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Archive for May, 2009

yom yerushalayim 010This might have been my last Yom Yerushalayim celebrated as a family since Rafi will be going to work full time next year (tears of sadness and joy).

Abba and G

Abba and G

It was a fun day! As always, the kids came back dirty, cranky, and full of junk food, but it was worth it. I love living in Yerushalayim and I’m going to be a little sad to leave one day. Every year they have this parade called the Rikkudgalim, where people wear their blue and white and march to the kotel (I couldn’t fit into blue and white this year). As opposed to Yom Haatzmaut, Yom Yerushalayim has a more religious feel to it. People are out on the streets dancing and celebrating the miracle of winning the Six Day War and recapturing Jerusalem, our spiritual epicenter. And what better way to celebrate than to dance in the streets all the way to the kotel. If you see the kids blog, you’ll see the video at the end. Tzviya is busy waving her flag to the tune of “ba’neshama” and the words to the song are “ani maamin, b’emunah shleima, b’viat hamashiach b’eretz yisrael shel ahava….ahavat yisrael b’neshama”. It’s truly a blessing and a miracle to be here in a place full of love, life, and vitality.

Can you tell I’m majorly pregnant? It’s been a week of really mushy posts…one thing is for sure, there will definitely be more!

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Blankie

comfort zone

comfort zone

It’s funny how life comes full circle sometimes. I still have my blankie that I’ve had since I came home from the hospital 28 years ago. It’s not in the best shape, but it’s still useful. The only thing is, it’s not useful for me anymore because my daughter now uses it. She’s so attached to it, something like I was at her age (and older, and older). She needs it to go to sleep, she asks for it when she is upset, and he just likes being around it. I look at it and think about all the memories it holds, all the love that my mother had when she crocheted it with her own hands all those years ago. I sometimes want to repair it and make it new again, but that will somehow erase the delicate charm of loving years that it has.

I guess I don’t know how to say this, but now that it’s no longer mine, that somehow means time is going by and we’re getting older. Rafi said it to me today as shabbat was ending, “isn’t it funny about days- how they end and don’t come back.” Kind of a sad thing to think about, but happy that hopefully we just had the best day we could have had- such a nice shabbat together playing with the kids all day and spending time together as a family.

So in a way, blankie represents time. It’s not just an old ratty blanket. It’s all my mother’s memories of me, my memories, and now, Tzviya’s. Blankie looked a little different back then, just like time. You can’t make time look the same- we can’t turn back the clock. But moving forward every day and creating our own memories and life experiences adds to the interwoven charm and richness that is the blanket of our life.

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At times it’s tough living here. Both in Israel and in this neighborhood. But I always think that just at those moments of despair, I am clearly reminded of why I’m here. Obviously there are many reasons a person chooses to live here in Israel- some are personal and some are ideological. Today I had an “AHA!” moment on my porch.

As we were playing in the living room, we heard this music coming from outside. As it louder and louder we began to see swarms of people walking in parade form outside our building! This sometimes happens in this neighborhood, as there are many synagogues here- it was a hachnassat sefer torah (or here). We all gathered to watch everyone dance by our house with the Torah under the chuppa and I started to think what a beautiful moment this is. This just doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.

Hachnasat Sefer Torah on Reiness St. Kiryat Moshe/Givat Shaul Jerusalem

Hachnasat Sefer Torah on Reiness St. Kiryat Moshe/Givat Shaul Jerusalem

I just felt bad for the guy stuck in his car trying to get out.

He's stuck in the front seat...poor guy!

He's stuck in the front seat...poor guy!

And of course, the seriousness of the moment was broken by the concentration of loonies on the roof accross the street. We had to explain to Mr. G that they were being very naughty and we do not EVER climb on rooftops. I guess their Imas didn’t warn them.

To give you perspective

To give you perspective

Closer up

Closer up

I had another moment yesterday on the drive to gan. Traffic stalled for a minute at the light and we were at the front so we could see that there was a blind person crossing the street.  But what happened next was just astounding. There was a whole line of cars making a left turn in the direction of the blind man. The cars were being led by a motorcycle (they always want to go first). The motorcyclist got off his motorcycle and stopped traffic until the man got to the other side.

There were two more lights to cross before he fully made it to the other side. So when he put out his stick to cross the second street, a man got out of his van and walked him accross the street. When he made it to the other side, the light had already turned green, but there was no honking (never happens here!) and he got back into his van and drove away.

We were still waiting at the light and I was wondering how this man was going to make it accross the third and final light (yes, I could have gone out to help him, but the image of a 9 month pregnant lady running to help a blind person accross the street- not so pretty somehow- anyway, it was too far from the car). As soon as the man got to the final light, I saw another man run up to him and lead him accross the street. It was such a moving minute of waiting- such chessed!

That day I had an initial meeting for a program in Jerusalem that I’ll be working at next year as one of their social workers. In the introductory remarks, the program director mentioned a Midrash from Noach. He said that when Noach was on the ship, he was occupied all day and night with feeding the animals. One day he was late in feeding the lion and he got injured to the point where he was limping for the rest of his life. The question is why, if Noach was going to be the leader of Am Yisrael- the seed from which the whole nation came from, why he was feeding the animals all day? Shouldn’t he have been sitting and learning Torah? Davening? This is where the midrash says, “Olam chessed  yibaneh.” The foundation of the world is chessed (charity). I really saw this in my neighborhood and I hope I can implement it in my own life.

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(almost) all grown up

(almost) all grown up

Last night I was putting Tzviya to sleep and she just didn’t want to go. Maybe it was because we weren’t in our house, I don’t know, but I held her for about 40 minutes and sang to her. I never do that anymore. Don’t think I’ve done it since she was a year old, but for some reason, last night I just let her fall asleep in my arms. As I gazed down at her, I thought to myself first, mah rabu maasecha Hashem (How great are your creations, Hashem). She just looked so perfect to me, so pure, and so innocent. I wanted to stay there and just freeze time.

This is in contrast to my during-the-day-Tzviyali. She’s become this fiercly independent child. Determined to do everything she puts her mind to. If she wants something, she’ll let you know. OOh boy will she ever. She’ll also tell you if she doesn’t want something- and exactly how she wants it. She’ll tell you that we’re going to eat popsicles on the porch later and that the cat went back home and said “meow”. She’ll tell you that she wants milk and not water, and that she’d rather watch Franklin than Toopy.  She is 21 months this week and I can’t believe this change in her- it came upon me so fast. One example is with trains. Gedalya has loved these Thomas trains since he was about her age. He learned very quickly how to put the tracks together, the colours of each train, and of course, their names. Tzviyali is no differennt now. This week she put a whole track together herself.

Maybe it’s because the new baby is coming. Maybe. But even though I’d love her to stay a baby forever, she’s going to grow up and I’ll be there clapping for her, playing with her, and marveling at all her great achievements, and I know they will be big. They already are.

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Abba Bunny

The things we do to get our kids to listen

The things we do to get our kids to listen

Rafi and I have been having a really hard time getting Mr. G dressed in the morning. He just doesn’t want to go to the bathroom, brush teeth, and get dressed. I don’t know if this is a phase or what, but we’ve tried everything- forcing, not forcing, ignoring, begging, and bribery. But this is an all-time low. Love the costume sweetie!!

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The Parade

The Parade

Apparently on lag b’omer day, there is a parade in every neighborhood (in Jerusalem) done by Chabad. My friend Rena had this great idea (as she always does) that we would go to the Parade and then do dinner at their house. Well to me, it was a good idea- Gedalya would play with A and it would be a fun family activity. The only thing that I forgot was that Rafi wouldn’t be able to be there and that I’m 36 weeks pregnant. You see, I don’t think about my pregnancy when I’m sitting down. But when I stand up, it becomes blatantly clear to me that no, I can’t run that fast, or for that matter, walk that fast. But I didn’t think about it.  So I told her I’d come with the kids and I’d pick up Rafi at the library on the way home (at 7pm). The parade was at 3:30- that meant 3.5 hours with the kids on the go.

I finished my day of work and went to pick the kids up from daycare when I realized, I’m 36 weeks pregnant!!! What the heck was I thinking???????? But it was too late. I already told Gedalya that we were going to see A and to a big parade.

We arrived in Rena’s neighborhood and because of the parade, I had to park a little bit away from her house- a five minute walk. We were starving so I told the kids we’d go get a treat. Mistake #1- the makolet was closed and the only store that was open was what I later learned was a jewelry store for fruit. Yes, I did buy 4 peaches, a bag of almonds and a bag of craisins for 57 NIS. YES LAUGH, I GIVE YOU PERMISSION. DON’T GO TO THE FRUIT STORE ON THE CORNER OF KEREN KAYEMET and GREEN (the restaurant- that’s for another post) UNLESS YOU DON’T MIND SPENDING YOUR LIFE SAVINGS ON FRUIT. I’ll give the store this: the fruit was very fresh and tasty. But you could accomplish the same thing at the shuk.

I got over the shock and we heard drums and went to see the parade. As it turns out, the parade consisted of a car playing music, some 50 Chabad kids banging on drums, and a whole lot of women with young children following them. Not so exciting, but the kids liked the drums so it was ok.

Skip ahead, we go to Rena’s house for Pizza. I’m wiped and Gedalya hasn’t gone to the bathroom in 3 hours. I say “lets go to the bathroom and make.” and he says, “NO. I don’t have pish.” Five seconds later there is literally no dry spot on his pants. Rena and Ahron were really good sports about this. At least we didn’t stain their carpet. We got cleaned up in the bathtub and luckily Rafi had packed us a change of clothes. Too bad we didn’t pack a change of shoes- we went barefoot. G went on to eat five slices of pizza with A while watching Curious George and Rena and I plopped down on the couch. Tzviya poured an entire cup of water on herself but she didn’t seem to mind, so I didn’t bother changing her.

You know when the day just naturally comes to an end? So it was six and we were ready to leave but weren’t supposed to pick up Rafi till seven. I tried to make conversation but it was obvious that the mega-prego ladies (ie: me and Rena) needed to just rest. So we sent her husband to pick up my car from a mile away and he saved us and we went to pick Rafi up at the library. Thank Gd for nice husbands and good friends.

Oh, I skipped the part where I had only a single stroller and Tzviya refused to sit in it, so I had to hold her the whole way to Rena’s. And I also missed the part where therefore, Rena had to push my stroller while I carried her (thank you Rena). Again, what would I do without good friends.

Needless to say, pished on, shoeless, and one wet child later, I needed to blog about this afterwards.

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Different Levels

This is how it began and ended

This is how it began and ended

It’s hard coming up with activities that suit the needs of both my toddlers. The other day we took out markers and were having a fine old time until Tzviya (1+), post bath-let me add- began coloring on herself. It was an experiment- I understand. Self expression. I got it. But the more I begged her not to draw on herself, the more she wanted to. She also tasted the markers and graffitied all over her door before I pryed it away from her.

At least she's having a good time. At least the markers aren't toxic.

At least she's having a good time. At least the markers aren't toxic.

Any ideas out there that would occupy a 1 and 3 year old??

I tried crayons but she ate those too. I know people are going to suggest the magna-doodle and that actually occupies her for a couple minutes, although not as long as real markers, but the problem here is with my son. All he wants me to do is draw trains for him. It drives me NUTS! I actually took out the markers for him- to encourage him to draw himself and this is what happened.

So I’m putting it out there. Please please HELP!

Admiration. This occupied us for a really long time.

Admiration. This occupied us for a really long time.

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