The Laundry Saga Continues

Today David was in a panic. Our very NOISY and temperamental washing machine stopped spinning. He took it apart and looked at it from every possible angle but was not able to find the problem. We decided that since we have had nothing but bad luck with the machine, we would not pour more money into it. I went on line to the yad shniyah website and found someone who was selling their washing machine for 100 NIS. We figured that for that price, we'd be willing to take the chance. The owner, Eli, was in Ramat Gan which is about a 30 minute drive from Modiin. We set out with our handy GPS in the hopes of buying the washing machine. We arrived at our destination, checked out the machine, and approved. Eli and David carried the HEAVY machine down a flight of stairs and loaded it into our van. When it came time to pay him, he would not accept our money. He said that he'd like the mitzvah. We told him that we'd give the money to tzedakah instead. He seemed happy by that. When we got home, David and our neighbor, Avraham, carried the washing machine upstairs. We hooked it up, with some difficulty, and tested it out. It's working but the best part is the SILENCE.

Close call to end an exciting week

Last week was a crazy week with all our travels. On Sunday, we went to Zichron Yaakov to see Shira's brother's new baby girl, Mia Leora. Then we were in Eilat on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then Shira and I went to Yerushalayim on Thursday morning. So I think we could be partially excused for leaving a little late for our trip to Zichron Yaakov for Shabbos. It usually takes us about an hour and a quarter to get there and we left two hours before shkia. We were zipping along on kvish shesh until all of a sudden the traffic just stopped. I don't mean slowed to a crawl but completely stopped. We could tell that we were close to the front because we could already see a crowd of at least 30 people standing ahead. There were more people running past our car and lots of people getting out of the cars and slowly walking forward. We assumed there must have been a major accident and that we had to wait for the police and tow trucks to come. Finally, after waiting for more than a half hour, traffic started moving again. It turns out to have been a chaifetz chashud (suspected object). We didn't pass any police or official looking cars so I guess who ever took care of it just did it and kept going. Thank God, it turned out to be nothing and we made it to Zichron three minutes after candle lighting time.

We had a really nice Shabbos at the Hagege's (my sister) house and walked over to Danny's (Shira's brother) house on Shabbos afternoon. There was a women's only party to celebrate the new baby at 9 PM on Motzei Shabbos at Danny's house. Shira had assumed that the party was earlier so our plan was that she'd go to the party for a little and then we'd come home. Once we found out the party was so late we had to come up with an alternate plan. We decided to sleep there and leave early this morning. We got up at 5:40 this morning to come home and we were on the road by 6 and home by 7:15. It again came in handy that our kids get up so early since Rivka and Zvi were already awake when we got out of bed. Getting ready for school was a little hectic but the kids all got it done.

Last week was a lot of fun but I'm happy to start a nice quiet week now.

Timna Park - last day of Eilat vacation

We woke up on Wednesday morning not knowing what we were going to do that day. Again, we were all up early and all we had to do was figure out what the best activity for us was. Our goal was to be on the road heading home by 2 PM to avoid driving in the mountains in the dark. The kids wanted to go camel riding but there were no camels available in the morning at the numbers the hotel called for us. Danny had recommended that we go to Timna Park. The hotel arranged for us to meet up with a tour that was already there. It was a great day and ending to our trip. We were there for about four hours and we left at almost exactly 2 PM. The drive back was good except that we had bought a bottle of Pepsi in the morning for the kids and they were all hyper for the drive back. The good news is that they were hyper together and really got along nicely. We don't really have any great stories from Timna Park but here are some pictures.


I still have to blog about yesterday in Eilat and I will do that soon but one short interrupt. This morning I was rushing to take care of a few things and then I had to run out to pick up Shira so we could go to Yerushalayim. I was spaced out and I backed right into my cleaning lady's car. Her bumper got pretty smashed up and it's a little broken just above the bumper also. I wanted to call my insurance but there is no phone number on the insurance card. So I went on their website and I couldn't find a phone number for claims there either. Now we just have to deal with another headache but at least nobody was hurt and the damage wasn't too bad.

Merry Tuesday

It's great being in Israel during this season. No decorations, lights, trees. I thought we might see a little bit of it in Eilat but I didn't see a thing. We actually saw quite a few Muslims there who were apparently there celebrating Eid ul-Adha but it's still a Jewish city. I commented to Shira that many things about Eilat reminded me of Las Vegas and a quick Google search indicates that they both have often been referred to as Sin City. It's still a Jewish Sin City though. Anyway... about our day.

We woke up early as we always do in the Greenstone family but had no idea what we were going to do. We went to another Isrotel to discuss our options and after considering many different things we decided on jeep rides and the Underwater Observatory. Shira went to exercise at the hotel across the street and I took the kids into the pool outside our room. It was still pretty cold in the morning but the kids had a great time. After swimming we rushed back across the street to get in our jeep.

The jeep ride was really bumpy but was a lot of fun and educational. There were four jeeps that went through the mountains together and it was our family and an Israeli couple in our jeep. I sat in the way back with the three older kids and Shira sat in the middle next to Yeshaya who managed to sleep through most of it in a car seat.

Then we went to the Underwater Observatory. This was really great. We've been to at least two other aquariums with the kids and neither one even comes close to comparing to this one. The fish were really nice and there was just much more to see and do. We had reserved seats on the boat at 1:55 but the jeep rides took a little longer than expected so we came a minute late and we missed it. Luckily they didn't give us any trouble going on the next boat. I was a little nervous because I had been under the impression that we went on a submarine but the kids (and I) were disappointed when it turned out that there was no submarine. The semi-submarine though turned out to be very good also and it's basically the same thing since we're underwater the whole time. We also saw all the other cool things there were.

By the time we finished it was time for dinner. We were all starving since we didn't eat that much for breakfast or lunch. We had heard that there were two glatt kosher restaurants in Eilat - Halleluiah and Shauli and Guy. We had heard the latter was better so even though we knew where the other one was we tried looking for it. We put into our GPS and it took us out to a restaurant with a different name. We asked someone standing outside and he told us that there used to be two but now there was only one and it was a couple miles away (right near our hotel). We drove there only to discover that it too had closed down. There was a sign in Hebrew on the door with a phone number so we called the number and asked if there were any other mehadrin fleishig restaurants. He said the only one was Halleluiah. So after wasting a half hour we were finally in our restaurant. The food was pretty good. After dinner we were again all exhausted so we went back, watched some videos and went to sleep.

To be continued ...

Surprise Vacation to Eilat

We've been telling our kids all year that we would go to Eilat at some point this year. We thought that this week would be a great week to get away since I was off on Tuesday anyway and I had to use up my 2007 vacation days. Then we started looking into prices for hotels and everything was really expensive (at least 250 dollars a night) so we told the kids that we weren't sure if we were going to go at all. The kids were sure when they went to sleep on Sunday night that they'd wake up in the morning with an email telling them we were going to Eilat. They were very disappointed that there was no such email and gave us a lot of trouble going to school in the morning.

After Shira exercised and I ran a couple errands we started doing some serious research for our vacation. People had advised us to try daka90 for cheap deals on hotels. We'd been there a couple times but didn't really find anything that was good. We tried again and found a good deal at the Isrotel Riviera. We got a suite for the entire family for about 100 dollars a night. We quickly packed up food, clothes, a toaster oven and popcorn popper and went out to pick the kids up from school. They were all surprised and thrilled.

The drive down is beautiful but a little scary at times. We decided that there was no way we were going to do the drive at night coming home. At one point we almost ran out of gas but after the tank was on empty for 10 minutes or so we found a gas station. It took us about four hours to get to Eilat. We had no idea what we were going to do while we were there but we were all exhausted anyway. The hotel was nice and the room was exactly what we needed. (At one point I turned to Rivka and said, "Isn't this hotel awesome?" She said, "Yeah, but I don't think Mommy likes it so much." It wasn't fancy or anything, the rooms weren't carpeted, and it was a little crowded with six people in the suite but it was definitely good enough for us.) The kids watched some videos that we brought and we all went to sleep soon after we got there.

For a little while all four kids were sleeping one room but around 4 AM Yeshaya woke up and cried. We got him and he came into our room and we went right back to sleep. Apparently Rivka and Zvi did not. They had a door from their room that led straight outside to the swimming pool. It was pretty cold there at night but that didn't stop them from coming up with the brilliant idea of going in the pool in the middle of the night. They thought it wouldn't be dangerous if they just went in the shallow end so they went in the pool and then came back inside and got dressed. We did wake up eventually and heard them giggling so we told them to go to sleep. They did but told us about their little adventure in the morning. Needless to say we weren't too pleased. They had fun though and promised us they wouldn't do anything like that again.

To be continued ... (including lots of pictures)

Siyum on Kesubos

Another nice Shabbos for us in Modiin. My parents usually have to stay home to help care for my grandmother but my aunt and uncle are in town from San Diego so my parents were able to come to us for Shabbos. We also had two boys from Netiv Aryeh, through Anywhere in Israel. We were supposed to have Eli and Elie with us for both meals but in the end they went out of town for Shabbos. Lucky for us they only found out they were going away after they had already brought us three delicious cakes for dessert. They didn't take them back so we had good desserts. (Eli and Elie are moving back to the States after only a couple months here because of the university strike. Mr. Eli was supposed to be in a PhD program and this strike was messing him up so they're going back to the States.) For lunch today we had the Neustaters and their kids had a total of three friends. Then our next door neighbors on both sides came over for dessert with lots of kids and kids' friends. So it was a good thing that we had so many cakes for dessert.

At shalosh seudos at shul, we made a siyum on maseches Kesubos. I actually still haven't finished Yevamos because when we first came to Israel I slacked off a little and have to still learn the last 20 blatt or so of that masechet. When Kesubos started Aryeh Bak agreed to become my chavrusa and we've been learning consistently for the last four months. Tomorrow we start nedarim. After learning the last couple blatt of Kesubos it's hard to move back to Chutz La'aretz. With lines like these, how can anyone leave Eretz Yisrael (explanation courtesy of Kollel Iyun Hadaf):
Don't take that the wrong way ... we really haven't made up our minds yet.

Gefilta Fish

Growing up in my house there were two types of fish we ate. Tuna fish and Gefilta fish. Every other type of fish was off limits because my father didn't like it so my mother never made it. It seems that way with a lot of foods. I never had asparagus growing up so I won't even try it as an adult. Once my sister-in-law spent a fortune on sushi and she and David ended up eating the whole tray while Zale and I wouldn't go near it. I couldn't even eat the soup from the same restaurant. Anyway, back to the fish. My grandmother used to make us gefilta fish from scratch. There was never a recipe she followed. It was always a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I cook the same way now. Although she was known to make a delicious gefilta fish, I was never such a fish fan (even though it was just two types - and yes I know gefilta fish isn't really a type of fish). For some reason though, shabbos lunch isn't the same without serving gefilta fish. This shabbos when I realized that my one loaf of fish wouldn't feed our lunch crowd, I knew I had to do something. I called on my friend Elie (female) to go to Kiryat Sefer with me to pick up some more loaves. In the pouring rain, we ventured out to Kiryat Sefer. When we arrived to the super market, Shefa Shuk, we had a choice of a few different loaves. The American Meal Mart loaf was 40 NIS (about $10) - way too much money. Then there were two other brands. I opted for the cheapest one 20 NIS ($5) which came in two different types - Polish or Hungarian. You can imagine my dilemma. All four of my grandparents were Polish, my mother (born in Canada) still think she comes from Poland and I heard Hungarian (not so nice) comments my whole life. But on the other hand, I once bought one of each and the Hungarian was actually better - (I'm so sorry my Polish relatives). So given that I opted for the cheapest gefilta fish that was bound to taste like rubber, I decided to go with Hungarian (again I'm really sorry my Polish relatives). Of course, I'm probably not going to even try it because it looks and smells too fishy to me.h


Yesterday in class the people who speak only Hebrew were singing "de de dum dum ... kol hamiSpalel ..." Someone decided to write the words on the board. For all the words that have a sav, she wrote a samech instead. For example, the word mispalel was spelled Mem, SAMECH (instead of sav), pay, lamed, lamed.

The Family Dentist

Leora has been having teeth issues lately. At her last dentist visit in Baltimore, Dr. Weintraub noticed that her front bottom tooth was little loose. He took x-rays to rule out an infection. However, last week Leora started complaining about a tooth ache. I checked her mouth and found that the loose tooth was looking a little brown. I quickly called my dentist brother Danny, and he said that I should keep an eye on it and looked for swelling. The next time I looked I noticed a canker sore and attributed the pain to that instead of the actual tooth. But Leora kept complaining so I looked again and sure enough there was a lot of swelling behind the tooth. I called Danny again (as well as the times in the middle to update him ie: canker sore etc.) and he said that I should try and get her on antibiotics so that he could pull the tooth if need be. We didn't have any luck finding someone to write us a prescription and since Danny was coming for a Chanuka party that night, we waited for him. He prescribed a 7 day course of antibiotics but the pharmacist who "knew better" only gave us for five. BTW to all the people in the US, the prescription was really cheap. Leora started on the antibiotics and they seemed to be working but then all of a sudden the swelling got much worse and her teeth started shifting. Again a call to Danny who said that we should try to drain the infection if we could with a little pin prick. Luckily it drained itself. Today (a week after the start of the antibiotics) Danny stopped by on his way to J"M and pulled Leora's tooth. He froze it with a topical anesthetic but because of the infection Leora was still able to feel the pain. She was really brave though and was so excited to be missing a tooth. She even wrote a letter to the tooth fairy, in English of course.

Thanks Dan (if you read our blog)!

Just a quick note about our past shabbos. We were home Friday night and my brother Eli joined us for shabbos. We had a nice time. For lunch we ate at the Rabbi of our shul Rav and Tali Sobel. Although they are vegan during the week, they have chicken and meat on shabbos. There was tons to eat and we enjoyed the challenge of having a meal in hebrew. They are very special people.

Back to school

All the kids were in school/gan this morning. Rivka and Zvi went on the bus and they gave us no trouble this morning getting ready. Rivka and Zvi have been going to a Hebrew tutor three days a week after school but Zvi decided that he didn't want to go anymore. So Rivka went by herself today. Her Hebrew is really improving and she's going to be fluent very soon. Maybe Zvi will join again also.

Shira took Yeshaya to his playgroup and he didn't cry at all once there. He's been doing really well. I took Leora to her new gan today. She was clearly excited but also very nervous. We got there a little after gan started so the ganenet would have time to prepare. She met us at the door and gave Leora a warm welcome. I had warned her that she had to speak to Leora in English so she did and Leora was relieved. The girls all came running to greet her also but they all only speak Hebrew. They had even made a little welcome present for her. I showed her around the gan and the girls were following us offering to show her how things worked. Then she sat to color but insisted I stay. Then she asked me to read her book so I asked the ganenet to do that instead. She agreed and told me that I could leave. I warned her that Leora would yell and scream. The good news is that she can't run out to the gate because this gan is in a big school building. The assistant locked the gan door as I left and Leora screamed but the ganenet grabbed her. She called me less than 10 minutes later to tell me that Leora had already calmed down. Leora came home from gan in a very good mood (although she usually came home from the other gan in a good mood also). She told me that tomorrow she's going to try not to cry at all. That would be awesome.

On the last day of Chanuka ...

I finally got my new laptop today from IBM. It had been stuck in customs for a really long time so approximately a month after my old laptop broke they finally had my new laptop at the office in Petach Tikva. We had been thinking about going to Yerushalayim today but the kids really weren't excited about it and I had to get the computer so we decided to go there instead. The building we had to go to is located in Park Azorim which is a gorgeous campus. I got the laptop and then we went out to a nice restaurant on the campus and then we ran around. The kids had a great time there which was pretty surprising since we often plan things and they hate it.

Then we met Amy and her younger three daughters in Cinema City to see Bee Movie. First we hung out at Cinema City a little and bought nosh for the movie and then we went to see it. Everyone really enjoyed the movie and was wiped out by the end. All the kids went to sleep the second we got home.

The world is a toilet

My sister is fond of telling her sons that the world is their toilet and they can pish wherever they want. Today, we met Ethel and her two little kids at Shvil Hatapuzim. There are tons of orange trees there (hence the name) and next to one of them which is about 5 feet from the bathrooms was the sign above (Kan Lo sheirutim - Here is not a bathroom). Ethel was very excited as I think that this really proves what she said. Basically the sign was saying the entire world is your toilet except trees that are 5 feet from bathrooms. Fair enough.

We had a great time at the park. Below are some pictures of the kids having a great time. Actually, we didn't get a picture of the thing that they enjoyed the most but these are some of the other fun things.

Unfortunately we took highway 2 instead of 6 to come home and we hit tons of traffic. Zvi had to pish really badly and he couldn't hold it in anymore so we pulled over to the side of the road, as many other cars had done, for him since almost the entire world is his toilet.

When we got home we lit candles for the last time this year and then we had a game of dreidel which Leora and Rivka won.

BubbieSitting and Chanuka parties

With my parents in Memphis, we volunteered to spend Shabbos with my grandmother. We slept at my parents apartment and my grandmother and her metapelet, Marice, joined us for the meals. Rivka and Yehoshua (Amy's two oldest kids) stayed with us also but our Rivka was in Zichron. I actually got a Shabbos nap for the first time in a little while and we had a relaxing Shabbos.

On Motzei Shabbos, we had part I of our Chanuka party. Ethel and family came from Zichron with Rivka and Shira's cousins Rena and Yonasan came from Yerushalayim. We all enjoyed pizza and bagels and had a nice time. Bubbie was happy to have so many people visiting her and she had a treat for everyone.

On Sunday, the kids wanted to go bowling but it was a long wait just to get a lane so we decided to leave and spend the money on gifts. Rivka and Zvi wanted to share a magic set and Leora and Yeshaya wanted to get a Dora game. Then came part II of the Chanuka party. Danny and family came from Zichron, Malki, Shira's cousin, came from Rechovot and Eli came from Yerushalayim. We had a great time and now Talya and Ayala are staying with us for a couple days.

Upper left: Ethel, Sivan, Bubbie, Leora, David. Upper right: Eitan and Bubbie. Lower left: Malkie and Zvi. Lower right: Talya, Leora, Yeshaya and Ayala.


I was in Zichron Yaakov last week. Tuesday night my father drove me to Zichron and then I went to the Festigal in Haifa with my cousin Maya. The Festigal is where some people go on stage and sing and dance. It was a lot of fun. Wednesday morning I went to school with Maya. When we got home we had lunch. After Ethel came home Maya went to gymastics and I watched a movie ( Ice Princess) When Ethel got back we went to pick up Maya and her friends up from gymastics and then went to get candy and go swimming. After we were done swimming we went and rented a movie. When we got home we lit the menora and then watched another movie.

On Thursday, Maya and I went to work with Ethel at Microsoft. When we got there we ate breakfast and played on the computer. After that, we went downstairs and colored in the playroom. Then Ethel drove us to a mall and we stayed there by ourselves. At the mall, we found matching shirts. At Toys-R-Us I bought a magic box and Maya bought art stuff. We watched a movie that night. On Friday morning we went to a grocery store and in the afternoon we went to a book store and shoe store. There was no hot water in the house so we went to the pool to take showers for Shabbat.

Chanuka tournament

Friday was the Chanuka tournament (the first game of the season). At first we thought the game might be canceled because it rained a lot on Thursday night but the field was pretty dry and we were able to play. It was pretty cold but I was just happy that we were finally able to play a real game. Abba and I got to the field then we warmed up a little. Modiin was divided into two teams.

Game #1: We played against Yerushalayim. In the top of the first inning Yerushalayim scored five runs. Then we scored three runs. Then they scored one run and we didn't score any in the second inning. They didn't score any in the third and we scored 9! The game ended after five innings and we won 18-6. I played shortstop most of the game and I had a few hits.

Game #2 was Modin vs. Chashmonayim. I don`t really know what happened in the game because their was too much scoring.But we won 21 to 19(with 40 runs all together). I played short and second. I had a few hits in each game and had lots of fun. Now we have a break until the regular se
The pictures were taken in our house after the game.

Bat Ayin Cont.

Shira did a good job summarizing the trip but I'll provide the details that she promised. The initial email that we got said that we'd be "picking the last of the seasons olives and making our own olive oil, milking goats, wine tasting and much much more." It also said that the cost of the trip was 25 shekel per person for the bus.

It was cool going to Gush Etzion for the first time since I was in Yeshiva there almost 15 years ago. The first thing we noticed when we got off the bus was the difference in temperature - it must have been 20 degrees cooler there than it was in Modiin when we left. Then we got to see what I'd call a typical Bat Ayin house. I've never seen any other houses there but I just imagine that this was typical. Then we saw them grind flour, visited a wine press (and tasted wine), saw an olive oil factory and went home. It also turned out the trip cost 100 extra shekel because we had to pay for our tour guide also. So we got to do half of what we thought for twice the price. It actually was pretty interesting for Shira and me but the kids didn't enjoy it too much. We were lucky that Rivka wasn't with us and that Zvi brought a football so he played with me when he got bored.

Here is a picture of a bunch of the people inside the house in Bat Ayin and a picture of our tour guide with his wife in their house.

Bat Ayin

Where to begin. We received an email from a member of our shul in Modiin that there was a tiyul planned with the Rabbi's family to Bat Ayin with transportation. We jumped at the chance. Firstly, it was something to do with the kids but most importantly we really wanted to see what Bat Ayin was all about. We have heard over the years various things but wanted to check it out first hand. My brother Aaron learned at the yeshiva there. He once commented to me that there is no security fence around the yishuv despite being surrounded by arabs because even the arabs think they're nuts.

We were scheduled to leave Modiin at 8:45 am but of course didn't leave until 9:30am. We arrived 5 minutes late and I was sure they would all be waiting for us. No siree. We were the third family there. Once all arrived we headed on our way, via Ramat Bet Shemesh. The drive was so nauseating we were all ready to throw up.

When we arrived in Bat Ayin (after a few wrong turns) we were greeted by Amnon. He was wearing this interesting black hat but otherwise there wasn't anything too noteworthy in his other clothing. We were invited into his home which was very large but looked like my father built it. His wife had on a huge head scarf but was also wearing "normal" clothing. However, they had a helper who was dressed in the Bat Ayin style. Flyaway payos, scarf over his head, white clothing, naot etc. Very "la la" looking. Bat Ayin was also not very well planned. A house here and there, roads that weren't really wide enough for a car let alone a bus. At one point we had to do a three point turn on very steep roads. People were ready to jump off the bus it was so scary. After several attempts and some whiplash we made it.

I'll let David fill in all the details of what we did because quite frankly it was way too boring. The highlight of the trip for me (and the reason I wasn't complaining too much) was that we got a guided bus tour around the whole Gush Etzion neighborhood. We drove through arab villages, across and around mountains. The views were something else. I would have definitely been too scared to drive it ourselves, especially with my fear of heights.

First day of Chanuka

Zvi had a half day of school today and we decided to pick Leora up from gan early so she could join us for lunch. Today was her last day at Gan Shalhevet and I can report that it was no different than any other day. She ran out to the gate screaming when I left. Let's hope things get better at the new gan ... I can't imagine them getting much worse for her. Yeshaya also had his playgroup today so Shira and I were all alone in the morning. I spent an hour at my grandmother's house as I try to do each Wednesday morning since that's the one day she's home. We had a great game of dreidel with chocolate lentils as the money. I won! Later I discovered that the dreidel was rigged and it landed on gimel over the half the time and rarely landed on nun or pay. We both played with the same dreidel though so I won fair and square and she's 60 years older than me!

My parents are going to Memphis tonight for Shmuel's, my nephew, Hanachat Tfillin party. He's doing the actual bar mitzva here and we're excited that we can join him for that. So we decided to invite my parents to go out for lunch with us and our three little kids so we could say good-bye to them. It's great when we invite them for lunch and then they pay.

Then we went to take our annual portraits of Leora and Yeshaya. Shira is very particular about every kid getting a picture every year and she was nervous what she was going to do here without Sears or JCPenney. She found this great place in Kiryat Sefer where a guy has a studio and he took really good pictures of Leora and Yeshaya. We're excited to see the final picture (we'll scan it in and post it here so you can all enjoy). Then the kids got some candy and Shira bought some things for our Chanuka parties next week and then it was home for candle lighting. That should have been it but Shira decided that Zvi desperately needs new shoes so she took the three kids to go buy new shoes for Zvi.

Chag URIm Sameach!

It's Chanuka!!!

We just lit candles for the first night of chanuka. It was so awesome to be able to light outside in Israel. We set up a table right near our front door and David lit his menorah/chanukia there. All the neighbors were out and came by to watch. We then proceeded inside for the kids to light their handmade chanukiot. Zvi and Leora said their brachot so beautifully and Yeshaya was excited to be holding a lit candle. Rivka was not here with us as she went up to Zichron Yaakov to spend a few days with Maya and the rest of the Hageges. We will post some pictures when Rivka returns so that she could be included.

Wishing everyone a Chag Sameach!! (it's so neat that everyone says that to each other here)

Planning a Chanuka Party

It has been our tradition for the last number of years to host a chanuka party for our extended family in Baltimore. Our kids were so excited because we have so much family in Israel that they insisted I do it here too. I sent an email to invite everyone and have discovered that most people will not be able to make the party for various reasons. I've even changed the date to try and accommodate more people but am not really having much luck. Oh well, it's more latkas for us to enjoy!

On a side note, today I went with my neighbor Miriam to the mall in Petach Tikvah. We had a really nice time with our youngest kids. The most impressive part of the outing was my discovery that Miriam drives just like me (except I didn't hear her yelling at the other drivers)!

Goodbye Free Time

I am sad to say that a chapter in my life in Israel has come to an end. As of today I will no longer have my afternoons free. You may wonder why. The answer is quite simple. LEORA. Leora is going to be switching ganim right after Chanuka vacation (wish us luck because we need it) and she will be getting out of school at 1:20pm. In her current gan she stayed for an afternoon program (tzaharon) but we decided to stop it before the actual switch since today was the start of a new billing cycle. We wanted to make it simple and not leave any room for a billing "mistake". I will now have to entertain Leora with our very limited toy selection. I guess I'll take my neighbor Miriam up on her offer to borrow toys.

Both meals at home

For the first time in a long time we had both meals at home this Shabbos. That is not to imply in any way that they were quiet meals. Adina Bloomberg, an old friend of Shira's, joined us for Shabbos (third time already this year). On Friday night we had Elie and Eli for dinner again and then the Steiners, our next door neighbors came over for dessert. The Steiners only had one of five kids home for Shabbos so we invited them for lunch also. Today, we had the Shlockers, minus one kid, the Rosenbaums, minus Chanina (check out her beautiful and delicious cakes for people in the Modiin area) who is in the States, the Steiners, and two people the Shlockers were planning on having for lunch for a grand total of 10 adults and 12 kids. I think that's the most we've had since we moved here. We only have one table and 14 chairs so we're lucky that the Wines graciously lend us their table and chairs whenever we need. Joel pointed out that we use it more than they do.