Thursday, June 22, 2017


While waiting at the gate at SFO, a family entered—a very pretty mother with three very pretty teenage daughters and a younger son. They sat on the floor and proceeded to blow up a large balloon appearing to be getting ready for a celebration. I couldn't see what they were doing until Dad entered, sat on a chair and was adorned with a golden crown. Then they broke out in Happy 50th Birthday Dad and ate their cupcakes. It was such a nice family event to watch. No, I didn't take a photo as I felt tho it was in public, it was their private moment.

Has anyone ever had a seatmate on an airplane who actually changed into jammies and slippers? No? Well I had one, a male Professor of Architectural History at Stanford, no less! I had all I could do to keep a straight face when he told me he was going to change! And yes, he changed back before arrival!

In a long line for Passport check and trying to use my phone to message the arranged driver as  instructed, it didn't matter what I did, it just didn't work from my US phone to an Israeli number. The Israeli phone company was already on my phone as soon as we landed. (My Israeli number kicks in on the 15th.)

A young woman in back of me offered me her phone. She was wearing her head covered which meant she was Orthodox and married. I accepted her kind offer. One thing led to another and she turned out to be married to a hairdresser, a full time mother of four and therapist and returning from Manchester where her nephew had become a bar mitzvah. Because she had been so kind and friendly, I offered her a free ride with me. It turned out she lived quite close to my rental so no problem. On the ride to Jerusalem we poured our hearts out to each other and as she got out she turned to me  and said, "I feel like I want to see you again." I hugged her and we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. How lovely to meet someone of a younger generation and have her react to me in that way. We had a good laugh when she told me her recent very sad family story and I replied she needed a therapist!

Oy! It has a large bedroom, 2 other small rooms, a half descent kitchen with a few amenities, barely
OK for breakfast. Nachalot, the neighborhood, is across from the shuk which is very fun. If I understood the owner correctly, the bedroom used to be a cistern which means there is a noisy blower of some kind on all the time, but I need to turn it off at night. The
bathroom is hilarious but I must admit has great hot water pressure in the so called shower. If I were too much larger I wouldn't fit! My cosmetics are on a night table I moved outside bathroom, visible in bottom photo outside bathroom door!

view from my eating desk!
Jennifer met Deborah Sosebee, an old friend of ours from the Bay Area—here to baby sit her grandson— for coffee and then came to me to spend the night. She couldn't believe I was  actually staying in this hippy pad in a combo religious and hippy neighborhood. I think it's exciting! Definitely not the free class act Marc found for me last year! This one came at a cost from VRBO.

Nechama, Ashira, Jennifer
Friday afternoon Jennifer drove Herbie and me to spend Shabbat in Ranaana. Philippe and the girls made dinner so that we could visit with Ashira and her 10-month-old Nechama before leaving Jerusalem.

Simone turned 18 and graduated high school. She will be spending a year doing volunteer work as she is not eligible to go in the army.  She intends to start college the following year. Daniella did very well on the SATs and is writing her essays for college apps. Being in the Army/Air Force has influenced her future plans. It sounds to me like PR/Public Policy in the science/medical field. She is applying to Georgetown, Columbia, U of Chicago and possibly others. Her time in the military has been incredibly positive with awards and excellent feedback from higher ups. We are very proud!

We also paid a visit to Burt Edelstein at his beautiful senior living apartment. Burt is the son of Herbie's parents dear friends and the brother of Maury in case any of you San Franciscans recognize the name. He is sharp as a tack in his late 80s and very political!

While we were in Ranaana, Herbie's companion Moses took a long day trip to Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee and Jordan River. It really adds to my enjoyment to have him see the Christian sights. To refresh your collective memory, he is a devout Christian from Delhi and he enjoyed last years trip here. We will try to take him to whatever we missed before plus introducing him to new Jewish places and events. We are making him an honorary Jew/Israeli!

Of course they are all adorable but Ashiras is the first Friedman of both generations to immediately
come to me! The others always preferred their Zayda/a male. She is friendly to everyone as her mother attends school and teaches English and has to leave her well tended by her Aunt Talia after her school (summer vacation) or a baby sitter or a nursery group. Another example how leaving babies in good care is healthy! Zach learns at a yeshiva so he is not always available. He claims the baby is a Stern not a Friedman which accounts for the friendliness!

Zalman's wife Rivi and the girls met us for dinner, along with Chana Tsipora and Talia with
Nechama (Ashira's), Shalom Simcha and
Marc at one of our two favorite Italian places, Pear & Apple. Deborah was our special guest.  The owner knows us by now and came out of the kitchen to entertain us and the rest of the patrons by singing Italian Opera. A good dinner and good time was had by one and all! The kids love to play on the stone cushions in the back of the City Hall. I believe it was once a temporary art installation but they seem to have kept it and rightfully so. (see below for more pics)

As some of you know Batya was married to Pinchas, a lovely man, on June 1. She was having such a good time dancing with all the ladies, she fell and broke both ankle bones. Had to leave her wedding party on a stretcher by ambulance! She is very happy and upbeat tho must remain housebound for quite awhile.

Marc and the kids found two new places in the Old City to show me. Moriah, named after Mt. Moriah, makes mostly Judaica out of leftover pieces of excavated Jerusalem stone. They add gold and diamonds from chips to larger pieces. 

The Faberge egg is incredible! Talia and Chana Tsipora purchased necklaces with their belated birthday money from us.  The manager and salesman fell in love with the girls and baby and gave them a nice discount! The other, is a large gift store with ceramics, silver, etc., for everyone's gift giving. All Israeli made and themed.

Alexander invited us to dinner with him and Racheli at Entrecote, one of the few Kosher places they
 Zalman and Alexander with proud Zayda
will eat. Their baby is due early July so hoping to be here. Yes, that was the wedding last August! Zalman rode his bike for a short visit on his way home. I told him I was so amazed at how outgoing Alexander has become and he said marriage raises self esteem. Two terrific young men! I blew it and forgot to get a photo of Racheli as was concentrating on the two grandsons with their Zayda.

Rivi and Ruti giving us directions
Another oy! There were four children at Rivi and Zalmans, not three, as evidenced by the photos. The difference between Zayda with Ashira's sweet, quiet 10-month-old Nechama and his behavior with 5-year-old Yael Hadassah, 3 1/2-year-old Batsheva and 18-month-old Ruti was like night and day.  He called them vilda hiya (wild animals) when he did the inciting!  He likes being one of the kids!
Herbie in his favorite position!

Sticking their tongues out!
Batxheva the leader. It's the red hair!

bom, bom, butz
 We visited Ashira and Nechama the same day. Zayda played bom, bom, butz, a Yiddish game where he lightly bangs foreheads with little ones. This one loved it and kept bending for more! Moses recorded all of her antics as she is a real show off and so friendly. He was even down on the floor with her offering his finger as a teething implement!

Once again Moses and I visited The Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Shortly after we were there last year, they uncovered a new window into where Christ is said to be buried. No photos allowed and too dark to sneak one. We waited in line and it looked the same to me as last visit but a window was opened in the rear.  Moses was very happy to be there again and hopes to one day bring his wife and daughter. He is most appreciative of the opportunities afforded him here in Israel. We also visited another area of the church that was blocked off last trip. The mosaic floor has a depiction of Noah's arc. Once again we left Herbie with his newspapers enjoying the sunshine and quiet in the yard.The building next door is finished and quite ugly. Looks like an institution or office building. Reminds me of the defunct Jack Tar!

JUNE 19, 1962
Couldn't resist Batman in Hebrew, Jerusalem below.
Marc's birthday today. I told him we would take him wherever he wanted.  He had read about a new place, Skyline, at the top of the Jerusalem Gardens Hotel. Even if the food was not the best Marc or any of us has had in Israel (it was), the view was worth the price.

At last, after trying since it was completed in 2008, I got the perfect photos of the Calatrava bridge near the entrance to town. In daylight it is really quite unattractive. It is known as The Chords Bridge, The Bridge of Strings or the Light Rail Bridge. We had no idea it was lit at night until we passed it the night before and it puts on quite a show. It reminds me of the Bay Bridge installation. If I knew how to video you would see one will have to do!  (see below)

His real present was a compendium of all the Batman episodes on TV.  I had seen the book when I visited my Cousin Bob in LA as he wrote two of them in the 80s (I think). We both decided it was the perfect gift for Marc as from the time he was a very young child he walked around in a batman cape! Not at all sure if he took it off just before college or earlier!!!! (Smiley face here)



ChanaTsipora and Nechama
Yael Hadassah
Yael Hadassah, Shalom Simcha, Batsheva

Rivi, Ruti, Batsheva, Yael Hadassah, Uncle Shalom Simcha, Aunt Chana Tsipora

Friday, September 2, 2016


Spending this last week with Jennifer and the Lang Family in Raanana but did take the bus back to Jerusalem to see our new Great Granddaughter, Rachel. She is so tiny, birth weight three days before was 3 kilos or 6.6 pounds, and delicious! Her parents spend much of their time just contemplating their little miracle. It was very considerate of Ashira to have Rachel's debut while I was still there!

The three of us took the 90 minute bus to Raanana and back to Jerusalem. The Langs had returned from India at 4:30 that morning and tho exhausted, hosted us for dinner. Jennifer was falling on her face but became totally animated while describing their trip and her opinions of India to Moses. We all enjoyed the "show"!

Moses admiring the Indian teas and seasonings!

Photo of a German sculpture with birds nests
Once again my favorite shows were at the museum: the Israel nature photographers and the  Nature Photographers of the Year sponsored by the UK Natural History Museum. I like the latter show because it has categories by age and one is 10 years and under. The entrants come from all over the world and are incredibly talented.

The ceramic show was somewhat disappointing this year except for a few outstanding pieces. One requires an explanation thus I am showing it here accompanied by the artist's statement. It's quite beautiful. A series of her mother's portraits.I found quite moving.
Simone with ceramic plate wall sculpture
Daniella had two days off from the Air Force and took her grandmother to her special food haunts in Tel Aviv.  She is definitely a maven (expert) when it comes to food and unusual non alcoholic drinks.  In the Florentine area (not in the part where we went on the mural tour a few trips ago) but on this special street, is Livinsky Market. It is a haven for those who like nuts, seeds, dried fruits and spices and many other more unusual and exotic food items. As it gets trendier, more restaurants and delis are opening among the shops. We stopped at her favorite drink place and I watched with interest as a young American woman placed all kinds of plants and flowers in a blender and added soda water, popped in a straw and voila! I did take a sip and have to admit it was pretty good! What I really enjoyed was the vehicle that provides seating for the patrons of Gazoz.

Lunch was more in the center of the city and gave me a good laugh. Who expects a delicious Taqueria in Tel Aviv and with a logo of the Virgin Mary?! She is on a mural on the inside and on the napkin container in different garb.  It is a very busy place and very inexpensive and very yummy (even if there is more authentic Mexican food in California!). Facing us across the street was the Abraham Youth Hostel and someone had painted a fun sign on the fence. Who knew?!

Next stop dessert for a bowl of Acai, a frozen dessert from Brazil. It didn't appeal to me and of course I tasted it and shared it. It is basically made with berries, served in a bowl (most people order a very large one but we had the smallest) and there are numerous choices of additional ingredients of nuts, fruits, halva, you name it. It is a beautiful purple color twirled like frozen yogurt in the States with the additional items surrounding it and drizzled all over.

Since it was Friday, most everything closed early so we walked in a neighborhood containing some architectural masterpieces designated by the city as treasures. I decided next trip I want to go on a free city architectural tour and/or a Bauhaus tour. So many of these well considered buildings have been renovated and used for different things than originally intended but for the most part they are still beautiful.

Friday night we had a quiet shabbat family dinner and played Rummy O. Saturday morning Jennifer and I went to a movie while the girls slept and Philippe went to shul. I can recommend this French film to one and all. Called Memories in English and Les Souvenirs in French, it was made in 2014 and released in the US in 2015 or 16 and I think is currently there. It is so apropos for those of us either dealing with aging in others or our own aging. The acting is wonderful especially the grandson and grandmother.

Quiet lunch on Saturday afternoon, more Rummy O and a few friends dropped by. I must admit it is nice to be quiet sometimes!

Monday was Jennifer's birthday. She and I drove to Zichron Yaacov, a small touristy town about an hour north. After walking the main street, we met two of her American friends she wanted to introduce at a restaurant owned by Tishbi, a well known winery.  One, Lori Abramson made aliyah nine years ago from Oakland. Her husband Joel had a band there which he has kept alive and now teaches guitar in a small town near Zichron.  Lori is working as an educator of educators. I had not seen her in many years and she looks the same!

Jennifer, Bruria, grandson Alon
On the way back we stopped to visit Aunt Bruria. Herbie and I had visited the family in Hadera but I sent the pictures directly to them and interested family members. Bruria is amazing and it is her relationship with her three sons and daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren and several great grandchildren that keep her going with a smile. Both our Israeli and US families are very fond of her.


Three generations! Jennifer, Daniella, Simone et moi

Jennifer requested some place new for her birthday celebration and Philippe found a beautiful and delicious restaurant located at the Ritz Carlton in Herzaliya. The Herbert Samuel is a kosher meat restaurant but with something for all of us. The room and especially the kitchen are quite wonderful. Delicious and lovely. The company recently opened a hotel in Jerusalem that is supposed to have a good restaurant as well. The sunset was spectacular and I took numerous photos. They don't do it justice but...I tried!

Yes, it's Photoshopped!


Starting her last year of high school, Simone has become quite a chef! She has been preparing food all summer and I intend to take some of her ideas home. They are healthy, full of vegetables and tofu and very yummy! Daniella enjoys cooking as well but being in the Air Force does not leave her much time to practice her craft. Philippe has obviously instilled in the girls his love of cooking. Not only do I enjoy eating their dishes but I enjoy watching them prepare them! Philippe and Daniella made vege pizza with home made crust for my final meal before leaving for the airport and it was delicious!

Daniella took grandma again to a yummy meal, this time breakfast, at a local place in Tel Aviv. This small neighborhood haunt was filled with young people, many with children in tow the day before the start of school. We both had a very delicious shakshuka, the tomato, onion, pepper, egg dish. Daniella was coming from having spent the night at the air force office, something she has to do every few months.

I took the bus from Raanana and met her there. I am getting quite proficient at taking public transport! We walked through a portion of the Yarkon River park. There were families in rented boats and in the park. And I saw my first hoopoe, the national bird of Israel!

Located next to the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, the Yitzhak Rabin Center is an educational institute for soldiers and students. The museum presents the history of the State of Israel through the life and death of Rabin. Unlike most of today's politicians, Rabin came through the ranks and served in just about every office in the State from soldier to prime minister to peace maker. There is no one left like him.

Rabin's hobby was photography.
Personally I found the museum itself to be quite confusing in the way it is laid out. After seeing the FOZ Museum in Jerusalem, I also found it to be quite behind the times in its presentation. However, the life and times of Rabin were incredibly fascinating and we all need to be reminded of the Clinton, Rabin, Arafat Oslo Accords on the White House Lawn in 1993. Unfortunately tho it resulted in Nobel Peace prizes for Rabin, Arafat and Peres, it did not result in peace. Many feel that if Rabin had lived there would have been peace. He was a trusted and much revered statesman by world leaders including those in the Arab world.

The one thing I came away with from the museum was how many wars Israel has had to fight. Many we know about, many most of us do not. Since its inception in 1948, the country has fought on more fronts than most of us can even imagine resulting in large numbers of casualties both of soldiers and civilians.

The view from the center is incredible. With all the building, Tel Aviv is a city of cranes and skyscrapers. Israel is not planning on going anywhere in the foreseeable future.  Its enemies be damned!

I wrote this on the plane but had to wait till I arrived home to send. Till next trip...

Some fun photos follow!

Yes, it is a jeep covered in grass!
Herbie, ever the dirty old man!
Who's the entertainer?

Mamilla shopping mall teaching sharing...

Everyone buys lottery tickets!

It reads that in this space one car or ten bikes!

and my favorite picture...