Thursday, August 31, 2006

Jameel asked me not to

Its true. I was IMing with Jameel the evening of the Azrielli Mall incident, and I told him the story. He asked me not to tell the story, but Jameel and I have different blog agendas. He wants to encourage the masses to make Aliyah; I only want to tell interesting stories that happen.

I tried to write this story a few days ago, and as I went to publish I lost my internet connection and the story was eaten by blogger. So this is attempt #2.

Here goes.

For those who don't know, the Azrielli mall is the center building of three buildings that make up the Azrielli Center. The tall office buildings are a familiar part of the Tel Aviv skyline, and between them lies the 3 story mall. There are two or three floors of stores in the mall, and on the roof, there is a large children's play area. The play area is filled with riding toys, climbing and jumping toys, and while I was at an interview a few blocks away, Veev and the kids were spending time in the play area. In addition to the climbing toys, there is a wet area, where kids can go down a water slide, splash in a small pool, or play in a few other wet play areas.

I need to say here that there is a lot of kid nudity going on at this play area. Parents bring bathing suits for their small children, and they change them right in the middle of the play area. I would guess that the oldest naked kid we saw was probably around 8 or 9, but the oldest kid looked a little retarded (with apologies to anyone who reads this with retarded children).

We spent a few hours in the mall, going to the play area in the morning, when I was not there, and then after lunch. Lunch, by the way, was a pleasant surprise, as almost the entire food court was Kosher.

Veev had Chinese, and the rest of us went for Burger King.

But I digress.

We were just about finished with our good time and ready to leave, when my littlest wanted to ride the train one last time. We let her, and stood near the track looking around the area. About fifty feet away, there was a little boy, naked, standing around.

"Is he shitting," I asked Veev.

There was no need for her to answer.

The answer was sitting on the floor between the boy's legs.

And then, he shitted again.

I kid (shit?) you not. And there was no mother in the area.

Well, the naked boy walked around his droppings, looking at them, before his attention went to other things. He did not step in it.

I should say that this entire time, Veev and I were deep in cringe mode.

Anyway, the incident took place next to a Little Tykes yellow track with a riding toy on it, and the kid began to pull a riding toy up on to the top of the track. The toy that he was pulling had no wheels, though, and he struggled mightily. Then, he tried to sit on the car, but after two or three tries he gave up and walked back to his pile.

Once back at the pile, he shat again.



But this time, there were complications. Instead of falling safely to the ground as his previous three missiles had done, this one lingered, and landed on the inside of his leg, which was promptly spread all over his leg as he walked BACK TO A DIFFERENT TOY CAR that had wheels.

Then, he climbed on a car with wheels, and started riding it around.

Finally, a concerned parent, or disgusted patron, called over some staff. Two people came over. The first approached the kid, and asked AyFo Eema Shelcha (Where is your mother) but the kid just laughed and kept on riding the toy.

Meanwhile, a second staffer came by with a broom and dustbin, the same one he had been using all day, and swept the pile from the floor into the dustbin. Then, he dumped the dustbin into a garbage can, located between the tables, right between where people were sitting and eating.

By that time, my littlest's train ride was done, and we exited the play area.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Don't you think your public deserves to know what goes on in the Azrieli Center children's area?

Surprised it's not here yet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Good Meragelet - Follow Up

Yesterday, it occured to me that I only got change at Machane Yehuda for 50 Skekels when I gave the guy 100. It's my fault. I should have counted. Lesson learned.

Question, how come we only learn lessons the hard way?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Good Meragelet - Finally!

Today at Machane Yehudah, I bought a HUGE basket of grapes, 2 red and 2 orange peppers, 4 red tomatoes, and a bag of royal gala apples, all for 12 shekels.

That's under $3, people!!

And Air hooked himself up with a nice-size bag of peanuts for $1.50!

Also, did you know that, anywhere in Israel, pomegranates and mangoes cost as little as apples?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Back from the North

I haven't been blogging lately, probably a combination of not having much to say and not having a job to blog at. We spent today on a few Tiyullim up north, stopping in Nachal Kibbutzim before heading over to Arbel and then Meron for a haircut and BBQ.

One of the really great parts was driving across the north from Meron to the 70 on 85, and seeing all the houses and signs lit up. The North had been dark for a few weeks, and it was good to see that people have returned home.

My brother, who was a northern refugee for the past month, has also returned home to Maalot. I hope he can stay there for many years to come.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Veev's Believes

I believe.....

that Netanya is the most wonderful of any beach in the world. Took a nap there today. Ahhh.

Monday, August 14, 2006

We Lost

What??? This is not how it was explained by the Shlichim!!!

She Got In

Apparently a little guilt goes a long way. Yesterday an Olim advocate took me to the Iriya to "mention" again how we'd like to switch our daughter to the Gan we requested. I opened by reminding the secretary Sara that we got here 6 days before the war started, and that we are real newbies in Israel life. She remembered that the first time she saw me I was crying over the first Ketushyas landing on people's homes in Haifa. She even had gone to get me a cup of water.

Yesterday Sara said that when a class is full, it's full. And when you register your kids late, that's the risk you take. My advocate told her we didn't register late. We just made Aliyah, and made our kids' education our top priority. She said it's not fair to treat Olim as if they were just lazy and didn't get around to registration in February. Sara was very sympathetic and said she would see what she could do.

We left and I said to my friend, "What can she even do? It's full in all the Ganim we requested." She knowingly smiled and told me it's all part of the game. There is a list of kids who are on the waiting list. It's up to the staff at the Iriya who is first on the list. She said I should call them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and she would call the other days. We would annoy them into granting us our request.

It wasn't even necessary to call once. About an hour after we left someone cancelled for the Gan and we were put in. Sara called this morning to tell me.

I feel sorry for the people who were on the list before me, but this is life here. And really I have to think about my little girly.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Hardest Part

I'll admit it. There have been some exceedingly frustrating, painful, sad, difficult, frightening realities that accompany a giant life change such as making Aliyah. The goodbyes, the financial panic, the war...

But nothing has even touched how miserable I feel about the kids education. I left a situation where I was friends with their teachers before they were even born. I was in staff meetings helping to make decisions towards the betterment of the school; I was in constant contact with teachers of all subjects and adminitration; I was on recess and lunch duty with my children; most importantly, I was able to look in the window of their classrooms to see them learning.

In Israel most kids go to public school; ours are going to a religious public school. But I don't have any say in anything, or much information. I requested a school for the boys and only one was accepted because they're trying to open a more local place for first and second graders. My hesitations are many: the boys won't be together; the second grader won't be with his best friend from America who goes to the other school; the new school, while a religious public school, seems to be leaning towards a more left side religiously; and it's more disorganized than a normal Israeli school since it's only starting this year. There are advantages to sending him there, though. The classes will be smaller and he'll be in the oldest class all the way through elementary school. I have appealed the decision, though, and I am waiting.

The youngest is going to nursery. I would like her to have a positive experience in Gan. She loved her teachers last year and her camp counselors this summer. I have heard things about Morahs here that have made me lose sleep every night since. They say that a good Ganenet is great, but a bad Ganenet is so bad that sometimes they have to send her on a Sabbatical for a year so she can regroup. I have heard stories of abuse and constant screaming, and one child even had a shoulder dislocated. There are many good Ganim here, and I requested one of those. The problem is that since the Ganim are public, you either got in or you didn't. I have appealed to have her go to a Gan that has a good reputation. I have heard that there are two private Ganim here that are completely fantastic, and if I don't get one of the public ones I asked for, I may have to go that route.
Wow. Moved to Israel and still have to pay tuition. Albeit, a much smaller one.

Here's the other thing. I miss teaching.

Traditions - Rebuttal

I really don't believe that the Arab workers across the street or my four-year-old daughter need to be "essposed" to my sons' business. Do you?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Our lives at times are governed by the traditions we create. It is the little rituals that we do every day which first help us, and then own us, as we become slaves to our own little traditions.

In Skokie, for some reason that escapes me now, we had a tradition to swig Scope that one of us always left in his car as we pulled into Slice of Life's parking lot on Saturday night. There was also an aspect of spitting out the Scope as we made the turn, but I can't remember the exact details of that tradition.

Anyway, as one would expect, my boys have created some little traditions of their own. One of which was busted by their sister.

Every day, my kids get off the bus on the corner of Yehuda and Shivtei Yisrael. Shivtei Yisrael is a fairly deserted street, and the kids walk past an overgrown rocky hilly area before they get home.

It was, coincidentally, the same route Veev took home on Friday night after dinner, together with my middlest and littlest.

And my littlest, a sweet little four year old, looked at the rock that they passed on the way home, and said "This is the rock that the boys pee on everyday."

Uh oh.


So they have been informed, by Veev, that animals pee on the street. People pee in the bathroom. And they are not animals.

So much for their new tradition.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's My Birthday

Today is my 32nd birthday. That means it's been 20 years since my Bat Mitzvah. Wow.

In celebration, Air and I went to the Holy City to hang out and to try to go to an art fair (Chutzot HaYotzer). Unfortunately, it's only open in the evenings, and by then the kids are home from camp. So we'll have to see whe we can go.

Instead, we walked from the Tachana Merkazit via Center One, past Massov Burger, down Yaffo, and into Machane Yehuda. I have to say - the piles of dead fish are still as gross now as they were 20 years ago. We couldn't find the Rugelach and think that somehow we missed Marzipan. We did see beautiful fruit and vegetables the likes of which are not present in any supermarket in Israel. We bought some peanuts and mixed nuts. (I did remember that the last time I was in Machane Yehuda was the Friday before the sink-peeing incident. We had gone to buy food (and bubbly wine) for that fateful Shabbos. :)

Then we went into town past the old Klal Building and walked over to Frozen Yogurt. I don't eat yogurt disguised as ice cream, so I ordered Glida Americai'i, which is delicious soft ice cream.

Then Air had an interview and within minutes I was in a skirt store.

We met Mom, Dad, Dav, and Mike for a minute at a cafe, and then bolted because we had a date to keep at 2. Cousins/friends from the D were at Center One, where they treated us to a nice quick lunch. Evidently it's the law that when people come from Chutz LaAretz they have to buy a meal for the poor Israelis. Cool.

It took about 30 minutes to get from our parking space to the exit of Yerushalayim due to heavy traffic, and we made it home 5 minutes after our kids. Good thing they're Israelis now. They took it like champs.

And middle child even made me a birthday card that says I'm the best Mom ever in the whold world! That rocks.

Monday, August 07, 2006

problem fixed

The internet people were here today and fixed the problem we were having, so now we have wireless internet all over the house.

It is not easy trying to communicate in Hebrew when you don't speak hebrew, and the person on the other end of the line doesn't really speak English, and so no one really understands what the other person is saying. And I am just relieved that this is finally resolved.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Almost connected

We finally have Internet access at our house in Modiin, but we have not been able to set it free with our wireless router, or use our Vonage phone just yet, but we are working on getting that fixed. And when that happens, I'll probably start blogging on a more regular basis.

So far we have found Modiin to be a very friendly, very nice community. We have been invited out to meals, and had dinners and lunches brought to our house. The community it our age, and our kids have been able to find friends in the neighborhood. They are definitely adjusting well.

Its funny to say this, but one of the first things that I have missed about Detroit was Tisha Ba'av.

Not the fast part. Here, the fast ended at about 8. In Detroit, it wouyld typically end on the other side of 9:30.

But every year on Tisha Ba'av, there was this routine that we got into at shul. My friends and I would show up for davening, and sit next to the wall in our section. Except for one friend, who would always show up late, and then have to squeeze in to fit.

And after davening, after not trying to be happy, we would end up talking about the Tigers, or the Lions training camp, or anything that was going on in the shul.

I missed that this year.

One of my other favorite things in Detroit was going to a Sholom Zachor. Since most of our friends have slowed down or stopped procreating, there was not very many opportunities to go to a sholom zachor. When it did happen, we would walk to YudiJays (or is that Dr YudiJay now) for a pre sholom zachor hour of drinking and shmoozing, before heading over to wish Mazel Tov to the family. And last Shabbat there was a Sholom Zachor that I missed out on.

There was a Sholom Zachor here that I went to, but it wasn't the same. It was similar, there was plenty of beer and wild turkey and chili, but obviously, the people were different, and there was no pre-sholom zachor.

I guess I am just missing my friends from home.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


What do you think of the whole Bnei Menashe thing? I can't stop thinking about it.