Josh and I went to see our friend Neora the other day. Neora had a baby (baby boy named Shalev) five months back, so we went to say hello and to cuddle them both. We ate in a fig grove, walked around Neora's kibbutz (Kibbutz Barkai) and played with Shalev. It was a sweet day!
Israel is overrun with cats. Most are homeless, but some are pets who are allowed to wander the streets. Josh and I are obviously opposed to this pet ownership style in a city full of busy roads and crazy drivers. But back to the homeless cats. This is truly a sad situation. We've seen some seriously ill cats during our time here and it has been very hard to walk away from these little guys. And now an ever more difficult situation -- it's spring, and that means KITTENS! Kittens in the bushes, in courtyards, playing under parked cars, arggggg, I just want to take them all home.
One night a few weeks back Josh called and said that he was bringing home one of these kittens. Now, usually we do walk by and say a little prayer for these animals as we cannot do much to help. We can't adopt another cat and we can bring one home because this is not our apartment. But on this particular night there was hot sand storm going on, hamseen in Hebrew, and Josh heard the yelps of a little kitten on his way home from school. This was a tiny kitten. It was not a cat, or even a kitten, it was really a kittenlet. It was tiny, dirty, and very hungry. Sometimes it is just not possible to walk by and not do anything......
So, we bathed her, fed her a tiny morsel of tuna, and brought her to one of the few no-kill shelters in Jerusalem. They were not going to take her, but then relented. She was just that cute! Also, our 100 nis
donation helped. I hope she's doing well. We still miss her dirty little face.
Went to a picnic a few weeks ago. Ate cotton candy, grilled meat, and corn. Some fighter jets flew over.
Wonderful fighters, that--despite how sad we are about this region being a place of interminable war--can make you feel proud. I don't know...maybe it's just the tremendous blasts of sound and speed.
We were celebrating Yom HaAtzma'ut, Israeli Independence day...that remarkable day in 1948 that Ben Gurion and other decided to declare the Jewish State. (It's called, appropriately, the Nakba, the catastrophe, by Palestinians.)
Anyway, the day has developed a tradition of public bbqing that puts the 4th of July to shame. Israelis haul out basically their entire apartments into the parks, and live there for the holiday. We set up our own tent...and made a day of it.
Here are some photos of pre-party gathering...and some cooked corn. Art photography.
This weekend Josh and I are going on a RRC shabbaton (a sabbath getaway). This is one of several trips arragned for us by RRC, but the theme is the same: education and coexistence.
RRC is concerned with educating rabbis about many things, and perhaps one of the most important is social justice. There is no better place to learn about social justice than in Israel -- a place where some would argue there is actually very little of it. BUT, having spent the better part of the year here I have a lot of hope that one day Israel will be known as a place of coexistence, and I think the destination of our shabbaton is a place where that can begin: The Ein - Shemer Environmental Greenhouse, a place where Israeli and Palestinian teens come together to work on environmental and arts projects.
The video below explains the founding and goals of this unique place.
Many months back Josh and I found a dirty and tiny kitten in our building's courtyard. Being somewhat rational we realized we could not keep him. We gave him some roasted chicken and put him back outside, feeling quite poorly about our inability to do anything else. Very luckily, our neighbor adopted the kitten that is now an awkward looking bigger kitten. We get to see Ginge often, which is awesome. It's also awesome to see people actually caring about the cats in Jerusalem. Here are two photos of Ginge having a "moment" with his friend Josh.
After running around Jerusalem we needed a more relaxing pace of things. Along with Josh and Noah's cousin Noam, we headed out to the Dead Sea. Staying at the Ein Gedi Hostel, we enjoyed cozy quarters. It was like a slumber party, but with no one crying at the end of the night.
Josh and Noah reverted back to their childhood :)
We visited the Eing Gedi Spa and enjoyed the traditional spoils of mud. The skin will never feel as nice as it did after our muddy frolic!