Saturday, April 24, 2010

Channah's new clothes (thanks Bubbie and Aunty Brenda)

This is my favourite of the new dresses.  I am trying to figure out what colour shirt to put under it.  She loves the way it twirls- seriously, huge swing action!

TGhis dress is super cute, but a little wide.  She wore it for shabbat with a bright pink shirt underneath it and a bright pink belt.  Made the dress really pop because of the colour, and gave it a much better line for Channah.

This next one I am not sure about.  Definitely needs a different shirt underneath it, but not at all sure what colour.  I might put this one away for a year or so until it it sits a little higher.

Finally we have teh dress we were thinking she would wear to the wedding.  she would wear it with a shabbat shirt with bell sleeves.  Now she is thinking though she might want to wear the first one as it is twirlier.  I will let her choose.

Yom Haaztzmaute

jason and channah outside the shul erev yom kaatzmaute before tefillah chagigit

channah before food after the "parade"

channah after food

This is what passes for outdoor snacks in this country.  Reading it in Hebrew is way more amusing than the English.

jason with fast food (he and channah split one)

the coolest bbq grill of the day

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yom HaAtzmaute

Israeli independence day, marked by the Hebrew calendar, will be celebrated this Tuesday, April 20, which happens to be one Adolf Hitler's birthday. Guess who won?

Yom HaAtzmaute (Originally written for EtsyCHAI blog)

Israeli Independence Day – Yom Ha'atzmaut
Yom Hazikaron – the Israeli Day of Remembrance To see this post including images please visit

On the 5th of the Hebrew month of Iyar (this year celebrated on April 19th and 20th), 62 Years ago, David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel Declared Israeli Independence as a State (before being attacked from all sides shortly thereafter).

With the re-raising of the flag over the military cemetery at Har Hertzl Yom Hazikaron comes to a close the country breaks into the biggest party of the year.

For weeks people have been getting ready. Flags hang from every street light and bunting is strung up and down streets wherever it will reach. Balconies and windows become makeshift flag poles, and even cars and buses have flags hanging off the side and flying off the roofs. To my mind, never does the city look so pretty as going into Yom Ha'atzmaut.

The night begins with parades by torchlight to large assemblies with music, glow-y things and cotton candy (seems that in order to qualify in this country as a family event there must be at least 3 cotton candy machines being run by 10 year olds). There are giant inflatable climbing things to play on and speeches to ignore. No matter where you are the night ends with fireworks.

Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israeli Independence day, is the only statutory holiday on the calendar- this means that EVERYBODY and their families are out and taking part in the “rituals”. BBQ-ing, hiking, playing in parks and relaxing with friendsclip_image002 are the order of the day. No self- respecting Israeli would be caught even considering not having a BBQ on Yom Ha'atzmaut. The truth is, from Pessach on stores stock “mangal”- disposable grills easy to shove in a back pack and take anywhere. Our first year here one sabra (Israeli born Israeli) made sure to take us under their wing to make sure we knew we HAD to BBQ on a tiyul (trip) on Yom Ha'atzmaut “not just bringing a meat sandwich”.

Yom Ha'atzmaut is the day to celebrate the Jewish State and being able to live here safely, securely and surrounded by friends, family and the wonder of God's creation.

Happy 62nd Birthday, Israel!

Yom Hazikaron (Originally written for EtsyCHAI blog)

Yom Hazikaron – the Israeli Day of Remembrance
To see this post including images please visit

The Israeli Day of Remembrance, Yom Hazikaron (the Remembrance) is observed this year on Sunday, April 18 – Monday, April 19.

Many countries have a day of national remembrance - Veterans Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day, and others: and all of them are an inherent part of the culture of the country remembering. They remind people of their history - how they got to where they are now - and those who helped them get there. They are days to remember, but as time passes it often becomes more of a day to celebrate the freedom that was so hard won.

Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli day of remembrance for the fallen and for victims of terror is a national day of mourning on a grand scale. From the moment that the flag over the military cemetery at Har Hertzel is lowered, until it is raised again the following evening, the country takes on this feeling of waiting for something.

In a country with a mostly mandatory draft, no one is more than a step or two removed from knowing a soldier. In a country where everyone can be a target, no one is more than a step or two from knowing a victim. In a country fraught with conflict, we are surrounded by places people died to protect.

How we remember is mandated for us - and because it is almost everywhere you go everyone participates. Twice in 24 hours the air raid sirens sound - but no one goes running for cover. The world stops. There is no noise save for the shrill wail from overhead: A sound long associated with pain and fear.

Cars stop where they are. Cabbies stand silently by their doors. Cashiers stop arguing. Vendors stop haggling. Children stop playing.

As a country we are known as augmentative, rude and segmented, but for 2 minutes, one day a year, we are visibly united in our grief. Thinking about those no longer with us to celebrate the imminent Yom Ha'Atzmaute, Israeli Independence Day, a day of celebration and BBQ and spending the day outdoors in the gorgeous countryside, so that we could do so.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What country am I in again?

Yesterday we went to get Israeli passports.  It is the last step in our aliya/klita.  You are not elligible until you have been here for a full year.  We were elligible in August, but really had no need to go until now.  An Israeli passport is good for 10 years from date of issue, so we figured why bother going until we needed to.

We got our pictures taken at the local photo place just before pessach.

We went in yesterday armed with pretty much every piece of ID we own, plus photos.  If someone wanted to steal our identities yesterday on the bus to the office would have been the ideal time.  Teudat Zehut, teudat olah, Canadian passports, pictures, and forms including name, parents names, birthdate, iq, shoe size and kindergarten report card.

We handed the guy the papers.  He spent 30 seconds looking each one, put them in an envelope, took the money for them, said thank you very much and we were on our way. 

I think we accidentally took the bus to another country instead of to "downtown" (I use the word extremely loosly) beit shemesh.

Today we ordered our "home protection kits" (read gas masks) from the post office.  When Jason called in they told him the right person is not there yet and someone would call him back.  Someone did.  I think I have fallen into the twilight zone.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pesach - Only in Israel

Pesach was really nice this year. The seder was nice and we were able to fit in a nice balance of seeing friends and touring. I used my flexible schedule to almost get in a full work week. Jerusalem, Hevron, Kiryat Sefer (Modiin Illit). We had a great time even if it was a schedule that would offend the White House.

Here are a list of things that happened that can only be referred to as only in Israel moments.

KLP Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

Buying hot KLP food from restaurants or local food vendor.

Cotton Candy everywhere you turn. You know the kashrut status because there is only one brand of plain white sugar in this country.

(Not so) Hurva Shul - People were trying to get in to have a look. An old security guard came outside to yell at people to tell them it was closed. In the mean time people were walking in behind him, until they put up a physical gate to block the ramp.

Mincha at the Kotel - Chanasat Sefer Torah with a 2 piece band. The band stopped so we could say kedusha uninterrupted. A short time later they pumped up the Kotel sound system. (They played what I call the Hasilenu Song - no idea who sings it or what it is called)

Walking down to the Kotel in the evening and hearing the Windows start up chimes from the Kotel sound system.

Restaurants on the road between the Arova and Kotel were open. Burgers Bar - selling drinks and Kippot, Pizza Shop - selling soft ice cream and chips (French fries), Bonkers - selling packaged ice cream and scarves.

Hevron - 3 buses- 2 pick up/ drop off locations, 2 drop off times - buses had to be boarded based on expected return time. Planning #fail

Praying at Marat HaMachpela in the Yitzchak and Rifka Room (only open to Jews 10 days a year).

In the make shift market in Hevron, I asked the vendor about the Kashrut of the lemonade. She told me she made it at home from lemons.

RBS B Post Office - sign from the post office and the police saying it was closed all of Pesach for safety reasons.

One Seder - Never that moment of "Oh no, we have to do this again tomorrow night"

Chametz in all the stores is covered. It is illegal to sell Chametz publicly over Pesach, athough there are some interesting definitions of public for this law.

Rice and other Kitniyot products are everywhere and kept with the regular KLP products. In Hevron they were selling pop corn.

Rachel made a comment that it didn't really feel like Pesach this year. I answered that it was because the Chagim are so integrated to the way of life that they don't seem out of place. It is really special celebrating the Chagim as they were always meant to be celebrated. Ok, minus the super huge giant BBQ, but that we will have again one day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 1 chol Hamoed

So yesterday we decided to spend the day in the old city.  We talked with Channah about being "oleh b'regel" (ancient pilgrimage into Jerusalem for the 3 major festivals) and headed off.  Here is our little pilgrim on the path to the Jewish quarter.
And here she is with the ancient Jewish traiditional cotton candy. Seriously.  It is not a "day out" in this country without cotton candy.
Another traditional element of any day out is an arts and crafts.  A millenium or more ago this might have taken the form of sheep dying or leather crafts.   Nowadays- Temple colouring books and a play about a lost ritual sacrifice.  Nope.  Not kidding about the play.  It was very cute, very loud, and about 2 brother's who lost the sheep they were taking to slaughter.

Dinner.  Out.  On pessach.
As the shul formerly and currently known as the Churva has been reuilt, the whole rova square takes on a new atmosphere.  Being Chol Hamoed, there was live music- but apart from that there were just people milling around.  Sitting, chatting, eating.  It was soooooo nice!
Then we went to the new Aish temple institute museum sort of thing.  First of all, it is GORGEOUS!  This is the chandelier in the main hall.  Real, gorgeous, chihuli hanging from a 2 story high dome.
This is the view from the roof.  
It is also the best view of the top of the temple mount from anywhere that I know of.  
Here is a view of the highest point most people get to, from the point on the Aish roof.  Let me tell you, from someone who is terrified of heights, there is a HUGE difference!

Channah with their (very detailed) model of the Bait Hamikdash.
Us at the end of the night 
Goofing around on the glass toped domed roof.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A few old pictures from Channah's camera that never got posted

because it has been ages since I cleared the card on her camera!  Yes some of these really do go all the way back to Mom and Abba's visit last May.  Sorry.