For all those fans of this blog who thought that we were in Israel a few weeks ago (but we were really in Buffalo!) we decided not to disappoint you! At this very moment I am writing from our apartment in Netanya on a very quick trip (4 days!?!) Of course the trip has a purpose aside from the terrific entertainment that the blog brings and the great pictures of our grandchildren.
We are celebrating Ariel being called to the Israeli Bar and his official installation as a lawyer.
First, let’s start with the main subject of the story. Ariel completed law school in February 2015, and worked at a large law firm, Fisher Behar Chen in Tel Aviv as a legal intern for a year. He apparently did quite well, as at his exit interview he was offered a position to start this coming August. That was great news, of course. To fully benefit from the position, he needed to pass the Bar. He completed his stage on Feb 29 and Bar school started on March 1 for an exam on May 2! Needless to say, after countless hours of reading and studying, Ariel distinguished himself very well. Following the written, there is also an oral exam, which also went really well, which brought us to the Ceremony on June 15th. 1450 new lawyers were invited to receive their license/certification at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. The pass rate was 53%, actually lower than last year when 1900 were licensed. The ceremony was divided in two parts: a formal welcome to the new grads in the main convention hall, and then they were split up into smaller groups to receive their diploma certificates. Interestingly, families were only invited to be present during the diploma distribution; they were left to watch the proceedings on big screens in the diploma rooms. More about that in a minute. The cast of speakers was very distinguished: The President of the Israeli Bar Society, the President of the Israeli Supreme court Miriam Naor; the minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked; and other well-known legal experts in Israel. Everyone imparted words of wisdom, and there was a lot of praise for those who were able to pass the Bar considering that almost half fail. There was musical entertainment and a cool light show at the beginning. Then the groups went to their respective rooms to meet their proud families.
Of course, for Gila and I and all those consigned to sit in the rooms away from the main stage, we were amazed at how a technologically savvy country like Israel can put together an amazing, high class program and still have people laughing and shaking their heads. I will give you a few examples: we in the peanut gallery were treated to the first 20 minutes of speeches with no audio. Apparently there was a glitch in the sound system. We could see the speakers (the dress code was for white shirts and black ties for males, but the MC wore an orange tie, which stood out, but not in a good way). We were able to read the speech in subtitles that were being typed as they spoke, which was obvious since the transcriptionist made lots of typos and kept erasing what he/she was writing. Finally, the sound came on, and we were treated to the president of the Israeli Bar promising to make the exam harder and harder-he campaigned on the platform that Israeli schools graduate too many lawyers. We can discuss that another time. Then the singer came on, but all we heard was static! Plus the minister of justice, Ms. Shaked, sent a You-Tube Greeting, but she was staring into the camera with a horrified expression as if someone was trying to heckle her as she spoke (LOL). A few more speeches, then a graduate gave a kind of valedictorian speech, and then they were to come to the diploma rooms to see their proud but now very fidgety families. Finally, the piece de resistance: they called up the three top scores on the Bar Exam. Number one, a young woman, Number two: another woman and Number three: a young man. Except, that they got the names mixed up and they had no diploma for him, and then called up one more person- who was not there. I guess they were not to be outdone by Miss Universe (ask Ariel if you didn’t get that one). Finally, Ariel arrived in our conference room, received his diploma and we took some great pictures. AND we are extremely proud of all he accomplished. We also give many kudos to Gila and Elisha, who had to deal with countless late nights and all the accompanying hard knocks it takes to deal with a legal intern (sort of like a peds resident, right Daniella?)
Since the ceremony ended in Jerusalem at about 7:30, and we would not get back to Gila and Ariel’s home till after Elisha went to bed, we saved the celebratory dinner for Thursday. I spent the night in Netanya and did some work and came to Givat Shmuel to meet Elisha, Gila and Ariel in the park. We had lots of fun, in spite of the parking cop’s over-exuberance (we got a parking ticket while I was walking back from the meter to put the receipt in the car), and then had a great dinner at a new Japanese restaurant near their home. Of course we will also celebrate when they come to Montreal to visit on June 22! Elisha is terrific, talking long sentences, and very active (as it should be). He takes great pleasure in somersaulting backwards down a mini-side at the play structures in the mall (much to his parents’ horror)!
Friday noon is the Wedding of Nomi Zysblat, cousin Linda and Alan’s youngest daughter, to Adi near Jerusalem. This should be quite an experience as Nomi has many musicians friends (we saw Nomi perform last year and she is amazing) and a lot of their friends/guest will be bringing instruments. The wedding was awesome and I promised Linda a special blog about it next week! Ariel and Gila will be in Jerusalem too, and we will return to Netanya together for Shabbat. We are really looking forward to some down time after a hectic week; in fact, next week Gila finishes classes, Gila, Ariel and Elisha will come to Montreal for a few weeks. Stay tuned!
We wish you all a warm and sunny Shabbat Shalom!
Happy Father’s Day on Sunday, to all the Dads!