Well, my plane landed on schedule and I made it to Netanya last Friday in plenty of time for Shabbat, even though I missed my train. My bad, really. I did not realize that 1) the track I was on was the correct one and went up to the information area only to get the information that no-body knew anything; 2) I did not read the signs to figure out that (like in the Montreal Metro) the trains are called by the last stop and I needed to get on the Binyamina train, since there is only one train that ends in Netanya every 4 hours; 3) by the time I figured it out, I found that I had been on the right platform only to watch my train leave. At least there is a Binyamina train every half hour, so it was not too close to Shabbat. Barbara and I did something very Israeli; we picked up falafel for lunch from an amazing place right near the train station. That is actually a unique feature of Israel. Some of the best places to eat are in train stations or attached to gas stations. The best shawarma on route 4 is attached to a gas station near Ariel’s house, for example, and Jerusalem’s train station has amazing restaurants. And now you know where to go when you are hungry….
Shabbat with Ariel, Gila and Elisha was great, with Elisha not minding the extra attention one bit (in fact he kind of liked it!). The weather was lovely, and we all got some much needed rest. Thanks to Barbara and Gila the meals were terrific. An interesting sidebar: our synagogue here, the Young Israel of North Netanya is hiring a new Rabbi. The candidate the search committee felt was the best fit spent last Shabbat in the shul and spoke and met the congregants. The Rabbi came across very well; He is young (early thirties) yet experienced, a polished English speaker who grew up in Israel, then in Denver CO, then back to Israel and worked recently in England. The selection process was interesting to say the least; the search committee interviewed several candidates but presented only one to the community. That led to a bit of discussion, I am sure. In addition, while the name of the synagogue in the Young Israel, the average age is well over 60 if not older; one acquaintance in Toronto calls it the “Grumpy Old Men Shul”. It is made up primarily of retired British citizens from London and Manchester, with a smattering of Americans, Canadians and Israelis. Sometimes you wonder if you have not actually been transported to London. In fact, I am not sure grumpy is the right descriptor; more like “Prim and Proper”” in a distinctly British way. But on Simchat Torah, there was plenty of good whiskey and people were anything but grumpy!
As you heard here exclusively last post, this trip was primarily for Barbara attending the Israeli Science and Technology in Rehabilitation meeting which took place Monday through Wednesday. Barbara gave two presentations and we stayed at a lovely Art Deco Hotel, Herod’s in Tel Aviv. Three mornings of great Israeli hotel breakfast! (PS, if you don’t know what that really means, ask, I will be happy to give details and watch you drool). The conference was really good, but there were some quirky things, primarily that the locale was in a suburb of Tel Aviv (Rishon LeTziyon) which was 20-25 minutes from the hotels, and there was only one shuttle per day going and coming back. Considering the shuttle left the hotels areas at the crack of dawn but the meetings did not start till 9, this left a lot of participants shaking their heads. However, since we had a rental car anyway, we were able to shuttle ourselves and some of Barbara’s colleagues around pretty well at more reasonable times. Monday evening, we had dinner with Debbie and Chaim Feldman at a pretty upscale place called Meatos. As we were finishing, a large group of Montrealers on a fundraising mission, including Rabbi Poupko, walked into the restaurant. I guess the Feldman’s (who suggested the place) have good taste!
While Barbara was at the conference, I was also working. I had meetings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with scientists that I know, about a project we are developing on understanding how food allergy begins in early life. I also had meetings about making more connections between the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Israeli medical schools and research institutes. Lots of interesting and fruitful discussions took place. In the evenings, we visited with Elisha (and his parents) picking him up from day care and playing in the park (yes, Canadians, we were in the Park in February). He is now sleeping in a toddler bed and will be two at the end of the month! He is as also easy to spot, with a great head of red hair and a huge smile.
Thursday and Friday were more laid back. Yesterday we picked up Elisha at daycare at noon and went to have lunch with Abba (Ariel) which means a trip to Tel Aviv which is super exciting. We went back to Netanya to do all the things two year olds like; wander up and down steps, play with the fountain, be chased, and get rides on backs and shoulders. Ariel joined up last night for a take out sushi dinner. Friday was more outdoor time, with walks along the boardwalk, to the city square and finally to the beach. It is very bright and sunny, and 18-20C, which is just fine to walk in the sand and splash in the surf! We brought home a very tired Elisha just in time for a nap so the rest of us can prepare for Shabbat.
Wishing you the most amazing Shabbat and a warm and restful weekend (with an accent on warm!)
Mazel Tov to the Broncos!
Mazel tov to Gail on the birth of a new grandson, third child for Dassy and Ashi
Happy Birthday to Lenny!
Happy 2nd Birthday to Elisha!
Happy Birthday to Gila!
We wish a Refuah Shlema to Zysle bat Bella, Naama bat Devorah, and Noam Shmuel Chaim ben Yehudit