Published: February 26th 2011February 26th 2011
Merrill, Sharon and me
Good friends from Adopt-a-Family
Israel is fantastic. I’ve been having a great time with only one minor problem. I can’t seem to drive from Point A to Point B without getting lost. I’ve seen a lot more of Tel Aviv and the outskirts of Jerusalem that I ever intended to see. On the way from the airport last night I got to less than 1 block from the “hotel” where I’m staying and then spent over ½ driving in circles trying to find the actual building. There was construction in the street in front of the building so it was impossible to find until I found my phone and the women who answered talked me in. The “hotel” is Spartan to say the least. There are linoleum floors in the “lobby” and the room is tiny. I think it is a good way to start adjusting to the simple life on an IDF base. I had a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant, Goombah, where I’m having dinner tonight. Why mess with a good thing and risk getting lost? Last night I sat outside next to a large group of 20 or 30 somethings – very hip – sort of a cross between Newbury St
and JP. (Tonight the couple sitting next to me reminded me of Josh and Madeline – not what they look like as human beings but how they are dressed, their tattoos and their piercings.)
This morning left my hotel in what I thought would be plenty of time to meet my friends just north of Tel Aviv. I had my Google map, but I blew by the exit and even when I got back on track the restaurant was as the end of a dirt road in the middle of commercial green houses. Once again, I made it only because Merrill talked me in. I worked with Sharon (originally from South Africa) and Merrill (from NJ) on the Adopt a Family program. As with good friends, after we spent 15 minutes catching up, it was like a saw them last week. Merrill’s life hasn’t changed much and she still works for an Import firm and devotes a lot of time to caring for feral cats. Sharon, who is now a grandmother, is the major gifts officer at Bar Elan University and just closed a $25 million gift to start a medical school there. She is now in a relationship with
Israel Museum in Jerusalem
a man who had been her advisor with Adopt a Family. They travel a lot and just got back from sailing his boat from Israel to Croatia. The last time we were in Israel in 2003, his son took Jack and Jess for a flight in their plane over northern Israel.
After lunch I headed to Jerusalem to go to the Israel Museum. In keeping with my transportation problems, I drove around for over ½ looking for the museum. Eventually, I stopped 2 women who were on their way home from Jerusalem. I mentioned that I wished I had rented a GPS with the car and they commented that using a GPS near Jerusalem wasn’t always a good idea since you easily end up in either an ultra-Orthodox or Palestinian neighborhood and neither was a great place to be driving a car with Israeli plates on Shabbat. They couldn’t explain how to get to the museum but offered to show me the way if I would then turn around and bring them back to near where we were. The museum is the home of the Dead Sea scrolls and a huge replica of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period. Their
archeology section featured an exhibit of Jerusalem from pre-history through its occupation by the Jews with intermittent occupation by the Romans, Crusaders, Muslim, etc. who either slaughter or banished the local Jewish population. There is a reconstructed temple from Italy which looks very much like the synagogue where I attended service in Venice. The extensive exhibits of Judaica from all over the world over the past 1,000 years included a beautiful Ketuba (weddings are on my mind) and there was a video showing how Jews in Northern Africa use Henna as part of their wedding ceremonies. There’s also a large wing of contemporary art. In their new acquisitions they had a familiar photograph by Nick Nixon whose wife work with me at Planned Parenthood. Getting back to Tel Aviv was a snap, but finding the neighborhood with my hotel too longer than the drive between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
It’s time to dig into the crab in my dinner which means putting away the laptop.
Tomorrow I’m off early to meet the representative of Sar El at the airport and then I’m off to my IDF base. Shalom
There are more photos below