Monday, February 23, 2009

Sabra Album - Machane Yehuda Edition

You can also visit Sabra Album Take 1 , Take 2 and Take 3 if you missed them.Continuing to post pictures that talk about how Israel is such a special and interesting place. These pictures are so unique to Israel that I’m calling them “Sabra Album” (Click here for definition of Sabra).
This time I will include pictures of our most recent visit to Jerusalem’s famous marketplace Machane Yehuda on the busiest day of the week (Friday).
It was a great blend of sounds, sights, smells, tastes & conversations.

History Museum
You can’t miss this store. At first it looks like the museum of modern Israeli history because of the pictures of all the prime ministers, politicians and even rabbis. However once inside you’ll see it’s really an underwear store, yeah that’s right, what better place to hang a picture of a former prime minister but on top of a rack of tighty-whities. We chatted for several minutes with the store owner (on picture) who had very strong opinions about every single one of the personalities on the pictures that by the way he said he has met most of them.

From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

Healthy Food?!
The sign in the front of the Falafel stand reads “Falafel - Calorie Free”. Yeah right…..
I did not try the Falafel given the time of the morning however we did buy some delicious fresh goods from one of the many bakeries. That smell of freshly made pastry is just irresistible.

From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

Location, Location, Location.
The sign reads “For Sale”. If you are interested in this property please talk to me before, there are some things you need to be aware of regarding the location. :)

From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

Urban Frescos
Isn’t it beautiful and original? These are all paintings on walls and on the phone company boxes.

From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

Strolling around the marketplace. (Click to look at all photos)

Lessons on Memulim sourcing.
Lesson #1: Definition: Memulim = Stuffed food
Lesson# 2: Price: Memulim le 40 shekel, as repeated over and over and over again by one of the sellers trying to attract people (just like us) and distributing the plastic plates to fill up

Lesson #2: Grab plate and identify target (if opponents allow you to do so)
From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

Lesson #3: Very important: If next to the stand and with tongs on hand, DO NOT LEAVE THE STAND regardless of the pressure of the opponents

From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

Lesson #4: For beginners, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Once the stand is empty you can proceed to collect your food

From Machane Yehuda Jan 2009

Lesson #5: Enjoy….. They were actually very good.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Elections, Tu b'Shvat, How about visiting Jerusalem?

The Election
It was a great experience to be able to exercise my right and obligation as an Israeli citizen to vote last week.
It was an interesting experience as well being part of the democratic process. There were 33 political parties to choose from, yes 33 and there was a 34th card in case you want to add yours (or vote for no one). Why so many political parties? Israelis all have very strong opinions and they each have their own interests that they want to put forward in a political party.

Let’s take for example the green leaf party (not to be confused with the environmental Green party), it’s not a joke but this party is concerned only with legalizing marihuana (see picture below), what about peace? The economy? Iran? Palestine? Education? If you don’t think it’s ridiculous already add to this that since they are so small they decided to bring in another small party: The holocaust survivors… I have respect for everyone but sometimes can’t understand this system. Don’t worry the green leaf party did not get any seats.

From Sabra Album

The TV commercials for the political parties were very interesting and sometimes even funny. There’s for example one of the Arab parties TV ad from which I could not understand anything (it was all in Arabic) but you could see the party leader and then lots of music and videos of soccer players, I’m not sure what their interests are, but it’s important to note that in this democracy 2 different Arab parties got in total 7 seats in the parliament.
We don’t have a clear elected prime minister yet given the small gap between to two leading parties and the unknown coalitions that need to be formed.
By the way it was great to have the entire day off for the 10 minutes (or less) that took to vote. Se below some pictures of our activities during the voting day. After voting we went for a quick hike (quick because it was cold and muddy).

Tu B'Shvat
The new year for the Trees (Tu B'Shvat) was celebrated last week. Below are some photos of a trip the kids did with Liora to an ecological farm in Modiin where they planted a tree together with other new olim (new immigrants) in the presense of our city mayor. There are also some other pictures from home. Below that is a video of the kids singing (and the mother) a Tu B'Shvat song next to a Shkedia (almond tree).

How about visiting Jerusalem?
Continuing our Friday 3 hours without kids activities we were trying to figure out on Thursday night what to do the next morning. Isn't it great to just wake up and say: How about visiting Jerusalem? So we did. We drove to Jerusalem started with a "walking" breakfast with out of the oven borekas, juice and cofee, we then took a walk through the old city walls and made it to the Kotel (western Wall) we walked back to the car through the Jewish Quarter where we bought fresh Chalot (shabbat bread) and made it still in time to pick up the kids. After that to give Liora some time without the kids at home and prepare for our 10 lunch guests, I took the kids for a hike to a mountain nearby with people from our synagogue. See some pictures below.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

מ.ג (XLIII) is in our hands

מ.ג (XLIII) is in our hands
I might not be the most devoted fan, but to follow steelers-ball on a weekly basis at odd midnight hours is certainly something. The challenging part is not staying awake until 5am watching a game, the challenge is the day after. I was lucky enough to have Liora by my side enjoying the 1st half, but then the boss (Bruce Springsteen) put us both to sleep at halftime. I woke up again to watch the rollercoasting 2nd half. What I’m sure about that I’m the strongest Mex-American Israeli from Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
I wish I was downtown at da’burgh when the team will parade victorious as Cessar returning from war. I was there in 2006 welcoming them back home.
Lets enjoy our victory, 1 year of being the champions & hope for a great next season with more 1pm games (for the sake of all of the fans watching the games 7 hours ahead).

Family Visits
As always we are lucky enough to have more family visiting. Welcome to Tia (aunt) Bashe. She was ones my Hebrew teacher…
I guess Israel, although further from family and friends, is more of a destination point than Pittsburgh. I will reset the “family visit countdown clock” as soon as I confirm of a surprise visit that’s in the works, don’t worry, I don’t think the one to be surprised reads the blog.
We are also very excited to host for Purim our Pittsburgh friends and kids, we are looking forward to your visit. You are all welcome to visit, it’s our honor to host you and show you our beautiful country.

The most honorable Aliyah – Part II
I posted last time about The most honorable Aliyah where it was the most meaningful and honorable Aliyah (called to a blessing of the Torah) I’ve ever not gotten. (If you didn’t read it I recommend you do on the link above).
Well in the end it has a happy ending since I was called up for an Aliyah last Shabbat to cover for the Aliyah I did not get. The End.
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