Monday, March 26, 2007

Behind on Blogging

Way behind on blogging and now I find that I seem to be missing a draft that I was working on. Sigh. I was writing about the concert that I went to last week. Chava Alberstein, patron saint of folk singing here in Israel. Prolific, talented, musical, gifted with a lovely voice and pleasant concert personality. The concert was in Tel Aviv - got lost finding the restaurant for dinner with Brother Jon and Barbara and friend of hers. Found parking and restaurant and quickly ordered and ate. Turkish food. Good stuff, fairly meaty in orientation but well executed meat stew with okra, pargiot stuffed with nuts (pargiot are sort of chicken filets made from dark meat), rice pilaf and outrageously over-roasted eggplant drowning in a sea of cream tahini. Needed turkish coffee afterwards but no time. Rushed to theater in Yaffo (why we couldn't eat in Yaffo? Jonathan hates Dr Shakshuka which I love - oh well), to the Noga Theater, home of the Russian, Gesher Theater Company. Packed house. Older, ahem, demographic for the most part. Israelis like to sing along with their performers and they sang alright, whenever they could, although Chava wasn't singing the old favorites, but newer songs from her more recent releases, and the occasional Yiddush number - Alberstein was born in Europe and emigrated to Israel in the post war period, see and she feels great connection to the immigrant experience. Those of you who have some familiarity with Israeli music, will know her as the voice of the song "Lu Yehi"/Let it Be, from the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

After the concert, we all wandered around Yaffo for a while, hoping that a coffee shop would appear with a nice table for all of us out front (Sister Sarah and Michael were with us as well) but alas, we admired the new roundabout (Michael says it's a real improvement from past traffic woes of the area and it will be very lovely once they plant the trees - a roundabout, really) and then headed back for our cars. Ira and I were dropped off back at our car on the other side of town and after a refueling at Aroma, headed back up the hill.

I wanted to type out one of my fave songs that Chava sings. She sang it a cappella at the very end, after singing another big hit of hers, "Aht Chey'ru'ti"/You are my freedom. The song is called, "K'mor Tzemach Bar"/Like a Wildflower. But now, as I look at it in Hebrew, I realize that I'm no translator and it will sound stupid, so never mind. I might do better with another fave that she sang, "Perach Ha'li'lach"/Lilac Flower, a tune that wistfully hearkens back to when life was easier and simpler - our youth, perhaps?

Today, perhaps we will delay the coming of night
and not strive for the starlight
and you and I, we have all that we've asked for
without workds we know that because we love (each other).

Today, perhaps we will delay the end of our days
and not remember that there is an end to everything
This is the path, that our legs must travel/walk,
from two sides, the grass will not end (in the hebrew, it may also refer to it drying and turning to crabgrass. too late to investigate further.)

Quietly, we love because you (Lee) and I (lakh) (leelach is lilac also)
have had enough of words of this and that don't know what or how to say how beautiful is the blooming of the lilac flower.

I won't go any further but suffice to say that it's better in Hebrew. Listen to her on the web, I'm sure you can find her.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Honey

I'm an entrepreneur...again. I've been an entrepreneur - what a word - in the past; Home Catering (many of my satisfied customers may still remember some of our highlights - the lemon-poppyseed cake, spicy peanut dip, curried couscous salad), Pampered Chef (I know some of you still use your mandolins and choppers), and side venues along the way that involved cooking classes (I realize it's only a variation on the theme), and food/health workshops, and then there was the theater work with the homeschoolers but that wasn't about the money although I began to imagine that there might have been ways to develop it further but left to come here.

Late today, we sent our third version of The Honey. How exciting really, to see it come to fruition, from my discussions with Jess about different business ideas that we should experiment - stay tuned for our other ideas - to this one, a newsletter, a way of disseminating all that information on where to go, what to do, where to eat, new things to buy, here in Israel, that we always seemed to enjoy having at our fingertips. People are responding well. If you, my dear reader, have not seen it, please check out and read our archives and please, let me know so that I can send you a copy. As well, please forward and recommend friends and family to subscribe (you can send me their emails with their permission) and help us build our subscriber list.

Funny thing. Who's our tech go-to-guy? Natan. He's the html man, who helps us with the layout each time and is really quite good but grumbles too much and requires too many snacks while handling layout. This must be how techie guys get a pot-belly.

Too tired to say much more. Have cooked a nice bit. Welcoming Miryam Wasserman to chez Skop/Steinberg tomorrow. Looking forward to a whiff of Bklyn.

Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Home Again

Funny as it may seem to many of you reading "over there," I did arrive back home yesterday in the late afternoon. No delays, not a bad flight overall, and was welcomed by Ira, who helped us schlepp the heavy bags to the car and upstairs (Natan came and schlepped, too). Interesting to present my Israeli passport at the passport control and this time they didn't even ask for my American one as everyone else did along the way earlier - I guess I just don't look like an Israeli. Most of the time, though, they seemed the most interested in Gabe who has aged a bit since he last took his Amer passport picture, which is 3 years old, I think.

In case you're interested, we did stop for a snack on the way home. We were on 443 and feeling somewhat peckish and there was Jonathan's favorite side of the road sahlab guy. I was looking forward to a steaming cup of sahlab but unfortunately, weather was too warm to make sahlab. I had malabi - it was really a rice pudding with cinnamon heaped on top with a slight flowery taste but still good. Ira and Gabe shared an oversized turkish boureka with cheese, hot sauce and an egg sliced and stuffed inside. We were happy the rest of the ride home.

Akiva greeted us all warmly and immediately began speaking of airplanes, airports and Brooklyn. I told him of the many people who sent hugs and hellos for him and then we went upstairs where I read him Dr. De Soto and we cuddled together as we sang Sh'ma and got him into bed, all snug and cozy.

My mattress was delighted to see me and it was nice to have Ira in bed next to me. Natan gave me a big hug but both Ira and Natan declared that it was much quieter in the house without us. I blame Gabe.

Weather could be warmer - it's stormy and windy today, but I got up late, marched around in my jammies for a while and enjoyed my jet lag, while unpacking, speaking to people, attending to business (we launch on Thursday if we solve our technical problems, cross your fingers and you can all read our email on Thursday or subscribe - I'll let you know how), even cooked a bit with the boys tonight and watched a 24 episode. Home.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Dear, dirty Brooklyn. We, Gabe and I, arrived late to JFK - sick passenger, airplane forced to turn around and return to Heathrow, hours on the runway, not enough water and air, 4 hours late which is not bad really, considering, Harry at the airport (how nice to be welcomed personally, even though I had claimed that we could do it on our own but we were SOOOO tired), settling in at the Shelanski's place was easy (they invented the term hospitality), an immediate hug from Ellen Shaw, Iris and Steve for a side of cow to celebrate the return (I restrained myself on the scotch for fear of falling over in my plate) and finally to bed at about midnight, or really 7am Israel time after a full 25 hours of being awake.
The first day just enjoyed the fact that the Tea Lounge is around the corner, with Ralph inside drinking tea, that we could ride the subway and visit homeschooling buddies in Windsor Terrace, and that I could see Erszi on Court St and be in town for the "frecha" store sale (LF).
Dinner at the Steins with the Olenicks, was lovely altho Gabe had reached pass out stage before I had anticipated but we managed to hold ourselves together until the end.
Bat Mitzvah #1 was as anticipated - Leah was excellent, community happy, parents and brother beaming. All was well in the world.
Press of people was intense and Lisa K and I are sure that I was taken for her by someone who engaged me in a long conversation with barely a "how is Israel," which at first I was grateful until I realized that something didn't seem right. Lisa and I have long been considered fungible so that was fine, really, once I realized. Hugged and kissed many - often twice.
Weather is manageable and not cold at all although certainly colder than J'lem.
Enjoy bumping into people on Court St in manner to which I am accustomed and have missed in J'lem but which I do as well when there, too.
No good humous to buy in the store, had to settle for inferior product but mercifully Gabe didn't complain but could be because I bought tofu turkey slices to go with.
Familiarity is only slightly marred by new stores and restaurants in 'hood and the unfortunate Starbucks on Smith St.
Am conscious of the fact that I am a vistor but know that it's not completely a normal visit.
Everyone looks lovely to me - children are bigger and more beautiful, babies have morphed into toddlers, pregnant bellies have popped out new babies, yielding pleasantly beautific fathers and nursing mothers (always pleasurable to see but I am told that nobody nurses in public which is sad as that was what I spend my life doing in the Kane St community room for so many years), and aging friends seem younger than ever.
Shul is what it always was - an annoying mix of the sacred and profane. People walking around analyzing this and that and that and this and the service rises above the same as it ever was, never to change, never to really be faster or slower, just the same. That's what makes it nice.
Davening/leading svcs reminded me that I do like to lead, have a certain skill at it, honed over the past few years, and should find myself some gigs in J'lem and not worry so much that people might not like me.
Have tried not to engage in too many political discussions and realize that I'm shifting leftward faster and faster, even tho I retain certain righter vestiges but find them harder to defend for a host of reasons - even with the threat of Iran and Syria, I remain a peacenick.
Have tried to be honest about big boys and their adjustment and the effort it all is, despite gen'l family happiness.
Purim was just too giddy for me but enjoyed a schnapps to pass the time and the sight of Meir Khatan in jeans - his first pair since the late 80's I think. Gillian said that when they went shopping at the GAP - can you picture him at the gap - he kept tugging at the waistband and saying they didn't go high enough. I will say that they looked fine on him and he was, in Sonny Bono wig and mustache and tie dyed shirt and suede vest - unrecognizable. Gill made a decent Cher but didn't push the envelope enough in costume but I imagine Bob Mackie was unavailable for a styling session.
Purim party today, then Charlie and Jo and hopefully Pammy, which will be just lovely, and then we're off to Mt Snow for some ski and snow.
Purim Sameach to all, esp those in J'lem.