Sunday, June 24, 2007

Israel National Trail: When the going gets hot

Just because the temps are up doesn't mean Shvil Yisrael for the Old and Enfeebled can;t continue. But since it was in the 90s last Thursday, we haven't done any serious walking aside from going to Chomesh, and Ikea was having a summer solstice sale/fair, we decided to take our walk in Netanya, where we could find shade and cool drinks.

This part of the walk starts off at Kikar HaAtzmaut, at the intersection of the Midrachov/tourist area and the boardwalk.
You then turn towards the boardwalk, passing this plaza.
(Isn't it a great space? If it could be cordoned off effectively, it would be wonderful for a wedding.)
The first sign you're on the right trail:
A little bit of history to start your walk off right. Netanya was the primary port for the illegal immigration ships of 1937-1940.
Netanya also brings teh pr3tty:

After a few minutes' stroll the boardwalk ends. Follow the path the only way you can, leading you through an alley:
and out into Netanya, onto Rechov Gad Machnes. You'll continue down that street until Rechov Dankner, where you turn right.
Follow Dankner all the way along (because of construction you won't actually, at this point, be walking the Trail; you'll be across the street, but can see markings past the construction site)
until it intersects with and becomes Baruch Ram.
(Three apartments for sale on the same side of the same building. Kind of sad...)

We stopped at the end of Baruch Ram because we were getting too hot. Nice art installation?
Just rocks on the end of metal poles. Some things look beter from a distance or from a passing car.

Tonight it's Dr Who time. David Tennant. John Barrowman. John Simm. Squee!

Monday, June 18, 2007

If I disappear

it's because I got my Ravelry invite. Oooh, it's all kinds of teh shiney! I'm going to try to be a good girl and not get sucked in: no more than 5 pictures of stash yarn added per day. (OK, at least that's what I'm aiming for.)

And speaking of teh shiney--Dr Who. Was that not just the most... Makes you kind of regret those John Barrowman genes aren't going to go on to another generation. The Middle Teen hates me now for letting her watch a "to be continued" episode; she despises having to wait a week for the next part.

But there has also been dull. Not dull knitting, but a dull black color for my Mystery Stole 3 swatch. This yarn was pulled out of a dumpster years ago, and the needles were given to me by a woman who collected knitting supplies from senior citizens who could no longer see well enough to knit. Recycling at its finest--maybe it is teh shiney after all.

MS3 swatch

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Not the Israel National Trail, still not for the old and enfeebled

What I did on my 42nd birthday

While some people boycotted the march to Chomesh this Tuesday, I went. Why?

(a) Yes, it was organized by Moetzet Resha. Anyone who doesn't know that this means you go, you walk around, you take pictures and you get out of there when told (and come back on your own later, without the snitches) almost deserves to get caught. Come on--our teens know who's unreliable. Still, it was a chance to go to Chomesh.

(b) My daughters were going. Their friends were going. It was my birthday. I'm going to stay home because I don't like the organizers? Screw 'em--I'll go where I want, when I want.

(c) Something very odd was going on during the march. Several times army vehicles pulled up alongside us and shouted encouragement: "Way to go--you're the heroes! Keep going--you're halfway there." "Settlers are great! Settlers are heroes! Welcome back to Chomesh!" It's almost like they went out of their way to send unzerer soldiers. And the shortcuts they allowed us to take on the march were not the same ones which were taken on the last march. One of the kids I climbed the hill with said "It's almost like the army is teaching us new paths up there."

(d) Planning for July, G-d willing, if my father isn't in then and needing my care. 'Nuff said.

While I'm resting my aching legs (it took us over 3 hours to walk up from the junction of Shavei Shomron to Chomesh -- we have got to get back into shape), some pictures:

The start of the march (look--there's still a trail here!)

A scarecrow--if you're following Dr Who in recent weeks, you'll know why that could scare more than crows.

By this time we'd lost The Spouse, who couldn't keep up with the kids (while I was trying valiantly). We waited for him at Sebastia for a while, then gave up when he was till lagging behind.

We continued on, this time thankfully mainly on paved road (though certainly not hobo grade).

Finally The Spouse caught up to us by taking a few short cuts we didn't take (and having some teen boys almost literally drag him along) and calling us to wait for him. Man, was I happy I had thought to bring my spindle along to keep me diverted -- well, that and discussing Peres vs. Rivlin with all the press photographers who staked out the turn-off from the road to the no-trail shortcut.

(See that road in the center of the picture? That's where we'd come from. See the trail we took? No, we didn't either. We just kept going "up" until we found another paved road.)

At last we got to Chomesh (see how nicely the plants are surviving?)

where The Youngest Teen was waiting. She and her friends had come in bus chartered by her school, because they had classes until 1 pm. We said mincha and had my birthday cake, baked by Youngest Teen and somewhat worse for having survived the trip up strapped to The Spouse's back.

The media was out in force up here, too. Well, of course. Didn't Bentzi Lieberman and his crowd need cameras to play to?

We escaped the crowded entrance and went for a quiet walk around the yishuv, just the two of us and 5 teenagers in tow.
Looks pretty much like any other yishuv, doesn't it? Aside from the lack of buildings and electrical wires overhead. It would be so easy to rebuild Chomesh...

The water tower is still up, even, painted in honor of the crowd.

Hurrah for the kids who came ready to clean and plant!

Monday, June 11, 2007

A year of davening slowly

Jewish philosophizing to follow. If you're looking for craft content, skip to the end.

Jewish law has many ways to help people cope with death. Most of them don't apply to me. No new clothes? I buy, on average, one shirt every two years. No music? I have a great memory for music, and mainly "play" it in my head after hearing a recording once or twice. No TV? Haven't watched since our color tube went, leaving us with a 17 year old black-and-pink set. No movies? Last movie I saw in a theater was Shrek 2. Before that--Shrek. No weddings? We live here in Israel, our families in the US, so that's an easy one.

So what's left? I could learn some gemara or read some Tehillim. But I already do that, anyway.

Then there's the biggie: Kaddish. Not exactly the world's least controversial topic given that, last I checked, I'm not my brother. I read up some, checked some sources, spoke to the local rabbi, and have been at minyan three times a day, saying Kaddish, for the past 13 weeks.

Some people say women only want to recite the Kaddish to "be feminists." That we're looking to take over men's roles instead of doing our own. I'd like those people (largely men) to try saying Kaddish as a woman must for a month or two and then let them talk.

Saying Kaddish, at least in the Orthodox minyans in which I have said it and particularly in my home shul, is an exercise in humility and humiliation. I'm not allowed to say the Kaddish alone--I have to arrange for a man to say it with me. Twice my husband was too sick to go with me to shul; I said Kaddish and none of the men answered. (Since then, my husband has arranged back-up kaddish-zuggers, who usually remember they're on. If they forget, I'm not allowed to prompt them--see next point.) I'm not aloud to say Kaddish above a whisper, because some men complained to the rabbi that the sound of my voice saying Kaddish made them think inappropriate thoughts. On the other hand, at least once each day some man walks in to the women's section to get a book, put down his books, put sunflower seeds out for the evening study session, or just to disguise how late he is getting to shul--usually when I'm bowing during Shemoneh Esreh, rear halfway in the air and unable to turn around. (Interesting--my voice behind a curtain is irresistible, my posterior is not. Not so great for the vanity, is that?)

Yes, I've read the responsa on women saying Kaddish, pro and con, and in this case they're irrelevant--the local rabbi's had his say (though his changed his psak in midstream because of community pressure, telling me to whisper the Kaddish, and saying wistfully "If it were 100 years from now..."). What gets me is how little the (male) community thinks of the women's section, with how little sanctity they perceive it compared to the men's section. The men's section is tidied after every prayer. In the morning, after the men have had a study session in the women's section, there are dirty tissues and sunflower seed shells on the floor, candy wrappers, books flung all over chairs, the table, and the floor, chairs tossed about as though they'd been wrestling with each other instead of the text. The curtain between the men's and women's section is consistently flung open all the way across. (I don't close it, aside from the little area in front of where I sit. It's not for my purposes, the curtain; I'm allowed to see the men. They can reach the curtain at least as easily as I can. Let them close it.)

I'm all out of ideas. I've talked to individual men. I've talked to the men officially in charge of the shul. How does one stop men from being pigs in the women's section?

I try to get to shul early and learn some gemara. Today I was learning Megillah 14b, which includes this gem: "While women talk, they use the spindle." In honor of that saying, here's what I've been spinning.
Sock yarn (still in single form) from a rainbow colored batt by Grafton Fibers. (As soon as I bought this, I found out Linda's no longer going to sell retail. Note to self: don't fall in love with this stuff.)
And there's been knitting. Clapotis v.3, out of horrible wool and mohair that my sister-in-law "inherited" from her mother, who is now in a Home, suffering from Alzheimer's. (Don't blame me--it's for my sister, and she spied the yarn in SIL's stash.)
And socks. Sockotta, no pattern, plain simple knit until you throw up. Started in the hospice while Mom was dying, finished here at home. Explain to me why from one side they look like they have nothing in common
and from the other they're a perfect match?

So, who's going to Chomesh tomorrow?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blame the lack of posting on Lolly

Lolly posted about and I fell into the gaping maws of the time suck. I'll never get as nice a family tree as she has, because my family arrived only in 1898, 1912, and 1947, but I still have found census information on my in-laws, grandparents, and great-grandparents. I've even tried their "find famous ancestors." Um, no. No way am I related to all those famous goyim. Nice try, though.

But at least it's taught me not to complain. Sure, I have 3 teens to feed, but my poor great-grandmother had 19 mouths to feed every single day (see lines 43 to the end below; click to enbiggen). And no tanorexics, either--family and farmhands (yes, a farm in the middle of Queens, NY, bordered by Woodhaven Blvd. and Union Turnpike).
grandma 1920 census