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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Week of August 19th

Now that we are settling into a routine and school has started, it’s a little easier to keep track of what we’ve been doing.

Sunday was challenging for almost everyone. Chaim drove Yehuda to Maarava. I was going to take the bus to school with Moshe, but my wonderful neighbor offered a ride and an eighth grade boy to walk Moshe to class, much better than having Mommy do it. Chaim stopped by the cousins so Aunt Ronit could translate some documents. When Chaim got back, we went to the school to pick up Moshe. We met with the principal and gave the secretary all our information. Then we went to the girls’ part of the school and did the same there. At first Moshe was not so forthcoming about his day at school, but once he came home and ate lunch, we heard about what they learned. His Rebbe does not speak English. I’m hoping this will be a good thing in forcing Moshe to make himself understood, and not the opposite that he feels he can’t communicate to his Rebbe. Back to School Night, one of my least favorite activities, is on Wednesday. I am not thrilled about sitting in a little desk and listening, in Hebrew, about how much involvement I have to have in my son’s homework.

We were hoping the water company was open after their vacation. So the offices are open now, just not at the hour we went! Then we tried to go to the housewares store outlet. It was supposed to be just down Route 3 from our landmark, Latrun. We drove quite a ways, then decided we were wrong and turn around and came back. We did a big grocery shopping at Kimat Chinam, which translates to “almost free.” Then we stopped at several used car places in the Bet Shemesh Industrial  Zone. Again, the difference in price between a used car and a new car and whether it will last, and we know one of the used cars was definitely in an accident, and we don’t have a full command of the language, makes us tend toward buying a new car. At this point we have narrowed is down to a Hyundai (remember, it’s pronounced Yoon-Die) or a Mazda 6.

We got home, exhausted and sweaty as usual, and ate leftovers for dinner, with several family members vying for the taco salad.

Monday was yet another jam packed day. I started in the morning by doing laundry and changing the bedding. Then I took Moshe on the bus to school. As in my friend Ann Koffsky’s book, it’s nice to see a bus driver wearing a kippah. The bus ride goes around the circles in our neighborhood, then out to the main road. It’s about a ten minute ride. When we got off, there were four boys at the cross walk with lollipops (hand-held stop signs), and they stopped the traffic so the boys could cross. I left Moshe and took the bus back and continued straightening up. In Moshe’s room, I discovered several ant colonies that were attracted by his empty candy wrappers. We also found out that this will be an “in” Shabbos for Yehuda, so I organized more clothes for him.

Then, on to the errands: we went to the water company and changed the name on the account. There is currently a credit balance, so we are okay. Interesting to use words from our prayers in modern Hebrew. Credit balance is Z’chut (which we usually translate as “merit”) and Tokef is expiration date (like from the Rosh Hashanah prayer “U’nitaneh Tokef.” Then we went to pay our supplementary insurance at the Health Clinic. Our penultimate stop was at Cell Com, where we got the whole family kosher phones. These phones only have dialing options – no games, no texting, no pictures. I’m actually happy to trade in the Blackberry. For all its features, I never used it to its full potential, and it was a little distracting to have some much stuff on the phone when all I wanted to do was make phone calls. I felt a little like one of my favorite Roz Chast cartoons about “How Grandma Sees the Remote.” Much like Grandma, I felt if I pressed the wrong button, I might launch a nuclear attack.

We finished at the phone store just in time to go to Best market, known for a plethora of American products. We picked up some Cocoa Pebbles, but also the quintessentially Israeli corn schnitzels, and some hot dogs and hamburgers (on sale!). I had just enough time to put away the groceries before going out to the bus stop to meet Moshe, who was proud that he got home by himself. He had his first Ulpan session, and he understands  most of what goes on, as it is similar to what he did in the States – prayer, Chumash, Mishnayos.

Latrun

After lunch, we began the afternoon errands. We drove out Route 3 and found the Housewares Outlet Store. We bought some coffee cups, vacuum seal containers in which to store things so they do not get infested with bugs, and some more laundry baskets. Then we went back out on Route 3, passed Latrun, and onto Maarava to drop off things for Yehuda. He was very cute. He was happy to see us, but a little self-conscious that his family was there. We left him a kosher phone, more clothes because he is staying through Shabbos, and some cookies. He called later in the evening because he is not thrilled with staying, but we encouraged him to stay. All his roommates are Israeli. I hope the logic was that this would be the best way for him to learn Hebrew.

Then we had one of the most disheartening experiences since we’ve been here. We decided that since the computer at the Superbus office in Bet Shemesh was not working, we would stop at the one in Modi’in Illit (Kiryat Sefer) since we were in the area anyway and get the “Rav-Kav:” the bus pass.
 The office was supposed to re-open at 5 PM, and by the time we got there at 4:30, there was already a line.

 When I told people I was moving to Ramat Beit Shemesh, they were concerned because they had seen stories in the news about people spitting and throwing rocks, Jewish women donning burkas, and men wearing cloudy glasses so as not to see immodesty. We assured our friends that these people were on the fringe and not accepted by the community, that most people here are lovely and normal.

Why I am adding this here? Well, when the door to the Superbus office opened at  5 PM, everybody just rushed in and started pushing and yelling. Out the window went any good manners, courtesy, love of fellow Jew. Also out the window went any adherence to Shomer Negi’a (touching members of the opposite sex) as people just kept jamming into the office. Everyone was pushing and yelling.  I was stunned that these people thought themselves religious Jews. After about ten minutes of being jostled, we pushed our way out the door. We decided to swing by the Superbus office in Ramat Bet Shemesh. There, there was much civility, as a Chasidic man urged two boys to get up so that my husband could sit down, the people in the office arranged themselves in order by saying who was last, and the process was much less arduous and suffocating.

We got home tired and hot, but with some feeling of accomplishment. Yehuda called on his cell phone, and we had an all skate for dinner, with Chaim and Moshe finishing the leftover cholent , and Dina and I eating tortellini.

Tuesday started with the blessing of a normal day. I walked Moshe to the bus stop, but he used his new bus pass to go by himself. Then I put in a load of laundry and began to straighten out all the papers that have accumulated. In the afternoon, we took care of a few things across the neighborhood. We stopped at the community center, and Dina checked out four books from the library. I volunteered to help out there. It could work out nicely because Chaim and I are starting Ulpan at the center, or MATNAS, next week. Then we stopped by Estie to drop off wedding presents for her daughter. After that, a quick stop at the supermarket for marshmallows with which to make Cocoa Pebbles Treats. In the meantime, Chaim got gas and took our new dairy coffee cups and the new vegetable peeler to the mikveh. I used it to peel the cucumbers for homemade sushi.

Later that evening, my neighbor gave a class about things to do during Elul to get ready for Rosh Hashanah. She is an excellent speaker, but after walking across the neighborhood to get there, I was exhausted. The owner of the apartment has a beautiful tabby cat and a fish tank with some sharks in it. I wonder how that works out for her.

Wednesday had a combination of good things, fortuitous timing, and some challenges. We went to Jerusalem via Beitar, which turned out to be much quicker and a much more pleasant ride, though the huge barrier fences and the tunnels were a little ominous. First stop was the Mazda dealer, where we bought the last gray Mazda 6 Hatchback. Purchasing a car is another bureaucratic nightmare, as everything has to go through customs and taxes, but then it’s multiplied because of the bureaucracy of getting an Israeli driver’s license. Hopefully we will be picking up the car sometime in September.

Since we were in the area, we went to the Talpiot mall and waited to get gas masks. Someone waiting took it upon himself to give people numbers. Then when the official number caller came, he switched the unofficial numbers for official numbers. The distribution began at 11 AM. There were some commotion from the people who walked around the mall and came back with their unofficial numbers, but it went rather smoothly, and we left with gas masks for the whole family by 11:30 AM. Not bad, considering we were number 48.

From Talpiot we drove to Givat Shaul to the Ministry of Education so I could submit my credentials. The parking was insane, but there was no wait, and I gave in everything. I still have to get official transcripts, but everything else was fine. I was also able to pick up Yehuda’s math book at a nearby bookstore.

Then came the challenge. We went to the Cell Com service center to cancel our Blackberry numbers. Chaim and I had spent two days on the phone trying to do it, and we got every excuse in the book about not speaking English, or someone needed to call us back, to being hung up on several times. In frustration, Chaim went back to the store and asked the salesman to help us. He called the number, and when they gave him the runaround, he started screaming in Hebrew. The gist of the argument was that no one wanted a cancellation on their tally.

So we sat in the service center for over an hour. They called our number, but when we went to the representative, we were told we needed to wait 2 minutes. Ten minutes later, we were assigned to someone else, who didn’t speak English. When we communicated that we needed to cancel two phones, he still needed a manager. The manager was busy, until when he could no longer find anything else to do, he came over, grilled us about why we were cancelling, and finally cancelled the numbers.

To add insult to injury, someone called later in the afternoon to make sure we were satisfied with Cell Com.

We got back from Jerusalem after 3 PM and stopped at the Felafel stand for a mental health lunch. In the meantime, Moshe was upset because he had to wait a long time for a very crowded bus, and we weren’t home when he got back from school.

I needed a big nap, and by the time I woke up, we had to go to Back to School Night. Moshe’s rebbe seemed very nice, but he doesn’t speak English. We sat there listening to him speak and only catching a few words.

When we got back, Chaim barbecued hot dogs, and he and Moshe saw a big locust on the porch. It was still 84 degrees in Bet Shemesh.

Thursday only involved two rounds of errands. We went out around mid-morning. Chaim went to the bus office and was able to get Yehuda a bus pass using a passport photo. In the meantime, I was able to go to a shoe store and get slippers and hiking boots – two polar extremes. Dina thinks they look like Granny shoes, but they are very comfortable – made in Israel, too. I just have to get the pronounciation right so I tell people they are Moran brand, not that I am wearing moron slippers. From there we went to Ramat Bet Shemesh center. They still do not have Dina’s math book at the book store, but we got notebooks for Yehuda and Moshe. We stopped in an accessory store to see if they had a wallet that would hold a bus pass and change, they had mostly hair stuff. We came home in time to meet Moshe.

In the early evening, we drove into Jerusalem and went to the Malha mall. It was crazy busy, filled with all kinds of people, notably tons of Arab women. I couldn’t help thinking that if they were in any other in the vicinity, they would be sitting home in burkas. I imagine this is what the malls are like in the United States on a Saturday.  Our original plan was to find a store with English books and to look for cases for our new phones. Chaim found a case for his, the rest of our mission was unsuccessful. The food court looked very appetizing, but we did not know for sure about the kashrut, so we made our way to the schwarma place by the gas station.

Moshe gets out of school at 11:30 on Friday. Then we will organize to stop and see Yehuda, then drive to Jerusalem to spend Shabbos with some old friends.

 

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August 5th – Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park

On Sunday afternoon, we visited Bet Guvrin. We arrived shortly after lunch, but the lady by the park entrance reminded us that the park closed at 5 PM.  After we left, we realized that there are a lot of things to see, and you can do a lot of hiking. The park combines archaeological sites, fabulous caves, and some steep hiking.

We were able to get an informational brochure in English:

“Maresha is mentioned among the cities of Judea noted in Joshua 15:44, and as one of the cities fortified by Rehoboam again the incursion of Babylon into his kingdom (Chronicles II – 11:5-8). At the beginning of the 9th century BCD, Zerah the Ethiopian attacked Judea and engaged King Asa in the Maresha Area (Chronciles ii – 14:8-10). After the destruction of the First Temple, Maresha and all of southern Judea was settled by Edomites, who came from the southeast. At the end of the period (4th century BCE), Sidonians and even Greeks came to Maresha, introducing Hellenistic culture. Isolated Egyptians and a few Jews also lived there, which created a diverse community. During this period, the Lower City was built and many caves were hewn.

Around 113 BCE, John Hyrcanus I, the Hasmoean, conquered Maresha and converted the residents to Judaism.The upper and lower city became desolate ruins, and it was finally demolished by the Parhtian Army in 40 BCE.”

“Bet Guvrin is mentioned by Josephus Flavius in 68 CE as one of the towns conquered by Vespasian. Following the destruction of the Second Temple, it continued to exist as a rather crowded Jewish settlement until the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135 CE).

In 200, Emperor Septimus Severus renamed the city Eleutheropolis (City of the Free). It was a thriving area with aqueducts, five highways, dwellings, an amphitheater and public buildings. It is mentioned in the Talmud and Midrashim.

During the Byzantine Period, it was an important center of Christianity. The bell caves were dug during the Early Muslim period, and finds from the Crusader period indicated it was a small fortified city.

An Arab village occupied the site until 1948. In June, the Egyptian Army occupied the British Taggart Fort built at the outset of World War II. On October 27, 1948, Israeli forces recovered the area, and in May 1939 Kibbutz Bet Guvrin was established. “

We walked around some of the ruins and saw a Columbarium Cave, which is a pigeon coop with over 2,000 nciches. The birds were raised for cultic purposes and for food, and their dung was used as fertilizer.

We also saw water cisterns dug during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE, some dwellings, and the main shopping area.

Then we climbed down the hill.

Then we saw the Sidonian Burial Caves, which also had niches and restored paintings.

The Bell Caves were amazing. Named for their shape, the caves are what remain of quarrying activity. A narrow opening was created, and the perimeter of the pit broadened during the operation. The stone blocks were raised and removed from the cave by means of rope, and most of the work was done from the 7th to 10th centuries CE.

 

 

 

 

 

Our final stop was at the Amphitheater, which was being cleaned up from a concert the previous night. This was used for gladiator fights during the Roman period, as a public market during the Byzantine period, and has a Crusader fortress.

 

 

 We loved the confluence of history, modern Israel, geology, archaeology, and biblical reference. Equally amazing is that the site is 18 kilometers (about 9 miles) from our house.

Week of August 12th

This week really flew by, as it is the last week before the boys begin school and it was jam packed with all sorts of activities.

Sunday was another administrative day. I sat in the National Insurance Office waiting to get an extra  allotment for Moshe’s gluten-free food. I sat around for 30 minutes in a non-air-conditioned waiting room. When my turn finally came, the lady gave me a form to fill out that also has to be completed by the school. In the meantime, Chaim went to the post office to mail our stuff for the driving test. I ended up meeting him by the post office because the line there was so long. The post office serves multiple functions in Israel, which include paying bills.

Monday we met our cousins in Ramat Moza, Jerusalem, for a tour of the Yvel Jewelry Design Center. The company was started by Isaac Levy, whose family has a difficult time adjusting when they immigrated from Argentina. He started a jewelry design school for Ethiopian immigrants. We saw the school, the jewelry factories, and several show rooms of exquisite (and expensive) jewelry made from pearls, diamonds and other gems. The jewelry is often wore by celebrities to award shows and other events.

After our tour, the cousins went home and we went to Talpiot to look at cars. We stopped at the Mazda dealer, then went to Honda and Kia. We stopped by the Hyundai dealer. In the United States, it is pronounced Hun-Day; in Israel, they called them Youn-Die. Either way, it is another Had Gadya of Israel. We cannot buy a new car without an Israeli Driver’s License. We can’t take the test without a driving lesson. We called the driving teacher, and he said it will take six weeks to get the paperwork back from the Motor Vehicle Office. It takes three to six months to get a new car, depending on the model. If we want to buy a used car, we can do that with our American driver’s licenses, but we don’t get the special reduction on taxes as new immigrants that we would with a new car. Between the price and the taxes, a car is almost double what it costs in the United States.

 

Yvel, which is Levy spelled backward and is pronounced ee-VEL, was interesting. But Chaim decided it should really be pronounced liked EVIL – so much materialism. On Tuesday we went for more spiritual stuff and visited Tzfat and the surrounding areas.  We started in Meron at the grave of Shimon Bar Yochai, and proceeded down the winding road to several other graves. Then we went slightly north of Tzfat to a place marked on the map as Avnit  and visited a cave where Rava and Abaye are said to be buried. There is a military base right above the cave, and there was a lot of equipment mounted on the hills. The view was spectacular. We then went into Tzfat and spent a lot of time driving in circles until we found the cave of Shem and Ever, which was locked. Then we took a huge loop to find the grave of Nachum Ish Gamzu.

A highlight of the trip for me was visiting the Tzfat English Library. I finally had the pleasure of meeting Edyth Geiger and seeing her giraffe collection. Moshe and I dropped off the last of Grandma’s stamp collection for the stamp club that meets at the library. We also met Edyth’s daughter-in-law and granddaughter, and they took us into the library. What a vibrant place, filled with all kinds of books.

Wednesday we registered for Ulpan, which begins on August 28th. Then we went on a supermarket tour with our favorite Nefesh b’Nefesh person, Miriam.  We heard from Ora the nutritionist and met Yael the baker, and we learned about all the different dairy products and cleaning supplies.

Thursday was more paperwork. We went to the bus office to get passes, but the whole system was done the whole day. Then we went to the Interior Ministry to get temporary passports, but we are not eligible for them until October 4th. The good news is that they stamped our applications, so we do not have to bring the kids back when we go again.

The boys got haircuts. More like chops, not like the styling from our Italian barber in the states. Then the boys went to Ashkelon to go swimming in the Mediterranean.

Friday the boys went in to Jerusalem to take the tunnel tour. It entailed a lot of walking around, often up steep hills, and in the midday heat. The girls had a quiet day at home. We had the time and inclination to put some extra effort into the cooking, so we had potato leek soup and taco salad for Shabbat.

Sunday is the first day of school for both Yehuda and Moshe. It is definitely not as organized as Yeshiva Ktana. I finally got through to the school on Thursday. Moshe just needs to show up at 10 AM with a writing implement, a siddur, and some snacks. Chaim will be dropping Yehuda off at high school. In the afternoon, we’re hoping to go to the housewares store, the supermarket, possible the water company, back to get bus passes, and to look at a used car dealer.

We’re trying to keep cool both physically and emotionally.

Our weeks are still are combination of getting settled in our cottage and in Israel and trying to explore the area surrounding Ramat Bet Shemesh.

We were very excited to attend a wedding at Gan Hadasim in Kiryat Sefer. I kept calling it Gan Hasidim at first, but it had a beautiful outdoor setting for the chupah. I had been to the bride’s parents’ wedding, so it was particularly meaningful for me. Simply Tsfat provided the music, and at one point, it sounded like Riverdance. An interesting array of guests, amazing dancing, and delicious food made it a lovely evening. Moshe got to spend some time with his cousins as well.

Tuesday we went to an Expo for new olim at the Jerusalem Convention Center. We got some useful information and picked up some sway in the form of bags and the special device used to procure a supermarket wagon. Almost every store has them locked up, and it requires 5 shekel to unlock them. It’s not the 5 shekel – it’s just hard to remember to keep 5 shekel in your purse. Chaim had bought a pack of batteries just because a free device was included, but we got a few more, just in case.

After the Expo, we went to Machane Yehuda and Meah Shearim. We picked up some very fragrant spices and some salad mix, which all the vendor were selling. We also found the candy we like – sugar shaped like vampire fangs. In Meah Shearim we looked in a few bookstores and then picked up some olives at the appetizing store.

Ulpan ended this week, and the kids are happy to sleep in. It’s a little nerve racking that school is starting in less than a week, and we have no information and nobody picks up the phone.

Wednesday Chaim and Moshe went to the Air Force museum in Beer Sheva and then to the beach at Ashkelon. While they were touring. Dina and I did some baking and cooking to figure out how to use the mixer, the oven and the stove top. We baked some chocolate chip cookies, which came out very dark because there is only very dark brown sugar in Israel. The new mixer is a little hard to get used to because the cover has to be on to mix. We also made a butternut squash kugel and some quinoa with mushrooms, onions, and pastrami.

Thursday was another administrative day, with a visit to the copy store, the hardware store, and the supermarket. Osher Ad was crazy. There were no carts left, the lines were very long, and we picked the line with the most problems. The highlight of the shopping trip was finding chicken bones in the freezer section.

Friday morning we visited Herodion and Tekoa. Herodion was very interesting. We hiked up the mountain to see the ruins from the Greco-Roman period, then went through the tunnels dug during the Bar Kochba rebellion.

We enjoyed the food we prepared for Shabbat. It was nice to be able to eat all the foods we normally do on Friday night and Saturday morning, but kind of weird to realize that we were doing it in Israel.

Sunday was yet another administrative day. We cleared up the electric bill, went to the National Insurance Office, and then to the Post Office. We tried to go to the water company, but they were on vacation. By the time we finished dealing with all the paperwork and schlepping around in the heat, we took the afternoon off.

August 5th

Tuesday, July 31st marked one Hebrew month, and Friday, August 3rd marked a secular month for us in Israel. Now that we have somewhat of a routine, the days are filled with more mundane activities.

Tisha B’Av was very meaningful. Dina and I stayed in the house for fear of how the heat might interfere with our fasting. We broke the fast with leftovers from Shabbos that included salmon and salad.

Monday was back to camp for the kids and the next project for Chaim and me – getting our Israeli driver’s licenses. We went in search of the elusive Tofes Yarok – green form. First we went to the medical clinic to see the doctor, but he told us we had to get the form from somewhere else before we could see us.

In the meantime, we started doing all the laundry that accumulated between not having a washing machine and the nine days. The first load went well. After the second load, the entire bathroom was flooded. Now it is clear why the washing machine goes in the bathroom: in case there is a flood, it should go down the drain. Yet another call to our “property manager.”

Tuesday we continued our search. We stopped at the Motor Vehicle Bureau, which is located in the supermarket, and only open from 8 am to 1 pm. The lady there told us we had to go to an optical store to get the Tofes Yarok. There is one in the mall in Jerusalem, and another in a mall in Modi’in. We decided there would be less traffic going to Modi’in, so we circled around there until we found the optician. There the optician took our pictures, looked at our IDs, and gave us an eye test to determine if we could tell colors, see perspective, and had good peripheral vision. We are still not clear why an optician is the one who gives out government applications, but forms in hand, we returned to Bet Shemesh.

After yet another trip to the hardware store and the supermarket, we picked up the kids from Ulpan, dropped them at home, and proceeded back to the clinic to get our forms signed. We dealt with a very nice doctor, originally from Australia, and had our forms signed. In the afternoon, Chaim took the kids for their initial visits, and I waited for the plumber to fix everything.

Like everything in this cottage, a combination of poor construction, benign neglect, and being vacant for months left the drains clogged with all kinds of rocks, mud, etc. By the time the plumber finished, it was a little late to do laundry to hang out on the porch.

Wednesday was a big laundry day. We also brought our Green Forms back to Motor Vehicle to have them stamped. In the morning the appraiser came. Unlike America, they check the whole house for security and itemize things for insurance purposes.

In the afternoon we took a drive west. We turned right instead of left at the end of Route 10, so we got to see the field that is possibly where David fought Goliath. It is now the home of some big satellite dishes. After driving through the beautiful scenery, we realized we took the wrong entrance into the Gush, so we turned around and went back. We then continued up a very windy road, and we arrived in Beitar Illit. By then, we were a little tired and nauseous, so we returned home.

Thursday Chaim brought the Green Forms to the driving school and got another form. Now we have to go to the post office and mail them. We have to wait for the driving school to call us, as we each need at least one lesson to take the driving test (which starts in the supermarket parking lot).

We also attended a birthday party for our neighbor, who turned two this week. Always a pleasure to socialize with our neighbors and eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Friday we went on a family trip with the Ulpan. Yehuda and Dina stayed home while Moshe got his parents all to himself. We went to Kibbutz Shalavim, which has a special area for visitors. After a bumpy bus ride (more nausea!), we split into groups to do the activities. Our group started by making bricks and building a mud house. It reminded Chaim of Egypt, as the kids had to mix dirt, water, sand and straw to make their bricks and then more dirt and water to build the house. After a good rinsing, we went on to the wheat field. There we kids picked some stalks of wheat, then took them to another area to thresh out the kernel. On to grinding the kernels. Then the staff gave everyone a little ball of dough, and we made flat round shapes, which they baked in the oven. For those who are not gluten- free, they ate the hot pita bread with olive oil and za’atar. After that, we picked grapes and brought them to a different area, where the kids stomped on them (with bare feet), and turned them into grape juice. Our final activity was picking fresh herbs to make a mix of spices for Havdalah. I thought of my Orisha Girl friend as I smelled the fresh geranium.

We had hoped to speak more Hebrew on the trip, but the best part was being able to harvest some of the seven species of Israel and actually eat and drink the products.

After the trip, it was a rush to get ready for Shabbos. We have yet to find chicken bones or a chicken cut into eight pieces, so I made chicken soup with a whole chicken and I fried up some schnitzel for Friday night. I made cold sesame noodles to Seudat Shlishit, and I baked a gefilte fish in the oven. Dina made some brownies, and Chaim cooked the cholent.

There was a bar mitzvah in synagogue, and Dina and I enjoyed a restful Shabbos by not leaving the house the entire day.

Today the kids are in Ulpan in the morning, and Chaim and I did some straightening out and taking pictures for our complaint to the movers.

July 28th

Ulpan camp is a challenge for everyone. The routine of waking up and going every morning is a little hard after weeks of idle time, and the initial lessons are a bit elementary. But at least they have something to do while Chaim and I run errands.

We went to our neighbors Friday night. We are amazed at our English the parents are and how Israeli their children are. We also met the dog that barks at night. Sheleg is a big white animal that sighs loudly.

We ate our first cholent in our cottage. It’s a little tight in the kitchen to set up the cholent pot, the hot water, and be able to prepare, but it has been very nice to cook for ourselves.