Sunday, November 4, 2007

Changes

BS"D

Yom Rishon, 23 Cheshvan 5768/4 November 2007, Sunday.

Today is the shift from Ma'ale Adumim, where we have lived for 26 days, to Neve Daniel. I will miss the lovely people who made us feel welcome, most especially the characters who own and operate "Pizza Nevo." There is something special about three brothers who won't let you order pizza until they can teach you to order in Hebrew, who invite you to do the mitzvah of taking challah, and who praise your children for being so reliable at building pizza boxes. Theirs is not just a food-service business. Pizza Nevo is a home-away-from home for the Eastmans, and will continue as such for a long time after we are no longer dwelling in the neighborhood of Mitzpe Nevo.

I will miss watching the sun light up the glass windows of Yerushalayim as I face the city to daven each morning. The view from the mirpeset has been lovely, morning and night. It is a pleasure for me to see Avi taking time to sit on the balcony in the evenings, enjoying the breeze, and the knowledge that he is gazing at the holiest city in the world. His continuous ability to marvel at the gift of being here revives the awe I feel.

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Aryeh and I had a great hour-long discussion last night. (There seem to be more of these than we had time for in Baltimore. May it continue to be so.) He was talking quite animatedly about how incorrect people were when they warned him about Israeli "attitude."

"These kids are nice, Ema. They don't think the same way, about having an attitude, like 'get out of my face,' to protect themselves. I started out with an attitude here, like 'wha,?' (he affects a perfect teenager 'tude, arms folded, shoulder hunched slightly forward, keep-your-distance grimace) -- but I dropped it, because I didn't need it." It's weird and helpful when your kids give you these insights into the drama of being a teenager. I don't remember putting on exactly the same mask; but I was not a city teen, and not a boy. And times have gotten tougher.

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"It's getting pretty sporty down here, sir!"

This is Avi's favorite quote from We Were Soldiers. He is using it a lot lately, to describe to the boys what life will be like for the next few days in Neve Daniel. We will start out on Monday night with exactly four pieces of furniture in the apartment: very thin mattresses, borrowed from a friend. No chairs, no tables, no fridge, no stove... etc. Tuesday, the appliances are due to arrive (and some time after that, they are supposed to be hooked up). Our real mattresses are scheduled for Thursday (with the beds that belong under them scheduled for some time three weeks or so from now). And the shipment is expected to land at the port of Haifa on Friday. We have roughly 16 suitcases, and assorted recently-purchased living essentials, to move to Neve Daniel... and we don't own a car. And are not quite ready to drive in Israel, in any case.

We grin at each other, and shrug.

"It's gonna get a bit sporty, boys," Avi says to his sons. The light of contest fills Dani's eyes. Aryeh shrugs, decides "'tude" is more effort than it's worth. He answers: "'We will ride into battle, and this will be our horse.'" He and his father understand each other.

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