I live here.

Loving the weather. On my walk today, I literally went off the beaten track and decided to do what I’ve been wanting to do for months. I turned into the valley here in Tzur Hadassah and walked through our local nature zone.
The grass is *spectacular* because of all the rain we’ve been getting. Lush, green, looks even… edible.
So dorky me is walking through the grassy mud, goofy and taking it all in, the sun in my face, the grass under my feet, loving it like a puppy…
…and then…
I hiked down the steep security road…
grazing in the grass
like magic.
Just needed a leprechaun and the Last Unicorn. Fantasy complete.

Bebe update: Ten months.

Hello little nuzzle.

This month felt really long. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working my bum off at my job. Maybe because, as such, I’ve been doing better at appreciating every single day I get to spend with you when you guys come home from gan. Maybe it’s because you’re doing so many new things. But here you are, ten months.

One of the first things I noticed this month: You now talk. Or maybe the word is communicate. One day you just kept saying ‘ma ma ma ma’ and, to be frank, looking at my boobs. You asked me to be nursed. Girlie! And then you Pavlov-dogged me into picking you up, hugging you, feeding you, or just looking at you when you say it. I think you’re teaching us how to talk. You next moved on to abba. Can’t wait till you decide how the hell you’ll pronounce your brother’s name…

Luckily, it goes both ways – you tell us, and we tell you. Namely, ‘no.’ You’re starting to understand it. Not that I have to say it often, to be honest. But why oh why do you constantly go for the toilet bowl?

And, as of today, I’m going pump-free. With the helpful words of my metapelet, I choose not to look at that as the beginning of the end of our nursing, but instead, just focusing on me and you time. To celebrate, I breastfed you in a field today. Literally.

You started experimenting with standing on your own (but I’m not going to label you a raging feminist yet). Walking along your track of things to hold on to. Meanwhile, when I explained to your brother that you’ll be walking soon, he looked at me and looked at you and said NO. He’s threatened by you, B. Remember that when you’re older and you have male bosses someday.

But it’s made up for when you two ‘play’ together. That’s the best. And it keeps getting better. Every month that goes by, there’s more depth to your relationship. It’s amazing and it’s precious. Nothing like a brother and sister.

Keep it forever.

I ate the carob.

Remember going to Jewish day school in the States?

Remember Tu B’Shvat back then? You were kinda like, wtf is this? But we get to draw trees and make tissue paper flowers, ok. We sing happy birthday to nature and best of all, we get to take home a lil plastic baggie of dried fruit.

You’d open the bag with all your friends on the way out of school, or on the bus. Maybe it was even before that, we’d all do the bracha together.

Raisins, apricots, a couple nuts. And, oh right – carob.

This foreign, hard, weird thing. It’s all the way from Israel! they’d tell you. Uh huh. What do you want me to do with it?

Everyone would say ew or do you want mine? No one would eat it. No one.

I’d get home, show my mom the bag, put my books down. Then – my curiosity would get the best of me. And I would eat it.

Yes, I ate the carob.

The latest on ‘that mikvah in Tzur Hadassah.’

Jewish democracies – they sure are tough. Good thing there’s only one.

If this is true, this is incredible. Reporting by Haaretz:

Towns ask for public institutions, wind up with brand-new mikvehs

When it comes to religious institutions, the Housing Ministry website explicitly states that budgeting for construction is provided by the Religious Services Ministry.

There is another problem with the ministry’s policy under Housing Minister (and Shas MK ) Ariel Atias: its budget for building public institutions has all but disappeared, shrinking from nearly NIS 204 million in 2002 to NIS 17 million in 2010. In other words, it can hardly build anything at all, so must adhere to the strictest priorities.

And now directing the light towards our locale for a moment – Tzur Hadassah gets a mention: “Another NIS 3 million was allocated for the construction of yet another mikveh – and a road leading to the ritual bath – in Tzur Hadassah, which is near Jerusalem.”

For years I’ve been hearing conflicting reports about how Tzur Hadassah got the money to build its unfinished and poorly constructed and nonoperational mikvah. I’ve never understood who was behind it or why it was that big a deal if indeed the money came from the Religious Authority, and not the Housing one. I do fully recognize that it’s totally not a priority of many, if not most, Tzur Hadassians.

I wish we had numbers on how many in the area are in favor of it.

As stated: “Not all the local authority chiefs were thrilled at the Housing Ministry’s largesse, mainly on the grounds that they would prefer to get money for other things.”

More background:

In May 2011, members of the Mateh Yehuda regional council convened and, among other things, discussed the Housing Ministry budget allocated to building a mikveh. Their mood was not good.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to me before,” said council head Moshe Dadon during the debate. “I received two confirmations by fax from the Housing Ministry, to build a mikveh in Tzur Hadassah, without anybody asking for it.”

The chairman of the Tzur Hadassah council, Zion Gabay – also there for the discussion – professed himself not only astonished but infuriated at the turn of events.

“They’ve already invested NIS 2 million [in the mikveh and road to it],” he said. “I don’t understand the Housing Ministry’s priorities. Our town has a shortage of public infrastructure and is sorely lacking in institutions such as culture and sports centers; centers for music, seniors and afternoon activities for children; or a building for teenage girls in trouble. The State of Israel can’t find the resources to build these. I am bemused and ashamed that the Housing Ministry has found the money for a mikveh and can’t find the money for public institutions that would serve all our residents.”

There is clearly an agenda, as the Shas MK who runs the Housing Ministry right now has this going for him:

The inauguration ceremony of another mikveh built with Housing Ministry assistance, in Neveh Afek, near Rosh Ha’ayin, was attended by Housing Minister Atias himself. In his speech, he stressed that aid had been granted because this was the first mikveh to be built in a neighborhood already 20 years old. Mayor Moshe Sinai thanked Atias for the assistance, but stressed that the neighborhood was missing other public institutions, including day care facilities.

This is just corruption, sorry. While I would benefit from it personally, it’s not the right way to do this, if this is truly Tzur Hadassah’s case.

And, perhaps related to supposed plans for the new development across the road?


Super Bowl XLVI, the ex-pat-but-also-tired-parent way.

I’m a NY Giants fan, which means when I care, which is rare, I’m following them because I’m from New York, it’s what my family does, and it’s who I am, and F you anyway.

Four years ago, the day we moved to Tsur Hadassah, was the last Super Bowl, the incredible event where the Giants kicked the faces of the Patriots in an amazing game that was talked about for its thrill and passion, something not always present at a Super Bowl.

And I missed it.

Because I was unpacking, exhausted, and didn’t even know how to drive from Tsur to Jerusalem. I followed the game in slow motion on the internet as sites updated scores live, while stealing my new neighbors’ wifi.

I thought I’d never have another chance.

And then I did! The Rematch, what an incredible deja vu, been following it for weeks as it all got narrowed down.

Found sites to stream it on, set up the browser, had work to do until kickoff… and then I said F it and went to bed. That’s being a tired American parent, in a different timezone during the Super Bowl.

I kinda thought a kid would end up waking me in time to catch the last 30 minutes. In fact, a kid did wake me up, just in time for the final score to be posted and the first photos of Eli Manning and the Gang looking ecstatic.

So I missed it.

Giants, Patriots – see you in 2016?


Fifty-Two Frames: Macro.

Confession: I always thought ‘micro’ means close up and ‘macro’ means far away. Whoops.

There was a lot of examining life close up this week. I don’t have to go over it again, I’ve already done it twice.

As far as the photo goes: I had a moving target this week, so getting the perfect shot was hard, but I think I was going for concept over art here.

Week 5: Macro

Enjoy every… little… thing.
(Dedicated to Ayelet Yakira Galena, z’l)