Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jerusalem of Concerts and Beer

Late summer ended in Jerusalem with plenty of happenings all over town,including one of my favorite local groups, Habanot Nechama who were playing at Mishkenot Shaananim.

Habanot Nehama

One of the most enjoyable concerts I've been to in years, actually. The sound and voices and three-part harmonies were clear and crisp - and the music quite original and funky.

You can hear some samples of their stuff here:

Later on that week there was the annual Beer Festival.

Nothing like Oktoberfest, but here are some photos which tell the story.

No - no one was prancing around nude at the fest, surpisingly enough. This is one of the interesting aprons this vendor was selling. Hubby was telling the vendor, "don't you think this is on the 'small' side?"

It was a bit too much for even myself. Too many young people getting shit-faced out of their minds, a few nearly fell on me.

looking to get laid at the beer fest.

Glad I didn't see any vomit anywhere, even though I stayed until it was nearly over. One of the highlights was that I finally got to sample some of Israel's newest beers on the market The Dancing Camel - love the name.

(picture taken from their website)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Those @$%&# Israelis

Many immigrants to Israel have said or thought the very same thing. The culture shock.

We were invited to a party Thursday evening by a old school chum of mine. The party was called for 8:00 pm, but we wanted to get there when everything was already in full swing.

I went shopping when I got home from work. The groceries were delivered to me at 8:00, and the delivery guy looked at me sadly.

"We left your refrigerated stuff by mistake; we'll come back in 1/2 hour to bring it to you."

I thought how nice of them to let me know instead of me discovering this myself, after they've already gone. I had bought quite a lot of meat and dairy.

Well, according to simple math, 1/2 hour after 8:00 = 8:30 pm. Am I correct? I gave them "Israeli time" leeway, which is another 1/2 hour. If an Israeli tell you 5 minutes, they mean 10 minutes; if they tell you a job will take 3 weeks to complete, know that it'll be 6 weeks; if they say they'll delivery that fridge to you in 10 days, think 20.

But I'm not happy when people go over their Israeli time limit. So by 9:15 I was antsy. I call up the store.

"Where is my food that YOU left in the store?"

Store manager - "The driver is on his way to you."

"Right, I know that, but when?"

"As soon as possible."

Fine. I hung up. Hubby was getting highly agitated. It is now 9:25 pm.
We were supposed to be at the party an hour late, not 2 hours late. He calls the store:

"Where's our fucking food?"

Manager hangs up on him.

I call back. "Look, if the guy can't come in 5 minutes, we have to leave. Why don't you take it back, and put it back in the fridge and bring it to us in the morning."

"OK, I'll call the driver."

In the elevator, my very frustrated Hubby is swearing left, right and center about "those fucking Israelis," as a woman from the 4th floor gets onto the elevator just as he's saying "fucking Israelis." He smiles at her, and I turn my face to the back of the elevator, highly embarrassed. Wonder what she thinks of him.

9:50 pm the driver calls me.

"We just came to your house. No one is in."

Obviously the manager didn't call the driver.

"Duh! You guys were supposed to take it back and deliver it tomorrow morning."

"We're very sorry, but we're already out of the building. We've left it in front of your door."

"The food will go bad," I tell him. He apologizes.

We are in the middle of a terrible heatwave. I'm furious.

Thankfully, the party was a respite from all the chaos; the hostess had a music party, 3 musicians were playing Beatles tunes and the entire Rubber Soul album front to back - while me, the hostess and another guest sang until it hurt. We three all have tickets to see Sir Paul McCartney the end of the month.

Hostess tells me, "We gotta do this again in September, before the concert. We have to 'practice!'"

"what practice? We need to save our voices for the concert because we'll be singing our lungs out."

The party was still going on at midnight, and I called my daughter, whose car we borrowed to tell her I'd like to stay at the party longer, and could I return the car to her early in the morning. Talk about role reversal.

So my fucking Israeli daughter growls into the telephone...."You get that fucking car to me in 1/2 hour. We're waiting up for you."

Next morning I hear same daughter swearing about these other "fucking Israelis." Seems she is paying $10 a month for something that was advertised on her Visa bill that promises a free gift every month- just pay for delivery and it's yours! What a deal, right? But during the past two months she got a delivery of an Mp3 gift without the Mp3 in the box, and the vegetable cutter was missing several parts. She continues to swear and tells me "I'm starting to sound like dad, aren't I?"

The grocery store accepted our returned refrigerated foodstuffs graciously, I filled up my cart with whatever I returned, while the manager had me bypass the cashier and trusted that I took exactly what I had bought the night before. He even threw in a free newspaper and a package of chocolates. And with that gift of chocolate, he redeemed himself completely.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Paul McCartney Mania hits Israel

It's total lunacy. The Beatle fan in me had been lying dormant for the past 35 years or so until I heard on Sunday that Paul McCartney's concert was really happening. Right here in the Holy Land.

Now all hell's broken loose. I came into work telling everyone that Thursday, September 25th is a vacation day for me, and I don't care how much work there is for me to do. I don't care. I had emailed lots of my U.S./European friends who regularly go to rock concerts, and they unanimously said it is worth whatever price tickets will be. Also, out of the 33 songs Paul does, 25 are Beatle tunes. That is good enough for me. Last time I saw him in concert was in 1976, but at that time he only had one Beatles song in his repertoire (Blackbird) preferring instead to focus on his solo stuff.

McCartney's tickets are 490 NIS (which is $145) - for field seats. The VIP seats are about $300 and "more" VIP will set one back $3,000. I'm sticking with field because a) I'll be with the real fans and, b) if I wait in line all day long, I'll surely make the first few rows in front of the stage (unless those are reserved for the $3,000 ticket holders).

My husband, who brushed Paul off earlier in the week - mentioning with a grimace Paul's "puppy eyes," changed his tune, after I told him that tickets were going on sale today.

"Count me in."

"You sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure. I'll do this with you."

"It's not so simple. You'll be standing on line from 7:00 am until 4:00 pm and then the show doesn't begin until 8:00."

"It'll be a day for me to shoot the shit with people" he tells me.

Shoot the shit? A day to shoot the shit???

For me - this day will be up there with my daughters' weddings, birth of a grandkid, etc. This isn't a day of shooting the shit. This is history.

But I'm not worried. If he decides not to go last minute, there'll be lots of takers.

When I got to work today I realized I didn't have enough money in my charge card and needed more credit. Man, do they love me there. More credit? Sure!!! They're only too happy to do that. The guy said he would extend enough credit until 8:00 pm tonight.

I called up Bimot to order two tickets. I don't think I ever charged anything this expensive in my life, except for kitchen appliances. It set me back $300, which in shekels is 980. I think of 980 shekels as 980 Israeli Dollars, and it seems so much more expensive than a mere $300 for two tickets.

I called Bimot later and asked when my charge card would be charged for the tickets. After all, I only have until 8:00 pm tonight. He said up to 48 hours. OOPS. So what's a crazy person to do?

I promptly called the credit card place back, who now told me they have computer problems - perhaps 70,000 people were probably doing what I was doing - extending their credit to buy tickets. Was that what was causing the all-day crash?

Meanwhile, I was on edge for most of the day. I hadn't heard back from the credit company. They finally called me at 5:00 pm, extended my credit for 48 hours. They're happy and I'm happy.

I still can't believe I'm going to be hearing Paul live in person. It'll only hit me when the tickets are in my hand on Sunday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Empty Nest Syndrome

I spent a wonderful weekend with my second oldest daughter who just got engaged a week ago. She hadn't been home in weeks, only popping in for Friday night dinner with her destined one. Wanting him to do well on his exams without any distraction, she decided to spend the weekend with her long-lost family.

Friday morning her fiancee treated me and my son to an amazing breakfast at Jerusalem's Foccacia restaurant on Rabbi Akiva Street.

"You can't come to this restaurant without ordering focaccia," my daughter warned me, and I thought the focaccia would be another thick piece of bread with a little bit of seasoning here and there, as it is in most restaurants here. I was happily surprised when I saw what the waitress brought to us - the softest, thinnest, biggest foccacia I had ever seen and tasted, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with fresh garlic cloves and sage leaves. Well worth the extra 9 NIS ($2.50) on the bill.

Foccacia at Foccacia Restaurant

Saturday was peaceful and I happily helped my daughter go through the maze at the US consulate's website so she can apply for a US passport. I thought I'd get AdSense put on this blog and it took me hours to figure out how - and I went around in cyber circles with this thing.

That evening, my daughter went back to her guy and I suddenly felt so sad, so miserable. I'm so happy for her getting a real nice guy who treats her like a queen. But I miss those fun girlie evenings we have over the past few years. I fondly remembered before my oldest daughter got married how we'd watch scary movies on Friday night after dinner. We'd squeeze all together on the couch with popcorn and blankets during the winter months,and laugh and scream simultaneously at the scary and gory parts. And now my house is getting empty.

I wiped away a couple of tears and headed for my special treat that I bought for myself this weekend - blueberries (which I only buy once a year because they are extremely expensive for the tiny box).

Expensive Israeli blueberries

I consoled myself with a nash from my own childhood - blueberries and sour cream - only this time I added ricotta cheese to the treat.

The next morning at my office I just burst into tears as I told my co-workers that I was having an Empty Nest Syndrome Attack.

My friend tells me, "Of course you feel terrible. Because you know that after they're gone, you're just left with HIM," which made me cry even more.

Then the sex-or-no-sex-with-our-husbands conversation began and I told them I had spent the entire afternoon trying to put Google ads on my blog.

"So you'd rather Google than Schmoogle," said one of my friends.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tourist from Brooklyn

Taking buses in Jerusalem nowadays demands a lot of patience with the construction that is tearing up Jerusalem's downtown streets. So with great zen-like patience, thinking to myself, "this minute I am ok, this minute I am ok" I board the buses after a 20 minute - 1/2 hour wait and breathe deeply. Very deeply.

While breathing and after speaking to my husband who was worried I wouldn't get home in time to make dinner before he crashes, a woman sitting next to me started a conversation.

"You mentioned 'Maaleh Adumim'. Is that a nice place to live?"

"Yes, it's really beautiful. A beautiful suburb!"

I didn't want to ruin her day by telling her that the buses now take twice as long to get to and back to Jerusalem and it will be this way for two more years (at least).

"Are you new here?" I asked.

"I'm a tourist. I live in Brooklyn, and I really want to live here, but my husband doesn't," she said to me sadly and continued looking at the people coming onto the bus.

"Everyone here is so gorgeous. So beautiful. Like models. Everyone can be models here. Look at this one," she pointed to a beautiful Ethiopian soldier standing in front of us, "it's like God chiseled her features. So perfect!"

She just was in total awe of the human beauty surrounding us. Sure enough, I noticed too that everyone on the bus was attractive - beautiful.

"Back home, the people are so different. It's not the same. They're so materialistic there. It's all about how much you make, the money. Here, everything seems so relaxed, so much more spiritual. Jerusalem is also the intellectual capital of the world. I would never say anything bad about this country. Like the spies did (during the time of Moses). If it's terribly hot, I just go with it. I tell myself, it's ok. I won't ever say anything bad." She got more and more animated into the conversation, gushing over the people, the spirituality of the place, the beauty...

"It's like the whole world seems compacted into this country. You've got a little bit of everything here."

I looked at her incredulously. She was a mirror image of myself 14 years ago.

I told her, "In 1989,when I came for a visit, I said everything you just said to me now. I cried and begged every beggar I gave money to in Jerusalem to please pray for me so that one day I might have the privilege of living here. And you know something, it worked. My husband, who didn't want to go at first, finally relented."

I advised her to consistently badger her husband about it, until he gives in. Talk about nothing else. Tell him how this food reminds you of Israel, how that person reminds you of an Israeli, how the diesel fumes reminds you of the buses in Israel, how the Catskill mountains reminds you of the hills outside Jerusalem..."

She blessed me as she got off the bus. I looked at her, knowing the pain she will suffer going back to her home in Brooklyn. Probably, like me, she will cry all the way back on the flight back to the Diaspora, her soul wanting to be here so badly.

And the slow and tedious bus ride became more bearable as her words to me rang so true...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Conversations with Invisible People

There are people who think they're invisible, and don't quite care what they're talking about, thinking no one else will hear them. Such was the case when I got on a Jerusalem bus the other day and sat in the back, which I usually don't do.

Two American teenage grunge-kids were "lounging" on the back seats, taking over two seats each, talking loudly. I sat right in front of them. The conversation went something like this:

"No one likes me."

"Your right. Oh no, your mother does"

"I'm gonna try to get you angry at me, ok?"


"I got an old lady angry at me the other day 'cos I put my feet on the chair"

A few minutes later another thread to the conversation:

"You know when you smoke crack it takes, like, 20 minutes, and then you just really don't wanna do anything."


"What would happen if there were no girls on this planet? I think we'd be humping our sheets."

"No, we'd be gay."

"Nah, we wouldn't. Would we still like be horney? And then we wouldn't be able to, like, reproduce."

"That a pretty big word."


I figured they didn't see me or anything. I was pretty invisible to them, and I was trying hard not to laugh out loud or anything.

Yesterday I had a phone conversation with a local Bank Mizrachi telephone customer service agent. They're pretty invisible. You don't see these agents, right? So I needed to find out which branch was open in Jerusalem on Wednesday. He rattles off the branches that are open and then says,

"The Geulah one is open today too..."

"OH! NO! I can't go there?"

He giggles over the phone. And I giggle.

"I'm not dressed properly, if you know what I mean. It's a Hareidi (ultra-orthodox) neighborhood. So I don't think I can go."

He giggles some more, and I giggle too. Nothing like telling an invisible man you're immodestly dressed.

When we finish the conversation, I thank him. He tells me: "kol tuv" (all the best)

I hang up.

I then grasped the fact that term "kol tuv" is a term mostly used by the ultra-orthodox, and I suddently realized that he was probably "one of them" (Bank Mizrachi hires many Ultra-Orthodox Jews), and here I was telling him how I was dressed, or rather undressed. Now I completely understand the giggles from this invisible man.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer Holiday - photos

Arts and Crafts Festival - Jerusalem

Azrielli Center view

kids playing at the Tel Aviv Port

luxury women's spa - Tel Aviv port

view from the restaurant - Benny Hadayag - Tel Aviv Port

catching my meal?

Arts & Crafts Fair

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Vacation

What bliss to be on vacation from work. I didn't go anywhere exotic. I just stayed mostly in Jerusalem, unlike other people I knew who travelled to exotic places like Ireland, Croatia, Prince Edward Island and the Hamptons in NY.

On Monday, a friend, who is happily retired, and I, took the train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in the early afternoon. We were beginning to worry about our nice little trip to the happy Israeli city on the sea when hordes of very noisy little kids came on board. Unless they're our relatives, we do not tolerate other little brats, and even then they're hard to tolerate. So we got out of our seats in search of a more quieter car. Fortunately, the last car on the train was quieter, with just an announcement that afternoon prayers would be taking place in back of the car, as men recruited other Orthodox Jewish men for prayer time. My friend rolled her eyes as they went past our seat. "At least they're not in the 2-10 year old range.." I told her. I don't find praying men the least bit annoying. We got off at the Azrielli Center - Tel Aviv's triple towers of 49 floors. Same old chain stores - nothing special. But their food court was better than the fast food places in Jerusalem's malls. And they had sushi, non-kosher sushi with shrimp, but sushi nevertheless and so we treated ourselves to snack on "permissible" sushi - salmon and tuna. I went to the observatory at the top, and with my earphones discovered that I didn't know everything there is to know about Tel Aviv. When I came down, we went off to the Tel Aviv Port to see the chic boutiques and have dinner at one of the seaside restaurants. We ate at Benny Hadayag (Benny the Fisherman) and shared a plate of baked, unbelievablly delicious, yellowtail. We had to rush back to catch the last train into Jerusalem - 8:00 pm. Much too short a time to be in Tel Aviv. I'm beginning to love the place.

Tuesday - I roamed around the Old City of Jerusalem, grabbing bits of Arabic sticky cheesy wonderful pastry for the folks back home. I got to my husband's work place and his Arab partner was like "She's not afraid to wander around the old city like YOU!" he said, laughing at Hubby. I offered them the sweets and they were gone in 5 minutes.

Wednesday - errand day. I renewed my Israeli passport which took 5 minutes! A far cry from the three weeks it used to take to get one. I lunched at Rehavia's Sushi Bar and took the extensive combination plate, wondering if I'll ever be full from sushi. Fortunately, it did the trick. And Hubby and I celebrated in the evening by going out to the Inbal hotel's dairy restaurant. After Tel Aviv's seaside eatery, this was tasteless, although I had heard good things about it. The presentation was fancy but the fish quite tasteless.

Thursday - The arts and crafts festival called Hutzot Hayotzer at the Sultan's Pool in Jerusalem is on for a week. I went with my youngest daughter because we liked that evening's entertainment - Moosh Ben Ari. I had the evening downpat. We walked around the art stalls, eyeing the jewellery and the mezuzah cases I needed to buy. OK, I didn't "need" to buy the jewellery but this is the once-a-year time when I do buy. If I am not for myself, then who will be? Hubby gets me no jewellery. So a woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do. Right? Then we walked around the international pavillions as I impressed my daughter by my knowing where all the countries were (Peru is in South America, Zimbabwe in Africa.....etc.). She's like "how do you know all this???" And I, once again, feel wonderfully brilliant. My advice? Always take your stupid kids with you to these things. The concert was fun and we spent the entire 1 1/2 hour dancing like silly little girls.

Friday - shopping with my son. Ugh. He earned enough money this summer working for Hubby in construction to buy himself a long-awaited Playstation 2. He tells me the computer will now be mine, and he'll hardly need it now. I am thrilled. I front him the 300 shekels that he is short and only bought him one pair of shoes for playing soccer instead of soccer shoes AND running shoes for school. The road construction in Jerusalem is ruining my life, or at least my leisure time, and I am full of "f" words as I wait and wait and wait for buses to come, and when they do come, there's heavy traffic, though it isn't rush hour. But as I spew out the "f" words, I sense that everyone around me agrees heartily with me about the situation.

Saturday - a friend is over for brunch and as we were about to finish my daughter walks in smiling from ear to ear. She is brandishing a shiny new engagement ring! I start to yell "OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD!! IS THIS FOR REAL?"
Hubby is in the next room in a semi-sleep, wondering if my friend had passed out and was lying on the kitchen floor lifeless. He did not want to come out! I knocked on the door.

"Your daughter's engaged. Get dressed and get out!" I commanded.

It was Israeli Valentine's Day Friday night and the boyfriend proposed to her as they sat down to eat at a restaurant.

It was quite odd that she had dreamt the week before of a much younger-looking Lubavitcher rebbe who had smiled at her and shook her hands, as did the 2 men who were with him. I told this dream to one of my Chabad friends who told me she thinks he's giving her a blessing to get married. Eerie, isn't it? But wonderful.

Daughter thought I wouldn't be as elated with her engagement as I was with the first daughter's engagement. But that wasn't true. I was and am in heaven about it.

Later that afternoon, sitting on our terrace, enjoying the lovely mountain view, Hubby imagined what empty nest syndrome would be like with just the two of us.

"We could walk around the house all day naked, couldn't we?" he surmised.

"Yes, and when the doorbell rings you'll forget you have no clothes on and you'll answer in your birthday suit, won't you my darling? Well, that will surely keep away the charity collectors" I giggled.

Sunday - My last day of vacation before I turn back into Cinderella and have to start work again. My son has an evening job as a waiter at a wedding/bar mitzvah/brit hall. He needs to dress all in black. We go to the local Castro's. He tries on a black polo shirt. He looks good and he knows it, as he flexes his muscles. "I look good, don't I?" he asks. I nod. I hate shopping with him. There's a deal if you buy two shirts so we pick another color. He tries on a light pink.

"I look like a homo. I don't wanna look like a homo." So I tell him to try on other colors that won't make him "look like a homo." I wish Carson Kressley was with me so he could bitch slap him. He tries on pair after pair of jeans. My stomach is starting to grumble. We settle on one snug fitting pair. They're expensive - around $100. Yuck. But at least I don't need to buy him 100 pairs of shoes, bras, tampons and makeup like his sisters needed... (as long as he doesn't go drag on me..)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Vacation Time

Yay! I'm off work this entire week, and man do I deserve a week off. But it's not really a week off but rather a week on. I filled up a few pages of To Do items for each day.

There's the 25 hour Fast of Tisha B'av which begins tonight. I'm babysitting the grandkid the whole day tomorrow and it will be a challenge to fast. Maybe I'll make it through the whole thing, maybe I won't.

Monday is getting my youngest son, who is 16 years old, registered into school. He failed 9th grade pretty miserably, and had a hard time getting into any school. So there's a school right here in the neighborhood that gives these "failures" a chance, using the Branco Weiss method. I do hope it works for him. That afternoon I plan a train trip to Tel Aviv to see the Azrielli Center, which I haven't been to yet, plus the Tel Aviv port, which I also had never seen. Included are lunch and dinner - even if I go traveling alone.

Tuesday is my interfaith day. We have a coordinators' retreat at the Austrian Hospice in the Old City. I start my day with a bone scan to see whether or not I have osteoporosis - just a general check up the doctors recommend I do every 2 years after age 50.

Wednesday - I want to have lunch at River restaurant, a new place that opened up recently, and go to get a massage somewhere in the city. That evening is the Hutzot Hayotzer (Arts and Crafts fair) so well described here . This is the only time I buy myself jewellery. If I am not for myself then who is, or however the saying goes...

Thursday - I plan to lunch at Jerusalem's excellent Arcadia restaurant with its well-known chef. This is a restaurant I cannot afford for dinner, but that has affordable lunch specials. There's a party with Arab and Jewish women in Jerusalem early that evening, and later on Moosh Ben Ari is playing Hutzot Hayotzer. My son wants to go to that, so I'll go with him. There's outdoor Greek music at City Hall, but I'll have to pass on that. Too many things to choose from.

Friday - I want to brunch at the Italian restaurant Luciano's and go to the farmer's market on Emek Refaim.

Saturday - fight with my husband and children. :-) My day of rest.

Sunday - Go to Haruzim, a bead store in the German Colony, to fix my broken costume jewellery and perhaps make another necklace, then off to Japanika for lunch or the sushi place on Azza Street. I've never seen Mini Israel so in the afternoon hope to go with friends who also haven't been there. Evening - either the Tapas Bar in the shuk for live music or ethnic music on one of Jerusalem's alleyways.

So who needs to go outside the country? Flights are expensive and even hotels in Israel are double the price in the summer. So I'll just do local things, except for my day in Tel Aviv. Sitting on the beach, burning to a crisp is not my idea of fun, though I love to go in the late afternoon, take off my shoes and dig my feet into the sand and wade ankle deep in the water. So maybe I'll need another week off, just for rest and relaxation because this coming week certainly won't be that kind of week.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Vulgar and the Spiritual

As I was cutting up watermelon last night, I had an overwhelming sense of spiritual awareness sweep over me. The watermelon was so red, so juicy, so wonderfully tasty, that I couldn't help but marvel at the greatness of this summer fruit and thanked God for creating such a wonderful food.

But the spiritual feeling of my watermelon moment didn't stay with me for long. My son wanted some quality time with me. Quality time for a 16 year old boy is quite different from when he was 6 and wanted me to read him a story, usually one of his "Franklin" books. Nowadays it's "come watch the game with me" "come watch Survivor with me" and on Monday it was "come watch the movie Jackass with me." Which I did. It was so friggin' vulgar. Even more vulgar than me or anyone else in my family. But it was also so hilarious and I actually enjoyed watching those people putting leeches on their testicles, shitting in a doll house (the camera panning in first to shit coming down from the ceiling, after which you see it isn't a giant who took a shit in someone's house, but a doll house), the funniest part I thought was fake balls put sticking out of the "old man's" shorts and the reactions to that from people to the dog who decided it was his next snack. I was howling loud enough, waking up the sleeping people in my home. The next morning I tried to explain to the educated and cultured folk at my work about the movie, and they nodded while I regaled them with specific scenes.

Tonight - less crass quality time with my son, as we sit down to watch the soccer game between Poland and Betar Jerusalem. Last time we watched Poland play Betar, I was rooting for Betar, screaming at the Poles, cursing at them for even daring to score one goal and blaming them for the way they treated the Jews during World War II. Tonight won't be much different.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dirty Laundry

The soldiers stop our bus occasionally in the morning on the way into Jerusalem at the check point. We're a "Jewish" bus, but occasionally we get passengers from El Azariyah and the soldiers want to check to see if they are Palestinians with the necessary permits or Israeli Arabs or Palestinians who 'snuck' on without permits, in which case they'd be arrested or detained or whatever. I've never seen anyone get thrown off the bus, thank God. But the soldier who came on the bus yesterday was checking every guy with a beard, asking for their ID card. I laughed as he asked the Russian guy sitting a few rows in front of me for his ID. My daughter shrugged and said, "The soldier looks more like an Arab than anyone on the bus." She was so right.

And I thought I'd have an easy day in the office, but had a rough day instead, with hardly time for a bite to eat.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted and was thankful that we were able to afford a pizza.

My husband was livid at my daughter, whose boyfriend had stayed over the weekend and was still in the house.

"Don't give any pizza to her", he told me.


He pointed his fingers towards the bedroom. "Because they're FUCKING in that room, and there's LAUNDRY sitting on our bed, waiting to get done."


Hubby was visibly agitated and were his face not red as a beet, I would have mentioned to him "Well, if there was no laundry in our room, would it then be ok for them to be fucking in 'that' room?"

The boyfriend must have heard Hubby. He gave the pizza people the wrong address by mistake and it took them nearly an hour to get here.

Finally, the pizza arrived, Hubby lost his redness and invited the "fucking" couple to join us for dinner, and the laundry eventually got done.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A gem of a restaurant in Jerusalem

I thought I knew about every restaurant in Jerusalem. But I don't.

A friend had been at me for months to go with her to a "cheap" brunch at "a cafeteria at the Hebrew University." I'm into decent dining, and wasn't interested in going to what I thought was just a self-service student cafeteria. But she called me again on Thursday night and my Friday morning was mysteriously free. I agreed to go.

How surprised I was when I entered the Hebrew University's Lerner Sports Complex's beautiful modern building on Mt. Scopus to see a beautiful little cafe (not a cafeteria) there with lovely outdoor seating. It's called the Chef Cafe. The food was delicious and inexpensive. The most expensive item on the menu was 30 NIS ($10 USD). There was a good assortment of breakfasts, sandwiches, gigantic salads and pastas - all dairy.
Coffee is 5 NIS.

It is Arab-owned and open on Saturdays. The people there were a mix of Arabs and Jews - all ages. What a lovely place to unwind.

food shopping

Food shopping in Israel can be fun.

To illustrate, I hought this brand of coconut milk was hilarious. I just HAD to buy it. Hubby had a great laugh too when I brought it home, and wondered if I asked the manager of the supermarket how much Cock he had in stock.

It adds new meaning to the song, "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts."