To Jerusalem for Jack

Yesterday was my “kid” brother in law, Jack’s, swearing-in ceremony.  Jack made aliya a few years ago, wanting to join the army.  Secretly, we think he made aliya to prove that if Yitzchak could do it, so could he.  I call him my kid brother in law because:

1) Yitzchak has three older brothers and one younger brother – Jack.  Since I’m married to Yitzchak I tend to think of myself as older than Jack even though

2) Jack is a year older than me.  But I gotta say, even though he’s a good kid, he really is still a kid.

We haven’t seen Jack since July.  We’ve wanted him to come but he’s always too busy on his weekends free.  Okay, fine.  No problem.  But in the past two weeks he called us five (Yitzchak says eight) times to check if we were coming to his tekes hashba’a (swearing in ceremony) at the Kotel.  The last three were on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday (as we were leaving the house) of this week.  So we figured he was pretty desperate to have us there.  Not that we wouldn’t have gone anyways – he doesn’t really have anyone except for us here.

Well, we got to Be’er Sheva and saw a bus going to Jerusalem (we missed the bus to Be’er Sheva by about thirty seconds and had to wait for the next one).  It was full and left.  Then we saw another bus, that takes longer, and Yitzchak went to the bathroom.  The bus got full and left, and another bus came, before he came back.  We were in line to get on this bus (the third since we’d arrived) and when we were almost at the door they announced that there was room for five more passengers.  I was the fifth, but they said that was it, so I got off and let someone else get on.  (I’m not going to get on without Yitzchak and Shlomo.)  Then another bus came and we finally got on.

We were almost to Jerusalem when there was a 20-minute traffic jam.  When we finally got off the bus every traffic light we saw turned red just as we got to the crosswalk.  Then we missed a light rail train and had to wait for the next one.  Then we ran to the Kotel (Western Wall) and thought they hadn’t started yet – only to realize that we’d missed the whole ceremony.  Oh, well.

Jack was happy to see us.  We met his friends, a family who kind of took him under their wing (he’s not religious; neither are they) and his apartment was near to theirs.  The mother, L., started talking and I said, “You sound just like my mother in law!” Two kids, a boy aged 16 and a girl aged 13, who fought like two teenagers are supposed to fight.  A national service girl who who had become friendly with the family and with Jack.

They gave Shlomo a big bag of bamba which I had no problem with him eating, considering that he was getting tired and Shlomo refuses food when he’s tired.  At least he’d have something in his stomach.  Then people started complaining that they were hungry.  We all (all eight of us) found a pizza place, put four tables together, and sat down.  Shlomo refused to eat, which worried me until I remembered he’d had the big bag of bamba.  (We chose the pizza place for the kashrut supervision but no one realized that that was our reason; it was good pizza, no smokers around, and had place to sit.  We were also the only ones who really knew our way around the Old City.  And we were kind of upset because this place had become more expensive since we were last there, although it’s a fair assumption that everyone else had raised their prices, too.)  Two big pies and drinks for those who wanted.  Since neither of us took a drink, they went on L.’s bill, along with one of the pies; we paid for the other.  And everyone who passed by looked twice – a toddler, a chareidi-looking couple, four obviously non-religious people, including two soldiers (the 16 year old is learning in the army academy, not serving yet) and an obviously religious girl.  Haha.  I love making people wonder.  It is kind of an odd group, but none of us felt odd at all.

Mom called Jack, and then L. asked why we weren’t Skyping (Jack’s phone has Skype).  So we all – or at least half of us – took turns talking to the Skype machine.  First Jack, then L. (it was interesting watching them talk), then Shlomo and Yitzchak, then me.  Then back to Jack, who kept showing off his ability to tell people to shut their mouths, and that he’s in charge because it’s his phone, in Hebrew.

We got home really late (like, a quarter to twelve).  We had planned to do a few things while we were in Jerusalem, but as you can tell, we didn’t exactly have time.  Oh, well.

Even though it was a long trip and we came back sore, it was pretty fun.  It was good meeting the people that Jack spends his time around, and I hope that his girl-picker starts working as well as his adoptive-family-picker.  Come on, it’s no fun being the only couple married in both families.  And even though one of Yitzchak’s older brothers is getting married soon, they’re both in their forties so it’s safe to assume there won’t be any kids.  Plus, if Jack gets married here then he’ll stay here, which means more fun and family for us.  And a greater chance that his parents will come.

I can’t say the trip didn’t take a bite out of our wallet, though.  140 shekels transportation.  Another 60 for pizza and another 10 for water.  Ouch!  Oh, well.  I guess it was worth, it, right?

I hope so.

We brought our camera but didn’t have batteries – we had been planning to buy on the way but didn’t have time.  Luckily, L. did have a camera and promised to send us the pictures.

Here’s the invitation that we were sent:

tekes hashbaa, army, israe4li army, IDF, IDF ceremony, kotel, soldiers, israel, swearing in, israeli defense forceTranslation: Dear Families, You are hereby invited to the swearing-in ceremony of the group of November 2013, that will take place on Thursday, 13 Adar 5764, 13.02.2014 at the Western Wall.  On the itinerary: 17:00 – Gathering together 18:00 Swearing-in ceremony 19:00 Dispersal/dismissal  [signed] Aryeh Shachori, segan (vice) aluf, commander, ba”ch kefir.

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