Yes, folks, it's the day. 1 year in the Land of Israel. The land of absurd politics, sleazy politicians who can't keep their pants zipped and their mouths closed, the land of religious extremism and religious non'ism, the land of bureacracy and rubber stamps and the land of too many Jews. It is definitely the land of the tailgate driver and the stupid driver, as well as the land of painful banking experiences and too many papers to sign.
Thankfully, it is also the land of excellent humous, fresh and squishy pita and tasty cucumbers and tomatoes. It is also the land of blue skies and sunny days, where the wind blows to freshen things up most evening (at least where we leave) and where a trip to the pool can be combined with a historical tour of the bunkers from 1948 and an ongoing archeological dig of stuff from 2000 years ago. It is a land where the sky extends out big and open in front of you (Natan feels it's too open, he prefers skyscrapers) and where at night you can see actual stars twinkle along with the lights of civilization.
It's a complicated place yet our lives feel somewhat less complicated. At least we've left our junk mail behind, not a bad thing. We've traded the business of 20 years in Bklyn - friends, shul, homeschooling community, theater group - for family matters. Both a blessing - birthday parties shared, holidays cooking together, trips to do errands big and small with Jess and other sibs - and complicating - my father's illness and aging, Sarah's surgery, Jess's adventures of the last 2 months. I still not used to my family's expectations that I should talk to them all the time. I'm surprised by this and yet, delighted to have it, for myself, as well as the kids and Ira. We miss the stuff and life of Bklyn and most of the week it seems okay, until Shabbat that is. We've met good people and as usual, Akiva has brought special people into our lives, like Melina, who told me today that I'm like an Aunt to her. I was glad to hear that and she is protective of Akiva as if he were her own. Doesn't make it easier to have left Erszi but it's good that we've met good friends for Akiva, or are working on it, here.\
Today, Ira and I and the big boys went to Beit Guvrin, a fabulous constellation of underground caves, dwelling places, cisterns, olive oil presses, pigeon guest homes, etc, hewn out of the local limestone of the area. We walked around marvelling at the the great condition of the antiquities and the 'oldness' of the place, the history, the sheer wonder of having your history laid out right at your feet.
We drove home, everyone tired, hot, dusty and sweaty. Ira went to work upstairs, boys to their corners, me to the computer. Akiva came home from the pool with Melina and I went off to my new discovery, Spinning class. Came home and the big boys were cooking for Shabbat. Penny and Sara Owen arrive tomorow. I joined in. Life is good.
33 minutes ago