Shabbat was wonderful with the Gersons. Dov played his piano piece from the recital earlier in the day. Naomi had an immediate attraction to baby Yakir and held him, looked after him, and carried him around the house. Tamar and Ilana hit it off, and of course Elisha played baseball with Noah and Eitan. The boys all went to shul, and the girls walked to shul but didn’t quite make it as they stopped at the playground. Dinner was just us and Gersons. We kept telling Elisha that Lori’s chicken was the best in the world, but he didn’t quite believe us. Our kids slept with the Gerson kids and they were all adorable.
Shabbat morning we went to shul – even Sima was able to make it. The shul just received new seats – made on Kibbutz Lavi. Beautiful to look at, and even quite comfortable, but difficult for traffic. If you blinked your eyes, you could be in Teaneck, or Silver Spring, or Chicago. In Hashmonaim, we heard much more English than Hebrew. The people were friendly, and clearly the groups of children that we saw all over enjoyed living there. The yishuv was begun about 20 years ago but there is a lot of new construction. On Shabbat, the kids can walk anywhere they want as there is no traffic (except the one security truck). On Saturday afternoon, Ilana and Tamar went to play at a little girl’s house. They decided to have a pj party, so the little girls walked home by themselves, got on their pj’s and walked back. We had lunch with the Gersons and another family – the Silton’s from Albany/New York. There were so many connections – Akiva Silton knows Mike Sherman, a good friend of ours from Albany; went to Yeshiva with Avi Orlow, a good friend of ours; knows the Zimands from St. Louis; his sister is friends with Panina in Silver Spring; and his mother, Faye Goldsmith, is from South Bend. A number of Dov’s friends came over in the afternoon and Noah knows two of them from Camp Moshava last year.
Sat. night we went out with Lori (Seth went to bed) – now we know where we were supposed to be in Modi’in on Friday.
This morning we woke up and said goodbye to the Gersons (but not for long …….) and went back to Latrun so Mike could take pictures of the boys on tanks. Sima and the girls went to a café instead. Then we went to Park Kofim (Monkey Park), where we saw lots of monkeys and the kids could climb on ropes like monkeys. Ilana made it through the whole course with just a bit of help (we have pictures too, but Sima can’t log in to get the photos on the web, so we will try to get a flash drive tomorrow to put the pictures on Mike’s computer). After that we drove to Netanya. Easy drive (yeah!) and then we felt a breeze. It was close to 100 degrees this a.m. and we were a bit hot and crabby around the tanks and monkeys. Donna met us in Netanya (yeah!!).
The apartment is great – right near the center of town and across the street from stairs to the beach. We went for “lunch” at 3:15 to get pizza from ….. Pizza Hut. Much better than McDonalds. Mike, Donna and the boys then traveled back south to Petach Tikva to watch the inaugural game of the Israel Baseball League at Yarkon Park in Baptists’ Village (there was no beer, or mixed dancing). Again, all we heard was English. We spoke to Ken Holtzman, the manager of the Petach Tikvah Pioneers, who used to pitch for the Cubs (and A’s and Yanks) and who grew up in St. Louis and used to work at the JCC. He told us that he only had 45 minutes with his team before the first game, doesn’t know their names, and has 2 pitchers older than 50. (His team looked horrible and lost 9-1.) We met up with Seth and his boys and they sat right behind us. Lori called Seth and told him to tell Elisha to stop ……….. biting his nails. We were on TV every time there was a righty batter. The park was small, the crowd was excited, we sang Hatikvah before the game. The game only goes 7 innings, so Mike created his own 7th inning stretch at the beginning of the 5th. He even started a hearty rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and half the crowd joined in. (Of course, the PA then led it in the middle of the 5th, but by that time half the crowd wasn’t interested in singing it again. Oops.)
During this time, Sima did laundry, took the girls shopping for groceries and took them to the beach for a quick stroll and dip. The girls were in their pjs after having cereal for dinner. The boys would have none of that so we took them to a place ½ a block away for quiche and salad (and milkshakes).