Survived the week well without Ira. Phone was quiet, then again didn't make too many calls, too tired in the evening as Akiva was waking up at 5:30am and appearing all chirpy and happy in my room singing anything from his Boker Tov/good morning song from school to "Sit down John," from 1776. Boys were helpful in the morning and we survived the rush for the bus/school/ulpan well each day - Gabe was the hero as Natan moves more slowly in the morning. Boys and I cooked together - a good pot of beans and Gabe made with some help a curried veg soup. Not bad. Banana bread in the oven now in the waning moments before candle lighting - Fayanne Salzberg-Smith likes our banana bread. Actually, I should say it's my friend's Elisabeth's banana bread, via the Laurel's Kitchen cookbook. Fayanne is settling in nicely, smiling and pointing and vocalizing at everything she sees and she even let me hold her for a minute this week when she visited my house. She liked Akiva's toys. Fayanne for those who might not know is our friends Lisa and Alan's new daughter, age 22 mos, originally from China. As my ulpan teacher, Tzipi said the other day, when discussing adoption, bringing new genes into the Jewish people, especially someone as cute as Fayanne, has got to be a good thing.
Met up with Ron and Marion Stein and Daphne and Gary, visiting in J'lem in preparation for Naomi's son, Tzvi's Bar Mitzvah. Nice to see familiar faces. Directed Marion to some good eats and good shopping. I sent them to a great restaurant last night. It's in an unlikely location, in the shuk (to the side) and specializes in meats mostly but has veg offerings as well and it's not in town which is nice. Town isn't so great these days. Sort of honky tonky like and in need of some serious redevelopment. There's a big fight happening right now with regard to a plan to develop into the Jerusalem hills, normally a sacrosanct location in terms of development because of environmental reasons. There's a feeling that developing this land is terrible in terms of ridding the area of enough green space but of course, developers feel differently. Many feel that Olmert, who was J'lem's last mayor, and the current mayor (who's name escapes me), care more about developers and the related kickbacks they may receive than in preserving the land. I don't know enough about it but that J'lem is a dense and expensive place to live and many live outside of the city because of those reasons. That said, money needs to be put towards restoring the downtown so that it's not just about tourist shops. Jessica says that Tel Aviv was an unexciting place to visit less than 10 years ago, and now it's been restored and money's been put towards improving infrastucture and places like Dizengoff, once the place to shop that had fallen on hard times, have come back as places to see, shop and be seen. Jerusalem needs that kind of attention. There has been indication of that kind of resurgence with the opening of a few new clothing shops downtown - shops with goods by Tel Aviv designers who had been disinterested in J'lem clientele in the past - that's a good sign.
Back to the here and now. 4:10pm. Akiva's on my lap, the banana bread is finished and I need to sign off and clean up and get to shul. A Shabbat Shalom and good weekend to all.
3 hours ago