Tzur Hadassah has a supermarket (deep breaths).

Well, now we’re really in the big time. Sure, they just broke ground for a high school (I think) but today Tzur Hadassah celebrated a special milestone in a small town’s life: our very own supermarket’s grand opening. Including three-shekel hamburgers.

We woke up this morning to festive red balloons tied to every other car… (it was like waking up to snow!!!! Only not.)

Mister Zol is the first of three or four small shops to occupy an itsy bitsy shopping ‘center’ on Rechasim street, the spine of Tzur Hadassah’s newer neighborhood. It sits across from the medical clinic and mail pickup, which makes things a little complicated on a relatively narrow main street. I can’t believe I typed that last sentence.

The crowds piled up for the afternoon festivities, which somewhere included a clown, a market full of food items for sale, and, man, you’d think they were cooking up three-shekel hamburgers out there!

I’ve definitely never seen anywhere in Tzur Hadassah that crowded. Let’s hope the parking situation gets better, starting right after this shindig ended…

I think we, as a town, need some new social events.

El-drunk!

We Eldan/אלדן customers (suckers?) have been getting צ’ופר-ed up the wazoo lately. It’s either time for renewal or the competition is striking.

But this latest gift is enough to get drunk on (sweet!):

I’m going to proudly display the wine at my Rosh Hashana table so everyone knows which car leasing company is the very best. Hey, wine is wine. Classy!

Koala update: Sixteen months.

Let’s talk about… monsters.

As we have surely learned in the past sixteen months, monsters come in all shapes and sizes, colors and lengths of fur. Some are red and high pitched; others are blue and love to eat cookies.

Monsters have a grizzly, mean side. They roar when they’re angry, turn red with frustration, throw blocks at their mamas, and point at you accusingly. Their tempers run out in a snap, and from 0 to 60 they manage to squeeze out little monster tears to get their points across.

But monsters also have a yummy, happy, ticklish side. They hug their mama’s legs after she comes home from a day at work. They learn how to give kisses properly, so they can cover their parents’s faces with delicious monster kisses. They laugh for no reason and smile at anyone. They poke their belly buttons and point to their noses.

Unsurprisingly, little monsters know how to relish a cookie.

And they love, love, love to help put on their brand new shoes.

Ponder that, my little monster.

Leaving New York City.

I returned on Tuesday from a trip to New York. It was a family visit with some work mixed in, and it came at a time when I was starting to feel a bit… hungry for New York. Not homesick, per say, but just in the mood.

I don’t know if it happens to all olim who travel back frequently, or if it’s just me, but this trip was different. Usually, I let myself fantasize, considering all the pros and cons of moving back to New York City and then tally them up, leading me to feel a bit sad coming back to Israel. Not that I would have wanted to return necessarily, but it’s a feeling of being torn in two directions.

Wouldn’t my job be so much more fun in NYC? I’d have the best ice cream flavors to choose from. The little things are so much cheaper – hell, the bigger things are so much cheaper, too. Bookstores stocked with an endless English supply. Customer service!

This time – I dunno. The cons kept stacking up. The ads on TV. The amount of choices in the supermarket. The crowds of people. The stories in the news. The politics. The elevator coldness. The avoiding eye contact.

It seems like everything is so much more complicated than it has to be. I think I’ve seriously decomplicated my life, living here in Israel.

Then there is always that one major complication I’ve created, making life endlessly harder – leaving my family and creating a situation of long distance relationships to live by.

I’m still dealing with that one. I think I always will be.

You gotta squeeze Z hummus…

Ever wanted to squeeze your hummus? My brother introduced me to this new company started by, oh c’mon, who else but an Israeli guy named Ami (from Beer Sheva) living States-side in Marlboro, New Jersey.

Squeeze Z Hummus launches the FIRST ever squeezable hummus product in over 20 New York grocery stores. Available in 3 flavors, “Classic, Spicy, and Dill” in both 10 and 18 oz squeeze bottles. Squeeze Z Hummus is groundbreaking, as it is poised to be the next generation of condiments, NO MORE DOUBLE DIPPING!

My favorite part is that he originally wanted to, unoriginally, call the brand ‘Zohan Hummus’ but got called out by Sony – or so the tale goes. On the about page you can see a leftover mention of Zohan in the fifth paragraph.

I guess the idea is to Americanize ze chumus, since Americans wouldn’t want to double-dip, get crumbs in the tub, or take out a knife and spread things.

Kol hakavod, Ami.

Brought to you by: Only in America.

Dedicated to: Benji and his hummus bride.

Coming, going.

In the past four weeks, I’ve heard about a total of five actual (three)  and potential (two) yeridot – leaving Israel after making aliyah.

I’m not necessarily homesick, so the news doesn’t really hit me that way. It’s more like this this bizarre feeling of, am I doing something wrong? Is there something I don’t see?

I know; backwards, right?

People ask me why I live here, why I’m still here. I don’t have an academic answer. I’m happy. Well, not a juicy answer, anyway. I love my job. I like my town. I met my husband here, and we’re in an international marriage. I’m more comfortable living this stage of my life in a Jewish country.

It’s a laundry list, folded in half: pros, cons. I think it’s a laundry list for everyone. If it’s ideology, I don’t necessary believe that’s the whole picture. Ideology can only take you as far as… ideology.

Family. Jobs. Security. Religion. Money. Education.

Everyone has their reason for coming, and for going.

How how it all begins.

It’s hard to believe. I’m a little choked up. I didn’t think it would come out this way.

Koala started recognizing dogs a while ago. He points to them and calls, “Da!” He calls the plush wolf my brother got him “Da.” He was even getting to the point of recognizing them in photos – “Da.” It furthers the habit that next door to his summer metapelet lives a giant, friendly German Shepherd, who I’ve been coaxing him to say hi to every day.

So, I started with animal noises. First up, of course: woof woof. Or ruff ruff.

You know, typical dog sounds.

Today, Koala came home from the metapelet and started jumping around the apartment. “Oh! Oh!” “Oh! Oh!” We thought it was hilarious, because it was this deep, lips-in-an-O-shape, hearty “Oh!”

I followed Koala up to his room, him “Oh!”ing all the way. He went straight for the wolf.

“Oh! Oh!”

And then it hit me – I’m not the only one encouraging conversations with the German Shepherd.

He wasn’t saying “Oh!” And he wasn’t trying to say “Ruff!” or “Woof!”

My boy is Israeli. He was saying “How! How!”

So wrong. So unnatural. So sabra.

By the time he’s older, neither will matter.

Nerdy fact: My kid had an email address – nay, two email addresses – over a year before he had an American social security number.

To file my American taxes, I realized I needed – and didn’t have – Koala’s social security number. You’re actually supposed to just apply for it while getting the Consular Report of Birth and passport sorted out at the American Embassy/Consulate, but of course, that didn’t prove simple for me and social security got lost somewhere.

So to work it out, I went over to the American Consulate in East Jerusalem yesterday. It was actually chik chok, which was shocking but welcome. You need the American parent(s)’ passport, the baby’s passport, and the birth certificate/Consular Report of Birth.

To explain the email address thing – yeah, I figured out a cool nickname and grabbed it. So what? It was 2009!

The funny thing is, though, by the time Koala is of age, neither the social security nor the email address will matter. Things of the past, the stuff mama could sit back in her rocking chair and muse over… Those were the days.