Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In between Holidays and Memorial Days

I swear, there's not a week without some festivity, holiday or memorial day in this country. The long Passover vacation has finally ended, whew! We survived! And even managed to have some fun with the kids too. I have quite a bunch of pictures to post too, and will start with that today.

This week we'll be marking the Holocaust Memorial Day, and next week it's the Memorial Day for those killed during their military service, followed right away by our 60th Independence Day. Never a dull moment! I'm going to have a different kind of Independence Day though. There's a joint seminar of Arabs and Jews taking place on that day, where participants will be talking about the events of 1948 from their very different perspectives.

This is about Israeli citizens, not Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, but those Palestinians/Arabs (not sure how they wish to define themselves) who live with us and form 20% of the population of the State of Israel. I realize they have a very different angle on what happened back then, not celebrating the Independence Day, but rather having their own Memorial Day for the Naqba. I am curious about that, actually, and I want to learn more. I have never been to such a seminar before, and I'm both curious and apprehensive. I will write a separate post about it, I hope, before I leave, with my own thoughts and expectations. Should be interesting to compare afterwards.

Ok, I mentioned Passover pictures, so I'll start with the first batch of pictures from the Seder itself -

We celebrated the Seder at my brother-in-law's place in Neta'im. It's just about over an hour away from here, and we were afraid it might take double the time with the Seder traffic, but we got lucky, and it didn't take that long after all. Still, Dan napped on the way, which was a good idea. Grandpa Amos didn't mind being his pillow either -

We actually arrived early, so could enjoy my SIL's table decor for a while.

Can't have a Seder without Matzh -

Wouldn't that be a weird plate to be having as one of the guests? Good thing it's the central Seder plate, with the six elements of the Seder Plate. I found a link explaining it all on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover_Seder#Seder_Plate

Just because it's kosher and you can't have any dough, doesn't mean you don't get fabulous cakes!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Passover!

Just a quick note to officially say Happy Passover! We've had the Seder night last night, and I'll post some pictures soon. Looks like a busy day ahead of us, with bringing my 6 yo son back home from my Mom's, along with my niece, and then possibly heading out to visit family in the Lower Galilee. Hey, the camera is back from China, so there will be pictures posted!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Four Glasses of Whine for Passover

On the Eve of the Seder, when families get together to celebrate Passover, everyone shares four small glasses of wine, as part of the detailed and rather structured evening routine. You have to read the story of Moses and co. and how he got the Israelites out of Egypt, and while at it, there are certain breaks in the reading where you add a special blessing and have a glass of wine along with it.

Well, I'm in a whining mood today, with the Seder approaching, so I here are my Passover Whines -

1. Why on earth do teachers need time off an entire week before the holiday itself? We end up with two and a half weeks of spring holiday here which is way too much for kids aged 4 and 6. What's more it's way way way too much for their mothers!

2. How come dads still get to go to work during those weeks? Not everyone has a holiday, but us work-from-home-moms don't have much of a choice.

3. What's up with driving in traffic jams for hours on end for the Passover feast? IsraeliDad and myself announced that we'll be staying home this year, celebrating in peace with our kids here. You won't imagine how many phone calls we've had pleading with us to spare the children and let them enjoy a real Passover feast with the family. We turned down my mom, my dad (they're divorced) and a brother-in-law and felt very proud of ourselves... only to be dragged to the furthest Seder in the family, as my much loved parents-in-law want to go there but prefer not to do the driving themselves. So, wish us luck on Saturday, and let's hope it'll be less than 5 hours on the road.

And a fourth whine? Well, only three from me today. I'm in a desperate housewife mood, but let's face it, all is well here and other than a bunch of hyperactive kids driving me a bit crazy this afternoon (hey, friends come over!), I'm ok.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Too Many Holidays in This Country

I guess you have to be a parent to fully appreciate just how bad it is. Hardly any work time left, with life moving along from one long school vacation to another... It's Passover this time, with two and a half weeks of having to entertain the kids.

The religious holiday is next week, but apparently school teachers need more time off work to do their spring cleaning or something. With IsraeliDad still working this week, at least on some days, I am left with not too much available work time. Good thing my parents-in-law came back from their trip to China yesterday, so they take the kids over to their place for some of the day (or rather, the kids go there on their own, since we share the same backyard).

Holiday plans are still vague. One of the major problems is that there are way too many Israelis in an overcrowded country. That means every possible place will be packed full of families and kids. It's starting already, as we noticed trying to find a parking place in a busy shopping center on Friday. I am not sure how come there are so many people in all places at all times. You'd think if everyone goes to one place, then surely some place has to be empty at the same place? Not like they're all in the country even. I bet Turkey is full of Israelis this time of year and Cyprus as well. Not to mention the hordes of Israelis always traveling in India, the Far East and South America. Europe too. I know some people can't believe there are only 7 million of us. I guess Israelis occupy a large space wherever they are?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Major Drill in Two Days

Had I known this was going to be such big news, I'd have posted about the drill last week... I'm sorry, but when I heard that Lebanon's army and the HA are ordered into full alert, I had to laugh. I double checked the date to make sure it's not April's Fool still. It wasn't. And on the news, I just heard Olmert trying to reassure Syria and Lebanon that Israeli is not planning a full attack and this is just a civilian drill.

Well, let me add my own reassurance. Being as my son is in the drill, I ought to know. I had to brief Ron about this, as the kindergarten teachers asked us to do so in a letter. See, the drill is for my six year old son and his friends. It's for them to practice hearing the sirens and going into the sheltered room in their kindergarten. Trust me, Ron isn't about to cross the border into any neighboring country. He's not even allowed to cross the street where we live without parental supervision, so there.

We've always had such drills too, when I was a kid. I think lots of people have been through them, all over the world, nothing too spectacular about them, really. I'm not sure how this turned into an attack on Syria or Lebanon exactly, but honestly, the very thought is just ridiculous. April's Fool Day is supposed to be just a day, not an entire month, right?