Every time I come to Israel (and I think this is the 11th or 12th time, including my one year stay in 1968-69), my heart is full with the comfort and joy of being in the Jewish homeland. It feels like home in a fundamental, emotional way. Nonetheless, I’m not blind to the deeply disturbing politics in Israel. Right now, it’s scary how many parallels there are between Netanyahu and Trump, with two major differences- Netanyahu is actually smart and he’s about to be indicted. (Trump will never be smart but I do hope and pray he’ll eventually be indicted!) It’s going to be interesting being here in the month before the elections.
Our apartment is lovely and in a terrific neighborhood for walking almost everywhere we want to go with every kind of restaurant imaginable. Right around the corner there’s a kosher steak house which will be a treat for us. I’m trying to develop a mental map of the neighborhood, but it will take me days. For Chuck, it’s a matter of minutes, so it’s good we’re almost always together! There’s a supermarket a block away, but I haven’t yet found the other necessities of life- hair and nail salons. Soon, I’m sure.
One of things I love about being in Israel is speaking Hebrew. I wish I could read Hebrew with the same ease I feel when speaking. Today we shopped for food, first in the Carmel Market, where the process is oral and fun, and then in a supermarket where I got a headache trying to figure out what the differences were among various cans of tuna, containers of yogurt, and olive oil. Here’s a visual. In the Carmel Market, you look and choose, as in this display of phyllo pastries. In the supermarket, you have to decipher the Hebrew, which sometimes isn’t even Hebrew. It says cornflakes on that cereal box!
Then there’s the fun of deciphering menus. We always ask for one in Hebrew and one in English and so far, we’re mostly sharing the English version. Dinner last night was at a delicious vegan restaurant, Zakaim, which was full of young Israelis, but we were both so tired we couldn’t begin to decipher the Hebrew menu. Tomorrow we have our first session with our tutor Lior and we’re really looking forward to seeing her again and pushing our Hebrew vocabulary forward.
We have a busy week planned, with a modern dance performance, a day in Rehovot, dinner with Israeli friends from Chuck’s days at MIT Sloan School, and lots of wandering and some museum visits. I won’t complain about temps in the 50’s-60’s- I see there’s more snow back home. So good to be here!