I know I am way behind but my apologies for having too much fun to have time to write anything!
Day 5 started pretty quiet. Kids slept till about 10:30 being exhausted from the trips of the two days before. We hung around the apartment until about noon and then drove to Chasmonayim to Beth and Louis Barr. The kids were so excited to see their friends again and took off almost immediately to go play. We talked to them for a while and then Devorah and Stef wandered off to go find the makolet. Not finding anything of interest there they had me pick them up as well as Leah and her friend Ita and we drove the 5 minute drive into Modiin to go to SuperSol, which is probably the closest thing Israel has to an American supermarket. Having picked up the necessities (like Q-Tips but of course an Israelli brand) we found one of the best things about the entire country Ė a branch of Angels bakery. Devorah picked up a huge box of chocolate rugelach for about $5.
Once we were in Modiin we decided to find Eli and Pesha Fischer. After getting lost a bit we finally found their place and it was great to see them again. Last time I had really had a chance to sit down and talk to them was almost 4 years ago and they had been living in Dallas. Stefanie also loved seeing Rabbi Fischer as he had been her rabbi at Maryland for two years until they moved back to Israel this past summer. We stayed there for about an hour chatting and I sold my chometz through him. One very interesting question raised was if we had been growing up in Baltimore now where would our parents have sent us to school and where would we have wanted to go. I think Iíll save that one for another time on here.
We went back to the Barrís for Shabbat. Friday night in shul Eli Fischers dad sat down next to me and did a double take after 30 seconds after realizing who I was! Many of the families ate together in the social hall of the shul for both meals so that they could already have their houses ready for Pesach. There were probably about 150 people there, maybe more. It was a really nice experience. We saw Eliís mom as well as one of his married sisters (Bracha) and her husband. We also got to talk to Ari and Sara Beth Solomont who we knew from about 10 years ago when he was regional director of NCSY up in Boston. It was kind of cool to be randomly sitting in a room in the middle of Israel with two people who had graduated from the same HS in Frederick, MD, albeit 20 years apart from each other!
The rest of Shabbat was really nice. Chashmonayim seems to be a very friendly community with a large number of Anglos. There were a ton of kids of all ages. It is over the Green Line (although just barely) and housing is pretty affordable there. We saw one house that is being built which is absolutely huge even by American standards and includes in the basement a full size pool, baby pool, and a Jacuzzi! Thatís the type of place I wouldnít mind living in!
Saturday night we hung out with the Barrs a bit more and then drove back to Jerusalem. It was a really nice first Shabbat of our trip and hopefully the rest will be as much fun!
Day 5 and 6 pics can be found here.