This will be a short blog as I (Mike) am at Ben Gurion waiting to take off to come home and the keyboard on my iPad case has decided to not let me use any keys on the top row.
Friday started with saying goodbye to Netanya. Leaving the apartment was easy, except the four kids all sitting in the middle row. Fortunately, the ride to Ra'anana was quick and the kids were happy to see the Hartsteins. Noah left us for a few hours to hang out with Matan Rich - you will have to ask him what they did. We went to Park Ra'anana where Dalia was selling the candy mugs the kids made at her bat mitzvah. She was helping to raise money to fight pulmonary hypertension. Their babysitter from years ago (who also happened to be good friends with Libby Adler) died suddenly and many groups got together to memorialize her. After selling out, we all headed to Appolonia, on the coast north of Herziliyah - a ruin we had not yet explored. The kids played with the water fountains, and had a great time with each other even if it was hot. The adults loved having some time to really talk. The breeze off the sea almost made it tolerable to be out in the heat. I loved exploring the crusader castle. Then to Rehovot to spend Shabbat with the Fass family. They were concerned that with all of the restaurant reviews we have provided that they would not stack up - nothing could be farther from the truth - dinner was excellent and equaled by lunch - bourekas, chicken soup, chicken, schnitzel, etc. The kids stayed in the kids room and Sima and I stayed at Hester's parents house a few minutes away. The teenagers slept most of the day, the kids played risk and other games, we talked and read and I even learned a bit with Ephraim and a friend. At times it was just easier for them to speak Hebrew and I wasn't totally lost.
Oh, I forgot something, and that is a theme. We forgot to get a prescription from Mo for Noah's sinus infection, so we called a friend of his in Rehovot and he very kindly gave us a scrip for an antibiotic. We then drove into Jerusalem as this landlord was being very nice and letting us check in early. He was very late and one of us (me) really needed to use something in the apartment - good thing the Inbal Hotel is just down the street. After settling and checking out the view of the Old City from the mirpeset (balcony), the boys headed to Burgers Bar. My stomach was not going to get in the way of a greasy burger at 1:30 am. Later this morning Sima and I got gas and returned the car. Two miles of driving in Jerusalem and there was more swearing than the rest of the trip combined. Everyone must just know that to return a car to Avis that you drive to the gas station down the block and enter a gated area to head underground to return the car. I will never understand some things. We then walked back go the apartment - ten minutes - to find the kids enjoying American TV. We headed to the Old City, via the Mamila Mall - amazing new things in this very old city. Noah had been in contact with Aleck Zimbalist and he and a friend were going in meet him there, so we stopped for lunch. We were surprised that Hili and Meital joined them and we all had a very nice lunch (Cafe Cafe was so-so, but the company was great). We bought Naomi a bat mitzvah present at Michal Negrin and filled Noah's prescription. But, not fast enough as he was really not feeling well. He toughed it out and we entered the Old City by the Jaffa Gate, headed down the shuk and entered the Jewish Quarter at the Cardo and went to the rebuilt Hurva synagogue. Noah spiked a fever so he, Sima and the girls went home and Eitan and I went to the Kotel. Those reflections will wait. I finally grabbed a falafel, and headed to the airport. Sima will add/subtract (I didn't blog about how the 5 other members of the family all took advantage of the very clean bathrooms at the Mamila Mall) and blog alone for the rest of their trip.