, where it may rain. The weather is as crazy as everything else.

Voiceless in Judea


The week of mourning for my father-in-law is over; for some reason I'm left with no voice. I think Earl feels that's my unconscious attempt at making him better after his loss. (Although I'm no longer serving him and being as considerate as I was during the 'shiva'-and I was really, really, REALLY nice- at least he's spared having to listen to me. A gradual return to reality. Come to think of it, the kids are not complaining either. Hmphh).

As difficult as the week was for the family there's no question that the shiva was a celebration of my father-in-law's life and legacy. People who we haven't been in touch with in years came to his house, some called, many ex-LAers shared their own memories of him. In that way it was so nice to be together and have the siblings hear things they didn't know and be reassured that his memory will linger not just with the family.

The prize for incredibly stupid comment went to one visitor who said to them that the next time they would be together for shiva one of them would be missing because the shiva would be for that one. Got a moment of silence on that one. Sheesh.

The brit was very, very moving. It wasn't at all clear that they could use the name because Saba was alive when the baby was born and Ashkenazi Jews don't name for the living but in the end they got the okay. So just about 93 hours after Saba died -at 93-a great-grandson was given his first name in his living room - downstairs from where he died-so they could all be there. Let's just say that if you had bought Kleenex futures you would have done okay that day.

One of my nephews gave a beautiful 'dvar Torah' at the meal that we had in the synagogue about the connection of brit and Israel. It's too long to write but I will probably share it with my listeners on Wednesday on my radio show, live from 4-5 Israel time. Assuming that I regain my ability to speak. Awfully hard to do radio with laryngitis. Anyhow, if you go here and hit Judean Eve (ignore the pic, I must change it) you'll find me. I hope.

Very hot in Judea today. The weather in this country is so extreme. Shocking.

Rest in Peace, Saba Harow


We buried my father-in-law yesterday. He was 93 years old and left behind 6 living children, 35 grandchildren and over 60 great-grandchildren with a few 'on the way'. While a terrible loss for the family it is not a tragedy; the family knows tragedy. The first member of the extended Harow clan to be buried in Israel was 5 month old Yehuda Shoham, our niece's baby, killed by terrorists 6 years ago. Her new son will have his brit on Thursday at the house of mourning and will presumably be given his great-grandfather's name. May he merit his long life as well.While my father-in-law was many things- physician, Jewish community builder, Torah scholar and not a bad softball pitcher- his lasting legacy is the family that he and his wife (who died at 89 over 2 years ago) established, the vast majority of whom are living in Israel and devoted to Judaism. At the end of the day I know that's what the 2 of them cared about the most. In a world where more and more people judge 'success' by how much money you have and how famous you are, he was happy that a lot of people called him 'Saba' and that he had enough to treat us all to Pesach together for a few years. Those priorities have trickled their way down and we all hope that everyone stays close despite the loss of the patriarchal glue.My husband's oldest sister had to warn the rest of them today that they'd have to be serious this afternoon because she had friends coming to pay a condolence call who would be shocked at the laughter emanating from the house. Everyone was sharing memories and the vast majority were so pleasant and funny (even if they hadn't been at the time, like the one about being caught speeding in Idaho) that there was not the gloomy atmosphere one would expect.It's a really special thing, the Jewish mourning process. When I was in psych grad school and we learned the stages of grief I was floored at how sensible and sensitive our religion is at this traumatic time, in comparison to other religions and cultures. An intense week, followed by a slightly less intense month and then a year spent refraining from joyous events. This week the mourners are being coddled and served (Earl is really enjoying this part, I'll have to slowly ease him back into our reality next week) as they accept visits from people, some of whom they haven't seen for years, who come to console and share their own stories. By Friday they'll all be fidgeting from sitting so much and not exercising, not to mention the strain of talking so much. For now they're okay, in the Shomron right where the land of Ephraim meets Menashe, surrounded by caring relatives and friends.I'm in Efrat for the night getting the kids squared away, we'll go back tomorrow after I do my radio show in Beit El for Israel National News. My nephew Ari, who heads Anglo Likud, will be my guest and we'll do some politics and some personal. (Nepotism rocks.) It's a bit busy (!) but I'll manage and my nieces, nephews and sisters-in-law are great so no one will starve over there without me.Right now Caroline Glick is at a neighbor giving a talk; maybe I'll mosey over after I put the little ones to sleep on this beautiful Judean evening. Wonder what she thinks will happen after Winograd. Shocked she ain't.So life goes on, trying to make Israel a bit better. Saba would have approved, especially since he knew I can't hit all that well and ya gotta do what you can do. O[...]

The Pity of it All


In a literal and literary version of "Honor Thy Father" I am now finishing reading 'The Pity of it All' by Amos Elon. I had bought the book for my dad since it's a history of German Jewry and I thought he would enjoy learning more about his roots (he did); I didn't anticipate his asking me to read it, too, so that I would understand him better. Not exactly Jodi Picoult or even Azure magazine but it moves along in it's own way.

What's interesting is that I know how it ends so it's like watching a train speeding, about to go off a cliff, but not being able to stop it. In 1896 a physician named Bernard Cohn wrote a pamphlet warning German Jews that devastation was around the corner. No one paid any attention. So many brilliant Jews, so loyal to Germany, really patriotic to the point that not a few killed themselves during WWII, they just couldn't live with the betrayal of the Fatherland. A message for today? I wonder.

It really could have been Germany's century. They had brains, an incredible work ethic, organization and loyal citizens. They took it all and turned it to evil and destruction. Talk about free choice, so sad. My son Amiad is going to the States to work in camp for the summer and there was a Lufthansa flight open. I know, I know, it's silly. We owned a VW for awhile and other German products but I just couldn't see sending him alone on a plane with German signs and German announcements, (to me it's the language of death) and a stopover in Berlin. (Although I'm sure it would be on time.) So it's costing more but El Al it is.

Maybe I'll get over this one day. The again, my mother's cousin was killed at Pearl Harbor and she still dislikes the Japanese. So maybe not.

It's a crisp and cool Judean evening. And the language I'm hearing my kids prattle to their friends on the phone is Hebrew. Alive and well.