Sunday, May 29, 2011

Date Day

Today Jason and I went on an honest to goodness, 7 year old free, date!  I know, sounds totally unbelievable to me too!

Truth is, the whole thing was sort of a goof up.  An old friend is becoming a tour guide and invited us to a private tour of the kotel tunnels- something I have always wanted to do but have never gotten around to. Needless to say I jumped at the chance.

Well, maybe jumped is the wrong word since try though we might we got there 20 minutes late.  And the tour was already gone.  Ok, so no it wasn't.  Can we chalk it up to a bad brain day that the tour was actually supposed to be next week and I screwed up the dates?

Anyhow, I ended up walking around the city walls from shhar yafo to shaar haashpot which, thought it has stunningly beautiful views, also has stunningly insane hills.  Boy did I get my work-out for the day (and I was running trying to make the tour we were "late" for!

In any case, we decided to see if we could get on a tour anyway, and ended up signing up for two separate tours- one the kotel tunnels, and 2 the sega aish hatorah genesis centre art display.  The display is designed to portray Jewish history and it's connection to Jerusalem through the years using pillars of glass.

The technology is amazing.  You get a set of headphones that have a built in sensor and as you move from room to room it hooks up to an overhead computer to keep pace with how quickly you choose to move through the exhibit.

Each column is made up of hundreds of pieces of stacked glass that have been carved in different ways.  It starts with the "pillars" of the Jewish history.  It moves through a few diferent eras but I only took pictures of those I found most interesting.

The destruction and exile after the beit hamidash was destroyed.

The transition from student to teacher over 2000 years, represented by 2000 pieces of glass carved with various names

The holocaust with chunks torn out of the chain 

rising from the ashes 

close up of the stacked sheets of glass in front of the names of soldiers who died for the state.

We then went to the kotel tunnels tour.  Those pictures are all over the internet so I did not bother taking many, but this one looking down the full height of the wall rather impressed me 

Jason brought the car around and I wanted with this gorgeous view 

see, here is me

Oh, and here is a fun decorated car that went by while I was waiting.

This I just thought was cool.  I rarely get to see the men's side of the kotel- the lined up bimas and shtenders cracked me up!

Channah in her new glasses

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

A snowflake in Beit shemesh

My not overly large husband standing directly in front of the door of our new car.

We have named is snowflake as it is tiny, white, and unique because the "Z" fell off the back of the "GETZ" so it is the only "GET" people really appreciate getting.  Also, telling someone to go "b'getz" just sounds cute.  It really does have trunk space too!

the used car dealers desk.  A Tehillim and 2 tzedakah boxes!

And the rest of his office.  Note the top left shelves of sefarim.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Snowflake in Beit Shemesh

(Note: Blogger has been down, so this did not go up on Thursday)

From time to time over the last couple of years we have considered buying a car. Most Olim consider buying a car towards the end of their 3rd year, before their rights expire. We had been working with a razor thin budget. We kept getting told that if only we doubled our budget we could get a decent car.

With everything we have dealt with in the passed year, some family members decided to help remove the financial obstacles that were hampering our car search. So this time we were fully committed to the search with quadruple the budget. Again we ran into the response if only we could kick in another 60% we could get a decent car.

This time we had some other things going in our favour. Driving is really impractical for my commute to work. The way our street is designed, it would take longer if we decided to drive some places then to walk. No matter how much we rely on the car, we think it is safe to say it will be a low milage car.

The week started optimistically, as we thought we had found a really great deal on a yellow 2004 Getz. It was sold before we had an opportunity to look at it. Over the course of the week, we ran head first into the frustration, that buying a car in Israel can be.

- A mechanic who we have relied on during previous searches, didn't seem too interested.

- One agent would only look for the best value on one particular make and model of our choice. For 200 NIS he could help us decide what particular car that should be. While we were looking for this century, he was thinking a little older. Plus he never returned phone calls.

- The company that found the first Getz had seemed promising. Then we found out that any car that was not on their lot would require a 500 NIS deposit just for the opportunity to see it.

Out of frustration, I opened up Shemeshphone and called the local dealers. The first one offered 'Haimeshe' service but didn't speak English. Then things started to fall into place.

The place I called was a local dealer in the industrial part of town. I told him what we were looking for. He suggested that we could use financing to and get a slightly more expensive car with more bang for the buck. I gave him our floor price and waited to see what he could do with it first. He said he would contact his Jerusalem lot to see what they had. He would call me back in the afternoon.

He did exactly what he promised. He found 5 cars and only one was slightly above the budget I gave him. He would get a driver to bring one of the cars to Beit Shemesh for us to take a look free of charge. He said he would call us when it arrived and he did.

The car was in excellent condition. A few scratches (this is Israel) and the 'z' had fallen off. We took it for a test drive including going up "the hill". It performed very nicely. There is ample room for what we need.

In the end we bought a 2006 White Getz GLF. Milage is a little high, which will balance out with our low mileage driving. It has a 1.4L engine which solves some of the fuel efficiency concerns. We got it for 8,300 NIS below list price. The engine and transmission are under warranty for 6 months. On Wednesday their mechanic will come in and perform any required maintenance that is coming up. The tires are brand new. Pick up will be on Sunday, once I am able to take care of the insurance.

Tonight the Rabbi made sure to point out which bracha to say when we pick up the car. We think we got a great deal with excellent customer service, while staying local. I don't think things could have gone any smoother.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What I learned from my mom

I learned that it is possible to love someone from far away.

I learned to hold my little girl's hand because it is a big scary world out there, but that sometimes there are times to let go and let her try to do it her way then kiss it better after.

I have learned hat often it is better to it than ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

I have learned that field trips are lots of fun but staying home can be just as fun and often more cozy.

I have learned that laughing can come at the worst of times and that crying is not always a bad thing.

I have learned that sometimes sleeping on the floor is the only way to get a decent night's sleep

I have learned that weekends don't need to start on Friday's.

I have learned that having a lousy haircut is not the end of the world.

I have learned that raisons go great in carrot cake- but only the yellow ones.

I have learned that sometimes I need to let my child follow her dreams even if they hurt me.

I have learned that being a good mom means saying no as often as it means saying yes.

I have learned that you don't always need to tell Abba everything that goes on when you are "out with the girls"

I have learned that worrying about money has a a time and place, but so does spending money for a memory that will last a lifetime.

Lastly and most importantly, I have learned to love unconditionally even if sometimes I forget how it's done.

I love you mom.

Happy mother's day

Tuesday, May 3, 2011