The Inner Tour

I got the second movie on my Blockbuster que and it is two for two, another excellent film. This too was a documentary, called The Inner Tour. It was made by an Israeli-born filmmaker Ra'anan Alexandrowicz in 2001. He took a group of Palestinians from the West Bank (one was from Gaza) on a three-day sightseeing tour through Israel. I went into the film knowing this and thus expecting to see something with, perhaps somewhat of an Israeli slant ( only at the final credits did I notice the co-producer, a Palestinian, Raed Andoni). I was soon confused because the film was primarily in Arabic and it portrayed an array of people from a very elderly man wearing a Kaffiyeh who was looking for his village that he left in 1948 to a young woman whose husband was in an Israeli prison because he shot and killed an Israeli soldier to a middle-aged woman whose husband was killed by Israeli soldiers (both of these during the Intifada) to small children who had never seen the sea before to several young men who never thought they'd be side by side with Jews. This was no ordinary Israeli documentary. The bus driver was a Jewish Israeli. The tour guide spoke Arabic, Hebrew and English. The tour took them from the very north of Israel near the Lebanese border, where they saw the grottoes, Rosh Hanikra (Hebrew: ראש הנקרה "head of the rock caves") a unique geologic formation in Israel to the Arab town of Jaffa and a few other villages and finally to Tel Aviv.

I want to say it was fascinating and it was, but that might imply taking distance from the film; a distance I don't have. Having just recently come home from a two week trip to Israel (the last of well over a dozen trips I have made since the age of 16), I am not an impartial bystander, nor an objective observer. Still my heart ached watching this documentary. I am not sure what else to say, other than what the maker of the film, Ra'anan Alexandrowicz, said at the end of it.

"A new chapter will have to be writen in the two parallel and contradicting books which reflect the history of our land."



At this moment I am filled with the excitement and inspiration only a really good book or movie can elicit. I recently joined Blockbuster Onine and spent the better part of last Saturday night, combing through the various genres and picking out movies that either have been on my To See List or looked interesting and appealing enough to take a look. The hard part was ranking them as to which would come first, second, third, etc. I easily came up with 100 movies , including several documentaries and a few musical selections. I have a feeling I am going to be turning on the TV set a lot more often than I have been and it will be set on DVD, not TV.

The first on my list was MAD HOT BALLROOM. This movie experience was one of those for which you say afterwards, I laughed, I cried, I shouted out loud and I sat very still. I LOVED THIS MOVIE. It has within it elements of drama, humor, insight, and fun. What it is, is a documentary which came out in 2005 and was nominated for the 2005 National Board of Review Best Documentary, Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Documentary, and Chicago Film Critics Association Best Documentary. It should have won at least one of those. One
movie critic said, " Director Marilyn Agrelo’s “Mad Hot Ballroom” is the best documentary bar-none since 1994’s seminal basketball saga “Hoop Dreams.” These kids, at the raw age of 11 (fifth grade,) are changing in ways that they don't quite undersstand and as the reviewer says, "they are right in the middle of a growing period where it’s hard enough to look the opposite sex in the eye let alone dance with them cheek to cheek." Yet,

While watching this movie you experience a kind of hopefulness that is all to often missing in most forms of media, when it comes to discussing inner-city youth. You find yourself rooting not only for the best dancers, but for those that look so cute, you just want to hug them and for those who are maybe, a little too fat or funny looking and yet there they are dancing with self-pride and great, contagious smiles that leave you, yourself, sitting in your seat smiling so broadly, you catch yourself feeling just a little self-concious (unlike the kids who are beaming with pride.) You also find yourself, if you are anything like me, sharing with the parents and teachers of these kids, what can only be called "nachas" (there is no word in English that expresses what the Yiddish can, but the best translation might be: Naches - Joy: Gratification, especially from children. ) So, you could say there were moments in this film that I was bursting with "nachas" watching these kids dancing the Merengue and the Fox Trot and the Rumba, not to mention the Tango and Swing. It was so exciting to share in the excitement, trust and joy that the teachers and principals derived from the kids. And to watch these street wise kids speaking sometimes in Spanish and broken English and at the age of 11 about sex, and relationships and marriage and education and hopes and dreams, well, you might think, "out of the mouths of babes", but that would be demeaning in this case, because these kids talked openly and frankly and honestly about things we adults wish we could say, but often can not.

So, yes, I hightly recommend that you rent this movie. In fact, you may just want to save yourself the rental fee and purchase it right from the start, because I'm fairly sure that is what you will want to do after you see it.



My ode to spring. This is the poem that comes to my mind every Spring and I share it with you, who art... young at heart.

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
balloonMan whistles
e.e. cummings

And then there's Enchanted April.



I have one more post to add to the others concerning my past two weeks in Israel.
As I said, I had much down time there, allowing me to do my most recent favorite thing, blogging and exploring the blogs of others. I came across a blog called Jerusalem Wanderings....http://jerusalemgypsy.blogspot.com/) and on it I found the following description of an event, about which I wish everyone who blogs about PEACE IN OUR TIMES would read. So, if you happened upon my Meanderings and like what you are about to read....PLEASE, PLEASE do cut and paste and add it to your own blog or better yet, send your readers and friends to to read it, here, on mine. By the by, I asked permission of the source (actually not exactly the source, but the source's friend) to post it here and she was all to happy for me to do so. Now if only people.......all kinds of people.....would read it and take it to heart.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Women's Tent
I couldn't go because my boss wanted me to work on Friday which ruined my day off. The gathering sounded wonderful though and someone who was lucky enough to be there wrote about it. I'm printing excerpts here with her permission - dedicated to those who are pessimistic about co-existence....and for those who know it is possible.

My Experiences at the Women’s tent

The women’s tent occurred on Thursday-Friday 30-31st March 2006.
500 Druze, Muslim and Christian Arab, Jewish, American, Australian, Italian WOMEN gathered for 2 days of sharing ,ceremony, workshops, singing, food, dance and togetherness.

Imagine a place filled with love. There are people from all over the world. All gathered, all dancing. Smiling sharing and singing. These are people I would not normally be in communication with. They are my sisters on the path to another world a place of peace where we can be one. For some hours on Thursday, 30 March, the day after the solar eclipse, we had that, we had a new world. It was for me a beautiful world.

To see the women there congregating all with love, all with open hearts, all wanting to give, to learn, to see, to be. G-d and the angels and the light where with us that day. They received, I think, our blessings and they received our intentions and looked on with love. In returned they showered us with love from above.

Our dreams can come true. On Thursday dreams turned into reality. On Thursday women hugged. Druze women, Arab women, Jews, Christians, Americans and Europeans. We were all there. We were all present and counted for. Each woman brought her self, her friends, her love and her faith. What ever her faith maybe. Each woman opened her heart. There were no borders. The love flowed. I believe that g-d witnessed this and g-d, or the g-d in each one of us, G-d took over.

The organizers worried before the event about organization. Will people get involved? Will people mix and will there be a connection? I witnessed this worry. I witnessed the opposite at the event. The love just flowed. When it was the time of the workshops everyone was involved. There was no one outside. It was a miracle. It was at it should be.

I felt so much warmth. I just wanted to hug everybody. The day was intense. There was the opening ceremony where we celebrated all faiths then we got up and danced and danced and felt the ecstasy that broke the borders of who we are (Jews, Druze, Arab, other) and opened our hearts so that as one we danced and sang and became a circle or a tribe of women with tears of joy in our eyes sharing and celebrating and embracing a wonderful moment of pure joy.

We ate together the delicious food of the Druze community – Canafe and humous, labane and pitta.

We circled, we joined in ceremony and then again we sang. Our voices filled space and rose above. The voices of angels.

We returned to our Druze host families. Exhausted and sated.

The next day we joined and in the fashion of containing, we shared our stories and our experiences.

We ended the event with a tour of Daliyat El Karmel. We learnt from the Druze a little bit about their history their culture and their beliefs.

I learnt that the more I give the more I receive. I opened my heart and gave and received so much at times I felt I could burst with love.

I am writing this because I feel so much hope in my heart that this is the way. This is the way of the new community and here we witnessed a glimpse of a possible future. A future that today’s reality could deem impossible but the hope in my heart shouts this is what can be. If we hold it in our hearts this IS possible, this can be. More and more circles all over the world and they are happening – in 6 continents in September women will gather and hold space. In august the Sulha where thousands of people – Arabs, Jews, Druze and friends for all over will gather for 3 days of talking circles, workshops , dancing and music. Where again borders will be broken down and the language of love and hope will be spoken. There are so many events so many places in Israel at this time for our hearts to open. I feel so grateful. Festivals, workshops, singing groups. There can be a new reality – it is already happening now.

Tanya Lyons
posted by jerusalemgypsy



שלום-SALAAM-PEACE - Day 15 - Last Day or Our Trip

It is well past midnight and I would be wise to get to sleep as we must leave early tomorrow morning for our final passage, home to New Jersey. But I must take the time to put down a few final thoughts. We said our goodbyes at yet another Erev Shabbat meal at hub's mother's home. Tonight there were only 10 of us, a far cry from the 29 who sat around the 3 tables at Mordechai and Georgie's house for the Passover Seder in Omer and the 369 guests at the wedding last Sunday night. Tonight after the meal, my daughter and I looked at some picture albums belonging to hub's youngest brother and his wife, who live with Hub's mother. Photographs always remind me where we have been and I compare them to who we are now. But nothing tells us what we will be in the days to come.

It is always sad saying goodbye - Shalom, but one occurrence made it a sweet farewell. My daughter Rachel is a big fan of the "tea nana" (mint tea) served by her Israeli grandmother ("Meme"), at various times, but always when guest first arrive to her home from a voyage, as when we first got into Beersheva after our long flight from the US. It is served in small glasses with a kind of Moorish design. As an aside, when shopping with Rachel in the Arab market in East Jerusalem, we were offered mint tea or Turkish coffee in one of the shops where we made our purchases and chose to drink the coffee, also served in small glasses (these were clear glass, as you would see most of the time.) Anyway, "Meme's" glasses are festive and pretty and very much "say" hospitality. When "Meme" heard us asking where Rachel could purchase something similar to hers, she said that she wanted Rachel to take them. My daughter is not one to covet another's possessions and she shyly refused the offer, saying that they were Meme's and should remain with her, but Meme insisted. What a wonderful treasure it will be for Rachel in days to come to have this special gift from her grandmother; one that she will use frequently and every time she does she will be reminded of her grandmother's legacy, the warmth of hospitality and the gratiousness of giving freely and easiy of oneself.

So, with tea glasses in hand and after many double -cheek kisses goodbye, we drove to our "home" in Omer, packed and set out to sleep until the morning's light which will wake us and send us on our way back home. I have so much more to say about this trip and so many pictures to go with the stories, but they will have to wait till I'm back in the States. Meanwhile, I will end this post with what I had wanted to write the other night, but didn't get the chance, and it is this.

You know how they say that there are no Atheists in a fox hole? Well I would add that THERE ARE NO AGNOSTICS (me for instance) AT THE WESTERN WALL! I stood in front of it, tearing off a small piece of the long note I had written and stuffed in a crack in the wall. I placed my hands on its cold stones and I prayed. I am not a praying person, but I prayed for what I had written on the scrap of paper. For the world in general, for myself and my family, but mostly for this small strip of land and ALL it's struggling inhabitants.......



Theism? Atheism? - Israel: Day 12 of Trip

So, I am here in Israel on the 12th day of our trip and tonight is the Passover Seder. Last Sunday was the Wedding, the "Main Event" and reason for our trip. Aftr the wedding, my daughter And I went to Jerusalem for two days. Mostly, we wandered the narrow paths of the Arab shooks in the Old City. We also spent a bit of time in the Jewish Quarter. These experiences will come to bear in my thoughts, later in this post.

I have just come from my cyber friend, Marco's blog http://multisententiae.blogspot.com/2006/04/hypatia-of-alexandria.html#comments and because Marcos is an Atheist, much of his blog deals with discussions between Atheists and Theists. On his post about Hypatia of Alexandria, another cyber-friend, Diane http://anunfounddoor.blogspot.com/ , commented and ended it with a question for me. Rather than be the 32nd commentor (I'd already commented once) I will respond to Diane's queston here, on my blog. Diane asked, what are my thoughts on the notion that the problem is not with Religion per se, but with fanatacism.

I will start with the statement that I am an agnostic. Perhaps some consider this a cop-out. For me personally, it is simply in keeping with my overall inner-personality than anything. That is to say, I am often ambivalent regarding many of my beliefs and feelings. So, why wouldn't I also be ambivalent in my belief as to whether or not there is a god. It makes perfect sense that I would be and I am.

In response to Diane's remarks, I do not believe it is only the fanatics at fault for the distortions of religious beliefs and for the horrors that have been done in the name of "The Holy One", whomever that may be. Yes, it may be the fantic who lights the flame, but we humans are inclined to sheep-like behavior in response to a strong charismatic individual who attempts to lead the crowd to do his evil bidding. Once that flame is lit, the crowd will gladly spread the fire, and it seems, most especially, if that fire wraps itself around "RELIGION."

I sometimes wish there were no relgions at all and we lived John Lennon song, Imagine. But, as for this moment, the guests are arriving for the Seder and I am not yet ready, so I will close and return to this later. I have more to say.


On The Seventh Day - Oh the Polyglotness Of It All!

So, here we are on the 8th day of our trip. What is interesting is the Shabbat lunch and the people who sit around the table and the polygotness of it all (I think I made up that word, but it fits.) So, starting at the head of the table is David. David (that's pronounced Dah-veed) was born in Morocco somewhere around 1926...to this day, he claims to be no older than 60, go figure) , moved to Israel in the 1956, and then to Paris, France several years later, where he resided until about two years ago when he moved to Montreal. David speaks mainly French, but also Hebrew and Arabic. He is my hub's brother-in-law, married to his siter, Laurette. Next to David is Maurice, hubs uncle, brother of his mother. Maurice was born in Morocco and as far as I know went directly to France in the 50's. He lives in Dijon, France. Maurice speaks French and Arabic. By the way, the Arabic that they speak is called Mugrabit. Mugrabit is to Arabic what Yiddish is to German. They both have the influence of Hebrew.

Next to Maurice is Nicole, Maurice's wife. Nicole was born and raised in France. Niclole speaks only French. Alongside Nicole sits Georgie, hubs sister-in-law, married to his brother Mordechai. Georgie was born in Egypt, of a Scottish father and Israeli mother. She was in Palestine before it became the State of Israel, as her father was in the British Military. When she married Mordechai she remained in Israel. However, work took their family to Uruguay for about 7 years and to Paris for about 4. Georgie speaks first Hebrew, then English, then French and some Spanish. Next sits Alizza, hubs other sister, who was born in Morocco, grew up in Israel, and went to study at the Sorbonne in France and met her future husband and remained there until recently. Alizza divorced, but stayed in Paris with her children, met another man who lived in France, but was Israeli. Alizza now lives mostly in Tel Aviv, with frequest junkets to Paris to be with her two daughters.

At the other head of the table sits Laurette (as fore mentioned) Laurette, like her hub, David, was born in Morocco, went to Israel, by way of a short stop-over in the French port of Marseilles, which was a port-of-call for most Jews who left Northern Africa for Israel. Laurette had her children in Israel, but raised them in Paris. She and David recently followed their daughter, Lea, her hub and children, to Montreal after becoming terribly discouraged by the anti-Semitism they saw growing worse daily in France. Laurette speaks first French, then Hebrew and Arabic. Having worked for the International Tribune, and now living in Canada, Laurette speaks a smattering of English words.

Sitting near Laurette is Ruby, the great mother figure of this large tribe. Ruby was born in Morocco, had her first 7 children there and the next 1 in Israel. Ruby speaks Arabic and Hebrew, with a little French. Next to Ruby sits yours truly, Sherril, better known as Sharona here in Israel. I was born in NJ...USA, raised there and still live there. I speak first English, then Hebrew, with a smattering of High School
Spanish and Italian, which I learned during my semester abroad in Florence, Italy. Next to me sits Mordechai. Mordechai, also born in Morocco, then to Israel to live his life, with the exception of those years he and his family lived in Uruguay and Paris. Mordechai is the Polyglot of all Polyglots. He speaks Hebrew, Arabic, French, Spanish and English. almost all equally well.

Alongside Mordechai sits another perfect polyglot, Gidon (pronounced Gee-done and Gideon in English.) I am not sure where Gidon was born, but he has lived in France, Switzerland, a few other countries in Europe and of course Israel. He speaks Hebrew, English, French and I think German. And, finally, next to Gidon sits, the hub, Haim. Haim was also born in Morocco, emigrated to Israel and has lived in the United States since 1979. Haim speaks English, Hebrew, Arabic and a little bit of French.

Such was my polyglot day in Beersheva, Israel, April 8, 2006. Also of interest was the food that this multi-lingual group ate today and many of them eat every יום שבת...Yom Shabbat...Saturday! The main deal at this meal is the traditional חמין...Chamin (pronounced with that gutteral CH sound- ah-mean.) In the Ashkenazi Jewish world (that being from Eastern Europe as opposed to the Sephardic Jews who are from the North African countries and today I believe also those from Iran, Iraq, and Syria are considered to be Sephardic) is called "Cholent" (pronounced cho-lent.) Chamin or cholent consists of beans (usually chickpeas, can be other beans), barley or rice, potatoes, whole eggs, vegetable oil and the meat is generally chuck or flanken). The trick and necessity of this dish is that is is cooked very slowly and for a very long time. Everything gets this brown color and it doesn't look so appetizing, but it is D*E*L*I*C*I*O*U*S.


Only In Israel

Last night we were at the outdoor mall called, "Big." I was standing outside of a store, minding my own business when suddenly the "guard", also standing outside by the door, said to me in Russian-accented Hebrew...
למה אני עומדט פה לבד בלי אשה יפה Why am I standing here alone without a beautiful woman?
He looked perfectly serious and directly at me and something in his expression seemed to suggest that maybe I was somehow at fault for his unfortunate dilemma. I shrugged and walked away. (I don't know, should I have tried to provide some answer? I guess I just don't know proper stranger etiquette.) Anyway,before I got too far, I stopped and turned around. A van pulled up in front of the store and a rather curvacious young thing, with painted on jeans that hugged her hips well below her bare midriff and belly button ring, climbed out of the van. My first thought was that, this being "the promised land and all" maybe she was god's answer to this man's query. But the girl, who could have passed for a rock singer's groupie, ignored the guard, practically running him over as she ran towards the store (it was past 10 PM at this point), and just as she bounded across the store's entryway, she stopped abruptly, for a split second, long enough to raise her right hand, gently touch the ever-present mezzuzah, kissing the spot on her fingers that touched the mezzuzah before, unconscientiously, continuing briskly on her way.
Only in Israel!


Israel - April 5 - Fifth Day of Trip

This is a trip to Israel unlike any I have taken before. I have spent my time between this computer, the one upstairs, my novel, The Falls, which I have finished by the way, visiting hub's mother in Beersheva, eating very good food and sleeping. In the past 26 years (OMG!!! Has it been that long???) our visits have consisted of a lot of visiting with family and eating, but always interspersed with sightseeing, hiking and traveling the country. This time, we came well before the main event, i.e. the wedding, for reasons having to do with airline prices. And somehow we decided to stay put and relax rather than travel. I haven't really minded it, but it does seem like a long way to go and a lot of cash to spend for R&R.

So,with all this time on my hands, I will take a look back at prior Israel experiences.

Summer of 1968 was my virgin voyage. In 1964 I had my Bat Mitzvah (not a common occurrence for girls at that time) and rather than give me a big party, as they had done for my sister four years prior and would do for my brother four years later, I was offered a future trip to Israel, which would be with the Bar Mitzvah Club and was set for the summer of 1967, three years after the Bat Mitzvah. I chose wisely the trip over the party.

As it happened, the Six Day War was to interfere with my parents best laid plans and the trip was postponed to the following summer, 1968. We were a group of about 50 kids from all over the United States, grouped into two smaller groups, each of which traveled on its own bus. I kept a journal that summer and took many pictures, all of which are at home. Perhaps I will make an addendum to this post and add some of my journal and photographs when I get home.

This particular trip to Israel would end up being one of the 5 or 6 Defining Events of my life and it happened at the young and impressionable age of 16. Having seen both the horrors and despair within the walls of Israel's museum of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, http://www.yadvashem.org/ and the beauty of Jerusalem (where we had our home base for those two months at a former hospital called Zev), I was forever changed. I had learned about Israel in Hebrew School and my parents had been there even before the 6 Day War, but nothing was to prepare me for the depth of feelings and reactions only a 16 year old girl can have.

I was awed by the archeology, as for example when we arose at 4 AM to climb the snake path to the top of Mt. Masada, where the Jews who were called the Zealots, committed mass suicide, rather than submit to the Roman soldiers, in 73 CE, who captured this, the last Jewish stronghold. I was impressed by the Art as seen in the Chagall windows in the Synagogue at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and in the mystical city of Tzfat, in the Artists Quarter. So many things excited me then, but, perhaps what impressed me most was the city of Jerusalem. Where else on earth can you see prctically side by side a modern office buiding, the Stations of the Cross, Stamatsky's Bookstore, the Dome of the Rock, the modern Kenesset building (Parliament), The Tower of David, a Falafel Parlor and the Western Wall....all in walking distance one from the other?

There is a song, Western Wall, sung by Linda Rondstadt and Emmylou Harris, written by Roseanne Cash, on the CD: Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions CD. The lyrics say it rather well.....

I stand here by the Western Wall. Maybe a little of that wall stands inside us all

I shove my prayers in the crack. I've got nothing to lose, no one to answer back

All these years I've brought up for review. Wasn't taught this but I learned something new

And to answer the distant call. At the Western Wall

I've got a heart full of fear. And I offer it up on this altar of tears

Red dust settles deep in my skin. I don't know where it starts and where I begin

It's a crumbling pile of broken stones. It ain't much but it might be home

If I ever loved a place at all. It's the Western Wall

I don't know if God was ever a man. But if she was I think I understand

Why he found a place to break his fall, Near the Western Wall!

I'll end here and pick it up later.

שלום ו להטרוט


Photos Following My Footsteps: Israel Trip: April 2006

Photos Following My Footsteps: Israel Trip: April 2006

Click on link to see the photo blog post.

היום יום שלישי: Tuesday, the Fourth Day of IsraelTrip

Some more musings from Omer.

....driving back to Omer to Mordechai and Georgie's home, we pull into their street, not unlike a suburban street at home, with the exception of the donkey directly in our path, with it's two young boys riding on it's back and a third hanging on, attempting to right himself in order to ride with his two mates.

In Israel this is one of the things I have always noticed and appreciated, that is the modern with the ancient, not old, but ancient, side by side.


Pictures of Mordechai and Georgie's Home and Gardens
in Omer


Random Thoughts from Israel

I haven't anything profound to say, so I will go with random thoughts I've had.

...sitting outside reading my book, The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates and I hear something pleasing that demands my attention. It is birdsong. At first I look up into the ivy covered wall and the tall palms and the large green leaves of a plant I don't recognize and I see no birds, but I distinctly hear their song. Then I do see a small bird with a yellow beak and then another. They are singing...tweeting....birdsong and I think these are Israeli birds...is it Hebrew birdsong I am hearing? And if these birds, who are free to pass any boundry, fly over to Jordan or Egypt or even closer to the West Bank, will the birdsong become Arabic?

Site of Birdsong

....walking the very quiet streets of Omer on Sunday at around 2:30 PM and there are children, some with backpacks on their backs, others pulling them along on their wheels.....I ask two kids in my heavily accented American Hebrew if the building behind them is part of the school and they reply without a second thought to my being a stranger, no, it is for sports and clubs. I thank them and they tell me you're welcome. It is so quiet and peaceful. Quiet and peaceful and the smell of Spring permeates the air. Such is a place that hopes tomorrow will be just like today, nothing out of the ordinary. A prayer that tomorrow will not bring a terrorist's bomb, but if it does, it will, unfortunately, not be something so very out of the ordinary.

Bayit Ha Musica - A School for Music...I heard piano playing as I passed the building.

....being called to go to the house of "Ema", hub's mother. His sister and brother in law have just arrived for the wedding from Montreal, originally Paris. Must go and greet them; cheek to cheek....kiss kiss .....kiss kiss.....


שלום לקולם אני פה בארץ....And Eating MAMAGLIGA

שלום מישראל. אני פה בארץ. מה שלוםכם? אני יושבת עכשיו בבית של אח של בעלי. קוראים לו מורדכי. אני למדתי

לכתב עברית לפני הרבה שנים. סלח לי על השכיות

For those who may not have learned Hebrew in their course of life's studies, this is what I wrote, or attempted to write, in my measly Hebrew.

Hello from Israel. I am here b'aretz (which translates to in the land and means "in the land of Israel".) How are you all? (which means y'all for my Texan readers.) I am, at the moment, at the home of my husband's brother,Mordechai and his wife Georgie (I didn't really write the Georgie part in Hebrew because it was giving me a headache to get it right, even by my current standards of Hebrew writing.) I learned to write in Hebrew a very long time ago. So, forgive me the mistakes.

According to Mordechai, there was at least one mistake in every word I wrote. Oh well. It's the effort that counts, no??? But סןף סןף (finally) my husband corrected my errors (so, what else is new?) and the above Hebrew content is A-OK!

I had not planned on posting from here, but here I am doing just that. It is 9:15 PM here, 1 PM back home and I hear preparations downstairs for dinner. We've already eaten breakfast (around 10:30 AM), which consisted of coffee, fresh assorted rolls, a variety of cheeses, the best of which is called Bulgaria cheese and the closest we have is Feta, but this is saltier and moister and yummier. They have feta also, but so far, we haven't found the equivalent of Bulgaria at home. For lunch (about 2:30 PM) we ate a meal prepared by Georgie's friend, Simone (Simone and her husband, Izu....a familiar form of Itzchak, shared this and yesterday's lunch with us). Simone and Izu are originally from Romania and Simon'e cooking has that Rumanian Flair. The meal started with ciorba (soup).


1 large onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
about 10 cups of chicken broth
16 oz can of baked beans in tomato sauce
1 lb pasta (macaroni, curly pasta, etc)
sausage, chorizo cut up in 1/2 inch pieces. Beef Sausage preferred and a must if made in Israel

Saute onions in large pot that will hold all ingredients. Add carrots, red pepper and then the sausage, sautying each in turn for a few minutes. Saute sausage. Add chicken broth.
Add can of beans. Cook to a boil. Add pasta after about 10 minutes of boiling. Let it bubble about 15 mins or until the sausage is soft.

Serve Ciorba and Smile.

After the soup came what is considered RomaniaÂ’s most novel dish.Calledd mamagliga, a hard or soft cornmeal mush, which is boiled, baked or fried (I think ours was baked). It comes out looking like a big blob of yellowey, jelloey mush (fear not, it has no jello and tastes much better than it sounds or looks). We were informed that it is not to be eaten by itself but with something else, which in our case was to be stuffed cabbage. Both the stuffed cabbage and the mamagliga were absolutely delicious.

Lest there not be enough food, a large Israeli salad (generally consisting of some combination of small cut up pieces of tomato, cucumber, sometimes lettuce, sometimes onions or scallions) was also served and another dish of chicken with boiled sweet potatoes. Desert was Turkish Coffee and chocolate covered wafers. We never leave the table hungry.

Which brings me to the present time of almost 1 AM. We finished eating dinner about a half hour ago. Dinners are light since the mid-day meal is the larger of the two. Tonight we had a plate of vegetable....tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers cut in large, lovely slices, adorning the plate in a circle. On the table were also cottage cheese, Bulgaria cheese, slices of bread, large green olives, sardines (one of the very few things I do NOT like) and borekas (for the uninitiated, this is a kind of pastry filled with meat or cheese, in this case cheese since in Israel most people, even if they don't keep kosher, do not mix milk and meat.) We sat and gabbed, sliding as easily from Hebrew to English, as the fine Israeli wine slides down our throats.

It is late and I need to sleep, so I will wait for a future post to describe the walk I took today and any other pieces of mind-flow related to this Israeli adventure. For now it is time for bed......לילא תןב (I'm pretty sure I've erred in the spelling the Hebrew translation of good night, but blame it on fatigue and the fact that my translators are all sleeting.)

שרןנה (Sharona....aka Sherril)