Getting Our Bearings -- Elkanah? Ariel? It’s Geography Time; Plus a Little Bad with the Good

In my second blog (the first from Israel), I described a bit of the geography of Israel with an emphasis on Efrat. I continue with a little more geography, this time with an emphasis on the central area of Israel (north of Yerushalayim), where I spent Shabbat with Ezra and Shiri. Ezra and Shiri chose to live in the small suburban settlement of Elkanah, with a modest population of 4,000, due east of Tel Aviv, three miles over the Green Line. (Elkanah is the name of Samuel’s father; we read about his wife Chanah on the Haftarah for the first day of Rosh ha-Shanah.) Ezra attends IDC in Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv (westward), and Shiri is a student at Ariel University, so they compromise

A Glorious Week, Israeli-Style

As I am about to enjoy my second Shabbat in Israel this year -- at Ezra and Shiri’s apartment in Elkanah -- I take this opportunity to write about my first Shabbat and weekdays in Efrat. It could hardly have been better: My aliyah children -- Micah, Alyssa, Ezra, and Shiri -- were all with me. In preparation, on my first Thursday and on Friday morning, I shopped for food and an array of kitchen and household items -- pots, pans, glasses, etc; setting up an apartment by and for a male on his own was, to be sure, a new and challenging experience. What did I really need? I spent much of Friday cooking. Cooking itself is not unfamiliar to me, but this was. I prepared several meals at once

A Normal Life in Israel

Shalom from the Holy Land, land of our ancestors, the Promised Land, the State of Israel! As I begin my sabbatical -- abridged due to, God willing, the impending births of two grandchildren -- I am living in Efrat, about a 20-minute walk to Micah and Alyssa's apartment. Efrat lies about 15-20 minutes south of Yerushalayim (by car); it is mentioned in the Torah in Genesis 35:16-19. “They (Jacob’s family) set out from Bethel; but when they were still some distance short of Efrat, Rachel was in childbirth, and she had hard labor… Rachel died. She was buried on the road to Efrat now Bethlehem …” The geographic (and cultural) center of modern Israel is Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim. Tel Aviv is si

The Ups and Downs of Getting to Israel

My flight to Israel had its ups and downs and twists and turns. My path from Newark, NJ (Marian and I spent Shabbat with Akiva, Lauren and Emuna) to Toronto to Tel Aviv hit a snafu: The plane coming in from Toronto to Newark was delayed due to weather, so I would not make it to Toronto in time to catch my flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv. The agent found me another flight to Toronto leaving shortly with one open seat, but as she was keying in my info, that seat was taken. She then found me a direct flight from Newark to Israel with another airline. The good news was that it would be direct from Newark and it was scheduled to arrive in Israel an hour earlier than my original flight. When I

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