Saturday, March 26, 2016

Back in Israel, March 2016: Purim and nature

I'm back in Israel for the first time in almost 2 years, and arrived just before Purim.

Yesterday, March 21, after a 23-hr trip and 2 red-eye flights, I picked up my rental car at 9 a.m. and managed to visit with my cousin Mimi in Nof Ayalon and bring her a few things from Seattle.  Mimi was making Hamentashen--or, as they are called in Israel, Oznei Haman--Haman's ears.  She made some with the traditionally white dough but used brownie dough for the filling with sprinkles on top.  Then she made them upside-down with chocolate dough and butterscotch filling inside.
 Then I drove a short distance and visited with Nava (from Seattle)-- who is in Israel for March--and friend Havazelet in Modi'in.  It was built about 15 years ago as a 'new' planned  city on where two smaller towns existed and is really nicely set up.  It is just off the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the train passes through it.

I saw this beautiful flower in Havazelet's garden.  Does anyone know what it is called.  It is a bit more yellow-orange than it appears in the photo.

My Israeli cell phone did not work, and when we went to the Pelefon store, we found out that there was a fire at one of its centers and cut off cell usage to its customers.  They hoped the system would be working well in a few hours.  It was nice to drive around Modi'in and visit with Havazelet and Nava.  Nava and I also got ten packages of Chocolate with pop rocks inside for gifts in the states.

I got to Amalia's at 6 and she arrived home an hour later.    It took me a while to get back as I was stuck in traffic on the two-lane road from Kiryat Malachi to near the train station at the entrance to Ashkelon.  Along the way, I saw that work is being done to double to width of the road.

We had a nice dinner, chatted, and then she went to work baking for Mishloach gifts for Purim.  I had an allergy attack and headed to bed and I managed to sleep fairly well with the aid of Melatonin.

Today I visited with Adina Bar-el, a well known Israeli children's book author and an expert on children's Yiddish books.  I brought her three books in Yiddish including a children's book originally written in 1922 but reissued with translation into English too.  We had tea and then headed out to do some errands.  She picked up shoes in the old part of Ashkelon that were in from repair, and just down the block was the weekly shuk (market) that started in Ramle that travels around the middle of the country during the week, selling things at very low prices.  Part is outside and part in inside, possibly in a garage. It is right next ot the Lev Ashkelon mall.
The first Purim of many princesses that  I saw
Mishloach Manot for Purim
 Piles of young children's clothes for, not used.

Entering the covered area....lots of venders
Two more princesses
Today, the 22nd, the phone still is not working right.  I was told by another staffer at another Pelefon center that it should be resolved in 24 hours--sounds familiar, eh??  She was very cute in her Purim costume and posed for a picture.  The lip gloss was fantastic!
Day 3 in Israel:
I had a lovely visit with Dalia Burgana (and Shimi) at Cafe Joe, just outside of Kiryat Malachi.

The radio is filled with ads of special prices for Purim, and the super markets are full of customers, buying food and all kinds of things to use in mishloach manot packages. I went to the supermarket after seeing Dalia.   The guard at the door of the supermarket who checks the receipts told me it was a waste of time for me to just buy a few things when others buy so much today.  Israelis are definitely direct!  (I bought out the Elite chocolate with Pop Rocks inside so now have 16, and 5 containers of Osem Pareve chicken soup without MSG for 10 shekels each.  I also got some really cute coloring books for Pesach.

I came back to Nitzan to rest and watched Maital, Amalia's daughter, making small cheese cakes for the mishloach manot that they will give out tomorrow.
She is in her second year at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, studying biology.  A few years ago, she was a counselor at the JCC in Seattle.

I just read that there are costume hazards in Israel too.  A5-year-old boy dressed up as a tzedakkah box swallowed  2 coins from the costume began choking in class and  was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery, and now is doing a lot better!

We leave at 6 to hear the megillah read.  I brought earplugs!!!

Here are Amalia and Jonatan, the tailor, the seven-year-old neighbor.

Two days later:  I didn't need the earplugs!  It wasn't that loud afterall!!

Two men split the job of reading the megillah.  The first was with a Yemenite trop and the second Ashkenazi.  People were very quiet during the reading (except when Haman's name was mentioned) and if someone started talking around me, they were shushed up.   There were some very cute and very well made costumes--a lot of princesses of course, a Cohen Gadol ( with כוהן גדול written on his head covering) and a Moshe with the ten commandments hanging in front of him.  They passed by too quickly for me to take a picture.   Ada, one of the artists that came to Seattle from the Partnership, also was at the reading and warmly greeted me.
 Yonatan's sister (grandma carrying baby) and Mom, who always wanted to be a blonde!
I loved Maital's costumer too--and her puppy
And a local cowboy with cap gun

Afterwards there were adloyada parties for all ages, but especially the young,

The next morning, Maital and Amalia went to another reading at 7:30.  I passed.  When they came back, they finished with the last of the mishloach manot--making over 20 baskets.

Maital put the finishing touches on lemon merengue pie
Then about 9:30, people started coming and delivering baskets, sometimes dropped off by children like the cutie below.  Some were candies and cookies but a lot had special treats like couscous with sweet carrots and prunes, special cheeses, small homemade quiches, tiny pancakes, dipping sauces etc.  There was quite a variety!  Amalia packed up some to share with her sons and her daughter.

Two packages they received.  Lemons are in season and these are huge!
Boys delivering mishlaoch manot
bringing mishloach manot
Lewin family getting lots of mishloach manot
Yonatan Lewin and his girlfriend Aviela arrived from Jerusalem, with doggie Romeo
I took a number of pictures of spring flowers in the local town. Enjoy!

poppy (pereg)--not calanit (anemone)

Pretty color of nasturtium

A kind of geranium
Friday morning, Amalia and I headed to Moshav Tal Shachar on the road toward Jerusalem, to look in the forest to see if the  cyclamen (rakafot) were still in bloom.  They carpeted the forest two or three weeks ago. They like moist, cool weather, and grow well around rocks,  and since the two days before were in the 80s, she was not sure they still existed.  There were some and the walk was delightful.

Driving down a rutted road in the moshav toward the forest

Walking in the forest
First signs of rakafot (cyclamen)
 Rakafot come in about 6 different colors from white through various shades of purples.
Rakafot together with the last calaniot

Pretty tiny blue flowers

Pretty flower (barkan) with thorns around it
And on the main road, we saw a field full of poppies, the flowers that come up right after the calaniot/anemones.

Next blog I will talk about my visit to Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and my touring the Negev a bit with friend Haim Ron who lives on Kibbutz Shoval, about 20 minutes north of Beersheva.


betsy teutsch said...

So fun to read about the upside down hamantashen. Totally fits the PUrim theme.
And... last night I made matzah ball soup with the no-MSG for dinner, which included my friend Alice who can't have MSG. She was tickled to be able to eat the soup and declared it delicious. Thanks Dina! Beautiful flowers. I've never been to Israel in spring. It is on my bucket list!

AmyHP said...

Ah! So wonderful to see Israel and friends faces! Missing that place and so thankful that you are sharing your journey! Can't wait for more updates!! Give many hugs for me!!

Nava Gazitt said...

Gorgeous ! You had more of Purim experience than I did. Spring pictures are beautiful!