Where we are.

So here we are, me and my belly tenant, at the ‘full term’ milestone.

This probably means different things for the two of us, but the more I think about it, perhaps the more it is actually the same. It’s probably so comfy in there, with the warmth and the soothing background noise. And not that the baby knows what it’s in for, but why should s/he ever want to leave? I wonder if somewhere, deep in the slowly folding crevices of its devolping brain, it’s thinking, Well, yeah, I should probably get packing, but I still have a few more weeks, right? Why ruin a good thing?

And send down more chocolate. 

Then there I am. According to the questions people ask me – or rather, the tone in which they ask them – I’m supposed to be tired of being pregnant, frustrated that I’m still ‘like this,’ impatient to give birth already. Yet, I’m not. I’m content. I really do feel the calm before the storm. Maybe people exaggerate about pregnancy or maybe for other women it’s just more frustrating, but I have had a pretty good time with it. Maybe it’s the support I get from my partner (who, I can say, is quite ready to move on). Maybe it’s because I’m small – or percieve myself as small. I’ve really worked on remaining active, or as active as I’ve ever been when not pregnant.  Maybe it’s all the prenatal vitamins I take.

Although, chances are, it’s because I take one day at a time. 

So here I am, thinking, Yeah, take it easy in there. Enjoy what may be the best days of your life. I’d rather you weren’t too late, though. I made the mistake of telling people my due date and I don’t want to suffer people’s questioning every day after week 40… But I’ve always been one for having deadlines to get the work done. No deadlines, I’d never do it, right? So let’s look at week 40 as a mutual acceptance of the fact that you’re coming out and somehow my body is going to make that happen. In the meantime, sit back (but not too far back), keep eating (we don’t want to disappoint your Jewish grandmothers), and continue moving around so I don’t panic every hour (you don’t want to scare your Jewish mother, either).

And, yes, child. Chocolate is wonderful and here is some more. 

No business like mohel business.

Guess where the best place to shop for a mohel is?

Yes, a brit mila. 

We stopped by the brit of friends’ new boy this morning and as we walked out the mohel was leaving too. My baby daddy recognized him from another brit we went to at the beginning of my pregnancy. 

The mohel saw us and wished my birth “bsha’a tova.”

My husband jokingly asked, “Hey – you have a business card?”

I guess that’s not much of a joke because he did, and why wouldn’t he? Anything baby-related in Jerusalem can be big business. Especially if you perform fundamental age-old Jewish rituals. 

His card reads: “Recognized by the Health Ministry, Ministry of Religion and the Rabbanut of Israel.”

I can’t help but love that.

Once in 28 years.

I’m the type to get excited by the rare traditions in Judiasm. The kind I never heard about in my two decades of formal Jewish education. So waking up at 5:45  this morning to join a minyan on a Tzur Hadassah roof top didn’t really bother me, even after a late night of cooking and a long week of running around. 

Birkat HaChama is a bit controversial in regards to how necessary/important/accurate it is, but I still think it’s a pretty cool concept. My shul community in Tzur Hadassah made an impressive turnout as we joined together on our rabbi’s roof-level mirpeset to watch the sun rise over the Gush Etzion hills. We recited ‘oseh ma’ase bereshit’ and a few other graphs of mentioning the sun. 

Sun’s first full peeking out over the hills past Tzur Hadassah.  

Congregated to bless He who does the act of creation.

Next chance to participate is in Jewish year 5797 or secular year 2037; how much will have changed by then? 

American taste since…

Ah, the good old days. Pesach celebrated with the family back in America. My grandmother’s Sephardi dishes, my brothers’ haggadah-reading entertainment. 

And of course, who could hold an American Pesach seder with the family without this gem of an experience: 

Kedem grape juice! I know plenty of American olim who claim that it’s better than any of the all-natural stuff they have here. Though I think not. 

Interested in reliving this American tradition? I found these bottles at a supermarket in – you guessed it – Efrat.

Everybody loves a pregnant lady.

Something I’ve discovered – maybe now that I’m so obviously pregnant or that I’ve actually realized I’m so obviously pregnant (it took a while) – is that in Israel, or maybe just Jerusalem, everybody loves a pregnant lady. 

The old guy scooping me ice cream? Big smiles and bigger scoops. “Have some more, it’s good for the baby and it’s good for you!”

The Mizrahi woman behind the deli counter? Fussing over how I will do Pesach this year and recalling her third trimester Pesachs. 

The Arab truck driver in the parking lot? Giving me a big grin as he slows down to let me walk ahead. 

The young snazzy secular dude on line at Mega? I’m carrying one item and so is he, but he lets me cut ahead of him. 

I think if I were still riding the bus as often as I used to, or going food shopping as often as I used to, or really just living in Jerusalem and being out and about like the old days, I’d be getting this more on a daily basis. But it’s kind of heartwarming to not need my guard up all the time.

Who is going to mess with a pregnant lady, after all?