Thursday, January 10, 2013

The first week

We've survived!

The trip was long yet relatively smooth.  Our apartment is great and we unpacked quickly.  The jet lag is finally wearing off.  I believe everyone is now sleeping about 8 hours in a row...during the night even, which is great.  We ventured to Ben Yehuda, Mahaneh Yehuda twice, Mamilla Mall and we strolled down memory lane with a walk by Hebrew Union College (my seminary) and the apartment on Rachov Washington where we lived 15 years ago.

This past Shabbat, we went to services at Nava Tehila, a relatively new community that rents space in other buildings at the moment, but seems to be gaining a following.  Beautiful music.  Cantor Keys has incorporated their version of Oseh Shalom into our services, as a matter of fact.  After services, we came back to our apartment for Shabbat dinner.  I asked the kids what they had enjoyed about Israel so far.  We got two votes for Ben Yehudah, one for the shuk, and then the three year old said one of his favorite things so far was sleeping through services.

Shabbat afternoon, we met Sinai's own Cantorial student, Elaya Jenkins-Adelberg, and her parents Jody and Luanne for lunch. A real treat.

We are figuring out the kids' schools.  The older two are attending an ulpan for students from 2nd through 12th grades.  They go there four days a week, and then go to a "regular" school for Sunday and Friday.   I think we have settled on a Tali school (Israeli public schools associated with the Reform Movement in Israel) for our first grader and for the boys' other two days.  It is far, but it feels like such a nurturing place to be.  The principal told me that her biggest concern is making our child really feel that she belongs. I suppose it is no wonder that we feel like it is such a good fit.  Narrowing down options for the youngest and should have everyone straightened out in the next week.

I am looking to sign up for a class in scribal arts beginning in a few weeks.  Only a few sessions, but with the Torah project starting up at Sinai, I thought it would be fun to delve into the topic and learn from other scribes.

But, the biggest excitement of all is the storm.  For most of the week, super cold and rainy.  Way more rain than usual.  Our ceiling sprung a leak three days ago, and now we are up to about six.  Pots and towels all over the floor.  Good thing we rented an apartment with a kosher kitchen.  Twice the number of pots!  Nearly every building we have visited in the last few days has a least one leak.  Actually, what was even worse was a piece of sheet metal on the roof that was attached to the top of the elevator shaft.  Problem was that it extended about two feet beyond the shaft on every side.  Every time the wind blew, the metal would flap back and forth creating a sound like thunder right over our heads.  Our landlord climbed up to the roof and tied it down the other day with extension cords (because he didn't have any rope).

Today, lots and lots of snow.  Trees branches are snapping under the weight of it.  The kids are running in and out of the apartment.  They love to play in the snow, but alas, we are barely prepared for all the rain.  So, they come inside, warm up, and head right back out.  Just like all the other Israeli children in Jerusalem!

Looking forward to lots of exciting adventures.


  1. So very exciting! Please share about any birds, nature moments.

  2. We are so glad to see how you are doing! (And we miss you at home.) Regards from still sunny California. ST

  3. How wonderful to hear from you!

    During the year we lived in Jerusalem, we had one snow flurry, and it was over in hours. I'm sure the kids will have experiences that will last them a lifetime (as will you and JT). As for schools, we found the Israeli public school our kids attended very nurturing (though they did feel rather alone sometimes).

    You might want to watch out for Israelis trying to convince the kids that they are finally "home" and should stay forever. We encountered lots of that. (Our kids were 8, 9, and 11 when we arrived.)

    Keep the news coming. I'd especially like to hear your take on the election process.



  4. Hi Rabbi Mates-Muchin,

    My name is Jason Menayan, and you were in the beit din for my conversion in 2009. Having lived in Israel (a long time ago...1994) and having spent a month there recently (our babymoon), I'm really looking forward to your perceptions and insights on living in this fascinating country. Have added your blog's feed to my RSS reader. :)