wo Months in Israel
At last we got to spend enough time in Israel to feel that we knew it. Really, it was Jerusalem that we got to know, by living in an apartment for two months and experiencing day-to-day life as residents, rather than tourists.
Through Jan's efforts and Gerry's wishes we found an aptly named garden apartment, within a 20 minute walk of the Old City, of the Kenneset-Jerusalem Museum district, and several trendy shopping areas. In our first month we walked everywhere and then, having explored all the relatively close areas, we bought a month bus pass and broadened our horizons.
We only went out of Jersalem four times and only one of them was overnight. The overnight excursion was in celebration of Gerry's birthday and we made a swing through the West Bank, to the Gallilee and Golan Heights before stopping at Sfar for the night. The next day we went on to Crusader castles in the north and then at Acre before dinner in Haifa and a later-than-wanted drive back to Jersalem.
The other excursions were all to Tel Aviv, where we combined looking around and seeing Paloma, a long-time friend, and the Komisars, Gerry's distant relatives. We considered going to Bethlehem and almost did, but at the end were persuaded that it was too risky.
Our usual pattern in Jerusalem was to alternate days at home with days out. On the days out we saw nearly, if not all, the museums in Jerusalem, from the famous such as the Israeli to the unknown such ast the S?? at the Hebrew Union College. We saw every ethnic distric, from immigrant Yeminis to Morrocans to Russians to Americans and shopped, or at least window shopped, because we bought very little, in big shopping centers and holes in the wall.
The days home, which felt like a month of Sundays, gave us plenty of time to enjoy lunches in the garden, reading the International Herald Tribune and Ha'aretz English Edition, to study some Hebrew, and to play and play with our computers.
We had a wonderful cultural life too. We went to talks on international affairs and the Environment and Jewish studies. We went to plays and we saw Purim celebrated as it should be, like American halloween, with kids in costumes in the streets.
Always in the background, but surprising by how little it affected our sleep or view of things or pleasure at being in the Jewish homeland were the terrorists bombings. We went by places that had been bombed a day or two earlier or that would be bombed in a few days. Our walks along the street were sometimes diverted due to searches for bombs and our sojourns in bus stations were interrupted by the same. One bomb blast was but three blocks away and we heard the explosion, the subsequent siriens, and ready of the deadly effects the next day. Our visit to a major park started, unbeknownst to us, just after a terrorist killing there.