Lisa’s weekly (for now) email continues. Nine weeks!! We’re almost at double digits!!
This week held moments of sadness, monotony, excitement and novelty for us. Sadness stemming from the fact that we had to say goodbye, or ‘l’hitraot’ to mom and David and because we miss Michal and Chezky, monotony, for me, because there were times that I simply had nothing to do and didn’t wish to do anything, excitement upon Eitan fairing well in school and upon Yechezkel’s return from abroad, and novelty because of some new experiences we had this week.
Shabbat was relaxing with Mom and David and we enjoyed Friday night dinner, Shabbat Kiddush and lunch punctuated with riveting, stimulating conversation throughout. There is much to discuss about the political, religious and social situation here, and of course our klita, that we are not lacking in conversation. And David and Mom never fail to spur interesting, provocative, conversation and thought. And, I mean that complimentarily. Shabbat morning we went to shul, but a lot of people weren’t there and davening was less than inspiring. In the afternoon we went for a walk which we enjoyed despite the ever present flies and heat. It has been very hot and Maaleh Adumim, Yerushalayim, and the mountainous areas of Israel were under a ‘chamsin,’ a heat wave for the week prior to and including Shabbat and so while you were all experiencing cold raw wintry weather, we were sweltering, feeing like roasting chickens over a rotisserie. In fact, the weather did not begin to cool until Tuesday or Wednesday. It is very pleasant walking outside now, especially at night when a cool breeze is felt as you walk along the street.
Yechezkel arrived home from Poland early Monday morning and as expected, his commitment to Israel and his love of Eretz Yisrael and her people was strengthened by this trip. His convictions and beliefs, and the principles he lives by were reinforced over this trip. It was a very difficult, emotional and exhausting trip and he came home with unbelievable, incomprehensible stories of horror and bravery. I will spare you all specific details, but suffice to say, the boys were really moved by what they experienced. My mother, Susan, and I had been to some of the places he visited and we came away with many of the same feelings. But for a young man of his age who is about to embark on an extremely serious phase in his life, this was a trip that served to solidify and mold who he is and the pride he holds in his beliefs.
I believe that is a great segue into saying something here that I believe needs to be said and clarified. I am a mother who holds tremendous pride in all of her children (all four of them now) and in all of their own individual accomplishments. Living in Israel requires adjustment in one’s (a parent’s) thinking and expectations of and for their children. It is an indisputable fact and way of life that young men and women here upon completing high school or a year of mechina afterwards go to the army, or perform some form of national service. The ones exempted from that, for which I ardently and vehemently disagree, are those for the most part, in the charedi world whose sons do not go to the army. But that is a discussion I will not have now. Rather, I must clarify that yes, while I am proud that Yechezkel will very soon wear a Tzahal uniform, I am not naïve so much to think there is no danger involved and yes I do worry for him. But this is life here and the life we’ve chosen to live. Life is hard here and there are things that take getting used to, like the socialized medical system, the bureaucracy, and other things. Even Yechezkel returning from his trip and realizing that we had the freedom to make the decision to live here while so many others were deprived of that. But there are those moments we experience everyday that remind us why we live here: the buses with Shabbat shalom or chag sameach displayed overhead, everyone wishing one another Shabbat shalom. It is unique and wonderful.
Ok, enough of that. Anyway, Eitan continues to progress in school and with tutoring, seems to be holding his own. He received the second highest mark on his lashon exam (kudos to Morah Poker from HANC) and that’s a class of mostly Israelis. He is doing well in math with the help of a tutor and is holding his own in other subjects. I know Michal and Chezky are not with us here, but as long as I’m telling you about the family in Israel, I feel I must keep you informed about their progress in NY. So, Michal is very busy in school as an assistant teacher during the day and studying for her Master’s degree at night. She works very hard and I know will one day be an excellent teacher and I am so so proud of her.
Meyer and I are doing well overall. Meyer will begin working full time the week after next and I continue to study in Ulpan. I love Ulpan and find the students in the class interesting and the teachers riveting. Excitement in speaking Hebrew abounds. Class is truly exciting each day. On Wednesday, Meyer and I went to Machane Yehudah to buy our fruits and vegetables for the week. What a bustling, energetic, vibrant place. The shopkeepers are full of life, with shouts and calls for business. People from all walks of life passing through, (or pushing through) making their purchases. It was so much fun and the prices are unbeatable and produce and bread delicious. I think we will even buy our chicken there as well. We continue our search for a more permanent place to live and hopefully will have something sometime later this year. On the health front, Meyer’s sciatica has finally resolved after he was treated by a physical therapist here, and thank GOD, he has been pain free for three days now. We are both sleeping better.
Ok, time to sign off. We love hearing from you either via email or phone call. We’ll try and answer more individually and look forward to hearing from you. I don’t know when the next email will be.. Perhaps next week, perhaps the week after. Stay tuned.
I close, like I always do, with prayers for the safety and release of our captives, and with tefillot for all for your health and happiness. We miss you loads and can’t wait to see those of you who will be visiting during the year. Please send regards to everyone. Shabbat Shalom from your friends/family in Israel.