Monday, April 03, 2006

Loyal Readers -- A Look At What's To Come

Future Blogs May Include (no promises):

  • On the Street Where You Live -- A pictorial account of our neighborhood
  • Happy Birthday to Ben -- He turns 17 on April 6
  • North Carolina Orensteins do London -- picutres and text galore
  • Our Visit to the House of Lords or I held the actual Stamp Act in my own hands!

Thanks for your readership. Email me at for new and views you wish to add. As must be apparent, we'll print anything.



Our Heritage

Ben standing in Front of the Romanian Embassy in Paris

Ben in Paris

Ben communes with Art in the Rodin


Aviva & Sarah in Tel Aviv

Princess Arielle

Happy Purim! Arielle is the daughter of Sarit and Tal, grandaughter to Anne and Hananel. She is expecting a new sibling in the spring. Sarit is an attorney and tour guide. She is currently getting her MA in law and working on issues of compartive criminal law. Tal had a PhD in education and is currently the historian for the border police in Israel.

Yair and his daughter, Na'ama

Celebrate Purim. Yair is the oldest son of Anne and Hannanel, grandson of Aunt Rhoda and Uncle Abe, "zl. Yair, who works in computer science is marriage to Tamar, an economist. Thye have two kids, Amitai (who was a dalmation for Purim) and Na'ama

The Hills are Alive

The view from our hotel in Tsfat

Michael Greenberg standing in front of a beautiful courtyard gateway in the mystical city of Tsfat

Israel Trip

Over Spring break, I went to visit Mike, who is studying in Israel at the Technion this year. The trip began in Jerusalem, which, as a walled city, celebrates Shushan Purim. My cousin, Anne Mirsky, along with her mother, Aunt Rhoda, husband Hananel, kids and grandkids hosted the Purim meal. Lest you think Yair really has bright orange braids, or that Arielle actually wears a tiara everyday, I should note that Purim is a holiday for dress up. Anne and Aunt Rhoda picked me up at the airport and the hospitality just continued non-stop. The food was delicious and the kids even more so.

Wednesday night I headed for Haifa to see Michael. We went to Shlomo and Elaine's (my mother's cousins) for a visit. Moishe, Shlomo's brother was there too, but Hadassah was recovering from pneumonia. I slept over so Mike could go to classes the next day, studious boy that he is. Shlomo and Elaine wined, dined and exercised me, the last of which occurred at the fabulous pool at the Technion. I've never seen a nicer one, even aside from the jacuzzi, wet sauna, and dry sauna that also graced the place. After Mike finished class, I met his roommates Gilad and Julia, both German and both incredibly nice. Gilad's mother had also arrived for a visit, though she (unlike myself) brought Mike various gifts including kirschwasser (cherry liqueur) for fondue, introduction to German books, and most remarkably, a Raclette, a contraption for both grilling and making mini-melts. Apparently, Mike has been cooking some good eats for his roommates and they made a fabulous meal to reciprocate. In my own defense, I did manage to give Mike some parental smear (moolah), but still felt a bit deficient in the schlepping kitchenware department.

Mike and I spent a long weekend in Tsfat (Safed) an ancient, mystical city not far from the Sea of Galilee, and an important pitstop for the slave trade spurred by entrepreneurial crusaders. Tsfat is also where the Kabbalah was written. Our hotel, Ruth Rimonim, was a contiguous warren of old Turkish homes up in the mountains near the artists' colony and the synagogues of the mystics. More practically, it served the opulent Israeli breakfasts I remember from days of yore. Cheeses, tomatoes that put US version to shame, ditto for the cucumbers and yogurts and mackerel. A large plate (with refills) of heaven. Mike was a no-show 3 for 3 breakfasts. At 10:30 when the dining hall started to close, I would make him up a plate or two. I felt slightly awkward slipping the cutlery into my pocket, but I got over it. There wasn't a ton of stuff to do in Tsfat -- breathe mountain air, visit the artist colony, breathe some more air -- but Mike and I slept late, read, and ate well.

Our final stop was Tel Aviv, to visit the Romanian side of the family. We spent a day with my second cousin Sarah and her family, including Sarah's mother Shelly and Dad, Riku, who just celebrated his 90th birthday, but still thrives and works as an architect (no skyscraper can be built in Israel without his approval). It was our one opportunity (other than a fairly erudite walking tour/sing-along of Tsfat) to speak Hebrew. Mike knows his stuff, occasionally translating mod words for me. We all learned some good slang, and it was sababa. Mike stayed in Tel Aviv for a middle school performance of Chicago in Hebrew in which Yaniv, Mike's third cousin, played a photographer and policeman. Despite Yaniv's grand contribution (there are no small parts, only small actors) the production was lo min hamuvchar, as my parents would say. Mike's one-word review: Oy.

Politically, other than promo spots for election coverage by the network news, one could hardly tell an election was coming up. In Haifa, I saw a kid with a tee shirt that read "I buy only from Jews" and was, of course, outraged. Mostly, I sensed weariness. Olmert's lack of charisma didn't help.

In sum, the hospitality was amazing, the language fun, the food delicious and the company, a certain Michael M. Greenberg, fantastic.