Dalia's bat mitzvah shabbat was wonderful. We arrived in Ra'anana at the home of Mo and Elisa's friends, the Lefcourt-Ruby's just before Shabbat. They were warm and welcoming hosts, our kids hit it off, and we really enjoyed our conversations with them over the weekend. But we know you all want to hear about the bat mitzvah! Friday night we brought Shabbat in a bit early. Mike and Noah went to the 6 o'clock minyan at the big American shul in the neighborhood. When the crowds spill out of that shul after davening it sounds just like America... The rest of the family went over to Morris and Elisa's beautiful home to hang out until dinner time. The last time we were here Mo and Elisa had just bought the property, and it took a good two and half years to get the house built. But it seems it was well worth the wait. The house is spacious and well designed, and we wish the Hartsteins many happy years there! Mo and Elisa had tables set up in the kitchen and the living room for dinner and lunch, and everything was truly lovely -- the table linens, centerpieces, placecard, bentchers, every last detail was accounted for the coordinated. But of course, what is really important is who was inside the house! If felt amazing to be so warmly welcomed not only by Mo and Elisa, but also by their kids and their relatives. All of their sibling and nieces and nephews were in town, and Elisa's parents, and some of her cousins and aunt and uncles -- it is a real testament to their family. It was so wonderful to visit and catch up and enjoy the good company. We did think of Jack and Merle often, their absence was definitely felt. Throughout Shabbat, Dalia was calm and gracious and so warm to our kids; all of our kids felt comfortable and had a great Shabbat hanging out with the Hartsteins and their friends.
On Shabbat morning we went to Mo and Elisa's shul for davening, and then back to their house for lunch. Dalia's bat mitzvah service was at mincha, in their shul which was filled with women (and some men watching from the balcony above). Dalia read Torah and spoke beautifully (we were provided with an English translation so we knew what she was saying!). And then there was a delicious seudah shlishit outside the shul, which is on the campus of the Open University in Ra'anana. It was just like home, we hadly saw our kids they were all so busy with their new friends. Naomi felt especially comfortable; she really hit it off with Dalia's friends and has decided that she is going to live in Ra'anana. We are welcome to come with her if we would like. As Shabbat came to a close, we were sad to leave but knew that we would see everyone the next evening at Dalia's party and that made it a little easier.
But, the night was not over! After we drove back to Netanya, Moshe Stengel came by to pick us up with his friend Yifat, very nice and interesting, a lawyer by profession. They took us to the Hertzlyia marina area where we walked around and chatted and had some light fare at a cafe. It was great to see Moshe, we have really missed him, and it was also nice to get to know Yifat. Mike and Moshe decided to be partners in a multi-million dollar yacht that they saw for sale. Now, if only either of them knew a thing about sailing. By the time we got home it was 2am. Wow, a long day, but it was so nice to spend it with our friends.