So that controversial Tzur Hadassah mikvah grand opening happened.

So many mixed feelings.

We moved here knowing there was no working mikva, and it may or may not get fixed one day. I’d say the same of most of the people who will end up using the now open-to-public-but-still-waiting-on-a-few-details Tzur Hadassah mikva. And it’s a pretty diverse but reasonable bunch – I’m guessing mostly traditional sephardi women, plenty of dati lights like myself, the dati leumis like much of my shul, and others.

It’s not half of Tzur Hadassah women. It might be a quarter. Very possibly less. I guess we’ll know more later on. But it’s a decent part of our so-called pluralistic community.

And apparently this fact is tearing us apart.

Let’s be honest – whether you believe it’s paranoia or fair concern, the bottom line of what’s causing the mikva drama is the perceived end-game – the mikva is one more (possibly the most powerful) step towards being able to advertise the NINE HUNDRED new units being built as ‘religious-friendly – – sukkot mirpeset-friendly – in a yishuv with dati kindergardens, dati schools, and a mikvah!’ #truestory

(Seriously. I mean, NINE HUNDRED UNITS – if you think – without religion as a factor – the yishuv won’t change in character from nearly doubling, you’re as naive as people who think ‘charediazation’ is not a thing. Shouldn’t we be complaining about nine hundred units as the bigger picture here?)

The end-game being that Tzur Hadassah goes the way of Beit Shemesh. Ramat Eshkol. And so many other once-moderate communities that are now predominantly or completely charedi.

It’s a valid fear, then, since we’ve seen/are seeing it happen. On the other hand, we do live here now, have certain needs, and it would be nice to live in peace in a truly pluralistic yishuv.

Do we pay in advance for a potential problem?

Or do all of us in Tzur Hadassah say, screw it, this is who we are – we accept one another in tolerance – we’re proud of our character – and we will stand strong to continue that way?

That’s what Matte Yehuda regional councilman Moshe Dadon said in his opening ceremony speech.

“I drive on shabbat. My wife drives on shabbat. But she goes to the mikvah.”

Why can’t that be an acceptable form of Jew? Why can’t we keep working to make the middle road the main road?

Fifty-Two Frames: Books

Recently, our town added a completely cute new feature to our bus stops: book shelves!


I started to read random books to my kids while killing time after gan. What a lovely example.

Week 21: Books

“A new book smells great. An old book smells even better. An old book smells like ancient Egypt.” – Ray Bradbury 

Fifty-Two Frames: In the beginning

I’m not one for cheesy Zionism, but with my aliyah anniversary passing a week ago, and Ariel Sharon passing yesterday, and my submission down to the wire at 5:45pm, I decided, why not. This would be the week for that.

I had spotted this scene every day and neglected to take a photo until Thursday. It’s the newly empty lot (former forest) where building is planned in Tzur Hadassah.

This wagon is constantly parked there, forest or no forest.

So is the flag.

Week 2: In the beginning

In the beginning… there were rumors. Hopes. Posters. A flag. 

Fifty-Two Frames: Cityscape

I don’t have a lot of access to cities. Shocking, I know. And even though last week I found myself in four different municipalities, I couldn’t get my act together to get a good cityscape.

So Tzur Hadassah’s other half, Har Kitron, will have to do.

Week 42: Cityscape

A drop of civilization hidden in the hillside…

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Yeah, it’s a plane.

Israeli crop duster plane? probably?Universe, if you know how liable I am to get distracted, why would you send low-flying planes buzzing past my window, across the street from my house… for two hours?!

First, I was all, go go go WARPLANE!

Then I was all, go go go FIREPLANE!

Finally, I concluded, it’s really probably just go go go crop duster.

Still, it’s fun to get really close up views of bright, loud airplanes right outside your window. When they’re not bombing you, of course.

Hey, remember when they were WARPLANES?!

Tzur Hadassah update: New pool, new bus, new neighborhood, new park, and… Swiper.

It’s been a while! Plenty to update on Tzur Hadassah. In no particular order, except for saving the weirdest for last… five bits of small town news:

1. THE Tzur Hadassah Pool

You’re not a true Tzur Hadassian if you’re not already putting on your floaties in impatient anticipation for the new pool, possibly making its debut next summer and supposedly being completed by December 2014.

Tzur Hadassah's new pool: December 2014

Here’s where they’re doing the construction; not sure exactly where the pool will be housed, because this entire area will also include a recreational area and more.

2. New bus line and tremp stations

Last month the Illit bus company (that runs from Beitar Illit) established a new Bet Shemesh line, the 138. It’s an express line to the Bet Shemesh train station, stops at the entrances to Tzur Hadassah, and the line is public, so seating is mixed.

By the way, months back, we had an upgrade in our two ‘trempiadia’ stations at either gate.

Tremp stations in tzur Hadassah

There’s also been a project of putting up new signage throughout the town, now that we have more local ‘attractions.’

3. New neighborhood

Remember this? They’ve been carving out the space for the new monster apartment complex to go up behind the Mavo area. It seems from the look of it that this new neighborhood will be even closer to the security fence.

New neighborhood construction in Tzur Hadassah

4. Park Yuval

Yuval Yohanan was a teenage born and bred in Tzur Hadassah, who died of cancer earlier in the year. Her family decided to create this serene park space in her memory, in the ‘valley’ between main Tzur and Har Kitron. It’s nearly finished.

Park Yuval in Tzur Hadassah

The plan is actually to ‘activate’ that entire valley space with different sections of park and fields. There is a sign outlining the plan, but it isn’t all that clear. I hope it remains as beautiful and quiet as it does today… I like to walk there sometimes and rarely see anyone else around. Go deep enough, and shock – there is no trace of litter anywhere.

5. Swiper

The story I’ve heard goes like this: the head of the va’ad was given a Swiper the Fox keychain (of Dora fame) by one of his nieces… or a daughter? He thought, ‘this here is a fine creature to have sculpted for the grassy area across from the school…’ and so it was done.

Swiper statue in Tzur Hadassah

At least we’ve got character!

P.S. The pizza place closed, and Cafe Cafe opened… at the shopping center/gas station outside the machsom. Havaleh, the farm cafe inside Tzur Hadassah, is still going.

The innocent on Memorial Day.

I told Koala he could come with me to the Yom HaZicaron ceremony if he likes. I told him it’s a time where we remember all the soldiers and all the good things they do for us.

“And if you want, during the siren, you can think about your uncle who is a chayal, or zayde who was a long time ago.”

“I want to think about them and all the chayalim.”

After the siren, I asked him if he had thought about the chayalim. He told me he  forgot, he was “thinking about other things.”

That’s ok. He’s four.

Here’s to innocence.

Yom HaZicaron in Tzur Hadassah