Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another Hat I Wear

In addition to the settler hat and the SCA hat I wear, I also unfortunately wear the hat of the infertile woman.

Some days I deal with it better than others. Some days I can barely cope.

My official diagnosis is PCOS - polycystic ovary syndrome. Because it's a syndrome, it tends to be a series of symptoms which lead to problems of some sort of the ovaries. Each woman is different. Severity differs as well. For me it means that without the help of Metformin(glucophage) I don't get my period. And without the help of hormone therapy, I don't ovulate. Sometimes, if the hormone dosage is too low, I end up with a cyst in my follicle, rather than an egg. So far, thank God, I haven't actually had any burst. The cysts are painful enough. A rupture could mean a trip to the ER.

I have been going for treatments now for 13 months, with a 3 month break from April to July. I've just had my third IUI, and although I'm one week into the 2WW (2 week wait), I think it might have been another failure. The clinic said that the insurance generally requires 4 or 5 IUIs before moving on to IVF.

It's amazing how consuming having a baby can become when it doesn't come naturally. On average, I spend up to 2.5 weeks of every cycle schlepping into Jerusalem twice a week for blood tests and ultrasounds. Every day is at least one injection (I self-inject into my stomach) and by the end of the 2.5 weeks, I'm black and blue. There's the scheduled sex. And now that we're doing IUI, there's the 'collection', which has to be done within the guidlines of Halacha. And the 2WW.

I honestly don't see how couples can do this for years on end... each month gets more and more discouraging...

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Stages

Originally posted Novemeber 14, 2000

It's gone from occassional rock throwing to daily road closures.

It's gone from throwing rocks at passing cars to sniping at them with automatic weapons.

It's gone from sniping at cars with automatic weapons to standing at the side of the road and firing on passing cars and busses.

It's gone from standing at the side of the road and firing at passing cars and busses to drving alongside a car or bus and opening fire.

It's gone from having your car hit by rocks to having your car hit by bullets.

My neighbor is in the hospital, a victim of Arab terror with 5 bullets removed from his belly.

And this morning I had to tell my children that they wouldn't have gym today because yesterday, along with an 18 and a 19 year old soldier, their gym teacher, a 42 year old mother of 5, were shot and killed in a drive-by.

But somehow, it's all still Israel's fault.

It's weird. They say that most of the victims (and I use this term loosely) have been Palestinians. Mostly between the ages of 16-21 and generally termed "young Palestinan". Of course they'd be the majority. They're rioting. When you see a tank roll up your street and a voice demanding you disperse and go home, there's no heroism in throwing a rock at it.

But the Israeli victims...the majority who are between the ages of 18-25...they aren't classified as "young Israelis". Why not? Because most of them are soldiers. It seems one loses one's humanity in the media when one is a dead soldier.

Four Alarm Cease-fire

Originally posted November 2, 2000

I left work at 2:45 p.m. I had errands to run and wanted to start heading home as early as possible.

I reached the shopping center and people are clustered around radios, all turned to the news station. I go outside to go to the bank and people are sitting in parked cars, doors open, listening to the radio.

One of two things goes through my head. Either Israel has offically declared war, or something in the fighting has escalated. The notion of peace never even occurs to me.

I hear the news. Two explosions at the shuk in Jerusalem. Oh God, terrorist bombs. Not again.

The first emotion is a kind of selfish relief that I wasn't there. And then an icy wave of worry and fear comes over me and settles in the pit of my stomach. I wasn't there true, but was someone I know there???

Since I wasn't home, I couldn't make any phonecalls, I finish what I need to do and manage to hitchhike home. The road is littered with rocks and stones. They had closed the road for two hours earlier because of shooting and stone-throwing. They reopened it half an hour before the bombs went off.

I get home and there's a message from my father DEMANDING I call my mother where she works. They had heard the news of course.

I then called my aunt. Whatever problems notwithstanding, she IS family. there are certain times when personal headbutting has to be put aside and we have to come together because like it or not, we're all we have here.

We talk, it's nice. We catch up on family news. As we hang up, she says keep in touch. I'd like that. I really would.

But I'm still angry.At all the crap that's going on. It's my feeling that Israel will declare war, or at least really start kicking ass after the elections in the States next week.

None of my family members were at the shuk. I doubt any friends were there either. It's not a pleasant feeling having to make a mental accounting of people you know when you hear news like this.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Because it didn't start with Reuters, AP and Hizballah 4 weeks ago...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Last One! I Promise... for today...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Where's Waldo?

Another one

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Where's the death and destruction? Damn, my agent sent me to the wrong shoot!

Gee Ma, I wanna work for Reuters!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Apparently GHG has had a long career of photo ops during wars...

And the reason he wasn't included in the memorial was because of course... a Zionist plot.

Yeah I know, fooling around on Photoshop when I SHOULD be cooking for Shabbat...

Although this whole thing does lead to an interesting question...

How long will it be before photographs from a digital camera will be inadmissable in court, and PIs and CSIs will have to revert to old fashioned film cameras and submit the negatives as proof that the images weren't altered?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tripping themselves up

With the whole Reuters photo scandal, and now another, similar scandal from the New York Times, many people, from paid journalists and politicians to the average Joe Blogger are writing opinions and tracking the photos.

Thanks to so many in the public, editors are having to account for themselves and retract the photos.

I wonder though, have there been any public apologies? The same columnspace that was used to paint Israel as a cold-blooded, indiscriminate killer now used to apologize to Israel and the IDF?

Jules Crittenden
has an interesting piece about this whole photo scandal. He places the blame basically on the photographers, and calls the various editors 'Rubes'... unsuspecting suckers.

The problem is, I don't believe that's entirely the issue. It's an editor's job to confirm authenticity, but it seems that in the media haste to vilify Israel, they just don't care all that much. Israel, for whatever reason is, and always has been, the bad guy of the Middle East.

Why are these editors failing time and again to verify the photos when rank amateurs are spotting the fakes left and right? And why aren't they being held accountable?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Two Mornings

Originally posted October 25, 2000

First Morning

Yesterday while being driven in to work, I saw a rainbow.

We had just gotten into the outskirts of Jerusalem and we saw a bit of it. Clouds passed on front of it, making it look like something out of a movie or painting. It didn't look real.

The rainbow followed us as we drove further into the city and then..the clouds moved just so, we arrived at *the* spot and I saw the rainbow...end to end. From one part of Jerusalem to the other. Breathtaking.

God sent the first rainbow to Noah after the flood as a sign of good faith that He would never totally destroy the Earth again. In Judaism, seeing a rainbow is generally coinsidered to be a sign of ill-omen. That God REALLY REALLY wants to destroy the Earth again, but because of His covenant with Noah, He won't. As if we needed another reminder, what with all that's going on here lately.

Second Morning

Winter has come with a vengeance. No easing from Summer heat to cold, wet and windy with a few weeks of what passes here for Autumn.

And so the rain falls...right into my house it seems. The roofs here are red tiles and mine is missing one. And so, it's been raining in my house. And leaking into my bathrooms (my toilet and tub are in seperate rooms). I called the settlement office today. We'll see...

Since getting most of the jungle that was my yard cleared away last month, the ensuing water from the heavens have turned my jungle...into a swamp.

And I no longer have a dog. I have a LARGE mudhen. So she's going to have to stay indoors while I'm gone instead of having the run of the yard on her chain. Which means walking her...

It's 5 a.m., I'm dressed and we're out walking. She's sniffing at everything, but of course the rain has washed away all scents. I'm beggin' her to take a pee. We make a circle of the block and as she's sniffing the hell out of some weeds, my attention is caught by a flash of lightning. No thunder though.

I look up and it feels like I'm straddling three worlds at once.

To the northwest, it's black, the distant lights of Tel Aviv sparkle orange. The sky is different gradations of black and every so often, lightning lights up the distance.

I turn slightly and face south. Less lights. The sky, a clear black, the stars, god, the stars like scattered diamonds on black velvet. The moon...Luna's cheshire cat-like grin of a crescent. The sky is so crisp, you can see the entire white outline of the moon and Luna's 'face' a darker black against the darkness of Earth's shadow.

And finally, face east. The sky there not so black, getting lighter by the minute. Soon it will be tinged pink and the greys, blues, oranges and reds announce that at least for a brief time,the sun WILL shine today.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Werewolf feelings

Originally posted October 17, 2000

I'm not really a werewolf, but I play one online. And boy, there are times in life I'd SO like to be able to...

I caught a schoolbus back to the settlement today from Jerusalem. It was full of kids and their parents, apparently the settlement had planned some sort of trip and just as I got to the the hitchhiking station, the bus pulled up. It was packed, but I got on and went to the back of the bus and sat on the top step of the rear stairs. The door was covered with a carpet-covered steel plate. How reassuring.

The door was just in front of the very last seat and sitting there were two VERY annoying boys. I'd guess their ages to be 8 and 10. They kicked me, they threw things and when I told them to stop, they said they were aiming for the garbage pail just in front of me. I could see one had his shoelasce untied and I wanted to knot his shoe to the metal rail. But I wanted to do it secretly and he was moving around too much. I asked them to stop countless times. I gave them LOOKS and nothing worked. But hey, the ride was free.

Then one of them asked me if I was a student at the all-girls school on the settlement. I said no, I was Daughter1 and Daughter2's mother. Well...that changed everything. Once we got my bona fides straightened out, they gave me respect. Now they knew I was a Parent and not just some Older Sibling-type. The abuse stopped. Of course this was half an hour into the ride and we only had about 15 more minutes left.

But for that half hour...I so wanted to get into their face and growl just low enough for them to hear and shift my facial features enough so they would KNOW what I was but no one else would see. And for the rest of the trip, they'd sit like good little boys because they were too scared of me to move and they were too embarrassed because they'd wet their pants.

I am a Werewolf, boys and I know ways to make you HOWL.

And then...something happens...that makes being kicked at for 30 minutes seem so damn trivial.

We were 15 minutes away from home when there's this loud bang. The bus had been hit by a stone. We saw the Arabs running for cover, since they never know for sure when someone is armed on a schoolbus and will open fire on them. No one was hurt. And when I looked at the side of the bus, there were too many possible dents already there to figure out exactly which spot was hit.

The kids on the bus for the most part were...incredibly blasZ about it, one of my two tormentors even exclaimed "We've been hit? Yeah! Cool!" Some of the parents said that once we got back to the settlement they should get a group together and head to the road and throw stones at Arab cars.

Of course, last week some settlers did that, an Arab driver was hit, lost control of his car and ran into and killed one of the settlers (that was a Darwin Award winner, btw). At least one settler was arrested and the driver, last I heard was in critcal condition at a hospital because the car struck a barrier and flipped.

Anyway, after getting hit, the glee was taken out of wanting to terrorize a couple of little boys. Dammit.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It must be nice in Olmertland...

Article from Arutz7 in English.

In a move that sparked anger and sharp criticism, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday announced his intentions to advance his realignment plan.

The plan in essence is another disengagement, the planned destruction of most of the remaining Jewish communities located throughout Judea and Samaria.

In an interview with the Associated Press, speaking in English, Prime Minister Olmert explained he plans to move ahead with his plan; a plan that he insists will create stability in the region by defining new borders. Such a move he explained will be testimony to the defeat of terrorism, and create the atmosphere required to permit Israel to disengage from the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Oh yeah... because Gaza has worked SO well thus far.

Olmert insisted that the war with Hizbullah has nothing to do with his plan, stating his planned ‘realignment’ must move forward as he promised it would prior to being elected.

The plan calls for dismantling most of the communities throughout Judea and Samaria, to be replaced by a number of settlement blocs.

Read: ghettos... of Jews.... in Israel.

Olmert admits “it will not be easy,” adding he was elected as prime minister to act, not to sit idle. He added the implementation of the plan is also essential “towards assisting the Palestinians to achieve their aspirations for a state” living side-by-side with Israel.

Among the critics of Olmert’s plan is MK Dr. Yossi Beilin, who heads the left-wing Meretz-Yahad opposition party. Beilin stated there can be no additional unilateral Israeli policies, only withdrawals resulting from negotiations and agreements. His remarks were echoed by Arab MK Mohammad Barakeh.

So let me get this right... because Olmert is doing this without a million meetings and treaties, the left AND the Arabs are pissed. And Olmert expects it to WORK????

Likud MK Gidon Sa’ar stated that the so-called realignment plan would bring the rockets to the entire country, and not the just the north and south as is the case today.

YA THINK? It amazes me how so many people in the country have no idea that the Green Line is only minutes away from so many of them. They live in the incorrect safe assumption that The West Bank is far removed from them when in fact, if it weren't for the settlements acting as a buffer zone, the Arabs would be screaming for Tel Aviv, Netanya and the other cities.

MK (Labor) Dr. Ephraim Sneh, a former deputy defense minister, stated that it is obvious from the prime minister’s remarks that he has learned nothing from the unilateral withdrawals from Gaza and southern Lebanon.

Well that's because it's so nice in Olmertland....

The prime minister currently enjoys widespread support for his ongoing effort to destroy Hizbullah. Some critics are accusing the prime minister of taking advantage of his popularity to advance his political agenda, explaining he has made an error since he is splitting the nation at this critical time.


MK Effie Eitam (Religious Zionist Renewal Party, Hit’chabrut), a retired IDF brigadier-general and former commander of forces in southern Lebanon, has been advising the prime minister and Defense Minister Amir Peretz frequently since the war broke out over three weeks ago. Eitam was quick to comment on Olmert’s AP interview at this time, stating he made a tactical error, splitting the nation at this critical time. Quoted by ynet, Eitam stated that the prime minister understood he made a mistake that harmed national unity.

More like... "well, the cat's out of the bag... how can we spin this? Oh yeah, get a RELIGIOUS guy as our spokesman on this!"

Eitam told the media that following the prime minister’s interview, he was contacted by many rabbis, deans of IDF preparatory yeshiva programs, all expressing concerns regarding the timing of the prime minister’s remarks as the nation is in a state of war.

Concern?? There should be outrage and demonstrations regarding this.

Realizing Eitam was the unofficial liaison to the Orthodox community that supports Olmert during the ongoing Hizbullah war, the Prime Minister’s Office was quick contact him, seeking to implement damage control. Aides to the prime minister quickly issued a clarification, stating the realignment was not intended to have been the main focus of the AP interview.

Asking Eitam to convey a message to the Torah-observant public, the prime minister announced that at present, he is only dealing with efforts to halt rocket attacks, nothing else.

coughbullshitcough He got caught with a good dose of verbal diarrhea.

The prime minister’s interview broke the current momentum, with rabbis and other right-wing community leaders calling to reevaluate the war in the north, explaining it is unconscionable that soldiers living in Judea and Samaria fight for the country and then be evicted from their homes by the same army.

Funny... little mention was made of soldiers having to evict their own families from Gush Katif....

Eitam was called upon by Olmert to act as a go-between, seeking to allay fears and repair the damage resulting from his interview.

Eitam told the media that following a conversation with the prime minister, it is clear to him that the realignment/expulsion would not be dealt with at present. Eitam admits that the plan will be problematic at some time in the future, after the war, but for now, the nation must remain united behind the government while efforts continue to eliminate the Hizbullah threat.

Ah, he's donned the rosey glasses and whored himself out for politics at the expense of Halacha (Jewish Law).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

On the one hand.. and on the other...

I can't read the news without tripping over articles about people flying in from all over the world to volunteer somewhere up north. There is a daily blurb in the Jerusalem Post of contact info from people willing to put up evacuees.

Money. Supplies. Support.

All for the poor people in the north of Israel who suddenly find themselves on the front line.

Well, not so suddenly... HOW long did the first war with Lebanon last? The relative quiet on the border is only six year old, so people who moved there, who have been living there for years, should have had a clue that perhaps they would, at one time or another be shelled.

Where was all the support for the Gush Katif refugees? Where is the money for the familes, who a year later are still out of work and are still paying mortgages on houses that don't exist any more??

What's changed in the past year that people are so willing to rush to the north, open their houses, their checkbooks to strangers... who will, after all is said and done, will have a home to return to?

My own Yishuv is just as guilty. We have a boarding school here and it remained empty after the Gush Katif expulsion. Yet three days after the north started getting shelled, 50 people from the north moved in and there have been children's activities during the day and all sorts of other things going on.

So... for those who want to know what they can do to support Israel?

The evacuees from the north are well taken care of.

The refugees from Gush Katif however, still need your help.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


In the third chapter of Eicha, or Lamentaions, Yirmiyahu turns his cries from a "how and why are You doing this to the land" to "how and why are You doing this to me?" The first half of the chapter, he despairs that God has turned from him. Not only that, but God has turned His back on Yirmiyahu, He doesn't WANT to hear Yirmiyahu's pleas.

And then, in the second half of the chapter, Yirmiyahu does a complete about-face and says that only his belief in Hashem can lift him from the severe depression. Regardless of whether Hashem wants to hear it, Yirmiyahu will continue to pray, and continue to believe.

I've been living in Israel now for 9 years. In that time, I divorced my husband of 9 years. I was a single mother for 5 years. During that time I lost my job and for the past 6 years have been trying to deal with the fact that I am surrounded by people who would sooner shoot me than learn to live as my neighbor.

With all that going on in my life, there were plenty of times when I was at the bottom. I despaired of ever being able to have ONE month where I could pay all my bills, buy groceries and give the girls their allowance. I wasn't even praying to have something to carry on into the next month. There were times when I was thisclose to selling everything I owned, give up the joint custody of my daughters and move back to the US. I would be in tears, crying into my pillow, praying to God to help me.

And every time I got to that point, something happened. A freelance job would give my bank account a boost. The tzedakah organization on the Yishuv would drop two cases of assorted groceries on my doorstep. I met my second husband. And the important thing is... I recognized from whence it came.

There's really nothing I can do about the political situation though. The Intifada that started up again and now the war again in Lebanon.

There are those who have said that the first and second Intifada was brought by God when the people of Israel would start turning on one another. He would bring around a common enemy and the Jews would join together. Unfortunately for us, the Achdut (solidarity) never lasts long.

As for the war... there's another issue at stake. It's a need to return, or maybe turn, to God. Anyone who reads the TaNaCH (5 Books of Moses, the Prophets and the 'Writings') and believes in it can clearly learn that there is a direct correlation between the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the Word of God. One follows the Word of God, one cares for the Land of Israel and God will take care of the People. Don't follow the Word of God, or don't care for the Land of Israel and God will punish the people.

So God has brought this war as a lesson to His people. And what is that lesson? Well. It's different for everyone. And it's up to each person to discover what it is. And it happens in baby steps.

We have a number of Chiloni (secular) friends living in Tel Aviv. Two of them have been living inIsrael all their lives and have never gone over the Green Line. In the last month, one has come to our house twice and another once. Another Chiloni person whose blog I read (and he reads mine) read in my blog last week that a Tehillim rally was scheduled in Jerusalem. He got himself a Tehillim and went. And has been saying Tehillim every day ever since.

I'm not a religious nut, I don't consider myself particularly learned. I don't spend my days reading about Bible codes and The Matrix in every TV show I watch. I wasn't even particularly spiritual when I first made Aliyah.

But I can't live where I live and not see the miracles. I can't see what I've seen without seeing the Hand of God in it all.

Keeping Busy

Our Yishuv has an Ulpana (girl's high school, traditionally a boarding school) which of course is closed for the summer. Last week families from the north came and moved in.

D1 and D2 are helping with planned activities for the kids that have arrived. Which I'm glad. It gets them out of the house for a while.

Our e-tickets have just been emailed to me, so we're all set for our NY trip on Sukkot. We're really looking forward to it and I think by then, we'll really need it. This will be the first time back for the girls in 2 years and they'll get to meet their only female cousin for the first time.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

You know you're in Israel when...

You return to your Yishuv (settlement) at 11:30 at night and the guard on duty is the community's Rav with an M16.

Other Pursuits

Just so you don't think my entire life centers around my hatred for those who wish to destroy me and my family and my homeland, a brief interlude.

My husband and I are the cofounders of the Israeli group that participates in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Our Shire is Maale Giborim and we will be celebrating our third anniversary in November (Thanksgiving actually). We are part of the Kingdom of Drachenwald which if you don't want to head over to their site, encompasses Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. Our group here in Israel has a regular, active core group of about 15 people, and our biggest event had 30 people. It was our second birthday event, which was held in a Crusader-era hall in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.

I think our motto should be "Our event location kicks your event location's ass!"

Ok, maybe not.

We have semi-regular activities, which include fencing and crafts night. We hope to add archery soonish.

Lest you think that Orthodox Jews participating in something like this could only happen in Israel, think again. The Seneschal (I suppose head would define that) of the newly revived Shire in Brooklyn is an Orthodox Jew. Nice guy. We've met him and went to a Sunday event he and his Shire put together in May. The guy in charge of archery (called a Yeoman) for the Barony of Carolingia (a HUGE group in Boston) is a very nice 18 year old frum guy.

I know, because I met him 2 years ago. And his parents. At war. No, really. Pennsic War. Near Pittsburgh. My husband and I were honeymooning there. With my kids. And 12,000 other people. For 10 days.

We camped with a group that was mostly from the DC area. Most of the folks were either unaffiliated religiously. A few were pagans. And then us Jews. Seven of us from Israel and a family of three from DC. We had an Eruv around the camp, we explained to them about food, we asked for their assistance to make sure the port-o-potties had tissues in them over Shabbat after they were cleaned. It was really nice. And last year a large group of Jews camped together. Called themselves 'Clan MacIvri'. We hope to go again next year.

This year, we will actually have a representative at Pennsic who will participate in part of the actual battle. One of our memebers is learning in NY and recently qualified for fighting so she will wear our colors. So Vivat and best of luck to "
Zenigata Toshiko"!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How do you cope?

Thank God, so far, the war hasn't touched me. I don't have any relatives in the IDF, and as far as I know, none of my friends have had to report for duty. Some of my neighbors have been called up, but for the most part, they're older men, in reserve and they're filling in for the younger soldiers who have been moved to the front.

I'd like it to stay that way, thank you very much.

Last week, I signed up with a couple placement agencies, offering to allow evacuees live with us. Earlier today I received a phonecall from one of the organizations and they said they'll be back in touch.

According to the Jerusalem Post, estimates have this war going on for another 10 days or so, because that's when Hizballah runs out of munitions. So far, they've only been lobbing the shorter range Kaytushas. From the maps that I've seen, we seem to be on the far limit of what their long range missiles can get to. Yes, we're about due east of Tel Aviv. But we're a much more insignificant target. I WOULD say that also being surrounded by Arab villages offers some protection, but I've read about some of the misfires from Lebanon.

And that gets us to my point. How do I cope? I just don't read the news all that often. I head over to the Jerusalem Post and Arutz7 once, maybe twice a day. I figure if something major was happening, someone would let me know.

I've been living in Israel now for 9 years. For at least 6 of those, I've been surrounded by the escalated violence of the second Intifada. I missed Gulf War Part I, but I've been here for the sequel. Both my children and I have gas masks and yes, we know where they are (although they're going to have to be renewed soon). So Lebanon Part Deux is not a new experience for me. That's not to say it doesn't terrify me.

We call my MIL basically every day, or she calls us (isn't VoIP great?). She of course wants us to move back. And she lets us know it. That's not to say my parents don't want us safe... it's just that they've had 6 years longer to deal with the fact that their child has chosen to live in Eretz Yisrael and right now it happens to be a bit more... well... tense.

I spoke to my MIL yesterday via IM. She jokingly said that she's going to send a professional team here to kidnap us back to the US.

At least I think she was joking.


First posted: August 21, 2000

I wonder what my kids will think when I get a gun.

Their father already has one and he's always had BB handguns and rifles.

I live in a country were a handgun is common for a male civilian or 'regular' law enforcement officer, and automatic weapons are a usual accessory for the soldiers and Border Guards.

I've noticed though, that civilian women don't carry guns. Or maybe they only carry them in their backpacks/pocketbooks.

I may go the shoulder-holster route. I don't always wear something with a waistband (dress or jumber) and some of my skirts are elastic waistbands.

You can't imagine how gratefull I am that the kids I have thus far are girls. It must be horrible for a parent to look at their son and know that when he turns 18, he has to join the army. Girls have an easier time of getting out of manditory service. Of course, I'm sure my ex's parents would just love for them to get married the day after high school graduation...

I don't kow what road my girls will take and it's something that we'll have to discuss when the time comes...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Horde of Horrible Homos!

So... last year, World Pride in Jerusalem was postponed to this year due to the fact that the police were busy directing the Army in emptying Gaza of Jews.

I wonder if this latest escalation will postpone it again and World Pride organizers will just make that a Jerusalem on hold indefinitely and go elsewhere next year. What with all the outcry about the parade and other events happening in Jerusalem.

I also wonder how long it's going to take the ultra-Orthodox to blame the war in Lebanon Part Deux on the fact that people are ready to blaspheme the holy city of Jerusalem with a horde of horrible homos.

Oooh... I like that alliteration.... and the picture in my mind... Lotsa leather... flash of cleavage...

Uh... so yeah.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Enough Is Enough

I'm suddenly feeling very out of sorts right now.

The news is not good... We're thisclose to war with Lebanon again. And Gaza is just a powderkeg waiting for a match.

On the one hand, I want the IDF to go into Gaza and just level the damn place like they should have done as soon as they kicked all the Jews out. And go into Lebanon and do... SOMETHING.

On the other hand...

No. There is no other hand. The problem has to be taken care of once and for all and there is only one solution. The reports of a female suicide boming brigades, multiple kidnapings, the ceaseless rain of Kassams...


DO SOMETHING ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006


New Post

Yesterday, I got to play tour guide to a 42 year old Jewish woman who had never been to Israel before. We met at the central bus station and walked down Yaffo Street. We stopped at the Ben Yehudah shuk, walked through the Ben Yehudah mall (Midrachov) and detoured about 45 minutes for a doctor's appointment I had. I think the lure of air conditioning closed the deal for her.

Then we continued down Yaffo Street.

The first time I had ever been to the Kotel (Western Wall), was the summer of '86. I was visiting my aunt and uncle and cousins. Sad to say, I don't remember it. I don't remember what kind of impact seeing the holy site for the first time illicited in me. If we walked through the Old City or not...

I do know that when I go to the Kotel, I prefer to walk in from the center of town. It puts things into perspective... of the massive history or the place. Of what it means to millions of people. That by the simple act of walking to the Kotel, I am following in the footsteps of my ancestors.

We walked through Jaffa Gate, up around the Tower of David and through the outskirts of the Armenian Quarter to the Jewish Quarter. We passed the Hurva Synagogue, which is being restored and headed down the steps to the Kotel itself.

We paused at the top of the steps to take in the site. The South Wall excavations, the site of the Western Wall, with the mosques rising in the background, the people heading to pray. And then we went down to join them.

Whenever I go to the Kotel, my first order of business is to thank God for keeping my family safe. Yes, I realize one does not need to be at the Kotel in order to do this, and I realize that I thank God rather often during the regular week, while at home. But there is something about the Kotel that... I don't know. Maybe it's the fact that there are other people there praying and crying. And I don't feel strange joining them. I said a prayer for the two kidnapped boys, and I asked God to give me strength. Then I sat and people-watched as my friend said her own prayers and experienced the Kotel for the very first time.

I was honored that my friend (who until 2 p.m. that very day I had never actually met) allowed me to share her first experience at the Kotel. And I won't insult or embarrass her by saying anything about her own experience. That is for her to tell.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I JUst Want To Go Hooooooooome

Sunday, August 13, 2000

There are two big deal fasts in Judaism. Yom Kippur in September is of course the most widely known and then in August is Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av, Av being a month in the Jewish calendar).

Yom Kippur is when we stand already judged by God, ready to receive whatever punishment and/or reward He has deemed fit for us. It is a sundown to sundown fast, basically 25 hours of no food or water, standing for the most part in prayer for the better part of the day.

Tisha B'Av is when the Jews commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples. It is also a 25 hour fast, but for most of us, it just another day of work. Like me. Last year, I got lucky and I managed to get off from work. So the night the fast started, I stayed up until 5 a.m., went to bed and woke up at around 1 p.m. Most of the day had gone, the fast was over at around 8 p.m. and I stayed in bed.

This year I wasn't so lucky. I had arranged to work only half the day though. I'd take the 12:30 bus that first goes to where my ex lives and where the kids were that day (we'll call this place S) and then the bus goes to where I live (ML). 12:30 bus. The guy who told me about it didn't realize that in the summer there WAS no 12:30 bus. I called my ex and arranged to have a neighbor of mine pick up my kids. I would take the 3:30 bus I had been told about.

So I went back to work, it was only a 5 minute walk from the bus stop (ok, it's ALL uphill). At 3 I left and meandered down to the bus stop. Mind you, I hadn't had so much as a sip of water since 7 p.m. the night before. The bus pulls in at 3:15 and the driver tells me that he doesn't go to ML, it goes to E and I'd have to call ML and arrange a shuttle. It being a fast day, I wasn't going to count on the shuttle working and I figured by the time I got to E, called the shuttle and have it pick me up, I could be home if I took the 4:30 bus (which I KNEW ran because I took it regularly).

So I thanked the driver and sat at the bus stop for an hour.

Three other people and myself get on the 4:30 bus that will take us all home.

Or so we think.

Halfway to the halfway point (25 minutes into the ride) the Bus. Breaks. Down.

The bus company didn't want to send a new bus for just four people. Said that there was a bus leaving Jerusalem at 5:45 that would take us where we needed to go. So we flagged down a passing van and hitched to the halfwaypoint (O). An hour and a half later (and still fasting) the 5:45 bus out of Jerusalem showed up at O. The only shinning point of the whole thing was the driver didn't make me pay another fare. I showed him the receipt from the broken down bus and was ready to cry if need be. But he waved me on.

I unlocked my front door at 6:45. I had been trying to get home since 12:30. And I broke my fast with friends at 8 p.m.

How Do I Explain?

Friday, August 11, 2000

Something happened last night just struck something in me.

I happened to have been talking about the situation here with 2 friends in a Werewolf roleplay channel I play in yesterday morning. Once again, talk turned to solutions. This time, the conversationalists were a bit, if not more intelligent at least they spoke and asked intelligently. I told them that living in the middle of it all, without the media's skewed spin on things, no matter what the descission is, there will be a war.

After finally getting home (I had tried for 6 hours, see next entry), my kids and I went to a neighbor's house and hung out till 11 pm when the kids finally said they wanted to go to sleep. We walked home, living on a settlement of 100 families no one lives far from another and we passed concrete U shaped blocks that had been set up on an outlook of the settlement. Fresh sandbags had been piled on top.

We're in the middle of the worst drought in 80 years. These weren't set out to stop floodwaters. Also, the settlement is perched on top of one of the higher hills in the area and we'd be in big trouble if the valley flooded that much that WE'D need sandbags.

No, this wasn't to fight Mother Nature. This was to fight out enemies.

And my daughter, the almost 8 year old, asked as we passed these by what they were.

How do I explain to a child what fortified trenches are, and why we need them without instilling in her a blind hatred, a general hatred rather, of an entire people?

So I told here that there were some Arabs who might want to start fighting with us and these places were so that our soldiers can stand with guns and make sure the Arabs don't come.

The settlement sent out memos to the residents that we should stock up on bottled water, tanks of propane, food and perscription medication. It's sad that I know exactly where my gas mask is...

A Prayer

Sunday, December 31, 2000

Prayer of the Jewish Soldier

Lord of the Universe
We, the soldiers of the people of Israel
Come to You in humility
And pray for your help

Once more, we are asked to defend our
People and
The Holy Land against our enemies

We ask You to have mercy on us and
Help us watch over our people
With clean hands
And with a heart filled with mercy

Let our people have the strength to
Stay in good spirits
And live in unity and
Walk in Your ways
The ways of Justice and Truth

Let us not make mistakes
And hurt those who are not guilty
Who do not understand
And have no part in this conflict

Let our bullets not hurt those children of our enemies
Whose parents place them deliberately in dangerous spots,
Fire on us
And then shield themselves
Behind their own offspring against
Our forces so as to fault us when their children
Get hurt or even killed

Remove the evil spirit of these parents
And make them realize the wickedness of their actions
Stop their teachers from manipulating their students
With hate for us in their schoolbooks
On the radio, television and

O God,
You know what one of our Prime Ministers once said:
"We may forgive our enemies one day
For hurting and killing our children
We cannot forgive them for having made our children
Into those who needed to kill"
We beg You, do not let our Jewish souls have to undergo
This ordeal which we cannot bear

We are the children of Avraham, your servant, who
Prayed for the evil people of Sedom with the hope that
They should repent and live a decent life

So, we beg you
Make our enemies repent
Force them to understand that
We are good people
Who wish to live in peace with
All our neighbors

O Lord,
Remove from their thoughts atrocities such as those
In which they dip their hands
In our blood
As Jews, we
Cannot fathom
Doing this even against our worst enemies

You commanded us to live in a country which
Is little more
Than a tiny island
Our population is smaller than that of
Many single cities

You asked us to live there so as to send
Your holy Word to all the corners of the world
We are surrounded by many nations who
Embody more than a hundred million people
They inhabit one of the largest regions of the world
But deny us the right to live in even the smallest corner of the world
They do not want to listen
And only wish our death

Give the Arab nations
Who are men of justice and who really
Care for their people
And do not wish to bring their own brothers to despair
And unbearable pain
With the intention
To accuse us
Of grave injustice

After thousands of years of our dwelling
On this globe and after many exiles, tortures, pogroms,
Expulsions and Holocausts
We finally found our way back to our
Small homeland
Which You promised to our forefathers

But once more our dreams of peace
Have gone up in smoke
While we were trying, at the risk of our own lives,
To find a way to
Allow our Palestinian neighbors to
Live their own lives
While we were prepared to make sacrifices
For the welfare of these people
As no other people ever did
While we offered them land, peace, finances
And even firearms so as to defend themselves
We once more pay the price for being a people
Who believe in the honesty of another nation and its leaders
And once more we feel misled

Oh Lord, remove the evil intentions of the
Security Council which distorts the truth
Remove the deliberate lies
From the hearts of those who head the

Why do they want to portray us
As an evil people?
They do so
To deny Your existence and Your moral
They hide behind their own wickedness
And cover up theirs and their fathers'
Immoral acts which they brought on us
And our forefathers for thousands
Of years

O, God You know
No army in world history has used so much restraint
As ours.
No army is so careful not to hurt or kill
As ours
But what shall we do when they are not even prepared
To give us the option
To prove this to the world?

Please God,
Bring peace into the hearts and minds
Of our enemies
Let them be uplifted with a spirit of righteousness
Stop them from hating us because we are Your people
Let us sanctify Your name as this is our
Mission and our dream
Give us the possibility once more to teach
Your ways to the peoples
Of the world
And make them hear and

We hate war as nobody else does,
We abhor the need to wear weapons
We cannot stand the sound of our own artillery
And our tanks

We are the people of the Book
The Book which demands holiness,
And integrity
Our heroes are not the generals or the marshals
But our prophets and our sages
Men of righteousness

So, deliver us from this anguish
Bring peace to the nations
Let us not be forced to use our strength against them
For they will have no escape
Let the blessing which you gave to Avraham come true,
"And through you all the families of the earth will be blessed"
For this is our hope

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The usual suspects

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

I realized I'd been in Israel too long while on a recent trip back to NY.

I'm standing at the back of the city bus by the door as the bus pulls into my stop. And I stand there like an idiot for a few seconds.

I'm about to call out "Nahag!" (Hebrew for 'driver'), to get his attention so he'll open the door for me when I remember that in NYC, you have to work to get off the bus. You have to press the yellow tape to open the door. In Israel the bus driver operates all the doors.

I finally managed to find my way off the bus laughing.

Another thing that made me realize I'd been here too long was my surprise upon entering a mall in NY and not being stopped by a guard so he can fondle my bag, swish the contents around with a ruler or pen and otherwise pass this Star-Trekkie type device over the bag looking for a bomb.

This morning, we were met with yet another facet of Israeli life...the "suspicious package".

8 times out of 10, someone running after a bus or trying to catch a ride will forget the day's shopping or laundry and since no one is stupid enough to go through it (because times 9 and 10 are bombs) the Army Bomb Squad is called in.

Traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, is stopped in all directions. Now once the bomb squad arrives, it should take no more than 15 minutes to clear the package. You've got the guy in head-to-toe flak jacket controling the little robot with video camera...

It usually takes longer than 15 minutes because the bomb squad guy usually has to stop because there's some oblivious moron walking through the cleared area...Either he's lost in his own world and doesn't notice the dozens of people milling about and the stopped traffic, or she thinks she's invincible and won't get blown up.

Personally, I think those people should be given a ticket for hundreds of shekels....

Anyway..this morning we passed French Hill just before they closed the streets. I think somone for got their laundry at the hitch-hicking station.

Sunrise Observations

From Sunday, December 12, 2000

5:45 a.m. and I'm at the bus stop at the settlement's entrance. At the gate and guardhouse 6 a.m. means duty change.

The Sun hasn't risen and I wish I hadn't either. The guards seem a bit punchy at this point and they've got the radio playing. Since there's no other sound anywhere close by, whispers seem noisey. The guards are singing loudly and terribly off key and every time one of their voices' crack I look up from the book I'm reading by lamplight and chuckle.

At 5:55 a.m. a pair of soldiers come walking down from their barracks, helmets swinging in hand, M-16 slung across their back and wearing a flak jacket. When they reach the guardhouse, the night boys step out, unload their own machine guns and aim their weapons to the lightening sky. Instead of singing I hear the click-click-click of someone pulling the trigger of an unloaded weapon.

The two weary boys trudge uphill and pass me on the way to their beds. I wish I were in my own bed.

Eventually someone stops and I get in, and I'm on my way to Jerusalem. We drive down the hill where the settlement tops.

Did you know that when a tire burns, the remains look like black licorice ropes? They leave a stain on the asphalt.

A few days before, IDF soldiers bulldozed an olive grove that Arabs were sniping from. The trees lay broken and dying on the edges. I felt sorry for the trees. Not for the Arabs' loss of income.

A lot of Arab houses are enclosed with a high wall and gate. Today, one of those houses had it's wall and gate torn down. It sits right on the road and they were probably sniping from there since they didn't have tree-cover anymore.



I'm moving blogs. What's coming are post-dated from the original blog. Original posting dates will be put on.

This blog isn't so much about me personally - about my daily life per se, or about my background.

It's about where I live, what I see and my opinions about the craziness that goes on around me. Which I suppose is shaped in part of how I was raised.