Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanks G’d it’s Thursday?
As you have read from my blog. Our weekends really start on Thursday nights. Is this the night to go out? Not for us. We have tried to prepare ourselves for Shabbat on Thursday night, that way since I don’t work on Fridays and there is no Ulpan for Liora (Hebrew classes) then we can take early the kids to school and go out until 12:30pm to pick them up.
It’s a swap of “Family Sunday” to “Marriage Friday morning” .
Two weeks ago we were able to go to Jerusalem visit the Menachem Begin museum (Begin Center) which I highly recommend. I asked my father the other day to recount my encounter with this great leader of Israel and Nobel prize winner, it goes something like this: We came to Israel to celebrate my brother’s Bar Mitzvah in the early 80’s, it was my first trip to Israel and during my first visit to the Kotel (Western Wall) as we were going down the steps a “big guy” stepped on my tiny sandaled foot. I started to cry as my father tried to confront him but noticed there were several of them with Prime Minister Begin in between them. As they passed us, Begin saw me crying, reached out to me and patted my head. That’s it… It was not really something to include in his museum, but it definitely deserves a place in my museum (aka Blog). It’s amazing how something so insignificant for a big leader can be so big for a regular person. After the museum we still had some time to visit the Western Wall. Isn’t it amazing we are 30 minutes away from the Kotel?
Last Friday we were also able to take the morning out and visited the Palmach museum in Tel Aviv, also highly recommended. Our morning started as we parked in the museum an hour before the museum reservation started and looked for a place for a nice sit down breakfast. Unfortunately we got hit by Tel Aviv’s reality… The first place we stopped by…Not Kosher, the second one…Lo Kasher, Third one…Niet. It just hit me that it’s actually hard to find a Kosher place in Tel Aviv, or at least in that area. In the end we got into a mini-market bought yogurt, juice and a sandwich and ate it on a table outside. Back to the museum, it is so well done. I have never seen a museum like that were they make you part of it and play with all your senses. They make you feel part of this elite early Israeli army division and from my point of view in the end they show the miraculous war victory and foundation of the Jewish State.
I’m liking these Fridays, however I still miss Sundays.

We are Family
Since we moved here I have been able to meet family that I haven’t seen for a while or have never met in the past. It is great to be able to live closer to family. Last week for Shabbat we were able to host 2 second cousins with their respective families. It was great hosting them for lunch and getting to know their children. Also last week I was able to see a lot of my immediate family at my first cousin’s engagement party in Jerusalem. It was nice seeing them, celebrating this great event and a very interesting experience in the center of the ultra-orthodox society.
It has also being great meeting other distant family members from my Father’s mother side, from my mother’s father side who is also related to Liora’s family in an even more distant way, Liora’s distant relative (Krova) and soon we will be meeting even more. What better place to reunite families?
We are counting the days to see our parents and family coming in a month from Liora’s side, and then later for Passover from my side. We are also looking forward to my nieces visit soon.

Slow November
I just noticed that November has been the slowest month in terms of Blogs. I have been coming back late from work and with not much energy left to sit in front of the computer.
Below are some pictures of the kids at a Pirates party, our last visit to Jerusalem and other for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Blessings

Just a couple of videos for your enjoyment.

First: Ilan singing Hamalach Hagoel, the blessing Jacob gave to Joseph's children Menashe & Ephraim (Genesis 48:16).

Second: Batya singing Birkat l’shlom hamedina, the blessing for the wellbeing of the state of Israel that she learned at school.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wishing you health
I would like to open this blog wishing a speedy recovery to our dear friend in Pittsburgh. You are in our prayers everyday and wish for your health from the land of Israel. We send our regards to the family as well.

A Day at the Hospital
The last couple of weeks have been very active for all our doctors. Batya’s strept was followed by Ilans strept and most recently Liora followed. Antibiotics are very popular at home, but thank G’d we are all healthy now.
A quick visit Liora made to the eye doctor in Modiin led to a visit the morning after to the hospital due to something the doctor needed a second opinion on and potentially a laser intervention. Before I go on I would like to let you know that there was no problem at all but it was worth checking just to make sure…ahh and of course for the experience at an Israeli public hospital.
Visiting the hospital was a unique experience. First, to enter you go through airport security, I haven’t blog much about this but at every public place when you park the trunk of your car needs checked (How about my Pittsburgh English?) and every person needs to pass through a metal detector and bag check. After that comes the paper pushing and sticker sticking, many forms, many people and offices were visited until we got to the eye doctor, whishing that we get a doctor who can explain things in English we were blessed with Dr. Garza. To our surprise there is a very high amount of Mexican doctors (not necessarily Jews) who choose the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem for their 3 year residency. So we were able to understand everything in Spanish.
It was very interesting seeing the sea of people inside the hospital. Arabs, Jews, Muslims, Druze & Christians, all colors, black hats, baseball caps, wigs, scarfs and no wigs, black kipah, knitted kipah and no kipah, Russians, Ethiopians, American, Mexican. We were all waiting for our turn and we are all representing Israel’s population.

A Weekend at Haifa

We spend a beautiful Shabbat a week ago with our Pittsburgh friends who moved more than 3 years ago to Haifa. It’s a very nice city with a breathtaking view. We were able to see all the way to Lebanon from there. It was nice seeing them and getting to know other communities in Israel. Thanks for your hospitality.
Before getting to Haifa we went to an Arab village known by its mix of Muslims, Christians and Druze Arabs. There we visited an Olive Oil factory that the company I work for distributes. It was a great experience to be welcomed into their home business since the 19th century. They have seen the Ottomans/Turkish, British and now Israel. We were offered coffee, delicious samples or their products and many products as a gift that we could not turn back, too bad I don’t like olives. I must admit that I was worried on our way there as we drove and were surrounded by Arab villages, mosques, arab shops with signs in Arabic. But then I realized that these places are proof that we can all get along and live together in peace.
I’m including some pictures from our trip to Haifa, enjoy.

A Month at Work

I received last week my first paycheck here in Israel. I worked hard for every Agura (penny) on that paycheck. Work has been challenging. Hebrew for 9 hours straight. I can manage talking and understanding but I’m having most difficulties reading and most of what I write is in English. Processes are different, people interact differently, customers and consumers are different, resources are different, a private company is different than a public one, data availability is different, and the list goes on and on. There is still a lot to learn. I work roughly from 9am till 6pm (or later) with lunch on site at 1pm. People are OK with me writing in English as well as every once in a while throw a couple of words in English at meetings. My official title is Marketing Manager, Food Division. I manage primarily 3 brands: Heinz (who’s dear to my heart given my 6 years there), Quaker (who I have been a consumer for several years) and Sipahh (a recently launched straw with milk flavoring). I have someone reporting to me (Brand Manager) and I report to the company’s Marketing Manager who reports into the CEO.

A Night at Heinz Field

I have been lucky that they have televised many of the Steelers games. However it seems like every time I stay up late they end up losing and even scoring safeties against themselves. The game against the Chargers is just starting but a 4:15pm game means 11:15pm for me, so we’ll see how far I can go. (What happened to the 1pm games?)
Something I notice is the white stuff falling on Heinz field and would like to give all my friends in Pittsburgh a quick picture to see what they are missing in the Holyland. Take into account that it’s 4pm Pittsburgh vs. 11pm in Modiin. Enjoy and visit soon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our bets are in
We received and sent our absentee ballots, now it’s your turn to vote.
It’s a little ironic that I’m exercising my right to vote for the first time as a US citizen from Israel.

Speedy recovery to all
We’ve been here 3 months and the kids have been sick more times than a whole year in Pittsburgh. Ilan had a stomach flu last week and as he went back to day care Batya started with Strept. I guess it’s because they are exposed at school to 3 times the amount of children they were exposed to in Pittsburgh. Another factor could be the fact that they are not into Purel.
We send from Israel prayers for a speedy recovery to Bobe Jaye.

Below are some pictures of the kids.
Make sure also to check our latest videos and watch the kids having fun with the corrugates from the shipment.

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