Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I remember that Mrs. Reimer or was it Mrs. Dinner who taught me that 'dessert' has 2 'ess's' like strawberry shortcake and desert has one.' I'll have to check with Karyn to see if she remembers. Went to the desert for a few days. It was my idea and Sarah had liked it for a family gig together for Shavuot. It fell out on a Sunday evening, which meant an easy day, much like Sunday in the US with time for a drive down and time to play before showing up where we were staying for the beginning of chag. I chose Kibbutz Ketura, which we enjoyed back in December during Hannukah time. Neither one of us worried too much that returning to the Arava in June might be a bit of an adventure in terms of the heat index - we figured it would be hot but didn't know how hot.

We were, according to one of the 'youngun's, a 'hamoula' or Bedouin clan. Reps from four families, in-laws as well, it was an impressive grouping.

'The Bedouins live in tribes, Qabila in Arabic, who are subdivided in half-tribes and further down till the economical viable unit of an extended family, called Hamoula. Although it does not seem so to many, in order to survive in this unforgiving environment, a lot of work needs to be done.'

Sister Sarah and co, minus Benjy who's in the US, brother Jon and co, minus Adam in the army but plus Itzik, Dena's fiance, sister Jess and co, parents (my father's 80th was Friday so the time together was to continue his birthday celebrations), Daniel's mother Rita, sister Miriam and co, minus one of their kids, and us, minus Natan (enjoying cheesecake chez Charlie and Jo in Merrick). 25 of us for the duration.

We beached together in Eilat on Sunday - bit of scuba diving off the shore and exciting fishies swimming around. We hung together in the brutal heat - 43c on Monday or about 110f although that sounds too ridiculous to even type. Suffice to say it was really hot. By 9am it was like an oven. Later in the day it was like you were walking with the oven door open in your face and a hot wind blowing back - Sarah said it was like the oven was on turbo. Then, a wind started to blow - a bit of a sandstorm - we retreated to the pool and sat there for some hours before going back to our mercifully a/c'd rooms.

I was reminded of a favorite book by Cynthia Rylant, 'The Relatives Came.' The book tells of the visit of the relatives - they come in their old station wagon, visit for weeks, hug, talk and eat. The best part is the arrival with the hugging that went on for hours and the sleeping the first night - wherever you could find a spot and that there was a lot of breathing in the house that was unfamiliar. I read it to Akiva tonight when we got home and I think he enjoyed looking at the pics and thinking about all those relatives at Ketura the past few days.

Today, on the way home, went with Sarah and Michael and kids along with Talia (J&B's youngest) and Adin Ner-David (Jacob and Haviva were also at Ketura for Shavuot) to Ein Bokek for a dip in the Dead Sea. It's such a wild place. Akiva was not too keen on the salt in his eyes but got in willingly at first. We bobbed around and compared areas of stinging pain and the weird sensation of the almost oily feeling water. Drove a bit further and took another dip and a walk in Ein Fescha - fresh water pools, oasis, huge cattails. It was hot but fun. A good day with Akiva as it included walking with the focus on water to keep him going.

Got home. A bit salty, a bit grubby, a bit tired but pleased with our journey.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Akiva and I had a funny walk to shul today. Leaving was not quite as painful as it sometimes can be. I gathered the important bits - change of clothing, critical books (Little Red Lighthouse, Frances, George), New Kane (his wrestling guy), water cup, tissues (the nose had been very runny) and an extra water bottle for me as it was a hot day. Hats on and Akiva with is glasses somewhat precariously perched on his nose, we set off for shul.

Akiva walked behind me most pleasantly much of the time. He sang his way through his repertoire of children's Hebrew songs that is building with each holiday period - courtesy of school and helped by his assorted holiday tapes which he listens to at home. In this country, there are an astounding assortment of songs specific to every holiday and everyone knows them since they grow up singing them in 'gan'/kindergarten. We newcomers are at a distinct disadvantage but such is life. He worked Lag Ba'omer, then Yom Yerushalayim which is this coming week, and then segued back into Pesach as we bumped into to a few local people whom we know on our walk. We rested on a bench at one point - Akiva likes benches - then continued on our way. It should be mentioned that the whole walk is about 10 minutes I think and is a real straightaway except for the occasional dodge around a building or up a bit of stairs in standard J'lem style. With Akiva the walk takes longer, especially the way home when one generally has to 'sing' him home. Ira took care of those duties today - I did not have the patience.

Shul was quite crowded today. A Shabbat Kalah - bride's Shabbat after the wedding. A Francophilic celebration, it was filled with French people yapping away in French, Hebrew and whatever other languages entered the conversation. A fleishig kiddush! The salads were pleasant and it was marked by a distinct lack of sweets on the table - a welcome change from the usual fare of bissli and other simple crunchy snacks with humus and veggies and store bought cookies. We ate minimalistically and enjoyed our own lunch at home once we had cooled off. Wondering what Natan is doing right now in Bklyn?
Shavua Tov to all.