Thursday, January 28, 2010

Be careful of what you wish for

I used to often think wistfully of the times when I lived in New York City - where there was never a lack of famous bands/singers performing. New York would always be on their routes. Although this is still not at the New York level, it seems as though Israel is going to have a glut of well-known performers coming over too - many for the first time and some for the first time in years.

Check out this website for a current list - however - rumours are flying about Bob Dylan, though I hadn't seen anything in the English papers about him.

So from all - who do you think is worth seeing?

Hubby just gave a great, long sigh when he heard of all the upcoming concerts. Things were so much more financially simple when no one came. We just spent our fun money on restaurants. And now...looks like things will be very different.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


"I'm a Sex Man, mutha fucka....I'm a Sex Man....yo mutha fucka..." or so went the CD we were listening to in the car.  My office's errand guy had to take me back to my office from seeing my boss and he was driving one of the VP's cars.  The VP is British, looks quite straight-laced, is an academic, and so we were thrown for a loop when we turned on the CD player and found said song/CD playing.   In fact, we were laughing hysterically all the way back to the office, because all the songs on the CD were like that.   I have no idea who these rappers are, but apparently, Mr. Academic certainly knows more about this stuff than I do.  Good for the Brits.

And yesterday I went to my friend's daughter's bridal shower.  I thought, eh.  It'll be nice, but I won't know anyone other than the bride's mother.  I thought it would be somewhat organized, especially when I had to print out the recipe for the dish I brought, because a cook book will be made for the future bride, but I had no idea how much so.  I walked in an hour late, figuring everyone would be just milling around.  But when I walked in the door, everyone was quiet and reading children's books.  What's up with that???  Turns out we all had to read a children's story and then pick a word or a phrase from that book and give a blessing to the bride.  I read a story about two cats and picked out the paragraph where they purred to each other and said "don't be afraid, we can fly anywhere!"  So I gave the bride the blessing of being able to afford to fly anywhere, as well as purring to each other.  Afterwards the hostess said we were going to design bridal dresses out of toilet paper.  Now that's a challenge, isn't it?  I bet the famous designer Stella McCartney never thought of that.  So we grouped into 6 and I draped toilet paper over my friend so that it trailed in the back and put toilet paper rolls by her shoulders to make princess sleeves.  OK, she didn't look like Rapunzel or Snow White, but the younger kids did much better.  There were flowers on the side of their dresses (how did they manage that?) and tiered veils. 

So never judge a person by how straight he seems or never judge a bridal shower invite thinking it's just another ho-hum thing.....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bacon Challah

I went to renew my Canadian passport in Tel Aviv this past Friday.  Hubby was in the mood to travel with me.  I let him tag along, provided he could keep up with me. I wasn't just going to the embassy and then go home.  This was Friday.  The only day off work when I could travel.  And I was adamant about getting to know Tel Aviv as well as I do Jerusalem.  It's just a much bigger city to maneuver.  I warned Hubby that I was planning to walk on every main street in the city as a way to figure it out. My big plan was to go one Friday each month. 

Lifting up the groceries - in apartments with no elevator

Yoga Master (just kidding, it's only a Tel Aviv beggar)

this enclave of small homes used to be an Arab neighborhood pre-1948 in the middle of now-bustling Ibn Gvirol Street.  The people living there now are holding out for the Big Bucks

This Friday was warm and sunny, and we walked and walked and walked pretty much for hours. From the embassy to Allenby and back to the train station on Alozoroff Street. I stopped off at an English book shop with a happy-go-lucky Irish fellow who told me stories about his partying and drinking with his friend Van (Morrison) and Rory (Gallagher).

Book Store owner - hung out with Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison years ago...

Occasionally, we'd ask someone to steer us in the right direction.  I had asked an older frumpy woman how to get to Allenby Street.  She had no idea, but was telling me about buses I could catch instead.  Hubby was upset with me.

"You don't ask those kind of people for directions."

"Why not?"

"You have to ask some BALD guy for directions, like the one in back of me.  Or someone with an earring. Those are the people that know Tel Aviv."

The bald guy walking in back of us apparently didn't hear Hubby's tactless comment.  And he did actually point us in the right direction.

We walked from the embassy to Allenby Street, which was about a 45 minute walk.  I had noticed on a previous trip a restaurant on Rothschild and Allenby called Benedicts which is open 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  Definitely no rabbinic supervision there.  But what was there was a long line of patrons waiting to be seated.  The wait was 1/2 hour.  Was it worth it?  I looked at the menu to see what was the draw of this restaurant for so many people.  Well, there is a huge assortment of different kinds of breakfasts.  The usual Israeli breakfasts with more unusual combinations of omelettes.  But I guess the big draw were the eggs benedict breakfasts - with bacon, with ham and the English breakfast with sausages and bacon.  

"What would you say if I ordered bacon with my eggs" I dared Hubby.

"I'd call your sister"

Yep.  Go ahead and tell my ultra-orthodox family what a grave sinner your wife is...

We ordered the meatless Israeli breakfasts - with the Spanish and Bulgarian omelettes, and ordered a challah for Shabbat.  It wasn't until we tasted it that evening that I thought - hey!  What if they made it with butter (a no-no when you're eating it with meat) or even worse, with bacon oil.  My kids looked at me.  It certainly was one of the best challahs we've ever eaten.  We called it our bacon challah.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


My daughter was semi-complaining to her friends about Facebook.  It seems she is getting a lot of requests from people with Arabic names who want to befriend her.  Clicking on their names, she sees One Mutual Friend.  Mom.    But she ignores their requests.  The family laughs.   My other daughter is going out with a guy in the police who is attending the demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem to make sure things are not getting out of hand. 

"He better not arrest anyone there." I warned her.   I explained to her what is going on there, because I'm not sure she knows.  A while back, Jewish families moved into the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.  I would generally not have a problem with mixed neighborhoods, myself believing all or most neighborhoods should be mixed.  But trouble is, they evicted the Arab families who had been living there since the 1950s because the homes were Jewish-owned before 1948 and a court ordered that Jews would be allowed in.  That would have been ok, had the original Jewish families moved back in and the Arab families would be allowed to move back into what were their homes pre-1948, which are now in West Jerusalem in a very expensive neighborhood called Talbieh.  Fair is Fair, no?  But this is not the case and the neighborhood is now where weekly demonstrations take place.

And to backtrack just a bit... 

On Thursday we had our interfaith meeting in Abu Dis.  A group of 6 Jews trudged past the large red sign near the entrance to Azariya that says entry to Israelis is forbidden , though I can't figure out the logic of the sign.  Is it a legality that Israelis are forbidden entry to this town?  Because it's not Area A, like the cities of Jericho, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin - which are under complete Palestinian control, unlike Area B, where the Israelis have military control and Areas C, in which Israelis have pretty much all control.  We thought this to be Area B, which means it isn't illegal for Israelis to enter, but it is pretty much discouraged.  The area past this red sign brings one into the third world.  There is garbage on the roads, which are terribly paved, and there is garbage piled high on the sides of the roads.  On one side, we see Arabs burning a fire to keep warm.  Cars and taxis are slowing down to see this strange group of people walking on the side of the road.  We see Abed's car across from the florist and try to cross the street.

"This is just like Cairo" remarks one of us, when it takes ages to run across the road, due to the unruly traffic.  We pile into a van and a car and make our way to Abed's office in Abu Dis. A new group of young men from Nablus join us for the first time.  This is the first time they're in a religious dialogue with Jews and especially with those Jews whom they consider settlers, since we live over the green line.  They seem excited to be with us.  I hope we don't disappoint.  They are accountants, stockbrockers, ministry of education officials, etc.  We talk about Tolerance and respect for others in our religions.  We all are happy to share each other's religious views with the other. 

Afterwards, one of the Nablus guys tell us that he once drove his car with a Palestinian licence plate into Maaleh Adumim.  He didn't get very far.  The soldiers began to freak out (understandably - since this is not the norm) and yell at him - What exactly does he think he's doing???  The Nablus guy says there was no sign saying that his car wasn't allowed into Maaleh Adumim.  It's true.  There's no sign warning Palestinians that they can't drive their cars into our city.  It's supposed to be a known fact, like not driving your car on Yom Kippur.  He's joking around with the soldier, giving him a difficult time.  He's obviously a shit disturber.  The soldier checks his ID and claims the Nablus guy's car is a stolen vehicle.  The paper he gives the Nablus guy says the stolen vehicle is a 1997 Subaru, when in fact the guy is driving a 2009 Kia.  They confiscate the car until the soldier's superior comes by or was it the police?  I'm not completely sure, but the superior rechecks and the car the Nablus guy is driving seems to be fine.  The car is given back and Mr. Shit Disturber who wanted to drive into my town but couldn't, is sent back home.

On the way back from Abu Dis, our host is telling us that Israeli finally gave the OK - after many years of waiting -  to pave the main road in Azariya.  I am so happy.  This is surely a good sign.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tel Aviv - New Years Day

Some images of Tel Aviv on January 1, 2010

One sign reminding us of the new year

Florentine district

I love photographing balconies - this one's Proud

a man who's probably lived in this building all his life

cute little cafe - Florentine district

Hungry cat

Bike on a balcony

2010 so far

I haven't written all year.  I know.  There have been more reunions thanks to Facebook - with friends I hadn't seen in years. 

On the not-so-bright side, there have been trips to the school to get my son on the right track or back on track.  I really think they ought to teach children how to read and write up until 6th grade.  child labor them until they're in their twenties or thirties or whenever they feel like learning and want to go back to 7th grade and seriously learn.  Then they could probably do grades 7-12 in half the time it now takes.  I remarked to my son-in-law about how I used to spend 2,500 shekels a year (roughly $600) on school books when all 5 were in school.  He glanced at me and smiled.

"Money well spent I see."

A smirk from me.

I told my son, if he doesn't shape up, he'll be going into the army a year early when he turns 18 and then they'll whip him into shape, literally, and we'll all jump for joy because our computer will finally be free from all those stupid online poker games he plays all day and night.

And there's a slew of musicians - from very famous to somewhat famous - who will be visiting us this year.