I have things to say about the last week and a half but thought I'd start with what we did this Shabbat.
A good Shabbat for all. Went to a local and very standard in feel, Orthodox minyan. Plenty of English speakers on hand and met a few nice people. All wished us well. Friday night dinner at my friend Karyn's house. While this may come as a shock to some, she is my most long-time friend in the world. We met at the tender age of 6 1/2, when I moved to New York from Alexandria, Va. She made Aliyah about 15 years ago and lives about 7 minutes on foot from our new digs. She has 5 kids and we've made a concerted effort over the years to make sure our kids know each other and spend time together whenever we would find ourselves on the same side of the the world. Interestingly enough, our kids all like each other. Her oldest, Ayelet, is Natan's age and they've always had alot in common. Her next two, Hagit and Gad are a bit older and a bit younger than Gabe and he enjoys both but is alot like her third, Gad. He has, shall we say, the same joie de vivre, that Gabe has just a bit too much of at times (for his parents that is). The next two kids, Michal and Dan, are younger, Dan having just been born this past Pesach. She and her husband, Asher, wined and dined us (I emphasize wined - we opened a '93 Yarden Cabernet that was excellent and also toasted our arrival with some lovely bourbon) and fed us a lovely Shabbat dinner. Akiva was particularly happy to have found himself in front of a plate of chicken and other like delicacies. We laughed and yakked and it felt quite normal.
Saturday morning, we davened at Ma'yanot, the local egalitarian place. Felt so much like Kane Street that I wasn't sure I wanted to be there each Shabbat. The familiarity was quite intense from the copies of Sim Shalom available for use in shul to the tunes sung to the almost completely American crowd. Interestingly enough, they do speak in Hebrew during Torah discussions and annoucements but it's clearly an Anglo crowd. While I do miss Kane Street and while I do want an egal community, I also want to feel my way around some different shuls and get a better take on what I'm looking for and what's best for the family. Ma'yanot will be good for the boys because of it's familiarity. NO KIDDUSH but I'm told that was an anomoly. The shul is in the middle of a bit of a transition due to the fact that they have to move to a new space. We heard some shul politics and it was refreshing to feel completely relaxed about it - meaning, we were interested in the local gossip but not invested at all other than being concerned that they don't move to a far off location from us. Walked home from shul with a homeschooling family that we've met here before - her oldest will be in school this year, the same school as Natan and Gabe. More on that decision at another time.
Lunch at Jess and Daniel's place. We picked up some fun, stuffed and fried things in Mahane Yehuda (outdoor market in J'lem) as well as the obligatory sweet, Jerusalem challot and a very tasty chocolate roll. I personally wanted a roll filled with poppyseeds but lost out to the chocolate hounds. Daniel's mom, Rita, joined us and over the course of the afternoon Daniel's daughter, Amira, came and hung out as well as his nephew, Adin, who is in the middle of his army service. Akiva bonded with Rita over "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge," his current favorite (it has even overtaken the yellow books at present). We left their house at 5ish and walked to my parents. It was a pleasantly gritty walk - down through an industrial zone and across defunct and overgrown railroad tracks, up through a fairly ethnic neighborhood of Jews from Yemen and North Africa and then over to my parents. We had a pleasant couple of hours eating and chatting. It's a long day for them. My father isn't well and my mother won't leave him even to run over to their local shul for services. They do have friends who drop in on a Saturday and check in on them but it was nice to be able to show up and bother them for a few house and then head out just as my father was tiring and itching to get ready for bed (once Shabbat had ended).
Home by taxi - such excitement for Akiva. Great taxi driver. Suffice to say that we talked real estate, car models, who lives on our block that he knows (he's a born and bred Jerusalemite) and we walked upstairs to the apartment with a piece of paper bearing his name, Moti, and his number. I could post his number right now to all of you and Moti would be delighted to hear from you. He said, "Call me if you need a taxi and if you just want to call and ask a question, just say, Moti, I have a question."
Boys are in bed. Akiva is sleeping with the boys in their current room of choice (with the best breezes upstairs). Ira and I are sitting, as all modern couples should, I guess, with our laptops side by side, entering these, our first posts. Time for tea and bed. Shavua Tov - A good week to all.
3 hours ago