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...


Sunday, August 28, 2016

POSTCARD FROM JERUSALEM #3 Before and After the Wedding

Having a guest here means we do lots of other things and even one or two we have never done.


Moses wearing his ID bracelet!
Before the tour, we dined at the delightful cafe where there is also a store and and the ticket desk. We were given orange ID bracelets with the website. The photos are of people who have had their pictures taken at the first stop, the ipad-like camera area. Many of them make statements that if one stands real close one can hear. At the end of the tour everyone receives a magnet with their photo.

Opened over a year ago near Yoel Salomon in Jerusalem,  FOZ is the most incredible technological exhibition we have ever seen. Our guide leads the three of us plus another English speaking couple into a labyrinth of darkened rooms and let's technology take over. Rather than try to convey this place I will provide you with the website and encourage you to look at it. Furthermore, anyone who comes to Jerusalem should put it high on their list of things to do. She also said no photography. When I got caught taking two quick non flash photos I explained about this blog. She gave me the management's card!  The two photos are from the section "The Hall of Visionaries." The first shows the below mentioned Brits and I believe Lord Balfour in the second.

FOZ tells the story of the role the Christians from Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill to Harry
Truman (as well as those who came before and after) played in helping the Jews return to Israel through the centuries. The most fascinating story to me was of George Bush and George W Bush. Their distant ancestor, the first George Bush, "was an American biblical scholar, pastor, abolishinist, academic and advocate for the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land. " George W and Laura Bush were honored by the State for their pro Israel stance.

And look who helped in the kitchen on the meat side yet!!!

The night after the wedding Marc had the second sheva bracha honoring the newlyweds. The wedding meal counts as the first. He invited a few of his friends and the kids. A couple of wives came.  He set a beautiful table and did all the cooking himself. Frankly, I am amazed at his prowess! He cooked enough for a regiment but we were the beneficiaries of some food for the next couple of days. Two people made desserts and everything was very yummy!

As people walk out to the Citadel before the show

The finale with white doves.
This was our third or fourth time at the sound and light show at The Tower of David. We took Ashira, Zach and Moses and we all enjoyed seeing the story of Jerusalem played on the ancient rocky walls and among the archeological remains of Jerusalem's Citadel. To my recollection, the show appears to have changed over the years since it began, I believe in 2009, but the most memorable content is there. Both Moses and I got caught taking pics when not allowed!

"The Night Spectacular uses trompe l’oeil technology – the stones of the walls and structures fade into the scenes and the screened images envelop the viewers and whisk them off to a one-of-a-kind multi-sensory experience. Innovative techniques and a sophisticated computer system operate 20 projectors, 10 video players, 14 computers and 14 loudspeakers. All this in addition to some 10 kilometers of cable and two projection rooms."

Another site highly recommended to travelers of all ages!

One more Christian site in Jerusalem, this room purports to be the last meal of Christ and his disciples. Frankly, I recalled a painting which exists only in museums and was a bit disappointed to see an empty room. Moses asked to have his picture taken there thus giving credence to my conclusion that not being Christian may have contributed to my disappointment!


This annual summer fair features booths from all
over the world as well as Israel. Food, music and artists from one end to the other and headline entertainers nightly at Sultan's Pool. It is crowded, loud, and very fun. However, the concert the night we were there was so loud and with bright lights shining in our faces we had to leave before it was over.

Obviously we were in the minority!
The price of admission is for the fair as well as the entertainment so we didn't feel we lost anything (except maybe our hearing and eyesight!).

I was able to meet a few of the artists whose colorful art/jewelry I have purchased over the years, a real treat for me.

Aside from Russia and several stans (Uzbekistan, etc.), Poland, Mexico, India, Ghana (which had the most people, incl many children, as the artist was in dress and he had musical instruments everyone could play), Mexico, Peru, Colombia, China, Japan and others were  represented. No idea how sales go with these people but I do think the Israeli artists do quite well. The hours are pretty brutal as the fair is on from 6 to midnight for 12 days.

Teddy's Fountain (located above the fair ) with its lights and water showers was filled with children and quite a few parents, everyone totally dressed and drenched. It was quite a site! The fountain which opened in 2013 goes on for 30 minutes from 10am to 10pm except on Friday nights. There are 1800 lights, the geysers go up to six meters high and it is accompanied by music recorded by the New Jerusalem Orchestra.

A Siyum is the completion of any portion of Torah study. This was an added bonus for us as we came for eight-year-old Shalom Simcha's brother's wedding, his sister's bat mitzvah and his other sister's baby! The celebration was held at 6pm in the courtyard in front of the school that is tucked into the
Old City thru winding alleyways.

Shalom Simcha fourth from left
As always, the men and women were separated and we were crammed in like sardines on folding chairs, three tied together which made getting in and out quite difficult.  Crying babies, strollers, buggies, backpacks, baby carriers, toddlers, you name it, it was there! The fact that I could sneak up to the front of this event was a minor miracle.  First all the boys sang several songs then a few rabbis spoke in Hebrew. Because the entire ceremony was in Hebrew we left early. But it was nice being part of our grandson's simcha (celebration).

Lest you think we only took Moses to Christian sites and family religious affairs, we did indeed take him to the Western Wall. As he did everywhere religious, he said a prayer or blessing. He is very knowledgeable about Christianity having grown up Christian in Delhi and has now been given a crash course in Judaism!

Never seen the women's side so crowded

Decided to show Moses Tel Aviv, diametrically opposite of Jerusalem! There are new buildings everywhere, most of them skyscrapers. The streets are nearly impossible to navigate as they have started building a light rail through the city. There will eventually be eight lines with the first, the Red Line, due to be completed in 2021 and other lines to Netanya thru Raanana and elsewhere will take many years into the future.  This is obviously a very major project and it has had many false starts and interruptions for the usual reasons.

We took the bus from Jerusalem and cabbed it to lunch in Sarona. (I wrote about Sarona in last year's
blog.) Hate to admit it but after lunch we went for coffee elsewhere and ended up gorging ourselves on various chocolate concoctions at Max Brenner's Chocolate Cafe.

View walking along beach to port and Old Jaffa
Took another cab to Jaffa where we walked from the city through the port and up to the Old City where the narrow streets are lined with galleries, artists, boutiques and curio shops. After not spotting any wedding parties for the prior two weeks doing their pre ceremony photos, we found several there. They all seemed to be having so much fun as evidenced by my quickie pics!

On our way down we found a park we had never seen before. It was on the top of a hill with spectacular views of Tel Aviv and its myriad of new construction. After enjoying the time there we walked down to the Shuk HaPishpashim, the very old market that is still renewing itself. It was one of Herbie's mother's favorite places to visit in Tel Aviv. It is filled with junk and numerous new and old eateries. Some boutiques are sprinkled here and there.

Walking to Neve Tzedek was a real shlep and we arrived very hot and tired! Herbie rested at the Suzanne Dellal theatre patio where we were going at 9pm while I took Moses through the area. It is definitely getting nicer boutiques and restaurants while maintaining its charm. There we found one really gorgeous bride!

We picked up Herbie and returned to the other end to dine on sushi at Okinawa. Very delightful place with good food and service. Not too hungry after the late chocolate splurge however!

The performance, Estampa Sevilla, The David Perez Troupe, was spectacular. His troupe consists of a guitarist and a singer, joined by two female Israeli flamenco dancers. His style was so different than any flamenco we had ever seen in the past. He is a teacher as well as a dancer and gave workshops in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as part of the tour. I think we would all hope to see him again somewhere.

Cabbed it to the bus station and took a sherut (the 10 passenger mini bus) back to Jerusalem. A long, late but very enjoyable day!


For quite a few years Herbie has had lunch with an old family friend from San Francisco, 91-year-old Burt Edelstein. His parents and Herbie's were close friends and his brother still lives in SF. He lost his wife nearly seven years ago and lost a daughter in a terrorist attack many years ago. His other two daughters, one of whom is married to Michael Oren (former Israeli Ambassador to the US) live in Tel Aviv and Hertzalya. After living in Jerusalem for over 35 years, Burt moved to a beautiful retirement place in Raanana. We had a delightful lunch and visit, taking the bus and a cab to and from the bus station.

Here is the best part! After Herbie left, Jennifer received an email from a fellow writer from whom I too took classes in Jerusalem. She mentioned her friend Burt Edelstein had recently moved to Raanana and would make a delightful addition to Jennifer's writing classes. Jennifer recognized the name so we visited him on Shabbat. Judy had also emailed Burt but he had no way of knowing that Jennifer Lang was our daughter! He also informed her he is already a writer and doesn't need anyone giving him classes. Jennifer told him she still takes classes but...He is sharp as a tack at 91 years young!

Herbie and Moses flew home the next morning on Wednesday, the 24th and I went to Jennifer and family in Raanana. A good time was had by all!

ChanaTsipora with Ruth, Zalman and Rivi's #3
The newlyweds

That night Marc and the grandchildren (plus one great granddaughter California girl Ruth) all met at Entrecote where we had eaten on a prior trip. It was so unfortunate that this dinner couldn't have been planned while Herbie was still here but with all that was going on I was totally surprised everyone came. Marc surprised me and I think himself! So nice as since it was not shabbat we could take photos. Marc andI did our best with poor light but...

Ashira had a baby girl on Shabbat morning. It was very clever of her to deliver before I left! My next and last blog will include my week in Raanana plus my visit to see all four great granddaughters the day before I return home.

PPS: The original blog was perfect. I have no clue why there are all the spaces. Very frustrating!