Friday, June 17, 2011

Random pictures

Hachnasat Sefer Torah for the shul

Jason writing his letters

the children's latters

Fields of Dreams Gezer Field Maariv after the game

It is not bananas it is called eclipse (as seen from gezer field)

eatting the worlds most awesome ice cream in geulah

new uv safe swimsuit from aunt R and uncle B

at gezer field watching abba play softball

Cherry Picking Festival

In Israel, any 2 people doing something can be a festival.  "Hey look, we are both hanging laundry- it is the laundry hanging festival!"  Going for a walk with a friend, it's a walking festival!  Well today we went to the annual Gush Cherry picking festival- and let me tell you this really was a festival!

I am going to let the pictures tell the story. There were also shopping booths, and play areas for kids.  But the picking was the most fun.  We had a blast! (all pictures were taken on my phone so some are a little dark)

the next one is friends of ours who got us there without getting lost

the Titanic sinking as the power went out

What the orchards look like from above

Sefer Torah and Hidden Graves

The oppurtunity to fulfill the mitzvah of writting a Sefer Torah by actually writting a Sefer Torah is a rare opportunity. I had done it once before, when my Yeshiva was taking the Sefer Torah from place to place to give alumni the opportunity to write a letter, even if they could not afford it. I was so nervous, that I basically losely held the pen while the Sofer did the work.

Shavuot night, they announced that a new Sefer Torah was being donated to the shul last night. What immediately appealed to us, was that they allocated the last two words for all of the children and would only require a 5 NIS donation. We immediately bought one for Channah and Gabi. After much contemplation we decided to by two letters at full price. One for my FIL who is currently on the winning side of a battle with a brain tumor and one for our family.

We got to the house where the final letters were being written and I told the Sofer that I had bought two letters. He asked if I wanted him to do it or if I would like to do it myself. I told him that I wanted to do it. He showed me how to hold the pen and had me practise on a scrap piece of parchment. I got it perfect on the first shot, so the Sofer picked out some of the harder letters to fill out. My hand started to shake, then I couldn't get the ink to come out. After some moving around he found me a Bet and a Reish to fill in from the world בארץ I wrote my two letters and then the Sofer cleaned them up and finished the word. There are commentaries who say that you can read out all of Jewish History in Parsha וזאת הבראכה and now I had my own special word. I hadn't really been paying attention to the Pasuk and in my head was thinking how it normally refers to the Land of Israel and how appropriate that was.

I then went to Shul for Mincha and looked up the Pasuk. In that section the word comes up 3 times. 34:5 - Moshe died, 34:6 - we don't know where Moshe is buried. 34:11 - evidence there will never be another like Moshe. I immediately freaked out because I thought, I had written from 34:6. My special word in the Torah was a remez (hint) about Gabi. Instead I have a Gzerah Shava (when on word is written in multiple places, we can learn out concepts between the different psukim).

I don't know what the lesson is, but somehow it connects, the first ever generation of Olim (our Aliyah), Moshe's unknown grave (just like Gabi) and those unable to enter the land of Israel.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's All Dark, At the Ball Park, That's OK IT's A........

Sometimes the stars or in this case the moon, just line up for a perfect evening. It was the last softball game of the season (before the make up games) and I wanted to make sure Channah was able to come see a game. So Rachel and Channah came tonight, which happened to coincide with the full lunar eclipse. The eclipse began after the game started and by the end of the game the moon was completely gone. An open field, with no surrounding light pollution and an excuse to stay outside, was the perfect setting for such an occasion.

We were playing against the Demona 2 team, which is a young team that reminds of the Mighty Ducks. They have a coach that really works hard to guide them and they are constantly cheering or trying to syke out their opponents. They're aggressive, fast and love to bunt. They also have the hardest throwing pitcher in the league who did not pitch tonight.

There were a few great only in Israel moments. The umpire started the game asking what bracha to make on the eclipse. After call our Rabbi, I passed on the message. One of my team mates was so excited he started the first half of the bracha, then stopped and started waiving his arms. He was so excited to make the bracha he forgot what to say. I was glad to help him out.

The coach wanted to try me out at First Base for the game. I was having a horrible night, during warm ups so they moved me back to my preferred position at Second Base. Although, I normally justify my roster spot with my glove, this time it was my hitting that contributed to a great night.

My first at bat, I put down a first pitch bunt that landed straight in front of the plate. The 1B forgot to go to the bag, so all I had to do was run passed in to get the single. I think some runs also scored on the play. I eventually scored to increase the lead to 4-0.

My second at bat was the most memorable for me. On the first pitch, I tipped off that I was squaring up to bunt. This sent the defence into a panic, after my first successful bunt. The base runner knew, I had no intention of bunting and used the distraction to steal 2nd. I then put down a perfect bunt down the first base line for another hit. I eventually scored on a 2 out wild pitch.

My third at bat, I took the first pitch and the runner was caught stealing. I then took the next pitch and lined it over third base for my third single of the night. Next batter, I was forced out at 2nd base to end the inning.

My fourth at bat, I just didn't feel I had the pitcher lined up right and struck out.

The most bizarre play of the night happened when the other team had a runner on 2nd. The batter walked, while the base runner stole third. The batter then took a big turn towards 2nd. He was nailed in a run down, as we conceded the run. For those scoring at home it was a 2-3-6 out on a walk.

As for my glove, we the first ball hit towards me was mostly knocked down by the pitcher and the runner beat out the throw. The 2nd play was a 4-3 put out on a simple ground ball. I played catcher for the last two uneventful innings, as we nailed down the game for the win.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pilot Trips Before NBN

In this week's Parsha the Jewish people decide they need a pilot trip before entering the land of Israel. The negative report kept that generation from entering the land. There is a machloket among meforshim if God really approved of the trip instead of trusting him. Rachel and I did not take a pilot trip and the move has gone well for us.

I had an very interesting conversation with a friend this evening.

Me: We are going to the cherry picking festival. This time we are trying to go with someone who knows how to get there.
Friend: but the Mitzvah in this week's Parsha is to explore the land.
Me: I want to explore the land and bring home cherries!!
Friend: That's selfish of you.
Me: Think of what would have happened if the Meraglim brought back cherries instead of grapes. Jewish history would have been completely different.
Friend: The wine companies would use a different logo.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hatikva as heavy metal- a little strange but they did it to the star spangled banner so why not. But people are singing along! Israeli's are a proud people but man are they strange.