Andrew's Israel Journals 1995-1998

[IMAGE of Jerusalem]


1986 1990 1993 1995 1997 1998 2000-1 2000-2 2001 2003 2004 2005

thursday 9am
On Sunday evening, I got together with Larry Denenberg, and we set off in search of Israeli folk dancing. We'd heard that there was dancing in both Mt Scopus and at the HUC. We decided to try Mt Scopus first. This turned out to be quite the wild goose chase, there was a dorm room complex called Mendelsonn (I think) that was supposed to have dancing, but once we found it, there was no dancing. We finally wove our way to Bar Aton at Mt Scopus, where I'd danced before, and sure enough, there was dancing, but it was to '60's music - feh. The Archie's "Sugar Sugar" was playing when we got there. We gave up on Mt Scopus and headed for HUC, which we found with no problem. The dancing there was in an outdoor plaza, pretty nice, maybe 50-75 dancers, fairly familiar repertoire. Larry knew one of the dancers, Deborah, who was there with her friend Amy. They are cantorial students at CUJ. They told us that they were planning to go see Achinoam Nini the next day, she was going to play from 3AM till dawn at Masada. It didn't take much prodding to get me and Larry to come along. The next day, I took it pretty easy, tried to get some sleep, I knew it was going to be a long night.

By the way, before going out dancing with Larry, we had dinner. Mom, Dylan, Harry, Me, Bob, and Shoshanna all went out for Italian food at a decent place called Pepperoni's, Once I reeked thoroughly of garlic, I was ready to dance. Dylan noticed the word "shum" on the menu board and thought it said "pie."

Six of us were going to head down to Masada for the concert, it turned out to be me, Larry, Deborah, Amy, Wendy, and Marcia. I think all the women were cantorial students. We were going to go down in two cars, and we planned to get together at around 11 pm, though the concert wouldn't start till 3. Larry decided to pick up some munchies first, and for whatever reason, he didn't show up at my mom's apt until 11:45, and we had yet to pick up Amy in French Hill, which was ok, we had plenty of time. Our trip to pick up Amy turned into another wild goose chase, our directions weren't good enough, it was nighttime and we were lost. We finally got Amy at around 1, essentially 2 hours late, and headed south for Masada. We reached Masada at 2:30, only problem was that the concert was at the theater on the west side of Masada, and we were on the east side. There is no road around Masada - we knew this before we got there. The only way to get around is a loop through Arad through the mountains. It's 70 km, and it takes about an hour. Anyway, we got to the west side of Masada at about 3:30 - so we missed the first bit of the concert. The grandstand sat about 5-10k people, it was pretty full, we got seats way up to in the back, about 50 yards from the stage. The sound was fine, and the atmosphere was incredible. Masada was right behind the stage, the western face, with the Roman ramp. Behind Masada, and to the left, was the Dead Sea, then the Jordan hills, and, of course, the dawn. Surrounding us were the desert hills. Achinoam Nini was there with Gil Dor and a full band of 4 guys, she also had two women friends with whom she sang Yemenite songs. It was quite dark, of course, and windy, and pretty cool, 65 or 70. The crowd was largely young people, dyed hair and pierced as much as an American concert crowd would be, relaxed, in good spirits. It was certainly a special event, a special place, a great artist, the middle of the night with a rarefied mood. It wouldn't be the same at 8 pm with the Israel Philharmonic, there was a special groove, an alignment of time, space, aesthetic, and spirit. The actual concert was similar to the one back in Boston in March, but that wasn't the point. This wasn't the Keefe Tech HS auditorium and this wasn't a fundraiser for a shul in suburban MA. It was awesome, though there were a few small faults. For some reason, they pointed a lot of bright lights at the crowd from the back of the stage. It being so dark outside, this was tough on the eyes. Also, they over-used the lights, they would have been better served to take more advantage of the darkness, the surroundings, and the impending sunrise. Sadly, she only played until it started getting light, until about 5:30-5:45. The dawn was hazy, but still spectacular, the pastel colors of the desert hills, purple, red and tan, Masada and the sea. The sun finally rose after the concert was done, over the Jordan hills, at around six, an orange ball in the haze. As she was playing her final songs, thousands of people streamed up the Roman ramp to see the dawn from the top, and, perhaps, to avoid the 12-shekel fee that would be collected when we ascended after six and the cashier started working at the entrance. It was probably true that the concert ended early so that Masada could deal with the early morning tourist crowd - lots of youth groups and tourist groups like to get to Masada at dawn.

After the concert, we went up for an hour or so, hiking here and there, looking at the baths, the mosaics, the palace rooms, the synagogue where kids were saying shacharit.

After we hiked down, Larry drove on to Beer Sheva and I went back to Jerusalem with the four women. I got home at around 11 am and crashed for most of the day.

(on Jordan bus)
On Wednesday night, I went off to haBinyane ha'Uma looking for dancing. I was mistaken - it wasn't there. Cool thing was, the cashier not only knew what I was talking about when I asked about dancing and Avner Naim, he also knew that tonight, Naim's dance was at the Bet Hanoar. Cool. So I scooted back to the Bet Hanoar, which is a couple of blocks from my mom's house. It's a YM/YWHA, with a basketball court - a nice wooden floor, but no A/C - cooled by fans. I find that I get sweatier dancing here than at home - I'm not sure why (I don't get sweaty at home, I don't get too sweaty here.)

Avner Naim's Wednesday night dance is the most popular I've seen in Jerusalem. Maybe 2-300 dancers on the basketball court. Crowded and fun. Man, it's hard to find a partner here, unless you know people. Especially the first time I go to a dance, I'm apprehensive to tie someone down, because I don't know what's coming - I might not know a single dance. At this session, I got to do some couple dances, and I was pretty familiar with the repertoire, I seem to know about 2/3 of the dances.

The next day, I went into HU to check my mail and goof around. Came home to meet Larry who drove back up from Beer Sheva - he said that the undergraduate girls at the BGU dance were a pleasant sight to see. Anyway, Mom cooked dinner, then Larry and I went down to the Bet Hanoar, same place, different dance leader. The crowd was much thinner, the leader is not as popular as Naim. But they were competent dancers, and the program was familiar, though I have yet to understand the logic behind the construction of the programs here. We stayed until the end, went out for some drinks at a kiosk, and headed home, where Larry came to crash for the night.

Even though Larry is utterly averse to TV, we did watch for a while, there was a cool fencing championship on. We got to bed at around 2, and Larry woke up early the next morning to visit Moshiko in TA. Mom and I went to Machane Yehuda to the shuk to buy food. Always fun. The butchers have tehillim printed on big plastic placard posters on the walls of their stalls. We bought lots of veggies, nuts, coke, toilet paper, etc.

Later, Mom, Dylan, and I went to Sara Novick's place. She lives in an apt on Mt. Zion, right over King David's tomb, next to the Dormition Abbey and the Cenacle - the room of the Last Supper. The Diaspora Yeshiva is there too. The building is 800 years old, with vaulted rooms of thick stone. Sara and Avraham have 4 kids and a steady supply of guests too. Dylan went rollerblading with Sara's kids and Mom and I hung out and talked. It looks like Sara and Avraham are going to be moving to Tel Aviv soon, Avraham has a Hillel job at TAU, I think.

On Friday, we went to the Sarek caves near Bet Shemesh, but we got a little lost and they closed early so we couldn't go in. We'll probably try that again soon.

On Saturday, we went to visit Uncle Benny in Rehovot. His wife Etti was there, with her machateinisteh, Pepi. The three of them are quite amusing. Only Benny speaks English, but I caught enough of the Yiddish to understand pretty well, if not completely. Etti cooks up a storm, we had about 8 appetizers, beans, chumus, eggplant salad, salad, hot peppers, pickles, sauerkraut, farfel, then a cold soup and chicken, and cakes and melon. We ended up considerably full.

On the way back, we stopped at the tank museum in Latroun. It was quite hot out, but it was fun. Dylan had a good time climbing around on all the tanks.

Before returning to Jlem, we stopped at the Elvis restaurant - it was no Hard Rock Cafe, but it was suitably weird.

I came home and totally collapsed from the heat. Harry woke me up at a bit past 9, I rolled out of bed and scooted to the Binyane haUma for Avner Naim and Naftali Kadosh. Stone floor, smooth though. not as many people as Wed night. Fun dance, but I left at midnight.

It's about 3:30 on Sunday afternoon and we're sitting on a bus imminently bound for Amman after a totally interminable border crossing. Welcome to the third world, or maybe there's some higher order world that might fit. What made this less worse than my Boston-NYC leg was that I think everyone expects this to be a snail's pace, whereas I fully expected the flight to Israel to leave without me. This was simply a matter of lots of windows to stop at, with guys with huge ledgers and pens and carbon paper and receipt books and you wait to turn in your passport, but guys pass you by with big stacks of passports from their tour busses or somewhere, and finally you get to the window to find out you were on the wrong line. There are dozens of swarthy guys named Hammad clearing their throats very loudly, with hand gestures, and they actually use this as a medium of communication. Lots of barbed wire, watch towers, trailer kind of buildings with windows where they trade stamp ink for dinars, and add to mountains of ledgers. MS/DOS - these dudes should look into it. Tour guide just played "what's your nationality" with everyone on this 30-seat bus, maybe we'll be moving soon. (The bus from Jerusalem to the border was mostly filled with Jordanians who must have been doing the Israel tour - this bus must be a distillation of several busses of Jordanian tourists.)

Ah, I see a map with a "you are here." We're right at the top of the west bank, we've been screwing around for 8 hours and we've gone 50 miles or so.

Later that day... We finally left the border, and drove through Jordan's very dry and impoverished north. Barren land, run down houses, hardly any cars to be seen. We stopped for dinner at a roadside place - shish kebob and salads, good and filling. Back on the bus to head for Amman and suddenly, an alarm goes off on the bus, the smell of smoke, everybody runs off the bus and there's a shower of sparks and flamey drips under the bus. Apparently, a short of something, lots of shouting in Arabic, and guys fussing under the bus. Somehow, in short order, another bus arrives (don't ask me how) and we're off to Amman again. I just hope the water is warm and the beds are soft.

Monday morning, on the bus to Petra.
The hotel was quite fancy. The Jerusalem Hotel - 4 stars, a couple more than we needed in this case. Nice room, bed, showers, TV, Nice breakfast. Only flaw is that it was isolated, no shops around to buy munchies. Today we've got a full sized bus, a bit old, but comfy. The suspension is bumpy for writing but good enough for riding.

Tuesday morning at the Jerusalem Hotel in Amman, waiting (as always) for the bus. So yesterday we went to Petra, a trip that was worth the considerable inconvenience of the rest of the tour. Amman to Petra took about 3.5 hours, going south on a pretty good highway.

We arrived in Petra and went to the site entrance. They sell out horse rides to take you the 1km or so from the entrance of the site to the beginning of the interesting part of the site. It's not exactly necessary to take the horses, but it's a bit faster, and after scrambling around for a few hours in the red rocks, it was kind of nice to get a horse ride back to the tour bus instead of having to shlep back.

Petra was beautiful and interesting. The rock formations themselves are quite stunning. The main path in is about 10m wide, and the cliffs on each side are 50-100m high. While Petra is famous for its red stone, there is much normal sandstone, and also dark gray and ochre gold. Sometimes these colors are evident in bands in pretty formations.

While the hills themselves are gorgeous, what makes them more interesting is that caves and facades were carved into them by the Nabateans, the Greeks, and the Romans. There were quite a few of those facades, the most remarkable one of which was the treasury, which was about 50m wide and 75m high, with 4 large pillars bas relief carvings and all kinds of amazing ornamentation. Rooms were cut into a lot of the stones, big ones for rich people, smaller ones for the normal people. The caves were used for dwellings and as burial plots.

Petra would make a great site for hiking and camping, but there wasn't much of that going on, mostly people just go in for a few hours, then leave. I'm sure no one stays overnight.

We have several tour guides for different parts of this short trip, but the one who took us to Petra and back is quite a con artist. He seems friendly enough in conversation, but when you try to ask him anything specific about how or why we're doing things in a certain way, he becomes quite evasive. In classic Arab guide style, he tries to soak you for money at every opportunity. Reminds me of Mark Twain's "Innocents Abroad." He tried to give me under the rate of exchange when we had to buy horses in Petra, he wanted $12 for 7 dinars when the $1.50 rate should have been $10.50/7. When Harry asked why, he gave the answer that the extra money was for some service charge for the horse guys - total silliness.

Later, he arranged a lunch for us where you had no choice of what you ate, and you had to pay the same price whether you just had appetizers, or whether you had the main course too.

After the main trip to Petra, he took us on a side trip to "Little Petra" - another site with lesser carved facades and colored stones. There was a Bedouin tent, where we sat for a while, a couple of kids played dumbek and oud, they served coffee and tea and they tried to relieve us of more dinars.

As for this tour, the actual sights were worthwhile but the organization and infrastructure could not have been more painfully harrowing. One hour later, we're still waiting in the bus at the border. Yawn. It's full of all kinds of folks. Handfuls of little kids, and people just waiting and waiting. The Israelis must be checking incoming folks quite carefully. There was a bus bombing in TA yesterday, 6 killed, 30 injured, but damn, all of us were in Jordan! There are two little kids across from me, Jordanian I think, really cute, a boy and a girl, maybe 4 and 3. They are hanging from the overhead luggage rack, with their feet on the aisle arm rests. The Jordanian kid in the seat next to me is a little boy, about 2, pacifier in his mouth, in his mom's lap, she's dressed in typical Arab cloak and head dress.

More hours have passed, I now wait in a taxi van waiting to go to Jerusalem. We got off the border bus and had to endure further hell getting though visa and customs, finally get to the pickup point, and the bus is there, but apparently the driver was arrested, I don't know why. Eventually, a couple of vans came from a taxi company. The Tel Avivis pile into one, the Yerushalmis into another. Once we're piled in, they tell us to pile back out, they'll send a bigger one, and use the smaller one to ferry a couple to Haifa. Out we pile, the 2nd van is bigger, though the first van would have worked. We're on our way!

It's next week, but I might as well tell the end of that story. We got into the other van, and quickly made a stop so that people could get some food and drink, including the cab driver, who said something in Hebrew about "bonding with the passengers." Soon after we stopped for gas, and then we pulled out of the station, the cops pulled us over for missing a stop sign. The guy didn't have his license with him, he was summoned to pick us up on short notice - the cop didn't fine him for that (he could have kept him from driving without the license), but he did get the ticket. We continued on, and the driver wanted to drive the shorter route through Jericho, but there was a roadblock with soldiers who advised us against that, because the Arabs were restless following yesterday's bus bombing. We took the longer route and eventually got to Jerusalem where Harry and I caught a cab home.

As soon as I got home, I called Daniel Halfon, a guy who is running a Judaica shop on the Internet. He took me out to dinner at Mama Mia, which turned out to be yummy, and he was a really nice guy. I was kind of in a daze after my travels but I guess I managed to hold myself together well enough to be a decent dinner companion. We talked about all kinds of stuff. The Internet, politics, Israel, and so on. He mentioned coincidentally that he was part of the Portuguese Jewish community, friendly with Abraham Lopez Cardozo. I am a fan of Cardozo's. I have a book and tape of his cantorial work. This was quite a coincidence, since this branch of Jewry isn't all that widespread. Daniel is a chazan, and he invited me for kabbalat shabbat services on erev shabbat. His shul is called Yad Harav Nissim, and it's on Jabotinsky, up the hill from my mom's apt, right near the President's house. It's a nice little couple of rooms on the ground floor of an apartment building. I think it was a vanilla Sephardi shul before Daniel brought the Dutch Portuguese tunes. Three of Rav Nissim's sons go to this shul, one of them is an MK, and was Shamir's Minister of the Treasury or something, some big wheel in Likud. Anyway, Daniel led the service, about 15 guys. He has a nice voice and I recognized the basic flavor of the tunes from the Cardozo tapes.

After Maariv, Daniel invited me back to his apartment for shabbat dinner, where I met his wife, Valerie, a French olah, and their 8 month old son Mordechai, who was quite a little cutie. Valerie had roasted up a chicken, and we had delicious gazpacho, salads, and a nice bottle of Israeli wine, and melon for dessert. We talked for a good long time and I went home happy.

Next afternoon, we went to visit Uncle Benny, along with his wife Etti and her machateinisteh Pepi. Oops, wrong weekend. I already wrote about this. I thought so.

This time, we went to visit cousin Sarah in Tel Aviv. We all piled into the car, including Brenda (Mom's Dalmatian) since Brenda likes to play with Sarah's German Shepherd, Toby. We went to Sarah's apt, about 2 blocks from the Dizengoff fountain, then to the park outside Sarah's house and finally to the Tel Aviv beach, which was still fairly crowded at about 5, when we got there.


1986 1990 1993 1995 1997 1998 2000-1 2000-2 2001 2003 2004 2005

11/17/97 Monday 8pm Tel Or Jerusalem
I flew in today from Boston, through New York, where I joined Mom and Harry. Wayne took me to Logan, where we played a little blitz chess until I caught my hop to JFK. We were both very rusty, but it was fun. I had arranged to meet Laurie at JFK, which I did. Soon after that, we bumped into Mom and Harry, but they soon left us to ourselves, which I suppose made some sense, since I was going to be spending 3+ weeks with them. Laurie and I shot the breeze in the TWA terminal which was the cool bird-shaped (cont ...)

11/19/97 Wed 630pm Mom's apt
cool bird shaped building that I think used to belong to Pan Am. Laurie and I hung out for a couple of hours and she gave me a pastrami sandwich and a knish to tide me over until I got to Israel.

About an hour before the flight, I said goodbye to Laurie and walked over to the departure gate. Oddly, there was absolutely no unusual security typical of flights to Israel, just the usual carry-on x-ray machine. First time in 5 trips I'd ever seen normal security.

The flight itself was quite smooth, only 9.5 hours to Tel Aviv, the winds were very favorable. We landed about an hour early and by 3:30pm, when we were supposed to have landed, we were on the road home to Jerusalem.

I got in, unpacked, and had no trouble logging into my computer in Boston to read my email. I talked to Uriel Maimon, a young hacker who lives near my mom, and made an appointment for dinner the next day and I also talked to Max Weiner, a friend of my mom's, who gave me the lowdown on folk dancing, of which there is lots.

I went to Tel Or on Monday, the night I got here. It was crowded, about 2 concentric circles in a 20x20 meter room, maybe 100 dancers. Almost no dance went more than twice through, it was a great session, all kinds of dances, two runs of couple dances of 20-30 mins each. The whole thing was from 8-12. It was led by Shimeon Mordechai, he seemed to be about my age with salt and pepper gray/black hair. The dancing was not too friendly, not too showy, most everyone was familiar with most of the dances. I managed to snag partners for both sessions of zugot, and though I only knew about 1/3 of the couple dances, I managed ok. I knew more of the line dances, I did fine, and overall, I thought it was an impressive session of good old-fashioned dancing. Btw, the session was run entirely off 3 minidisk walkman players and a mixer. I think the leader has lost his high frequency hearing, the music was loud and trebly. I finally got home a bit before 1am.

I slept most of the next day (Tues) I always have tough jet lag when I come here. I met Uriel Maimon for dinner at 7pm in from of the Mashbir. Uriel is about 17, hasn't yet served in the army. He does sys adm for the Jerusalem Post, and pretty much holds together their popular web site. He just spent the last week in London, at the Telegraph, another newspaper owned by the same syndicate as the J Post.

Uriel is a really nice guy, precocious, extroverted, aggressive. Young and brash but with a shy side. He treated me to a nice meat dinner (he doesn't eat vegetables). I got him a copy of Lions' UNIX OS quite, a classic book, newly back in print and hard to find. He was quite excited to receive it, I chose well.

After dinner, we went back to his house and talked about hacking, we eventually both walked back to my mom's house and talked about an admin problem he is having involving a sharing a disk between two computers. I'll go visit him at the Post soon, when I get around to waking up during the day.

Today (Wed) I went out for a little bit with my mom, we picked up her friend Celia, a nice older woman, we changed some money and stopped at the supermarket, where I bought some sahlab for Natasha. There apparently isn't any in Boston, there's PLENTY here.

Mom is preparing schnitzel for dinner, I'll eat some and then head to the beit hanoar for dancing.
Wed 19-Nov 7pm

Sun 1245am 30 Nov
I've been lax in writing here, though I sent 14 postcards and tons of email. In summary, I've danced all around Jerusalem. I went to visit Uriel at the Jerusalem Post. Uriel and I took a walk on the tayelet. I worked the AACI blood drive. I went to the Israel Museum, I walked around neighborhoods of Machane Yehuda, Mea Shearim, and Ben Yehuda, I went down to the Dead Sea with Mom and Harry and took a salty dip. Mom made a thanksgiving dinner (that couldn't be beat). Tonight I saw Shlomo Bar and Habreira Hativit. I should describe these events in detail. In the next week, I'll visit Tanta Tzirl, go to Bet She'an, perhaps visit Deb Schechter, Deb Vester's friend Ettel, Amnon and Danny at Hebrew U, and maybe Uriel again. More shopping and more dancing too.

Oh, I met some nice dancers, incurring Max, Adrienne, and Chagit. I should write about them all when I'm awake.
1am Sun

Tues 7:30pm ICCY Dec 2
Boaz Cohen is teaching Haroa Haktana to beginners, it looks like I'll have some time to write before the dancing gets interesting.

I went to visit Uriel at the Jerusalem Post, it's in a pretty run-down industrial area near the entrance to the city of Jerusalem (yes, Jerusalem has an entrance). Uriel works in an equipment closet near the city room where the paper is put together. He showed me around to various areas including where the JP is printed every day. They also print several other small Hebrew newspapers and the phone books for Israel as well. Lots of trees, I'm sure they're not from Israel.

I talked to one of the managers there about the possibility of having the Post mirror my Jewish web pages in Israel. He seemed interested, we didn't come to any conclusion, I'll look into it after I go home.

On Shabbat, Uriel and I drove to the Tayelet, which is a nice promenade/park/scenic overlook on the east side of Jerusalem in Talpiyot. It has paths terraced on several levels, and you get a nice vista of the city. We came back to Mom's house and Uriel ate dinner with us, even ate his vegetables, which, according to him, is unusual, he's a carnivore, or, as his grandfather used to say, I don't eat grass, animals do.

The next evening, Mom took me to the AACI blood drive, where I helped by logging in donors. They used UPC stripe stickers to coordinate a master list of donors for the day, along with the documentation of tests taken that day, and of course, the units of blood themselves. I worked the first three hours, logging about half of the 85 units donated that day. My mom said that it was a decent turnout considering that they weren't giving away anything (like pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream).

Mom and I went to the Israel Museum one afternoon, it was superb. We saw a Harold Edgerton exhibit that was cool, though I'm sure I could have seen that at MIT. There was a cool exhibit about a Russian goldsmith (I forget his name) who, for hire, created a beautiful gold helmet with historical Greek scenes and inscriptions on it. He was told that it was to be a gift. The people who hired him took the helmet and swindled the art world, including the Louvre, into thinking that it was ancient Greek. Eventually, people started suspecting a hoax, and after that, word got back to the artist, who of course, wasn't really involved in the swindle. He contacted the Louvre, who eventually believed that he created the work after he was able to duplicate the style in their workshops. He was a Jewish goldsmith who did all kinds of incredible metal work. It was cool.

They also have a super Judaica section, no surprise, with Judaica from all over the world and back through history, including entire interiors of actual shuls as exhibits. They also had a special exhibit on Afghani Jewish wedding rituals that was quite comprehensive and exquisite.

I went down one afternoon with Mom and Harry to the Dead Sea, so that I'd get to float around in the very salty water, which I'd never done before. It's well known for its "heavy" water, which makes everything that floats in it much more buoyant than in normal water. Just standing erect, I only submerged up to my armpits, and that's with my big fat heavy head. It was fun, Mom got some pictures. It's so salty that if you have any cuts and bruises, they can sting like a bastard. Fortunately, I didn't have any such, but I scraped my finger slightly on a rock on the bottom while I was bobbing around, and it did sting. After my swim, I took a shower and dried off, but other folks smeared their bodies with mud off the bottom, which is apparently quite soothing and great for your skin. It's a big joke when people are all beschmutzed with this mud, a definite monster photo-op, I'll have to try it sometime. There were also hunks of this mud/clay lying around on the beach, I threw a handful into a bag to take home, I'll see if it's interesting for facial application.

On Thanksgiving day, Mom did it up for eight, with all the trimmings - a 5-6 kilo turkey (who knew that Thanksgiving turkeys came in kilos??), potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce - smooth and also lumpy, with cranberries and nuts, sweet potatoes and apples, Israeli cube salad with avocado, fennel (as a vegetable), broccoli, and I don't remember what else, it was a lot of food. We had me, Mom, Harry, Max and his wife, Charlie and Charlotte, and Regina. We woofed the food, it was great. Next day, Stephanie, Ziad, and their kids came by to chew on the bones.

On Saturday night, I went to see Habreira Hativit with Shlomo Bar. He was his usual excellent self. It was 9:30pm at the Pargod - its 100 seats were filled and I got one right up front. He did a lot of newer stuff mixed with stuff I was more familiar with. The crowd seemed to be filled with fans, singing along with every word and nuance - it was a lively concert and people were having a really good time. The crowd was full of hip young lefties, some Anglo some not, sort of like a Carlebach crowd except hip and sane.
Tue 2 Dec ICCY

Wed 3 Dec 830pm Alliance Francaise
I'm at the Alliance Francaise waiting for Deborah's friend Ettel, who is taking a class on Sartre. The entrance foyer is painted light salmon and the walls are decorated with some posters, but mostly framed comic strips. I see one says AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL in big letters at the bottom, but they look more like super hero comics, some colored and some not. About five people waiting in the hall which is about 4 meters by 20, with a little cafe at the back end, where I'm sitting in a rather nice cane chair. Didn't do too much exciting today.

Oh, I guess I didn't get to it yet, yesterday, Mom, Harry, and I went to see the ruins at Bet Shean, an old Roman town, maybe half a mile square, that had a 7000 seat amphitheater, a couple of columned streets, a temple, a bath, and other such Roman stuff. It was pretty cool, and still being excavated, it still looks like a ruin. In typical Israeli fashion, it was very poorly marked, so it was hard to figure out where to go even though they had cool hand held digital tour guide recordings. They had the technology, but not the simple human factors of putting up a few signs with arrows pointing to the five or ten main points of interest.

The ride back was about 100 miles through the desert, and right at the end, mom's car started spewing steam. We were already within Jerusalem so we parked it and cabbed home. Looks like she blew a head gasket, yecch.

Oh, we went with Bella, and Mom and Bella prepared a pretty decent lunch of meatball sandwiches, pashtida (quiche), vegetables, and stuff.

Thu midnight Chaim Tzemach's dance at the Beit HaNoar
Dance has been fun, danced with Adrienne again. Should be my last Thurs unless the strikes continue and keep the planes down. This isn't the fanciest dance, but the big dogs dance here, and they bellow. They do a great version of Joshua, with a Cowboys and Indians charge, instead of hissing. And I asked especially for shedemati, which was definitive.

After midnight, my partner eventually had to leave, and I asked a woman to dance who said no, but we struck up a conversation. Adena, teaches math and computers to HS kids for bagrut. She has lots of great attitude about Israeli dancing, she liked Chaim Tzemach the best and didn't care for the flashier nights like Avner's. I agree with that. She was very pleasant, but didn't do couple dances, which is too bad.

8-Dec Monday night, Beg Gurion Airport 10pm
On line waiting to check my baggage.

On Saturday, Mom and I went to visit Deb Schechter and her family at her sister in law's house in Zichron Yaakov - It's a nice little village on a hill near the coast, a bit north of Hadera, up in the north. The village was built by Baron Rothschild in the 1890's, and is quite charming. A nice midrechov with artsy shops and buildings that Rothschild built.

There was a guy who hand made paper in a Japanese style, he had a little gallery that was pretty cool. In general it was artsy and homey. Tal's sister Tzippi lived a few steps away and had a beautiful panoramic view of the coastal plain out some of her large windows. Deb now has three kids, Guy and David, who are about 9 and 7, and Keren, who's 18 months. Tal's business is doing nicely, he designs and sells machines that apply emulsions to surfaces. He employs 8 people, and has been selling mostly to Japan. Deb works for him occasionally, but mostly looks after the kids.

Oh, I got through baggage check-in, only stood on the slowest line for 45 minutes. Now waiting at the gate, oh, boarding...

Been on the plane about 10 hours, maybe two to go. We had a pit stop at Shannon, Ireland, to swap crews. I didn't get great sleep, but since it's nearing noon in Israel, I'm pretty much awake.

Anyway, we had a nice time up in Zichron Yaakov.

Last Wednesday, 3-dec, I talked to Ettel, Deborah's friend, and we ended up meeting for dinner that night. Ettel is finishing her dissertation in philosophy at Hebrew U, specializing in Spinoza's Intellectual Love of God. On Wed night, she was taking a course on JP Sartre at the Alliance Francaise, at the top of King George St, which is where I met her.

Ettel did emerge from the class and we tried to figure out where to eat dinner. Our first choice was a South Indian restaurant in the neighborhood of the Alliance Francaise. We got there, and it was quite crowded, with normal patrons and a large party of 20 or so. We figured we'd never get served. This restaurant is in the building that houses offices for most of the foreign press, pretty cool.

But we punted on that idea and instead drove to the American Colony hotel, which is in an Arab enclave. We had a huge Arab/Middle Eastern dinner of salads and shish kebob kind of stuff, enough for at least four people, though we were only two.

Ettel grew up in Belgium, and studied some in NYC, where she met Deborah while Deborah was one of her French students. Ettel's been living in Israel since about 1990. We had a nice time talking about various stuff and she said she needed some computer help, so we decided to see if we could get together again on Sunday, which we did.

When we met on Sunday at Givat Ram, we headed over to the student computing center, which was closed, since there was a general strike of the Histadrut since Wednesday. Ordinarily, we would have been out of luck, but I headed over to the CS department, and Amnon was there and he was happy to let me use a machine in the computer lab, so we were able to play with Ettel's email and to search the web for Spinoza stuff. We messed around for about 3 hours and got a bit of work done after which I went home and took it easy.

On Thursday 4-dec, Mom and Harry and I went to visit Tante Tzirl and Uncle Itzik. Uncle Itzik has various health problems, his legs bother him and worse, he can't see much at all, except peripherally. He was glad to see me, but was crying because he couldn't actually see me, and probably because we didn't get together very often. Tante Tzirl seems as spunky as ever, still plugging away, she had prepared a nice lunch of chicken schnitzel, noodles and cabbage, fried potatoes, pickles and prunes. It was all delicious. We ate and schmoozed, and went home late in the afternoon, which in December, is pretty early.

With the Histadrut union strike closing all kinds of stuff including the post office, utilities like water, phone, garbage, and airport workers, it was not clear whether my flight would be leaving. When I called TWA and asked for confirmation of my tickets and they told me I wasn't listed on the flight, I sent some email to Norman, who dug around for me and he also found nothing. I looked at my tickets and found that my flight out was one day earlier than I had thought!

Here's what happened: originally, my mom told me she was going to fly out of JFK on Sunday the 16th of Nov. I figured I'd fly in the next day from Boston and I called a consolidator to try to get a good fare. When I made my reservations, it turned out that I was on the same flight as my mom, only one day later, after taking a hop from Boston to NYC. I talked to the travel agent, and asked her if I could pull back my departure one day, which she did, and I ended up flying out with my Mom and Harry, which was very convenient. What I didn't realize was that the travel agent also moved my return flight back a day. The dates were on the tickets, but there was no itinerary sheet, and I only looked at the departures, and maybe I was misled by the overnight dates or maybe I was just absentminded. Anyway, on Monday morning, it turned out that I had half a day instead of a day and a half, and though I got to the airport in plenty of time, it was a psychologically abrupt end to my trip. I went into Ben Yehuda, picked up a gold mezuzah necklace charm that Deborah wanted for her dad, and bumped into Ettel at the jewelers - Deborah suggested the jewelers, apparently because they were friends of Ettel's. Still quite a coincidence to bump into Ettel there.

Mom and Harry and I returned to the CÚzannes restaurant that I'd gone to with Uriel before. The food was ok, not great, and though the owner is a nice guy, with good intentions, the service could have been more attentive. Also, the steak was a bit underdone and tough, and the red lettuce that was used as a garnish was quite sandy, though it really should have been washed to be eaten. An nice place, nice atmosphere, but the food was ok but should have been better.

After that I stopped at the Monday night dance, where I had met some nice folks and had told them that I'd be back to dance on my last night in Israel, though those plans were now changed. Unfortunately, Shimeon Mordechai, the leader, was not there, so I couldn't thank him, and it was still the beginner's session, at about 8:15, so none of my friends were there. Chaim Tzemach was leading instead of Shimeon, and he was teaching a dance. When I popped in and out I was hoping that Chaim wouldn't be offended, assuming that I ditched his session because it was him and not Shimeon. Oh well, my intentions were good.

We're about 20 minutes from landing in NYC, this is drawing to a close. I guess I can describe the flight a bit. This is the first day after the strike, I was hoping that the airport wouldn't be a crazy mob scene, though I was prepared for the worst. The airport ended up being not very crowded, only the typical confusion. I got seated in the very rear of the 747, and the flight was about 80% full, without the strike it probably would have been less than half full. At least where I was sitting, there were lots of Christian missionaries and Mormons from BYU. One of the guys was a loud preacher motivational speaker, seated right behind me, but fortunately, he wasn't louder than the engines, so he wasn't too much of a bother. Kind of funny though, to see all these tall, attractive blonde people on the flight from Israel. I guess we were in the same city but didn't cross paths. Sprinkled among the Mormons were the usual crowd of kippah-wearing computer hackers poring over the daf-yomi or playing with their laptops (or both). Well, we're in the landing pattern and descending.
6AM Tues 9-Dec NYC


1986 1990 1993 1995 1997 1998 2000-1 2000-2 2001 2003 2004 2005

Thur 1-Oct 98 5:30pm Logan Airport
Yesterday was Yom Kippur, I am, I suppose, more or less, cleansed of sin, at least I was yesterday. As I was finishing my packing and getting ready to go today, Wayne came by to pick up some stuff and say goodbye. Someone knocked on my door - it turned out that the two top floor apartments of the set of six that I live in had been broken into yesterday, while I was at shul, I suppose. Not quite as aggravating as having my own apt broken into, but not exactly comforting, as I was on my way out of the house for the next month. My doors have locks, but it's no fortress. We'll see how well I atoned on Yom Kippur. Maybe I should have been a bit more focused.

I got to the airport and soon after found that my flight to Toronto was to be delayed for an hour. Somewhat inconvenient, but I have a too-long layover in Toronto on the way to TA, so it'll come out in the wash, I just hope the flight to Israel leaves and arrives on time.

Tuesday 6-Oct 5:30pm Mom's Apt
My flight to Israel was fine, though long. Mom and Harry picked me up at Ben Gurion, I finally cleared customs at around 5 on Friday, so, it ended up being about 20 hours from door to door, about 4-5 hours of that was unnecessary slack time. I've been here for 4-5 days and haven't done any serious vacation touring or sightseeing, just hanging out with Mom and doing small things and getting over jetlag, which takes me a week here no matter what.

On Saturday night, I went to Avner Naim's dance at the Beit Hanoar on Herzog. It was fun, I saw Adrienne there, whom I'd met on my last trip. I did a set of couple dances with her, but aside from that, it's very tough to get a partner there unless you know someone. I did get a partner for the other block, but she lost interest about 2/3 of the way through (after about 15 mins). It was fun anyway, I danced from 9 until after 1.

I've been doing various handy work for my mom, cleaning up her computer, fixing her trissim (window shades), an Israeli national sport. I brought Mom a nice new toaster oven, which was fine except that the door wouldn't stay closed, so I took it apart and figured out what was rubbing and fixed it so now Mom is even more happy that I came, if possible.

I saw my friend Uriel yesterday, he's ok, going into the army in two weeks. Apparently, he'll be in intelligence, which makes sense, he's sharp, well read, all that.

We went to visit Mom's friends Charlotte and Charlie, I played with their computer too, and today, Peter and Chaya came by to visit. Also over the past couple of days, Avi has been in, replacing the fuse box with circuit breakers and doing other such electrical work. The lights are just coming back, but I'm still out on the mirpesset, though the sun has just set. Apparently, the porch faces west, since that seems to be the brightest part of the sky.

One fun thing, while the electricity was out, I was not only able to use Mom's laptop, which runs on battery, but I could dial into the Internet, since telephones don't run on that electricity either. Always fun to hack through a blackout.

Went shopping at Machane Yehuda this morning. It was pretty quiet there, I don't know why. 1st day chol hamoed sukkot. Still plenty of stalls open and full, but not the usual hustle and bustle. Also went to the regular supermarket and post office and stuff.

I've gotten in touch with Ayala in Haifa over email, but haven't made plans yet. Haven't called Heather either, or Amnon for that matter. Mom has to wait till after sukkot for good travel deals to Turkey, when we settle that, I'll try to arrange to meet Suleyman in Istanbul, that will be fun.

Wed 11:30 Beit Hanoar Herzog
Avner Naim's dance, zugim. Danced a bunch with a cute but grumpy olah chadasha from Philly. Nice sized dance knew 1/2 the dances, the other half tended to be boring. Last night, I went to a cool concert, a free one in a park in Ir Ganim. Not a pretty park, a playground with a small ballfield. There was a Marokai band called Kazamix that played Arabic stuff from Morocco including some stuff like Im Biladi, that I recognize from one of my Jewish Moroccan CDs. They had some nice singers, an oud, and drums. The main act, though, was Shlomo Bar and Habreira Hativit, who were really cool. They didn't have their electric bass player, but they had the rest of the band, Samson the fiddler, the dulcimer player, Spanish guitar, and another drummer. The park wasn't too big and there weren't many people there, just a community sponsored concert in a local playground. There was a guy selling popcorn and cotton candy and lots and lots of little kids running around. It was kind of nutty but cute, and Shlomo Bar played nice versions of lots of old favorites. Toward the end, the event organizer cut into his set rather abruptly, we thought it was over, but she was just introducing Ehud Olmert, who walked on and stumped a bit, to a disinterested response. Shlomo Bar came back on and finished up shortly.

After that, I dropped off Mom at home and went to dance at the ICCY, which was fairly fun, save for the usual problem securing couple partners, especially since I arrived late.

Wed 14 Oct Avner Naim's session
Alisa from Boston is here, as is Moshe Eskayo, who has been here for 3 weeks and is going home tomorrow.

(next day) 4pm Thurs 15Oct
Sitting on ben Yehuda, writing postcards, eating shawarma, watching the world go by. Guitars, machine guns, cellphones, black coats, cameras, and shopping bags, a full array of people. Weather has been hot lately, up in the 90's most days, a bit oppressive for being out in the day. Nights are cool, good for dancing, and at least it's not humid. Right now, I'm sitting in the afternoon shade, temps in the 70's, couldn't be more pleasant.

Last weekend I drove up to Haifa to see Ayala Naor, who I know from playing Reversi on the Internet. We played 4-5 games, she's good and she's been practicing - she was sharper that I was, she beat me good, though most were close and interesting. She has 3 brothers around her age, she's 23 or so. She does computer work in the Navy, she went in late and will be in for about 4 years in all. After that, she'll go to the U of Haifa. We went out to lunch at a meat grille place and later her Mom cooked some dinner, which I ate with her family. Ayala's dad was away working in Singapore. We didn't tour around Haifa that much, but I drove around a bit. Ayala lives way up on a hill, Ayala says they call it a mountain. Haifa is on the shore of the Mediterranean - it's a beautiful blue-green. Apparently there is a fair amount of ugly hotel development going on and messing up the shore line. Ayala likes animals, she rode horses a lot before she joined the navy, and she's also fond of dogs. She's into the green movement and she mentioned with regret that Israel didn't recycle much trash yet, except for newsprint. We had a nice time, chatting and playing Reversi.

I'm taking life pretty slow - it's nice to be away from home without life's usual concerns. Tomorrow I'll go visit Amnon and Danny at HUJI, will be nice to see what they're up to.

Hmmm - some nudnick just set up a 3-card monte game on a box of orange Kinley across the way from me, maybe 15 feet. He quickly drew a crowd of 15 people, I hope they're not betting since you can't win. The sky is just starting to dim and I'll be heading back to Mom's soon.

18-Oct Ben Gurion Airport 7pm Sun
Waiting for a flight to Istanbul at Ben Gurion. Big, busy duty free shops, it seems that the flight will not board on time. We will be flying on the Turkish Airline THY, probably a small plane, since it's a 4-digit flight. I didn't do much of note this weekend, danced at Boaz Cohen's dance near the Mifletzet in Kiryat Yovel on Chile St. I thought there was going to be a big Avner Naim dance party near there, but that's next week. Looks like we're boarding, more or less on time.

(in flight) Actually, it is a pretty big A310, two aisles and all that. Not only that, we're in first class, so the seats are pretty nice. Seems we have lousy coach class food though. Flight is under two hours - at least we get food.

Istanbul is usually in the same time zone as Israel, and it sits west of Israel on the Mediterranean, but it is one hour later than Israel, oddly enough. Probably, they haven't gone to "winter" time yet, whereas Israel does it at the beginning of Elul, to appease Sephardim who say slichot each morning before dawn. Even after two weeks, I'm still not totally acclimated to Israel time, mostly because I dance until 1am on many nights.

19 Oct Mon 8:15PM Keban Hotel Istanbul
We got into Turkey last night. They lost the bag that Mom checked on the plane, we don't have it yet. The shuttle bus to the hotel waited for us. Once we got to the hotel, we scampered up to our rooms and it seemed we had no electricity, but apparently, the electricity is keyed off the punched card keys. It's four stars, though on the seedy side of four stars. The beds are quite hard, which I suppose, is better than soft or lumpy. There is hot water for showers, there is even a little refrigerator, thought it has no electricity when we're out of the room. I guess that means we can have cold drinks in the morning.

This morning we took a cab to Topkapi Palace, which is certainly impressive. The sultans lived there with all their wives, eunuchs, and lots of fancy stuff. They had rooms and rooms of porcelain, glass, gold, jewels, armaments, thrones, and so forth. The fanciest part was the Sultan's harem, which had particularly ornate tile work and other decorations. Most of the palace grounds were open to free touring, but entry to the harem rooms was regulated, a guide walked through groups of 60, and gave descriptions in English. Sort of reminds you of the Tower of London. The antiquities are as impressive at least, but Topkapi isn't as neatly preened, the British monarchy still has plenty of money, the Ottoman empire is a bit past its prime. We hung out there until around 2. We wanted to go into the Hagia Sophia next door, but it's closed Mondays, so we walked over to the Blue Mosque, which is very large. It had interior columns at least 15 or 20 feet in diameter, beautiful stained glass, high domed ceilings and lots of prayer rugs. There weren't too many people praying when we went, I guess it was before minchah.

After the Blue Mosque, we walked toward the Grand Bazaar, and had lunch at a kebab place - it cost about $8M TLira for 4 of us, at .28M TLira per dollar, that's about $28. We pigged out pretty good for that, 4 meat dishes, 2 or so salads and drinks.

After that, we were almost at the Grand Bazaar, so, what the hell, we went shopping. We exercised some restraint, but not much. Harry bought a fancy leather carpetbag suitcase. I first restricted myself to a handful of inexpensive skullcaps. we were browsing in a stall and my mom looked across the alley and said that she thought that the rug guy over there might be Stephanie's friend Ismet. She asked him, and sure enough it was, and he invited us into his shop and served us drinks. I had tea (in a glass), we could have had coffee or cokes or whatever. He had really nice rugs, including a beautiful silk one that he said took two women two years to make. He said that he would sell it in a store for $8000, in his stall for $5500, and that he paid $4000 for it. You do the math. He had pillows made out of fragments of old rugs, I bought 3, two for pillows and one to use as a tallis bag. $25 each, and he threw in another as a friendly gesture. I'm never going to have a problem with someone picking up my tallis bag by accident. We had a nice conversation with Ismet, who was quite sweet and charming. After that stop we were pretty much shopped out for the day, so we hopped a cab back to Taksim. Back at the hotel, we walked around a bit, bought some rice pudding, bottles of soda, and I picked up some Turkish sahlab for my ever expanding collection. We also walked down the street to a nice 5-star hotel, the Hotel Marmara, I think, which looked very fancy, like a fine modern hotel anywhere - piano bar, brass, glass, escalators, a nice tropical fish tank. Maybe slightly funkier than an American hotel - the escalators didn't run continuously, only when you stepped on them. Still, very nice.

Finally, we came up to our rooms and I switched on the TV. There are about 30-40 channels of TV, all Turkish, maybe one Spanish or something. No BBC, CNN, no English at all. There's an MTV-type station called KRAL that has what should be a popular format. Turkish music videos, though there was one Gipsy Kings. Bright primary colors (though that might be the TV). Most videos have some combination of most of these: beautiful sultry women, often on horseback, at the beach, either singing themselves or with guys singing to them seductively. Like continuous tampon commercials with better music. Works for me. We're going to visit some other big palace tomorrow, and on Wednesday, probably cruise the Bosporus, which, though beautiful, smells like phosphorus, and eventually, the spice market, more Grand Bazaar, and who knows what else.

Istanbul is a hilly city with incredible architecture. We're in an 8th floor hotel room, directly across the street is a big Christian church, probably 15 stories tall, with a big dome. There seem to be church and mosque domes all over the place.

On the other hand, the streets are fairly dirty and there's lots of garbage strewn about. The traffic is pretty thick though not quite death defying. Walking the sidewalks requires attention, as there are often stair steps in the middle of blocks to accommodate the steep grades. There are also stairs down to basement shops that require that you pay careful attention where you direct your feet.

Oh. In the Grand Bazaar, there are thousands of shops, 4000? 6000? I don't recall - lots. Anyway, the guys speak up in order to get your attention. Some of them are pretty smooth. After Harry had just bought his fancy leather suitcase, Mom was browsing elsewhere and a cute guy says to her, "You've found your destiny." My mom turns around and points to Harry's new purchase and explains that she just bought what she was looking for. He replied, "No! I'm talking about me!" I had to laugh. On the ride home I asked my mom what she thought of the guys in the bazaar, and she said there was one that she thought was crass and out of line. I offered that the only difference between crass and cute was whether you thought the guy was cute or not, it really has nothing to do with the guy's intent. She agreed pretty readily. I've been watching videos for 2.5 hours and every one has girls in bathing suits. It's not boring.

20 Oct Tues 1:30PM Dolmabahce Palace
Sitting outside the palace gate. There's a lone guard standing frozen at the gate. A guide told me he stands a two-hour shift. We toured the palace and harem, this one was built around 1840. It's much more modern than Topkapi, which was rebuilt in the 1400's. Dolmabahce is influenced by French architecture, with baroque and rococo elements. Lots of gold, carving, huge chandeliers and rugs, gardens, fountains, waterfront. Like everything else in Turkey, it changed after 1923 from imperial property to state property. Attaturk lived in it for 3 months before he died in 1938, and after that, it has been open as a museum on and off, but permanently since 1989.

21 Oct Wed 10am Eminonu
We're at a ferry port on the Bosporus, on a ferry - they criss-cross the river, and it's cheaper by 100x or so than taking a guided ferry.

21 Oct Wed 4pm Taksim Hotel
We rode the ferries for a little while, but the skies got pretty cold and gray so we headed for the Grand Bazaar. I bought a leather knapsack and some colorful Turkish slippers and other fun stuff. We ate lunch, then walked over to the Spice Bazaar, which was fun also. I bought half a kilo of sahlab in bulk, it was .5M TL per kilo, or $1.75. Natasha should be pleased.

They have lots of Turkish versions of American game shows on TV. I saw Name That Tune, Family Feud, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune, at least. I was watching Wheel of Fortune, and they start the game with a rack of blank letters. The first guy spins the wheel and guesses "K." K? I figured that the guy must be an idiot. There are 3 K's. I guess I have a bit to learn about Turkish Wheel of Fortune. Apparently, all of the puzzles are the names of songs, and after the person wins, they get to sing the song.

22-Oct Thu 1030pm
I talked to Suleyman on the phone for a few minutes this morning. It was nice to speak with him. I told him what we did in Istanbul and about my new job. He told me that work is going OK and that he is considering a better opportunity at another company. I've got my booty pretty much packed and ready to go. We'll be leaving the hotel at around 1, the flight leaves at 4:15. With luck, I'll be able to dance in Jerusalem tonight.

23-Oct 1040pm duty free ben gurion fri
Waiting for the plane to board. Had a quiet day, left Jerusalem at about 5 and met Heather Porter in Tel Aviv for dinner with my mom. We had Vietnamese food, it wasn't bad. Heather seems to be doing fine - she lives a few blocks from the beach, on Trumpeldor, though she's about to move somewhere else in the neighborhood. We had a very pleasant dinner, though we didn't have much time. Heather and I always manage to cross paths and miss each other. Last year when I was in Israel, she was in Boston. This time, I called her two weeks before I was leaving Israel, and it turned out that she would be in Budapest the first week and I'd be in Istanbul the second. Today was the only day we could get together, and as things worked out, that meant a short few hours at dinnertime. So we did that, and then Heather headed off to another engagement, and Mom and I hung out on the beach in Tel Aviv for an hour or two, which was quite pleasant. It was pretty quiet - families strolling and such, apparently the party crowd doesn't hit the beach until much later than 9pm. So Mom dropped me off at Ben Gurion at around 10, it's really quiet, this being shabbat. Kind of relaxing and kind of not the same with the typical shomre shabbat crowd.

The tayelet really seemed pretty pleasant if beach resort cities are your cup of tea. Nice looking hotels and restaurants, relaxed people, the usual mishegas like 3-card monte, people drawing portraits, selling jewelry on tables, at that hour still more families than yuppies. And the waves crashing onto the sandy beach in the warm and breezy Tel Aviv night.

1986 1990 1993 1995 1997 1998 2000-1 2000-2 2001 2003 2004 2005