The pregnant working mother perseveres in the face of conf–erence.

Credit: The Real Jerusalem Streets

Credit: The Real Jerusalem Streets

A little while ago, I was approached to speak at a marketing conference for end-of-February in the new Hub Etzion shared workspace.

I was in the middle of other conference insanity, but January Liz was all like, shrug whatevs let’s do it so I agreed. Knowing fully that in another month I’d be presenting a marketing talk about audiences to an entire room of marketers – eight months pregnant.

So obviously last week, end-of-February Liz was like oh crap. I’m eight months pregnant. is that an excuse?!

It’s not. Not for me, not right now. So I’m glad I pulled through and didn’t go the route that comes naturally – opening with a stereotypical female apology, explaining that I need some slack cut considering I’m creating a human, bla bla.

I thought about it. I kept it in my back pocket while developing my talk. But by the time I was on the drive to the conference I knew I wouldn’t go there.

The last time I spoke at a conference, it was when I was pregnant with my second. Interesting, right? It was the beginning, I felt horrible, and was trying to hide it still. So no one actually knew. But I knew I had to pull through.

I’m lucky to live in a culture – especially the Israel -> startup -> Jerusalem scene – where mom-friendly is fairly normal, where even if things aren’t totally ideal, pregnant women aren’t a shock to see presenting at (or organizing) conferences.

I owe some of that to some of the most family-friendly bosses I’ve had in my career here. Including the CEO of my current company, who routinely encourages expansive working motherhood.

Considering I’m about to upgrade from a couple to a bunch (a gaggle? a murder?) of daughters, I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for spending the last year and a half attempting to figure out this whole nursing working mother/pregnant working mother thing.

By the way, BlueCon 2016 was a great morning spent with peers (thanks to BlueThread Marketing), and Hub Etzion (founded by women!) is a lovely beginning to something positive and encouraging growing in Gush Etzion.

Good old fashioned Friday fun.

There are 87658345 reasons why it’s awesome to have a car, and today exemplified reason #5374, which is, freedom.

Today we ventured to neighboring Gush Etzion, where Rosh Tzurim (next to Alon Shvut) was hosting the annual cherry picking festival – פסטיבל דובדבנים 2008 בגוש עציון. We were going mainly for that reason, but the festival was also a carnival where vendors sold their wares (wines, olive oils, cheeses, clothes, etc), kids watched shows and played on rides.

You just have to love summer in Israel. The summer schedule is packed with family-centric activities, but those are my favorite kind, kids or no kids.

You also just have to love cherries. They’re pretty, delicious and so much fun when squished under your shoes. I hope they are good for you too, since they are the only thing I’ve eaten today.

Tzur Hadassah: The Q&A breakdown.

I suppose there isn’t much info out there on the webs about Tzur Hadassah, because every once in a while I’ll get an email from someone asking about moving there. I’m more than happy to share my responses so that everyone can benefit. If you have any other questions, leave a comment.

Here’s my latest Tzur Hadassah information guide:

Hey,

Tzur Hadassah is the Green Line… It’s within the 1967 borders, so it is technically Israel, but one side of it faces the West Bank directly. Wadi Fukeen is in that direction, in the valley between Tzur and Beitar (Beitar and the Wadi are outside the Green Line).

Past Tzur Hadassah (within Israeli borders) are Nes Harim, Bar Giyora, Mavo Beitar and past the forest, Beit Shemesh. Going the other way – through the machsom – you pass Beitar, Hussan, and then turn left towards the tunnels with Gush Etzion on your right.

The bus situation in Tzur is poor; there are a handful of buses in and out but it’s not even on the hour or anything. Most, if not all, people here have cars. It’s a 15-20 minute drive to Jerusalem by car through the tunnels. People do hitch hike from within.

Tzur Hadassah is mainly secular, with a Masorti – Mizrachi presence, a Progressive-Reform population, two or three Sephardi shuls and one very small – but intimate! – Ashkenaz minyan (which is where we go). If you are looking for diversity and respectful peace between religious and secular people, as well as a sense of pluralism, this is a great place to be.

There are Anglo families here, religious, traditional and secular… In our shul, for instance, there are a handful of Anglo-mixed couples and French-mixed couples and mainly Israeli of course. This is not really an English-speaking place; I mean, the Anglos speak to each other in English but in groups it is accepted and encouraged to speak in Hebrew. The kids range from baby to teenager, although most kids are probably between toddler and elementary school.

Rent – I don’t know ranges of prices so well, but I’d say you could pay around 2500 – 3000 NIS a month for a 3 bedroom apartment. There are also nice houses for rent. Currently they are building a new complex of duplexes, and they are pretty much all bought, and when they are done, there will be a mass exodus from apartments and houses for rent in the rest of the community. They speculate that will be sometime in the summer; I’d think it would be later rather than sooner.

Other information:

  • Currently there are about 1,000 families or so, and there is talk of whether to expand or stay at this size. The debate is: stay small and cozy, with less public services, or grow bigger and get more services.
  • There is a mini market that is actually impressive, although I’d suggest shopping in Beit Shemesh (15 minutes away) Beitar (5 minutes away) or Jerusalem for the bulk of your needs.
  • There are three gans: a secular, a Reform and a dati.
  • There is a school up to high school level, and it is also secular. There is talk of building a religious school… But who knows when that will be. Most people seem to get their kids to school in Jerusalem.
  • There is an excellent mirpa’a (clinic) that is privately operated but accepts all kupot.
  • There is a basket ball court, soccer pitch, a lot of parks and space to play. In the area outside the yishuv, there are tons of trails and national parks.

Don’t know what your other questions are, but feel free to ask. All in all, Tzur Hadassah is a cozy place, great for your mental health, quiet and peaceful with a city nearby for jobs and shopping and cultural activity, parks and nature all around us, really sweet, non-jaded people. It almost makes me not want to talk about it too highly, lest it ends up growing too big…