We had another relatively early start today, this time heading to Rechovot to participate in Leket Israel. Leket is a program that provides food for the needy in 2 ways: they collect leftover food from weddings, bar mitzvahs, offices, etc. and distribute it to soup kitchens across the country, and they pick produce left in the fields by farmers to give to the needy. We visited them at their volunteer site, a farm owned and operated by an American philanthropist who made Aliyah and donates all of the crops from his farm to Leket. Volunteers work at this location because getting volunteers out to the farms that they serve is logistically complicated -- the project often has only one or two days notice to go pick, and the farms are scattered across the country. This farm allows Leket to utilize a steady stream of volunteers. So this morning we met the Perlmans (yipee! Great to see them, and great for the kids to have entertainment other than their own siblings!) at Leket. Guided by Natalie and Amir, both Anglo new olim and Leket employees, we went to pick beets. The weather was hot but relatively pleasant, and beets are not so hard to pick (Noah figured out that you can kick them out of the ground with a well placed foot) and we enjoyed picking and chatting together. We also saw some of the other crops that this farm produces such as clementines, apples, potatoes, and onions. We found it very meaningful to pick from the land, especially as we had learned the mishnaiot on peyot in Mishnat Pinchas this year. At the end of our picking, they presented Naomi with a certificate in honor of her bat mitzvah and the work we did today, and gave us all cool t-shirts. This was definitely a worthwhile experience and one we would recommend to anyone visiting Israel.
We had worked up an appetite picking, so we headed to the mall for lunch. Oh, the joys of a food court, and the candy stand! Then we went to the Perlman's apartment for a little down time, regrouped, and headed out the the beautiful campus of the Weitzman Institute, where Harris is working this summer. We visited the Science Garden, an outdoor area filled with interactive science exhibits/activities. We played with pulleys, waves, rainbows, bubbles, levers, echoes, etc. The weather has been so lovely, it is cool in the shade, and you know we love science so what more could we want?
After the science garden we followed our GPS through the little streets in a neighborhood on the edge of Rechovot to the Fass's apartment. Hester and Efraim prepared us an amazing BBQ dinner, the kids bonded like they had never been apart, and we had a relaxing and enjoyable visit. It was so nice to have a home cooked meal! We look forward to seeing the Fass family again in a couple of weeks for Shabbat. We capped off the night with a very low traffic trip back to Netanya, and we were home by 9:45 -- an early night for us! Of course, Mike then started work, Sima caught up on email, Nava skyped us from home, and we blogged.
Pictures from today and from the wedding last night are on Sima's Facebook page.