Wednesday, August 27, 2008

*WARNING* Sensitive Material to Follow

I went to my first OB/Gyn appointment when Air and I were engaged, on Purim, 1995. I liked Doctor L. immediately. He has a very soothing voice and puts you at ease right away. He reminded me of my pediatrician whom I had just left weeks before.

I saw him for 11 years, through three pregnancies. Even though he hasn't delivered babies in years, I still insisted on seeing him once I switched from a Gyn to an OB patient. And he let me.

Breast exams are not pleasant, but somehow he always distracted me by asking questions about my family or discussing the latest movies or books. As if he wasn't doing what he was doing, and we were at a cocktail party having a drink. It should be noted that I am pretty squeamish about certain things, and let's leave it at that.

Today I had my second appointment with a breast surgeon in Israel. A year ago we were in a car accident and I sustained bruising in many parts of my body, including the breast that was under the seatbelt. My knee still has nerve damage and my back is out more often now, but the worst result was that I found two hard hemotomas under the skin in my left side. In other words, two huge lumps. Freaked out, I called my Gyn and she told me that in Israel, your Gyn does not to breast exams. So I had to see a surgeon.

Long story short, an ultrasound and mammogram showed that the lumps are not cancerous and most probably resulted from the accident, Baruch Hashem.

Professor Moshe Shabtai, is one of the top surgeons in the country, is very professional and has a nice bedside manner, not to mention that he speaks English very well. But I couldn't help noticing that during the exam, he didn't ask me about my kids or what movies I have recently seen. Bottom line: I miss Dr. L.

*Important* For those of you who have not yet made Aliyah, there is no nurse in the room for ANY medical exam. Yes, you read that right. Just you and the doctor.

ושבו בנים לגבולם

I don't really know how to express the feeling of pure happiness that Shauli, Nat, Jonah and Sammy are arriving in Israel in a couple of weeks. I said goodbye a couple of times, and of course we've been the Olim, too, but we're the most recent greeted ones in our family, and I haven't experienced a Zacks Aliyah from this side yet.

I have been at two NBN arrivals since our own arrival two years ago. One was to greet my parents' oldest friends, the Kligmans, who came from Passaic two weeks after we got here, during the Second Lebanon War. I remember I couldn't stop crying out of sheer amazement by the Emunah in the new Olim. They knew where they were going. Some were even taking that first free taxi-ride to their new homes in the North and heading straight for their Miklatim. Unbelieveable. All I was dealing with at the time was a slight delay of our lift because the port of Haifa was closed due to 200 rockets landing there each day.

The second NBN arrival I attended was last month when our friends, the Spolters, made Aliyah to Yad Binyamin. The family of six came out of the bus, and my kids could not contain their excitement. Our kids have been friends for 7 years and really missed each other. When they saw my boys, they were so happy and sat with them for the speeches. My boys, already Vatikim, gave them endless advice about school and friends in Israel. So lovely to watch. It should also be noted that my Oldest has been in constant contact with their oldest since their announcement that they were making Aliyah, and even put together a dictionary of all the Hebrew terms he would need in school. (I see a future for him at NBN.)

But this one will be even better, I think. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are coming home - finally. We'll all be there to watch the 5th Zacks officially make Aliyah. What a huge Z'chut for all of us!

Monday, August 25, 2008


It is almost four o'clock on Sunday. The Eilat sun beats down on us, as we sit on the dock at the dolphin pool. We spent much of the morning in the car driving down to Eilat. There wasn't any of the usual arguing over CDs, and the kids sat in the car and enjoyed their first long car ride since the move. But now we laid flat on the deck, hands in the water, trying to do what we could to attract the dolphins over to us.

The dolphins had an agenda of their own. It included jumping in the air, doing flips, swimming fast under the dock and popping up on the other side, and racing with each other across the pond.

We watched, pleaded, splashed and kicked water hoping to attract the dolphins, but after 30 minutes all we had to show for it was wet arms and feet, and a few pictures of dolphins frolicking in the water. But my kids learned the meaning of magic. Its when a dolphin, creature of the air and sea, noiselessly swims by, giving you only a glimpse of a shadow, before popping high out of the water to an adoring audience, and then looks back to admire the crowd.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I feel obligated to put up this post

You know those times when you sign up for something that is like, say. a month into the future. And it seems like it is a reasonably good idea. Or almost a good idea. And then that day finally comes and you say to your self, oh shit, I have to go to that.

So I had one of those moments this morning. My buddy Jameel from Muqata convinced me to go to NBN's international blogger convention. Admittedly, it didn't take too much for me to be convinced, but I did not really want to go, but he said it would be good, and anyway, I digress. He convinced me to go. And I got Veev to go, so at least I had someone to go with.

But as I was sitting in traffic this morning, as part of a special two hour commute thanks to some guy who jumped a curb on the four and killed a woman waiting for a bus, I kept thinking to myself, I don't really want to go from this two hour commute to sit in an office for six hours, to get on a 90 minute bus ride from Ranana to Jerusalem, to learn how to improve my web site traffic.

Especially since, as you few souls who trickle into this blog know, I haven't done anything to encourage traffic in about two years. That includes writing content, commenting on other blogs to get traffic here, or begging my friends om work to come visit.

After sitting through it, I have to say it was really cool when Bibi walked in and spoke for half an hour, answering questions and spreading his Likud Bibi agenda. I did not know that Jews continued to live in Israel after the destruction of Bayit Sheni until they were finally kicked out by the Arabs 700 years later, but I do now.

I can also say, without any fear of being wrong, the their are no hot girls blogging. If you are a chick, and you are blogging, and you think you are hot, check the mirror babe. Hot girls do lots of things, and even find themselves on numerous blogs, but they are not bloggers.

The event was nice. Other than Bibi popping in, we had someone from the Foreign Ministry office give us a very interesting talk about Branding Israel. Her content was interesting, but her presentation style needs improving, and she ran out of time before she got to the punch line.

I know you guys were all watching it online, so you don't need me to tell you this, but for the one or two of you that missed the live webcast, now you have it.

Nefesh B'Nefesh, which sponsored the event, did a nice job putting it together. I am a huge NBN fan. But I probably shouldn't have gone tonight. I don't really like the Jblogosphere, and prefer not to be a part of it.

And since Japan is playing Curacao on ESPN in the Little League World Series right now, its time for me to check out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tisha Baav Observation

Last week, as I walked through Rome, I couldn't help think about how odd it was to be in there during the nine days. The Arch of Titus is still there, which was built to celebrate the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel. 2000 years later, it hasn't changed.

I wanted to get a close look at the arch, but our tour didn't allow it, and we only saw it as we drove by it and the Collesium on our way back to the hotel. Still, even without a close look, I couldn't help feel out of place in Rome.

The people who live in Rome today are descendants of our ancient conquerors. While the empire of Rome is long gone, there doesn't seem to be any wave of immigration or destruction that completely changed the nature of the city. The people walking along the cafes and streets in Rome are possibly descendents of Titus' army that destroyed our Beit HaMikdash.

Rome came into Israel and completely kicked our ass. They destroyed the Beit HaMikdash, and sent Jews into an exile from which we still daven for an end to. We have gone from country to country over the past two millenia, and even though some of us have returned to our homeland, the political and religious situation of our land have been directly impacted by that exile.

But when you look around Rome, the Italians there don't even know about their connection to Israel. There was no fair celebrating military victories long past. They sent us into a tailspin that we still mourn, yet they have no sense of what their ancestors did to us. Its like we were a a little bug that they crushed. It has no meaning at all to them today, yet their occupation, destruction and dispersion of our people are central to our lives today. Especially yesterday.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Final Results

We saved our very worst for last. Worst pitching. Worst fielding. Worst day of hitting cutoff men and making good throws. DId I mention we were no hit?

Still, despite losing to a Czech team that we beat three days earlier, the tournament was a high for the team. The kids gelled as a team, and at one point had won six games in a row. We became the first Israel Juvenile baseball team to play in the championship game. So looking at the big picture, we did fine. It was just too bad we had nothing left for the finals.

As for the pitcher we faced, after the game we learned that he is the top pitcher in Europe of his age group. He is tall, throws hard, and was on the corner with every pitch. And his changeup. As my oldest said on our post game meeting, the kids learned that a devistating changeup can kill you.

We are in Rome today, then on a flight tonight going back to Israel. And I'm sure I'll write more about this later.