Sisterly Fun, Sisterly Bonds (Week 47)

A sister is someone with whom you can talk about almost anything, someone with whom you can reminisce about earlier days, earlier times, someone who understands you almost like no one else can, one with whom you can share a good hearty laugh or deep emotional cry. A sister is a friend, an ally, perhaps even someone to sometimes bicker with. I experienced all of this and more last week with my sister and it was awesome.

You know, there is something really quite special about spending quality time with your sister. My sister Susan came to Israel, alone, for a short ten-day visit with me (ten days were supposed to be eleven days originally, at least that’s what she told me, until she arrived and said she was leaving a day earlier. That didn’t go over well!!) A visit which we maximized to the fullest. We realized the night she left that we hadn’t spent that much quality time together since before we were both married. Susan arrived two days after Eitan left for the States so I didn’t have that much time to feel lonely. We spent our days talking, discussing our families, our lives, how much we miss each other. I took her to the Gush Katif Museum (a must see) on the Friday after she arrived. I figured let’s get the emotional stuff out-of-the-way early so that later on we could ‘party’ and just have fun and enjoy ourselves. I wasn’t exactly certain how Susan would react to the museum. I’ve written earlier about the emotional impact of the museum and truly believe everyone should visit. Susan really appreciated viewing the displays, reading and hearing about the history of Gush Katif and felt the emotional impact of the movies we viewed, of the people and what they went through during the withdrawal, their removal  from their homes. From there we went to Givat Zeev to spend Shabbat with our cousin and family. Great food, good laughs, relaxation, and of course, more bonding for Susan and me.

The rest of her visit here entailed Fun, Fun, Fun!! We went on a walking tour of Nachlaot, a quaint, charming, historic and picturesque neighborhood near Machane Yehudah. It is one of the first five communities built outside of the Old City. We went to the Dead Sea overnight at the Meridian Hotel, where we relaxed, swam, sunned ourselves by the pool, floated in the Dead Sea, swam some more, ate delicious dinner and breakfast (I  LOVE hotel breakfasts), and heard an Israeli Jazz duo perform real jazz music, as well as Beatles music and other 70’s and 80’s music. People danced, sang, ate, drank and really enjoyed. Susan and I didn’t get up to dance, and I think we both regret that just a little. But we had a grand time. The next morning we both treated ourselves to massages and we sat out by the pool some more before driving back to Maale Adumim. It was the best rest and relaxation either of us has had in a long time. Long overdue. And yes, I drove there and back. The rest of the time was spent shopping, eating out with Meyer and another cousin, or just the two of us, and even going to my doctor together.

Dead Sea

Susan enjoying ice cream poolside

Our time together culminated with sharing old family pictures she had brought with her from Mom’s cleaning spree. We laughed and cried at seeing those who are no longer with us. We also listened to a CD of our grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary party from 1970. We were able to hear ourselves, our parents, aunts, uncles and cousins all laughing, singing, speaking and celebrating. Such memories. We were reminded once again of our childhood, of the truly amazing family we were a part of.  To our unsuspecting ears we continued to listen and were treated to a concert that our father performed with other Cantors many years ago. We hadn’t heard that tape for so long, and to hear his melodious, operatic, spiritual voice once again, together, well, needless to say, we both listened in silence, and of course, shed a few tears. It was indeed an appropriate ending to our visit together, but Susan is well aware that she better come back soon!!

View of pool and palm trees from our room

Continuing on with the Cherry Hill theme, our Shabbat guest this week is Yehuda Joseph, a young 15-year-old who is spending the summer here on a NCSY ambassador summer program. We anticipate an interesting, restful and enjoyable Shabbat.

On the health front, I do not have a surgery date yet, but should know next week when the date will be. I am eager to put this behind me and to resume my normal level of activity. It is not like me to be chronically fatigued, lethargic and uncomfortable. But this too shall pass. I must thank those of you, my friends and family, who continually call to inquire how I am feeling. There are no words to express the appreciation I feel over your concern for me. From the bottom of my heart I thank you and love you.

Tragedy has struck Maale Adumim this week. A young man who had just completed his Miluim, (army reserve) and who was known for his selfless involvement with others, tragically took his own life Friday night. No one knows why, there were no obvious signs of despair. It is so heart wrenching to hear such stories. So tragic for the family, so unnecessary. We did not know him but read about it yesterday in our local paper.I’m sure you’ve all also heard of the horrible plane crash in the US that claimed the lives of Bet Shemesh and Har Nof teenage residents. Again, tragedy is not spared. Thousands turned out for their funerals. As for Israel news, well nothing generally new. However, if you havent’ already seen it, I strongly recommend listening to the You Tube video of a Gush Etzion girl playing and singing a song entitled ‘Only Israel’. I believe it encapsulates the ‘matzav’ here and world opinion of Israel and her people. Yet, Israel is beautiful this time of year, (hot yes, but beautiful) and we are enjoying ourselves.

There’s not much else to tell. Eitan is enjoying his vacation spending time with Michal and Chezky, my mother and David, Tova, Gary and family, and all his friends. Michal is well on her way to concluding her studies and is soon to be a certified teacher! We are so very proud of her. Yechezkel continues his training in Beer Sheva and unfortunately will not be home for Shabbat. Meyer is doing well and working hard.

That’s all folks! Wishing all a Shabbat Shalom, and of course, wishing the Schalit family peace and a speedy return of their son to his rightful place in the warmth of their arms. I also of course, continually pray for wisdom of our leaders and for more common sense, discernment, and insight to prevail in the global opinion and criticism of Israel.

Yes, I know, I am a dreamer.


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