Week 36

Hello all,

I am actually writing this entry directly to my blog. It is a new experience for me to follow and update a blog, follow trends, etc. I am less than proficient and have so much to learn. Technology is racing ahead at lightning pace, and I follow at a snail’s pace. But, undeterred, I will continue to muddle through.

Last Friday, as I mentioned in week 35, Eitan and I went on a tiyul to Gush Etzion with our community aliyah group.  We visited the Gush Etzion museum where we saw the exhibit explaining and commemorating the brave fighters from 1948 who fought to save and remain in Gush Etzion, but did not prevail. Their wives and children were sent to safety during the battles and it was they, the sons, the children, who returned in 1967 to reclaim and resettle the area their fathers fought and died for.  After the museum, we made our way to an area where there was an aqueduct to which we descended with flashlights and walked in nearly waist-high water, pants rolled up, and we waded through the water to the other end. This was the highlight of the day. It was so much fun. Afterwards, we changed our clothes and made our own pita breads and enjoyed those with olive oil and zata. Yum!!!!! It would have been wonderful to have wine with the pita. In fact, we were supposed to visit the wine vineyard in Gush Etzion, however, due to some party poopers in the group, that was postponed for a later time.

Eitan making pita on Tiyul to Gush Etzion

Shabbat was quiet, just me and the boys. Yechezkel went back to his base early Sunday morning for his final week of Toranut, basic training. His swearing-in ceremony was on Wednesday and it was decided, unfortunately, that parents would not be allowed to participate due to the base’s close proximity to Gaza and the inherent dangers therein. The logistics of ensuring everyone’s safety were just too great for the army to assume. I was disappointed that I did not get to see his swearing-in ceremony or see him receive his Tzahal Tanach, but I do understand the logic behind the decision. Yechezkel again was commended and recognized for his dedication and commitment and overall performance. He wasn’t awarded the ‘Chayal Mitztayen’ (excellent soldier) award, but nonetheless was commended. On Sunday, he is off to his new training base, near Beer Sheva where he will commence training for army supply deliveries. He will be learning to drive trucks!! Apparently, big army trucks.. huge supply trucks. Oy vey. Our fears and anxieties continue.

Eitan is studying and working hard for the upcoming Bagrut and preparatory exams. It’s a completely different system here and it’s difficult sometimes to adjust. He didn’t have an excessive amount of homework or studying throughout the year, yet now, he is inundated with work all for the Bagruyot. So it’s a little stressful for him at times, but he is managing nicely overall.

Speaking of Eitan, summer plans have been finalized. He will be spending the summer in NY seeing friends, family, and just hanging out from the end of June through end of July. He will then head to camp Dora Golding as a junior counselor for the second session. Camp ends Aug 23, after which he will spend another day or two in West Hempstead before returning home. The plans are not what he had initially wanted, but heading back to the States, to West Hempstead,  is a nice treat for him after a year of aliyah adjustment.

Meyer returned home on Monday evening from his visit to NY feeling refreshed and happy he was able to see so many of you. He feels badly that he didn’t get to see all, but he had to manage his time between family and friends and work.  He had a wonderful time seeing his parents, my mom and David, and especially, spending even more time with Michal and Chezky after Pesach. It was a real treat for all of them.

I managed well while Meyer was away, but am glad he’s back. Yes for the cleaning and management aspects of our lives, but also for the return to normalcy and everyday life. I missed him and needed him.  I spent the better part of this past week in Ulpan and in intensive job search. I had a meeting last Sunday with the Nefesh BNefesh employment department discussing various employment search strategies and I walked away from the meeting with a lot of useful information, contacts, and strategies to employ while seeking employment. I had my work cut out for me. I am unsure where all this will lead and am unsure what I want to do. I would like to ‘reinvent myself’, hence the launch of this blog and my updated Linked-In page. I’ve been staying up very late every night this week speaking with people, contacts, and generally networking. It’s exhausting, but a necessary ‘cog in the wheel’ of employment searching.

This shabbat was relatively quiet. It even rained a bit, and was extremely windy. Shabbat is tough for me and this week was no exception. This is the time I miss family the most. It’s the time when I think of my friends more often than other times and when I miss you the most. I feel sometimes like I am missing out on a lot, which I know I am. But such is life.  It is what it is.

Lag B’omer. Unbelievable. I have never seen so many bonfires. Small fires, larger ones. Barbeques abound. We went down to Mitzpe Navo (where we will be moving) for a bonfire/barbeque, beer, with music (Shlomo Katz). It was fun, we enjoyed ourselves. Yechezkel left for his new base this morning  (Sunday) with some trepidation…I guess fear of the unknown, a new beginning.

Kol Hakavod to Avraham Borenstein and Bob Margulies (following in my footsteps?) for their work on Social Action (Jewish Action?) committee. I’ve been following shul emails and have seen a number of messages from them regarding the upcoming NORPAC mission to Washington. Now it’s time for me to put in my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

The tension between the US (read Obama, Hillary) and Israel (read Netanyahu, Barak, et al) is unprecedented. Yes there have been many occasions in which Israel has been the center of criticism, of blame. But I don’t recall a time in Israel’s short history (as a state) when she has been so isolated, alone, condemned and held accountable for so much of the ills of the Middle East and indeed, for the failures, as we read, or how the US army general in charge of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has stated, that the lives of US soldiers in those countries are at risk because of the policies (Operation Case Lead, peace negotiations, settlements, etc) of Israel in the Middle East. Indeed, Obama himself stated in a press conference on April 13 that the Middle East conflict is ‘costing us significantly in terms of blood and treasure.’ To castigate Israel for these issues is a real stretch and is to defer accountability and responsibility for their own plans and actions. Seems that tough new policies loom ahead for Israel.

Ok, I am not a politician and am not necessarily politically astute. But I read, listen to and discuss the situation here. I am living it. And, as such, implore everyone who can to go to the NORPAC Mission in Washington and speak your minds!! American Jews cannot sit on the sidelines and fear expressing support for Israel. If Israel doesn’t ‘abide’ by Obama’s demands, and if American Jewry stands up and supports Israel’s decision, you, as American Jews are not being disloyal to your country. You are not. American Jewry needs to evince concern for the fate of Israel’s Jews. American Jewry needs to empathize with the situation here, regardless of how few terrorist attacks there have been lately. There haven’t been suicide (homicide) attacks, no bus bombings lately. Lately. Thank God. But complacent we are not, dare not to be. Let’s not forget Iran, who is basically operating unhindered in its pursuit of nuclear capability. One can only wonder why the Obama administration’s animus towards Israel, and really wonder, what if any, is the Iranian policy? Sanctions? Sanctions won’t stop nuclear armament. Not with Russia and China resisting some sanctions or methods of sanctions. Again, I don’t know all. But I know what I hear, what I see, what I read. Israeli’s are fearful of what the future holds. We have faith, some in our government leaders here, some not. I reserve judgement. I hope and pray Netanyahu holds true to what he has said. But I fear he won’t. He’s a politician’s politician, and a great orator. I don’t believe what other’s do that we here in Israel are solely dependent on the aid from America, that we need America and have to bow to her whims. We need American aid, yes,, but we are also a smart, technologically advanced, feisty people.  We need more than American aid. More of that momentarily.

Getting back to American Jewry, Ed Koch said it best that he is ‘shocked by the lack of outrage.’ Polls have indicated that a majority of American Jews (67% according to Quinnipiac poll) disagree with Obama’s handling of the Palestinian-Israel conflict. But 50% of Jews support his Iranian policy. Not sure I understand why. But in any event, even if there is some level of disapproval of the treatment towards Israel, there hasn’t been outrage. Vociferous outrage. Protests. Demonstrations.

So go to Washington. Encourage others to go. Yes, May 12 is a work day. Take off if you can. There should be no problem for Avraham and Bob to hire one bus. 35 people from a community of 700 families?  They should be able to hire more than one bus!! It is so vitally important to speak to our congressman and women and advocate for Israel. We are One People. Concern for Israel’s fate is a means to develop a sense of belonging to a people. Your people. Our People. One People.

Wishing all a great week.

Miss you,

Love, Lisa

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