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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A passing thought

The other night a close friend and I found ourselves sitting on my back mirpesset (porch) in sinfully comfortable hanging chairs, sipping an excellent wine from a local boutique winery, and snacking on freshly grilled spring chicken and perfectly ripe fruit that was probably picked the day before.

Arsalim 
The air, which was perfumed with the scent of honeysuckle that grows along our back wall, was a perfect temperature - cool, but not chilly - with a soft sea breeze occasionally kissing our skin.

As we rocked lazily in our hanging chairs, we reviewed our week the way a well fed person might review a well laid banquet table; with appreciation but no real pressing interest.

The glasses were filled and refilled, and the conversation turned to wondering why more of our friends from 'the old country' hadn't come to the same conclusions we had about aliyah (moving to Israel).

We briefly toyed with the idea of calling up a few of them in Teaneck and Long Island, and actually asking them what was keeping them there.  Certainly it wasn't the high tuitions, health insurance costs or the need to make a fancier Bar Mitzvah than the Schwartz's.

But then we decided such phone calls weren't likely to produce fruitful discussions. 

Everyone has their reasons for staying in Galut (the diaspora)... or if not, at least for not wanting to live in Israel.  In fact, I'm sure that, with the very best of intentions, many of you will offer them here.  And every single one of you will be 100% correct (at least subjectively) in what you say.

We refilled our wine glasses and allowed the soft breeze to rock us gently back and forth... watching in the dim light as a couple of Geckos chirped back and forth on the stone of the back wall, lazily catching passing moths which flew within easy reach.

Posted by David Bogner on July 26, 2011 | Permalink

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Hmmm... too quiet on your blog today, David? :-)

Posted by: Rahel | Jul 26, 2011 1:42:24 PM

One of the better enticements to aliyah I've heard. Low-key, Bogner. That rocks.

[Pause.]

Which wine???

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Jul 26, 2011 2:29:03 PM

Rahel... So make some noise! :-)

rutimizrachi ... Katlav (located in Nes Harim). If you and the Major enjoy good wine, we need to take you over there for a tasting. Oh, and there is no other way to talk about aliyah except low key. After the 'high' of the NBN arrival ceremony wears off, people need to know that it's moments like I described that will define and enrich their lives... not scenes from Exodus.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 26, 2011 2:35:15 PM

I'm so looking forward to a low-key rest of my life in Israel. Finally made it home!

Posted by: SaraK | Jul 26, 2011 2:48:29 PM

I'm so looking forward to a low-key rest of my life in Israel. Finally made it home!

Posted by: SaraK | Jul 26, 2011 2:48:29 PM

I get moments like that during rehearsals for a local outdoor production of Romeo & Juliet. We're rehearsing in a park just behind the King David Hotel and above Mishkenot Shaananim, within clear sight of the Old City walls. Most directors I've worked with have told me that they appreciate my focus and attention to detail... but sometimes, in that setting, it can get a bit hard to pay attention for a few moments as the thought goes through my mind: My ancestors would have given all they possessed for a moment like this. How have I earned such a privilege?

Fortunately, the director understands. :-)

Nevertheless, I would like to add, with respect, that many olim struggle very hard to support themselves and their families. I know quite a few well-educated and hardworking people who, for all their efforts, may never be able to afford the backyard swing and the boutique wine.

Posted by: Rahel | Jul 26, 2011 2:51:32 PM

Sara... welcome home (again) and we can't wait to see you.

Rahel... Point well taken, but in fairness, there are well-educated and hardworking people all over the world who aren't able to afford luxuries. Israel or not Israel is not a factor in such a discussion. And as an aside, it is far easier to live relatively comfortably here as a 'poor' person, than in the US. I'm just saying.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 26, 2011 3:13:55 PM

Ok, Trepp -- what kind of contraption is that, really?

It reminds me of the, umm... Honeymoon Hammock (a.k.a. Swinging Sex Chair) that used to be advertised back in the 80's (or was it the 90's) here in the USA. If it is, I can totally understand the wine, but not another couple!

Life in Israel... :-D

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Jul 26, 2011 4:46:36 PM

ProphetJoe ... I gave you a link. Do you need me to come over there and click it for you to? :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 26, 2011 5:11:46 PM

the army!

Posted by: fred | Jul 26, 2011 5:47:59 PM

Arsalim ... I dunno ... that just puts a picture in my mind of a big basket filled with arses (and I mean "arse" in the Henrew sense, not the Brit sense). You know, like Bat Yam. :)

But seriously, while the scenario you are describing is delightful, more than delightful, even enchanting, isn't it true that most Israelis (including most olim) live in apartments where the neighbor is drilling something, the other neighbor has a crying baby, a guy in the chanaya is gunning his engine, and the trash collection truck is going by spewing diesel smoke? And there is no yard in which to place the hammock. Maybe they can put it on the mirpeset?

Posted by: Mark | Jul 26, 2011 7:55:39 PM

Okay, Kids. A couple of you are getting the ol' eye-rolling going in the Ruti skull. (I won't mention any names, but their initials might be Mark and Rahel.) I can't afford a hammock, and have virtually no yard. I drink Chateau Thames Embankment, because it's what I can afford. And everywhere one lives -- yes, even in the rarefied atmosphere of Chez Treppenwitz, there sometimes is noise, trash collection (thank G-d), and the struggle to pay the bills. Let's not completely blow off the point. I would rather drink cheap wine here than anywhere. It tastes holier than it did when I was drinking it in Baltimore. The only thing I miss is the secure feeling of the occasional drive by shooting... Oh, wait. I don't miss that. All of my neighbors are Jewish; none of them sells drugs; and most of them like me and don't mind that I'm a Jew. I'm just sayin'...

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Jul 27, 2011 6:47:46 AM

Imagine what it would be like here if they all came. Sigh.

Before I made Aliya a friend told me, "you know, Baila, I don't wake up every morning singing Hatikva here in Israel".

Nothing in life is perfect and of course there are struggles here like there would be anywhere else. And yes, some of those struggles are unique to living in Israel. Still, I feel so blessed to have been able to make this move and to have moments like the one David describes above (and minus the backyard, swing and wine, too).

Two more comments:

Mark, apparently you haven't been in Bat Yam lately.

And David, which sea is that soft sea breeze coming from?

Posted by: Baila | Jul 27, 2011 11:09:19 AM

We live in an apartment where the neighbour is drilling something, the other neighbour has a crying baby, a guy in the chanaya is gunning his engine, and the trash collection truck is going by spewing diesel smoke. We also have construction in front of us and behind us. But on Shabbat, when no one is working in our neighbourhood? We sit in our livingroom, throw open the large window which faces the sea, put our feet up, sip our (stupidly cheap!) delicious Israeli wine and watch the glorious sunset over the hills and water, and count our blessings.

You don't have to live in Trep's neighbourhood to have beautiful moments :)

Posted by: Alissa | Jul 27, 2011 8:40:30 PM

Baila... We get a nice strong breeze from the Med even though we are way inland and up in the hills.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 28, 2011 8:18:19 AM

So it wasn't my imagination after all. I used to work in Talpiot and smelled sea breezes there all the time -- but wondered whether my senses were deceiving me, or whether I could possibly be smelling something else, since that area is so far from the sea.

Posted by: Rahel | Jul 28, 2011 12:46:53 PM

Commute aside your "study of simple pleasures" makes one of the more compelling cases for aliyah i've come across in a while. And before u ask...lookit the first two words of my comment...fact is, most of the aliyah promo stuff is for lack of a better word "defensive" --trying to make sure you understand that you have to sacrifice nothing (or precious little) in the way of "Anglo Gashmiut" should you choose to make our people's homeland your home. Your "SOSP" makes it way more engaging because it's about enhancing your lifestyle--and not with penthouse apartments overlooking the Old City or Tel Aviv, but just by relaxing and understanding the value of being able to do that...boy i hate you...but in a good wistful way....

Posted by: Me | Jul 28, 2011 11:18:53 PM

There's Aldi wine here in Australia. Their Barolo has a strong scent and great flavor.

Posted by: wine australia | Oct 25, 2011 8:56:56 AM

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