Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thursday, July 5

I won’t bore you with all the driving stories from today: turns we couldn’t make, streets we missed, times we couldn’t turn around, etc. Suffice it to say we spent alot of time in transit but did not hit anything, and Donna was sick of driving and she wasn’t driving. We left the house at 7:45am, and just returned at 10:30 pm. So where were we?

Our first stop was the Palmach museum in Tel Aviv. It is an experiential museum that takes you through the story of one fictional Palmach brigade from 1941 to 1948. The story is presented mostly through film, and with lots of special effects. As you walk from one room to the next you are singing by a campfire, on a long training hike, blowing up bridges, on a boat etc. The museum got rave reviews, but I think that something was lost in translation (all of the dialog is in Hebrew and they give you these little telephone things that translate some of the narrative, but most of the dialog is not translated). The kids liked it because it was cool – I thought that it wasn’t very substantive. Donna and Ilana skipped this part – Donna has already been twice, and Ilana would have been bored silly.

Next we headed to Rehovot and the Ayalon Institute. This was the code name for an operation that ran from 1943-1945 in which a group of people who were working to start a kibbutz were recruited to produce bullets in a secret, underground factory. Above the factory was a working kibbutz. The factory was accessed through a laundry on one end and a bakery on the other. The secret of the factory was kept so well that only the kibbutznicks who worked in it knew it existed. They had all kinds of elaborate ruses to trick the other kibbutznicks who were on the kibbutz; they thought that this group worked in agriculture in a far away field. The secret was kept for many years, long after the Israel was a state and the factory had been moved above ground, and the workers had gone on to start their own kibbutz, Maagan Micha’el. We toured the laundry, saw the secret passage to the factory, and then entered the restored factory through the bakery. It is an unbelievable story. They even did laundry for the British soldiers in the very washing machine that covered the entrance to the factory.

Next stop, a water park in Holon where we met the cousins. Maayan went to a gym to work out, and the rest of the kids slid and swam for several hours. We headed out at dinner time and stopped at Yarkon Field to watch the Ranana Express v. the Petach Tivkvah Pioneers and eat Burgers Bar. I told the kids that they could collect 2 foul balls for the family – that they should not be greedy, as there were more kids at the game this time and I thought it fair that everyone get a ball (after all, we already have 4 from last game). At the end of the game as the kids were getting balls signed, a player asked if any kid did not have a ball. Noah and Ilana were holding ours so Eitan raised his hand and the player gave him one. Naomi also said that she didn't have one, so a player gave her his wristband, but some other kid snatched it. The guy then took pity on her and gave her a bat (it was cracked). She was the envy of every kid there! It turned out that the guy who gave her the bat had just acquired it during the game, he had swapped bats with a teammate named Scott, whose mom had been sitting near us. Both guys signed the bat for Naomi, and they all took a photo together (Scott’s mom is going to e-mail it to me).

Kids fell asleep in the car. We are home and tired. Lila tov.

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