A day at the Kinneret

I recently enjoyed a wonderful day at the Kinneret  - my go to spot for true relaxation of the mind and body - with a good friend. It was just what we needed, an opportunity to completely unwind (or maybe 95% for my responsible friend who directs a school and occasionally had to put out fires from her seat by the beach). We went to a beach I've been at several times in the last couple years and enjoy, Hukok Beach, at the northern end of the Kinneret.
The weather (at the end of October!) was perfect, the beach relatively empty, and the water amazingly clear - when we went in to the water we could clearly see the fish swimming around us - and there were a lot of them. We could also clearly see the stones at the bottom of the lake, even when sitting on the beach.


We also saw fish jumping out of the water and got to enjoy birds from up close.


We topped the day off by treating ourselves to dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant in Tiberius that I discovered on a previous trip. It was a wonderful and much needed mini vacation.

I need to do something like this more often and am hoping to get in one more day at the Kinneret
before winter really sets in.


Murphy continues to strike

The saga continued. I set two alarm clocks so I'd get up early to get into town, get some cash, replace my Rav Kav (Israeli rechargeable transportation card), and get to the embassy on time. I slept through the alarms (which I never do) and woke up two and a a half hours later. I got out of the house in 20 minutes, much later than planned. After getting into my car I stopped a few houses down to check I had everything - and someone rear ended me. I was in shock continued on a little and pulled over. The person who hit me, stopped next to my car, asked me if I wanted to tell them something, and when I asked if they knew what happened they said they hadn't seen, apparently I'd been behind them. All very odd, but I was still in shock. And they drove off leaving me in shock and with a car I couldn't drive far as my back bumper was pushed into one of my tires. The denial made me feel like I was going crazy, and left me feeling off and confused the whole day, not to mention that I figured I'd be out of pocket for the repairs.
I somehow made it to Jerusalem where a dear and amazing friend met me, drove me to the embassy, waited around for a couple hours, took me to replace my Rav Kav, and drove me to work - she was literally a life saver today. When I got to work my head was still spinning. I did manage to get some work done after sharing my saga - and luckily there wasn't anything urgent or difficult today.
This evening I finally spoke with the person who hit me and they said they were in shock too at the time, and because of that denied it - and they have now taken responsibility for it. So I no longer need to question my sanity or mental state (or at least no more than usual), a definite relief. 
Finally taking a deep breath.


Forget Balfour - revoke Murphy's Law

Forget the demand to revoke Balfour's "Promise" - the time has come to revoke Murphy's Law.
In the last few days I've experienced several coincidences at the most inconvenient time -  so ridiculously many that they've inspired me to finally blog after a long absence.
Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at the US embassy in Jerusalem to apply for a new passport - making it the first day in weeks that time is of the essence in the morning (my work has flexible hours). So of course, this Sunday afternoon my rav kav (a magnetic chargeable card for Israeli public transportation) died. And I haven't been in town since to replace it. Tonight I went to a service center in Ariel to get a new card - but after finding the center (at a different address than noted on any website, including a government website), I discovered that this week the center is closing at 4 p.m. daily rather than 9 p.m. - a change that was of course not noted on any of the websites. So still no card - and while our service might be backwards, our transportation system is actually very high tech and without a card I will not be able to get on any bus. I will be able to buy a 1 trip paper ticket (lacking the usual transfer)  for the light rail at one of its stations - if I can reach one, but the light rail doesn't go everywhere like the buses do, and certainly nowhere near the US embassy. So I need to get the card before my appointment in order to reach it.
Although I don't usually drive to Jerusalem due to the high cost of gas here, I figured why not drive - and then I saw that there's a notice on the US embassy website that the embassy parking lot will no longer be open to the public as of Nov. 6 - just 2 days before my appointment! - and I am unfamiliar with it's location and have no idea if there's parking nearby.
And the cherry on the cake and crowning coincidence: last night I was at our monthly book club meeting and we discussed how the many circumstances in the book we'd just read made it a bit implausible. My coincidences, including this one, have not been on quite the same scale - no reunion of long lost relatives or lions and tigers and bears [Oh my!] to conveniently put an end to a bad situation. However, the list is so long, and the timing so precisely the worst, as to be absurd - and implausible if it was fiction. If only it was!
And the saga continued: Murphy strikes again


Being a parent - a never-ending job

Does your responsibility as a parent ever end? I have two daughters, both happily married and mothers of 4 - and they are wonderful mothers and wives. However, they remain my daughters, and that will never change. I love them, I trust them... and I worry - as all parents do. I am very lucky in that my daughters are truly wonderful and comprehend that I need to worry sometimes, and comment sometimes  - and understand that it does not indicate that I don't love or trust them, but rather only indicates how much I care.


Israel the miraculous

Israel is am amazing country. Israelis work, go out in their free time, and spend time with their families - all the usual. And this is done while surrounded by  - and harboring in their midst - enemies who would like to wipe us out, as I see daily in my work at PMW, where we monitor the hatred and incitement to hatred and terror as reflected in the Palestinian media, which clearly expresses it's hatred for Israelis and desire to completely take over ALL of Israel and turn it into Palestine,  a state which would of course tolerate no Jewish presence - unlike Israel that is a democratic state with equal opportunity for all citizens. For examples of this one has only to look at the composition of its parliament, which includes Druze and Arab members, and the student bodies of its various universities, and to look at the streets and see the variety of people, all of whom seem comfortable and secure walking Israeli streets.

How? I am here and doing it too for more than 30 years, and it still seems illogical when I think about it. A large part of this is of course faith in G-d.  But bad things can happen, even to the faithful; and many Israelis do not consider themselves religious. And yet we continue and thrive. One could say we do so in the face of adversity, choosing to soldier on. But it does not feel that way. Life feels pretty normal. We do of course work hard to protect ourselves, most people serving in the army or doing some form of community service for a few years after high school. And yet there is not a sense of being constantly under siege or in danger - which seems absurd when our existence and continued survival seems like a miracle if you stop to think about it. I think the feeling of family, not only among actual family, but among Israelis in general plays a large part in this. Everyone is there for you and cares about you (and therefore feels free to comment and give advice); we feel very much like one large extended family. And beyond that, Israel is truly a miracle and a miraculous place -as seen by the very fact of its existence today and the return to it of people scattered throughout the world, people who come despite the difficulties, despite the tenuous situation, coming because it is home,  regardless of whether they have ever personally stepped foot on its soil, our only real home.


Can one sleep blog?

Just a couple nights ago a friend and I were discussing how there are a variety of things people do in their sleep - parasomnias - such as sleep walking, talking, eating, and driving, to name a few.

And now I came to my blog page to try and come up with a new post - and lo and behold I discovered a new post that I don't remember writing - not long, but coherently written and succinct: a title, subtitle, and one line, posted last night shortly before I went to sleep around midnight. In my defense I was indeed exhausted...


Life can really suck

What is the toelet (benefit/purpose) of suffering?

Life really sucks sometimes and good people are made to suffer. Why? 


To have or not to have hopes and expectations

Written with love, sorrow, and hope...

People need hope in order to live, or at least to lead fairly happy lives, otherwise life can seem futile. However expectations are different - crossing the line from wishing for something to happen to believing it should and/or will happen. And that can be dangerous  - when expectations are not met it can lead to strong feelings of frustration, and sometimes to feelings of devastation or despair.

But there is often a fine line between the two, such as when it appears something you have long hoped for is going to actually occur. As it seems to draw closer to reality, one begins to believe it will actually become reality, one begins to expect it will happen. Can one and should one try to prevent those expectations from developing? Is that even humanly possible beyond a certain point? Yet that is when expectations are most dangerous - as one draws nearer to an event they hope for and which it begins to seem realistically might happen, if something happens and it does not actualize, the pain and devastation are so much the greater for having allowed oneself to begin to have expectations. By doing so one has opened oneself to the risk of great pain. And yet can or should that be avoided? Is it even possible to achieve great gain without opening oneself to great risk? Hope and even expectations seem necessary - but they are not for the cowardly.

If and when one's expectations regarding something important in which they are emotionally invested are dashed, how does one who has suffered such devastation overcome it and move on? How can they allow themselves to have hope and try again, to open themselves to risk again? How can they not? Great courage is required to move on in whatever direction they choose.