Friday, April 29, 2005

Another Week in Israel

We made it through Pessah (Passover) and are now well into the week of unleavened bread. We got an invite at church on Saturday to do Pessah dinner at the home of a member. It was a nice offer and we couldn't refuse, although it meant driving for an hour to get back out where our branch meets in the evening. Plus, the Seder (passover dinner) doesn't traditionally start until 8pm, so it was a LATE night for William. We were invited by the Hansens. Brother and Sister Hansen are American but their children speak Hebrew more than English since they were all born here. Their youngest is 9, I think. He tried to do the speaking part of the Seder but got reprimanded for going all the way back to Adam (not that we had any clue what he was saying) when they only wanted the story of Moses. He spent most of the evening upset and bawling in his room or at his side of the table. With other people taking over the telling and leading in the songs, it only took about an hour, which
we were assured was an absurdly short amount of time. Generally, the ceremony lasts from 3 to 6 hours and often involves a lot of drinking of wine. We did grape juice and missed several of the specified drinking spots. William spent the entire hour flipping over and over through the pages of a book about trains (luckily in English so I could tell him what they were when he pointed and asked). Then, we had a nice dinner of chicken and potatoes and salad and everything was nice and salty. Oh, the one strange dish was cooked yellow squash served cold in a runny tahini sauce. I wasn't sure what I thought of it.

The whole week after Passover is a holiday week for the Israelis. Our little park has been over-run. In fact, thy have barricaded the side and you have to go through a security clearance just to enter. Security people with large automatic weapons wander through the crowds. And there are crowds. Yesterday, Tiffany brought Tyler and Brooke and we all went to the zoo there at the park. Admission is free for the week, so we couldn't pass it up. Of course, neither could anyone else. It was pretty crazy. I decided it might be worth the 30 shekels just to go when there aren't so many other people there. The other problem is that the zoo is built on the side of Mt Carmel. You go in at the top and work your way down, stopping to look at the animals as you go. Then, you get to the bottom and have a long, uphill climb in front of you with a stroller and tired child to push. I decided then that it was worth 30 more shekels to come with daddy to push the stroller. Other than that, it was a nice little zoo. We saw bears and camels and a tiger and lots of birds and various smaller animals. William enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, hotel breakfast (which I heard tons of wonderful stories about) during this unleavened bread time is getting a little boring. They have the same things almost every day. I tend to go for the bell peppers stuffed with shredded carrots and cabbage and steamed in a cream sauce. Good, but it gets old. Then, there are scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, some sort of fried matzo cakes (matzo is the one type of flour allowed right now) and sometimes little fried cabbage and carrot cakes. There's salad but no dressings right now (I don't know why). There's usually fruit and William always eats an apple that we cut and peel with a table knife. He had a blast last week when there were strawberries a few times. And lately there are little dry sweet cakes that I don't like much. I look forward to the pastries and toast and variety of breakfast foods you get when you can use flour and let things rise. Luckily, the pizza place and the sandwich shops are 'non-kosher.' We found a great bagel place down the street and a good sandwhich shop. And several times over the past week we've eaten at Bowden's. I made them Lazy Perogie Casserole one night and then Potato & Chicken Mustard Vinaigrette Salad. Both were hits.

Well, there's the latest news. I'd better get working on my talk for church on Saturday while I'm here at Bowden's with access to the internet.


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