Not Just Another Week

Usually, when I’m writing about a series of events, I try to describe them in the order in which they occurred. Easier for me; easier for the readers. Let me break that ‘rule’ somewhat and let you know that the last scene I will be describing was the guys gallumping around our shul on the morning of Yom Haatzmaut, (Independence Day) doing the usual yeshiva-bochur trot. If someone was photographing this event (and somebody did), an attentive viewer would notice that there were a few of the daveners not joining in. One of them was me, for a number of reasons I’ll get to later. For now, let’s just say that I don’t go around holding hands with other guys. Continue reading

‘Twas the Day Before Pesach…

It would be ridiculous, preposterous, absurd for me to suggest that I wasn’t thinking about the holiday until the morning before. However, there is a HUGE difference between thinking about, even paying attention to something, and being focused on it with steely concentration. For example, shopping for what we need for Pesach always gets my attention. Unlike in The States, where the supermarkets put out their ‘Kosher for Passover’ items whenever it’s convenient for them in their aisle devoted to seasonal items (sometime after Valentine’s Day and before Easter), and there’s a mad rush to get whatever is available before it’s all sold out, here in The Land it’s no biggie. About two weeks before the appointed date, the markets begin putting out the matzot and everything associated with it, and if you forgot something, no worries, it’ll be there next time you shop. Of course, I’m always resupplying our larder, so the act of shopping for Pesach isn’t fundamentally different from what we do the rest of the year. Continue reading

The Best Tiyul EVER

It Takes a Resolute Tour Guide…..

Imagine the following scenario: it’s sometime in November, and our tour guide – Ezra Rosenfeld, by name – is planning a three-day excursion up to the North for some time in March) A lot of what he can expect to happen is pretty much under his control. He’s been there before – many times – so he knows the territory. He knows what he will need to explain to everyone, and he knows how to organize the itinerary, so we make the best use of our limited time. A little less under his control are the people who will sign up to accompany him. Will there be enough to make the venture do-able? Will they get along? (If you’ve ever been on a tour with a lot of other people, you know that a few ‘bad apples’ can ruin the barrel.)

But he’s planning for March! How is he supposed to know four months in advance what the weather will be like on three consecutive days in a month that might be either winter or summer here in The Land? And what’s the rush anyway? Why does he need to get people signed up with their checks in the mail before the end of 2018? Continue reading

Abdom-ination

I always wondered when my ‘luck’ would run out. Here I was, a month shy of my seventy-eighth birthday, and I had never been in a hospital. I don’t mean to visit someone, nor do I mean for the kind of diagnostic testing (where they stick a tube up or down somewhere in your anatomy) that is now routinely done in a doctor’s office. I mean when you’re sick, really sick – as in they’ve come to haul you away in an ambulance. In my case, I did manage to get there on my own two feet. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Shabbat afternoon, and I was feeling, shall we say, not so ay-yay ipsy-pipsy. Being an optimist, I attributed the pains in my abdomen to the confluence of several days of semi-riotous living: the whisky tasting Thursday night at Mordechai’s apartment, the usual amount of wine and whisky over Shabbat, and one of my staggeringly good cholents for lunch. Had the pain gone away, my diagnosis might have proven correct, but, sad to say, I was in as much agony on Sunday as I was before. By the evening, my medical advisor suggested, no insisted, that we go to Terem (which is like an Urgent Care Center in The States). The fact that I did not object or make excuses is ample evidence of the pain I was in. Continue reading

The Road to Morocco (Part 8)

My Final Thoughts

As our trip to Morocco was coming to an end, one of the participants felt the need to express her discontent. We were on the bus, going from one place to some other place (it doesn’t really matter where), and she insisted that she be given the microphone to say her piece (as if anyone had any interest in stopping her). She was not unhappy with the way our journey had been handled, with the food, with most of our accommodations, nor with her fellow travelers. She was unhappy with Morocco itself. For one thing, the amount of poverty. Barbara and I were thinking, she ought to visit India if one needs to see REAL unmitigated poverty. Wait a minute! Why go that far? To see more beggars than would have fit on our tour bus, just come with me on a Thursday morning to Mahane Yehuda. There are lots of folks hawking their wares throughout Morocco, but beggars? Only in Casablanca, which seems to be a law unto itself. That, however, wasn’t our fellow traveler’s main concern. It was something like, “the Jews didn’t just leave, they were KICKED OUT.” And nobody was going to tell her anything to the contrary. Continue reading

The Road to Morocco (Part 7)

On the Way to Rick’s Café

Ordinarily, if I’m taking a long bus ride, much of the time I’ll either be reading something in print (think book or newspaper), fidgeting with my iPhone, or taking a well-deserved snooze. However, on this journey from Marrakech to Casablanca, I was wide awake looking out the window, partly because I suspect I won’t be seeing this scenery again for quite a while – if ever, and partly because much of the time I was counting the minutes until the next rest stop. (Let me off the bus; I gotta pee!) Continue reading

The Road to Morocco (Part 6)

Oh give me a home where the Jews used to roam…….

The brochure said we would be traveling by jeep ‘to the Ourika Valley, set in the beautiful Atlas Mountains.’ Whoa, boy; get a grip! We’re going to the valley in the mountains? And we’re going by jeep? Looks to me more like a caravan of SUV’s waiting in front of our hotel. I appreciate the fact that we’re going to places that would be difficult for a tour bus to navigate, but we’re not exactly going off-road.

We were in fact going to the tomb of the famous Rabbi Salomon Bel Hench. Or was it the famous tomb of Rabbi Salomon Bel Hench? Either way, who was this guy who’s so famous? Continue reading