Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Visiting Sister Sarah

The entrance to Rosh Ha'ayin from 444 takes you into the city via Rehov Yehuda Halevi. The street meanders through the East side of town taking the car around various roundabouts and over far too many speedbumps - Rosh Ha'ayin's idea of traffic control. There are very few traffic lights in town. I drive by Golan's Studio - he's the jeweler who sends his work in with Sarah every summer. It's the late afternoon, and the temps are hot and most people are still inside and will stay there until 4:30-5:00pm when they'll start to venture out for errands, shopping and a bite to eat.

It takes about an hour to drive from our house to Sarah's place. The big boys are there - they went hiking (the Arbel) and kayaking (on the Jordan) with Jonathan and his 2 younger kids yesterday. Today, Sarah took 2 of her kids and gathered mine and some of Jonathan's and took them to the local pool in Jonathan's community. Sarah brought my boys back to her house and I decided that Akiva and I would take a little road trip and pick them up. The ride is a fast one. From our house, you get to Begin North - an intercity road that cuts across Jerusalem and exits you on Route 443 which takes you out of town quickly and without going on the main Jerusalem/Tel Aviv Road. 443 heads down the hills leading out of Jerusalem - the car zips down the hills, picking up speed to the tune of of Akiva's pick for the ride. Dan Zanes's first album.

We arrive at Sarah's. Akiva is delighted. It's Aunt Sarah's house. He walks in, pulls off his sandals, walks around the house, checks out the rooms, the beds and the various inhabitants. He finishes his tour with his arrival in the kitchen and his pronouncement that he is hungry and would like lunch. He ate lunch already but is pursuaded by the offer of toast and a veggie burger and whatever else passes by (others are eating as well) that seems of interest. Elisheva passes by in a towel - post pool shower. Benjy wakes up - the soldier boy has been sleeping in today and doesn't have to report until 6:00pm. Noam, Gabe and Natan are watching a movie - they're all using headphones, a great invention for a small house with the tv in the living room. Sarah and I take Akiva for a walk to the local mall. Akiva's needs new sandals.

Understand that Sarah lives in a very small town - really, a backwater. The mall, such as it is, boasts a pizza and felafel/burger stands in the front. Inside there a various shops - art and school supplies, florist, health food/vitamin shop, shoe store, simple clothing store and a small grocery store downstairs. Unlike Jerusalem, this is really Israel. Meaning, people actually speak hebrew in the streets and in the mall. We walk into the shoe store and from the look of what's on display, I'm not expecting much. I am pleasantly surprised and we find a simple pair of sandals for Akiva - in his size, not a bad fit and he even deals with the annoyance of trying on shoes and being forced to walk about in them, with unaccustomed aplomb.

We palm Akiva off on the boys, including cousin Noam and they take him to the playground and to toss a basketball around. Sarah and I pass a pleasant time with a good friend of hers whom I've known for years, Debbie Zahavi. The boys return, Akiva decides it's suppertime, Benjy and I discuss what car we should look for used, Elisheva sits with Debbie's daughter, Efrat, yapping in hebrew, and I pack up the boys stuff in the car for the ride home.

We ride home to Kiss Me Kate, the original stage version. Alfred Drake's mellifuous (sp?) baritone and Patricia Morrison's incredibly deep alto woo us back up the hills. The car coughs a bit as it gears it's way up the mountain from the deep valley below. We drive past town that have seemingly sprouted up from nowhere in the last 5-10 years - Elad, Shoham...Modiin and it's surrounding villages. The sky darkens, the air cools as we get higher. The city lights twinkle in the distance. We exit the highway and turn at "Teddy Stadium," as it's called. We circle around the business district of Talpiyot, which is gritty and busy and always makes Ira and I happy and I make my way back on the road that I hoped to take - success.