Posted by Julie Shuer
The Good, the Bad, and the Chag
HaTov (the good)
Back in Tel Aviv once again, in a lovely rented flat in the Basel neighborhood where we are in the process of purchasing a small apartment. The first order of business after Steve’s arrival is to show him our apartment to be, which I had found on my last stay. Pleased as he is, he knows that, this being Israel, there are, of course, complications. We are buying the apartment from a person who has a conservator and, as a result, the process moves at a glacier’s pace through the court system and our documents are gathering dust on the desk of a family court judge. Most marriages feature divisions of labor and ours is no different. Steve is in charge of sports and documents. I handle everything else. So it falls to him to meet with Yair, our charming and competent real estate lawyer. Yair assures Steve that things are progressing and that we should consider paying the owners a minimal “rent” so that we can start the renovations. We desperately want the apartment ready by July when we return for Steve to compete as a member of the United States Maccabiah Tennis team (I’m SSSOOOO proud). But should we start renovations before the apartment is officially ours? A nice kind of dilemma.
HaRah (the bad): a series of misadventures
Flash back to Purim. Benji calls us in Los Angeles to tell us that he is in the emergency room in Tel Aviv with a suspected appendicitis. The test results are inconclusive and he is sent home. But soon after, he calls again to tell us that he is about to undergo an emergency appendectomy. Oy! But the Israeli medical system functions perfectly and thankfully, Benji is fine.
Flash forward to my third evening back in the holy land. I am at dinner with Benji and his good friend, Adi Davis (no relation). My wallet is somehow stolen from an inner pocket of my bag which lies tight across my body. I am impressed by how professional some Israeli thieves are. Annoyed, but impressed. Who’d a thunk? Since Steve is minister of documents, the incident is duly reported to him and he quickly restores my credit cards, but not my California driver’s license, nor the 40 shekels in cash, nor my beautiful Anne Fontaine wallet.
And finally, like something out of an old sit-com - one morning my wonderful, adoring (and amorous) husband thinks he might get lucky by breaking the bedroom door handle and inadvertently locks us in the bedroom. A bit claustrophobic, I notice that not only can we not use the door, but the iron grate on the only window is padlocked. I consider calling my daughter, Gaby, who has a key to the front door of the flat but remember that most Israeli apartments require a key to lock them from the inside and that most Israeli’s leave the key in the lock on the inside making it impossible to insert a key from the outside to open the door. Fortunately, I am able to reach our very good-natured landlady who sends over a locksmith immediately. Needless to say, the situation is hardly conducive (at least to me) for romance!
HaChag (the holiday)
A rousing Pesach Seder with our long lost, of no relation, Davis cousins of Kokhav Ya’ir. Wouldn’t you know that both of our families sing the same goofy American parodies of the four sons? A week of family, good friends and amazing food - now that we eat kitniyot!. Benji and I spent the end of the chag with his former family at Kibbutz Sa’ad. While driving there, I told him that I had a small gift for Safri, the mother of 7 and an amazing Yemini cook despite her Ashkenazi upbringing. The gift for the kitchen was none other than a silicone pot cover which Benji thought was a dumb idea. We walked into their home to the incredible smell of rice and Yemini chicken soup just as someone laments that the cover to the pot has just broken! In Israel, there are no coincidences, only miracles.
Next year in Tel Aviv (and also Jerusalem).
4.6.13 at 8:33 am | Back in Tel Aviv once again. . .
1.20.13 at 1:17 pm | A little family history...
12.17.12 at 4:18 pm | With three young adult children living in Israel. . .
11.17.12 at 3:15 pm | I am a wife, eema, retired occupational. . .
1.20.13 at 1:17 pm | A little family history... (1)
January 20, 2013 | 1:17 pm
Posted by Julie Shuer
Israel has been my passion ever since my first trip with a youth group at age 18. Throughout college, graduate school, and a number of years of single life thereafter, the desire to visit and live in Israel did not wane. In 1984 my fiancé, Steve, joined me on a young adult leadership mission for his first visit. By the time our three kids were 10, 7, and 5 we were spending the summer at Ulpan Akiva located on the beach front of Netanya. Fast forward through 17 consecutive years of education at The Jacob Pressman Academy(www.tbala.org), a Solomon Schechter school, and through 10 years at Milken Community High School(www.milkenschool.org), our kids now know dikduk (Hebrew grammar) as well as know how to read and speak the language of the Jewish people. After years of Hebrew study I speak to five year olds well, and as for my husband, he can say, "My name is Steve."
Our three kids, Benji, Gaby and Sofia, spent a month of every summer at the Conservative movement's Camp Ramah in Ojai, CA and even participated on staff in a variety of positions in their post camper years. Has there been an Israel opportunity they have missed? Have you ever heard of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation Twinning program, Camp Ramah's Seminar in Israel, Milken Community High School Tifferet, March of the Living, Nativ, Aardvark or Kivunim? Questions about the best Israel programs? Call me. Questions on how to pay for them? My answer is commitment to the cause, help from parents, and a devoted husband who loves the law. (Or as my semi-observant husband will tell you, “Hashem will provide.”)
Fast forward to today. After a very non traditional college experience of a year and a half in Israel, two quarters at Cambridge and a diploma from George Washington University Benji just celebrated his third year as an Israeli immigrant. At age 22, he spent a year in the Israeli army working as the Coordinator for New Immigrants at Tel Hashomer, an army base outside of Tel Aviv. He currently works for Nefesh b’Nefesh, a NGO aliyah organization developing programming for lone soldiers. After a year of college in Southern California, Gaby spent a gap year in Israel and made aliya in August 2011 as a participant in GarinTzabar. After an army Hebrew course and a stint in the course for shooting instructor, Gaby is now a dog trainer for German Shepard puppies, the dog of choice in the IDF. After having spent a gap year on Kivunim, our youngest child, Sofia, has taken the traditional college route and is currently a first year student at Barnard College in Manhattan.
And where am I? After visiting Sofia for parent's weekend in NYC I find myself back in Tel Aviv. After all NYC is five hours closer to Ben Gurion. It was a natural “might as well.”
December 17, 2012 | 4:18 pm
Posted by Julie Shuer
With three young adult children living in Israel I decided early last spring to leave the comforts of my husband, home and dog in the lunchbox section of Beverly Hills for a rather worn looking flat in the city center of Tel Aviv. Pathetic language learner that I am I continued my pursuit of the Hebrew language four days a week five hours a day at Ulpan Gordon. I also continued to swim my 1250 meters 24/6 at the city's famous saltwater pool conveniently located blocks from the ulpan and also known as the Gordon Pool. When I was not studying, swimming or socializing with my kids and friends I went on a mad house-hunt for an apartment in central Tel Aviv.
One day my dear friend, Anat, gave me a phone number and said call this guy, Moshe. He had some apartments for sale. We set up a coffee for the next morning. He told me I would know him because he would be wearing a blue shirt and is very tall. Turns out that Moshe is a former Israeli basketball star. Unfortunately, his apartments were in the construction phase and beyond my budget. It also turns out that Moshe didn’t know my friend Anat. I had inadvertently dialed a wrong number but was lucky enough to find another Moshe with apartments for sale. Only in Israel.
My next stop was to another Anat referral. I met a young gentleman named Itai at a nearby gallery. Reluctantly I agreed to get on his motorcycle for a tour of the neighborhood (did I neglect to mention that I was wearing a dress?). As he weaved in and out of the dense traffic, I blurted, “Be patient and just wait for the cars to move because I really like my legs!”
He considered this an invitation to converse. “Why are you in Israel?” He asked.
“My three kids are all here.” I answered.
“Your three kids? How old are they?” He replied.
“24, 22, and 19.” I said.
While continuing to drive and avoid traffic he turned his head completely around and said, “It is impossible because you are far too young to have kids that old!”
Frantically, I pushed his face forward. He turned to look a second time. I pushed his cute 30-year-old punim forward again. Finally we arrived back at the gallery.
Then Itai asked me, “Do you smoke?”
I tell him he is young and handsome and he should quit.
He said, “Not cigarettes.” It was time for my next appointment.
Later in the day I arrived at the pool. Just minding my own business with my nose in a book, I heard a voice. He said, "You look like you belong on the cover of Vogue." I responded, "What gives you the [insert swear word here] right to invade my personal space?" I then laughed, said thank you and we began to converse. He asked me about my day. I started from the beginning, "By mistake I met a former Israeli basketball star." He responded, "Oh, Moshe! He just left this pool."
This is the first in a series of blog posts about how a 60 year old woman, wife and mother of three comes to live on two coasts, the Pacific and the Mediterranean. With many thanks to her husband, children, parents, friends and the Tel Aviv Los Angeles Partnership.