Tag Archive | Shabbat

A Trip to the Consulate

Part of being an expat is deciding if you want your kids to be registered as citizens of your birth country.  Sometimes you want the tax benefits; sometimes you think that it is better for the kid in the future; and sometimes you think that it is worthwhile, or necessary, of the present.

We never really debated the subject; it was just kind of obvious that since Yitzchak and I are both American, and we have family in the States, that we would register our kids as American citizens.  When Shlomo was born, and we realized the expense involved (admittedly a pittance in comparison to expats who are not married to other expats, or who did not spend any time actually in America), we thought about just getting him a visa for his Israeli passport whenever we wanted to travel.  Not only did this turn out to be against the rules, it wasn’t even worthwhile financially.  We spent about a thousand shekels on getting him a Report of Birth Abroad and an American passport, and then we still had to get him an Israeli passport (because we were planning to travel).  Now, we had to register Tova.  Having no immediate travel plans, we pushed it off and pushed it off and finally decided to get it over and done with, for the sake of taxes.

Here is the story, for those who are interested in life in Israel and life as an American expat.

Part One: Making the Appointment

There is a U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, and there is a U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.  Because we used to live in Jerusalem, we went to the consulate to register Shlomo.  Because I hate Tel Aviv, and know where the consulate is (since I’ve been there before), I emailed the consulate and asked if we could still come to Jerusalem, even though technically the consulate is only for the residents of Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.  The response I got was that we could go to the consulate and did not have to go to Tel Aviv.

Throughout this narrative, I write, “I,” because while we weren’t sure if Yitzchak would end up coming, it was pretty obvious that I had to go, since I am nursing Tova, and was still on maternity leave.

Then, I had to make an appointment with the consulate.  There were a few issues with this:

1. It is, at minimum, a two and a half hour trip into Jerusalem, not including the bus that goes from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station to the consulate.  Two and a half hours, multiplied by two trips (there and back) is already five hours minimum.  From the Central Bus Station to the consulate is about an hour each way, by bus.  Taxi might be faster, but costs a lot – maybe 100 shekel, or more, per trip.  The taxi may not save us time, either, because Jerusalem has awful traffic jams.  So far, we have a seven hour trip at minimum – and that’s not even counting the time we would spend at the consulate, which is calculated to be about an hour and a half, on average.  Total amount of time to travel from home to the consulate and back: 8.5 hrs.  Or, in other words, an entire [work] day.

2. We needed to get Tova a Consular Report of Birth Abroad.  Let it be known that this is an absolutely gorgeous document.  We also wanted to get her, and Shlomo, social security numbers.  When Shlomo was a baby, I sent in an application for a social security card, but we never got the card.  I don’t know if the application was rejected or if the card never reached us.  At any rate, because we wanted their social security numbers for taxes, we wanted to make the appointments in enough time to send in the forms at least before the June 15th expat tax date.  Looking back, I realize that my calculation was foolish, since it can take up to six months to get the social security cards.  But no matter.  We need to do it, and the sooner the better.

We debated whether to get Tova a passport at the same time.

The pros: No need to worry or race if we end up traveling, or if we decide to move back for whatever reason.

The cons: An extra $105 (about 420 shekel), and it expires in 5 years; Yitzchak would need to waste an entire day so that both of us would be present, or we would have to waste money on a notarized consent form that he allows his child to get a passport when he is not physically present; if both Yitzchak and I are at the consulate, where is Shlomo?

Which leads us to #3:

3. Only the people who are absolutely necessary for the appointment are allowed into the consulate.  In other words, if you are applying for a Report of Birth Abroad, one parent accompanies the child.  If you are applying for a passport, both parents.  But – if you have another child who has nothing to do with the appointment – he will not be allowed into the consulate.  Hmmm . . .  I considered making a fake appointment for Shlomo (because, after all, he did need a social security card, even if I didn’t need a separate appointment for it), but Yitzchak reminded me that Shlomo coming with us meant Shlomo running laps in the consulate, for about an hour.  We decided to that it was worth trying to avoid having to discipine him.  After all, what’s wrong with running laps?  (Answer: Nothing.  It’s just that the consulate isn’t really the place to do it.)

4. We are always loath to part with such large sums of money.  The trip to Jerusalem is about 80 shekels round trip.  The Report of Birth Abroad is $100 (400 shekel).  That’s a LOT of money.  But we have no choice; we are required to file taxes and we want to be able to write down all exemptions possible, just in case, somehow, it may in some fashion look like we earn enough to actually owe something.  Plus, we probably qualify for $1000 a year, per child, in tax returns.  With Shlomo we were too lazy, and stingy, to get an accountant to deal with it, and we didn’t know how to file ourselves.  But things have changed since then (mostly expat tax laws), and it looks like, lazy or not, we need to file this year.  Which means, why not do it all at once?

5. The appointments are made online.  You can only make one appointment per child.  I cheated the system, not knowing which day I wanted to go, and wanting to make sure I had an appointment that worked for me.  The system allows you to make appointments only for the next three weeks or so, and they get taken very quickly, leaving only 8 or 8:30am appointments, and even then, only on one or two days out of the month.  You need to really keep on top of the appointment site in order to get one that works.  I made two appointments for Tova, and got past the system’s block by changing a letter in her name.

Part Two: The Stupid Rules

American security is infinitely stupider than Israeli security, for the simple reason that they do not know what they are doing.  One example is what I wrote above – only the people pertinent to the appointment are allowed entry.  Here are a few others:

– If you come more than half an hour early for your appointment, you may be denied entry and your appointment will be rescheduled.  Gee, it’s nice you wrote that on your website and not just on the window outside the consulate, for folks like me who are dependent on buses, live a few hours away, and called Egged, only to be told that the only bus that goes to the consulate leaves once an hour, at a quarter to the hour, and takes 50 minutes to get there.  It’s a shame I didn’t schedule my appointment differently.  On second thought, maybe I couldn’t have scheduled it so that it worked with the bus schedule.

– If you have a stroller, you need to leave it at the gate.  Oh, and they aren’t responsible if it gets taken.  Make sure you bring a sling, if you have a baby, or your arms will get exhausted.

– In order to be allowed entry, you first need to prove you have an appointment.  This you do by handing them the printout of your appointment details and the documents and forms that you brought with you.  The guy you proved it to gives you a pass.  Then, pass in hand, you go to the security guy, who asks you more questions, gives you a basket to put your phone and charger in, and asks if you have other electronics that need to be in the basket.  Basket in hand, you go through the doors, to pass through the metal detector and put your bag through the x-ray machine.  If, like me, you have forgotten about an electronic device that you happen to have in your bag (I forgot that I had the camera), they get very angry at you and treat you like you are a bigger threat than Iran.  The contents of the basket are put into a “cell” and you are given a card with the cell’s number, which you present in order to get your belongings back when you are done.  By the way, they are not responsible for any electronics put in the “cell”.

– Let’s say you need to make a phone call.  You go back to security, show your card, get your belongings (all of them), walk outside, make your phone call, and need to be readmitted by the guard.  Let’s say you need to get a document or whatever, and you walk out for a second.  Same deal.

– They take checks, written for the exact amount, according to that day’s exchange rate.  No credit cards.  They take cash, but do not give change.

– No one is allowed to wait outside the consulate.

– No sealed envelopes are allowed in.

For more stupid rules please see here.

Part Three: The Debate 

I had a Thursday appointment and a Friday appointment.

Advantages of Thursday:

– If only I go, and I am on vacation, it is just a waste of a day (and not a waste of two peoples’ days and double the money).

– It leaves me all of Friday to prepare for Shabbat.  Therefore, it is less stressful.

– I can also do some clothes shopping while I am there (I hate clothes shopping, but sometimes there is no choice); on Friday the stores close early and I probably won’t have time to shop.

Advantages of Friday:

– If we are not home for Shabbat, it is not a wasted trip.

– Yitzchak has books to pick up in Jerusalem; if we go as a family and are not home for Shabbat, we “kill” two birds with one stone.

– We do not want to be home for Shabbat anyways, since it is the Shabbat before Pesach.

– If I go on Friday by myself, I can meet my friend, who I haven’t seen in ages.

In the end, my cousin saved the day.  We went on Thursday afternoon to Jerusalem, I did some shopping, we stayed at my cousin’s overnight, and early in the morning I went to the consulate, and Yitzchak went to pick up his books.  Then, we all traveled to Kfar Chabad for Shabbat, and after Shabbat went home.  On Thursday night we changed the clocks, which meant an hour less of sleep for everyone, but more time to get things done.  It was tough, because we were exhausted from all the running around, but we made it.  My cousin was also traveling for Shabbat, so we helped them get out, as well.

Total time spent going to and from the consulate: 4 hours.  Not bad, considering that if we had traveled to Jerusalem just for the consulate, it would have taken an entire day.

Oh, and I forgot – Friday was our fifth anniversary.  And we spent it traveling.  To and from the consulate, from Jerusalem to Kfar Chabad.  We had thought to do something else, less for the anniversary than because it was an excuse to get a babysitter and take a breather.  But in the end, like every year, we forgot the date until afterwards.

Stay tuned for the next section of this riveting narrative . . .

A Freezing Weekend

I wrote this post last Friday, December 13.  But because I hadn’t edited it yet, it wasn’t published.  I also felt kind of funny writing about our Shabbat menu.  But the food came out good, and it was pretty filling, so I figure, why not.  Plus, it’s my only real-time snowstorm post.

Last Friday Yitzchak and I had an argument (more like a fight) over whether or not we should buy a radiator.  No, that’s not really what we fought about, that was just the trigger.

In the end, we decided that at the moment we didn’t need it, and we didn’t know if the winter would get cold enough that we would need it, so it could wait.  When the time came, we would rethink our decision.

The time came Wednesday afternoon.  Now, in all honesty, last week the temperatures were in the 20’s and high teens, and they suddenly dropped the low teens and single digits.  BIIIG difference.  Last week we got maximum five minutes of rain.  This week we had a power outage and it rained long enough for the parking lot to accumulate maybe a centimeter of water before it drained.  The parking lot, by the way, is big.  (If you’ve been following my blog, it’s in the picture Yitzchak took of the view from our kitchen window, posted around the time of our move.)

While Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria are enjoying fifteen centimeters of snow, we just have cold weather.  Really cold weather.  Today’s high is 6 and the low is 1.  Tomorrow’s prediction improved around mid-morning today, rising from a high of five and a low of -2 to a high of 6 and a low of zero.  Not great but better.

So now all Yitzchak and I can think about is making sure we stay warm.  And part of that is having warm food for Shabbat.  Here’s what our Shabbat menu usually looks like:

Friday night – some kind of heavy soup, challa, maybe chumus/ techina.

Shabbat morning – mashed potatoes/couscous, salad, stir fry/cooked vegetables/baked green beans.

Shabbat afternoon (seuda shlishit) – salad, egg salad/tuna salad/deviled eggs, remains of mashed potatoes/couscous, chumus/techina.

Today we decided that we wanted cholent.  Last time I tried my hand at cholent was a few months after we got married, when we were hosting a friend and her fiance.  It flopped, big time.  I haven’t tried since.

But today we wanted cholent, and I wanted kishke, so I’m trying again.  We also decided that we felt like being “fancy” and so our Shabbat menu this week looks like this:

Friday night – challah, heavy soup.  Maybe a bit of kugel.

Shabbat morning – challah*, cholent (with vegetarian kishke that is basically flour, carrots, oil, and onions), kugel, salad.

Shabbat afternoon – kugel, salad, challah, chumus (hummus).  Maybe we’ll make eggs and maybe not.  (In the end, the eggs were used up after we prepared everything else.)

Ah, and obviously, every week we make a cake, usually either a yellow cake or a chocolate cake.  More on that later.

Hopefully, the weather will warm up.  Because this is awful.  In all honesty, though, I’m praying for a few centimeters of snow on Sunday morning so that a) I don’t have to feel guilty about leaving early, and b) I don’t have to teach half a class.  Because at this rate, it doesn’t look like everyone else will be back to normal by Sunday morning, and we have a LOT of out-of-town students.  It’s no fun teaching half a class – to say the least.




*This is a guttural ‘ch’, it isn’t pronounced like “chair.”  You can listen here.

Two Bus Drivers

We went to visit some friends for Shabbat.  Since they don’t live in Jerusalem, we had to check when the last bus left.  There was a bus at 15:30, 15:50, 16:15, and 16:45.  We wanted to take the 15:30 bus.  It didn’t happen.

Instead, we got to the Central Bus Station at 16:20, just in time to pick something up for our hosts (we hadn’t managed to bake something), take a few minutes to sit, and board the last bus to our destination.  We saw the bus pull up and went out to meet it.  We were among the first people to reach the bus, which meant that we would have our choice of seats and be able to sit together.

egged bus, israel bus system, israel buses, egged, buses, public transportation, afula, bus routesAs we got on, the bus driver called out, “I’m going to Rishon L’Tzion, he’s (pointing to the bus to his right) going to Ramle.”  He turns to each passenger and asks where they need to go, telling some of them to go to the other bus.  I didn’t quite get it.  And I was even more confused when he told someone that he’s not stopping at Mishmar Ayalon, because I know that that’s one of his stops.  It’s true that as each passenger boards and pays, he tells the driver where he is headed and how many tickets he is buying, as well as whether or not he wants a round-trip ticket.  But the bus driver was really into it, asking everybody ahead of time and repeating his announcements over and over.

Then the driver closed the door and started pulling away.  As one last straggler ran to catch the bus, the driver opened the door and yelled out, “Leave with me, so you don’t get anyone who wants Rishon L’Tzion.”


What’s the number of the bus beside us?

Ahhh, it’s the same as ours.  Why are there two buses with identical routes and numbers leaving at the same time?  I have no idea.

But I do know what the driver was about: He and his friend decided that they wanted to finish their last route early that day and go home, and knew that the passengers also wanted to get where they were going faster.  After all, it was only a few hours before Shabbat.  So the two friends split the route between them, shortening both bus rides: The other bus would stop at every stop until Ramle, inclusive, and Ramle would be his last stop.  Our bus would not stop until we passed Ramle, even though we were traveling an identical route, but on the other hand, it would go to the end of its route, dropping off everyone who was traveling past Ramle.

It took fifteen to twenty minutes off our ride.  On the other hand, we went fast enough that Shlomo threw up – all over the nice young ladies opposite us who let him sit on their laps and “play” their game with them (translation: they played with him when he insisted on asking for their game).

Only in Israel . . .

So, What Should I Write?

Now I really have a case of writers’ block.  Not because I have a one-track mind, but because I can’t think of anything to write.  None of the stuff that’s happening now is interesting (thank G-d).

So, here’s a list, and you can tell me if anything here seems post-worthy:

– Hot weather, with fans but no air conditioner.

– A week and a half until my in-home daycare center closes.

– Yitzchak needs to sign up to test.  And finish the material and the review.

– He also has to make a few related phone calls.

– I have work to do.  A lot of it.

– Remember the creative writing assignment?  Well, I still haven’t printed it (because printing it needs planning; we don’t have a printer at home).

– We have stuff to deposit at the bank (always nice, but not too interesting).

– We have to clean the house and cook for Shabbat.

– We are exhausted.

– I am debating whether to sign up for a two out of three days of summer classes.  Maybe I should do it – it would be very interesting.  On the other hand, maybe we’ll want those 400 shekels.  But on the other hand, 400 shekels isn’t that much to spend, right?  But maybe we’ll want it in another few months.  We have a few other financial decisions to make.  Not big ones, but they are still decisions.  And after all, 100 and 100 adds up, right?

– We have planning to do for next year.  Not fun to think about, but we’ve gotta do it some time.

– I need to buy shoes.  I hate buying shoes.

– Should I do a certificate course next year?  Or should I not?  Why or why not?  Is it worth it?  Is it worth the time and money?  Hmm . . .

– We have to talk to a patent lawyer.  Sigh.

– We have to talk to our neighbors.

– We have to call the phone company.  And maybe the cell phone company, too.

Do any of these things sound post-worthy?  Of course they’re all interesting on some level, but most of them feel like tweets or Fakebook statuses.  You’re probably thinking that tweets and Fakebook statuses aren’t too bad – but I don’t have either Twitter or Facebook, because they go against my personal ideals and ideas.

Hey, at least I told you that I’m not quitting my blog, right?

Maybe I should put some of my creative writing stories up on here.  But on the other hand, maybe I want them copy-protected, first.


graco travel system, travel system, stroller, carseat, graco stroller, graco carseatWe have gone on a few stroller-less outings before, most of them extremely short.  And, when we traveled for Shabbat, we decided to skip the stroller, too: We had a short bus ride, a short walk, and then we would be in a minibus until we reached our destination.  After Shabbat, it would be the same, just in reverse.  Since we were bringing a carseat for the minibus, it added a lot of weight.  Maybe it would have been easier to bring a stroller, since we could put the carseat on it, and put stuff under it.  But, on the other hand, a stroller just adds bulk and one more thing to carry.

Even though I was skeptical, I didn’t regret the decision, except for during about forty-five minutes (maybe an hour) when we had trouble with the minibus, and the company had to send another one – at night, after an adventure-filled (for a toddler) Shabbat, with a tired, cranky, overstimulated toddler, who was also a bit hungry.  We made it, though.  I changed him into pajamas in a bus shelter, we read a book, and we gave him a bit of food.  And we held him.  A lot.  But, then the minibus came, and life got easier.

That was the only time, during the whole 36-hour trip, that I regretted not bringing a stroller.

Today we took another stroller-less outing.  It was supposed to be a short bus ride, cross the street, do some stuff at the bank, cross the street again, pick up a few items in the store, get on a [light-rail] train (buses only go in one direction on that part of the street), get on a bus, arrive home.  The bank machines were not working, though, so we got on the train and went down to a different bank.  And since Yitzchak was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle Shlomo on such a long trip without a stroller, he met us and accompanied us partway, and went to the store instead of me.  So Shlomo and I went to the bank and went home.

I often don’t realize how much taking a stroller (or maybe taking a heavy stroller) makes me not want to go out.  When I left the stroller, though, and took the kid – by myself – it was amazingly refreshing.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t want another one, though; carrying a baby in a sling and holding a toddler’s hand is also stroller-less, at least for a few months.  (In addition, it is also one of my ideas of bliss.  Yes, I’m crazy.  I know.  You are far from the first person to think that.)

But seriously?  Toddler + stroller = super heavy.  Infant + stroller = somewhat heavy.  I think the toddler can walk short distances, thanks very much.

My Very Own Toilet

toddler toilet seat, toilet seat, kids toilet seat, soft toilet seat. padded toilet seat with handlesA couple months ago, we got a little toilet seat.  You know, one of the padded ones that you put on top of the big toilet.  Well, for the past two or three weeks, every time I go to the bathroom when Shlomo is awake, and yes, that means every time, he follows me in, takes his toilet seat, and asks to sit on the toilet.  Somehow, the idea that the toilet is occupied has not yet registered.  Yesterday, he tried to move me a bit, to expose a bit of the toilet, so he could put the seat on.  Um, a little bit of the toilet isn’t enough, kiddo, you need the whole thing.  And, only one person can sit on this throne at once.  I got here first.  Plus, asking every time that I go to the bathroom really doesn’t make me too motivated to put you on the toilet and give you the truck book.  It just wears on my nerves.  Ask when you have to go, not when I have to go, and maybe I’ll feel differently.

To his credit, he does ask when he has to go, sometimes.  And sometimes he asks just after he went in his diaper.  Oh, well.  I guess it’s part of the package.

The best part, though, is that we went away for Shabbat, and left the toilet seat at home.  From Friday afternoon, until last night at around ten-thirty, I got to go to the bathroom all by myself.  That is, except for once on Friday night, when Yitzchak couldn’t watch Shlomo, and everything was kind of chaotic, so I had to take Shlomo with me to the bathroom.  It wasn’t too bad, though, since we didn’t have his toilet seat.  However, I was kind of bummed that just after I had been looking forward to 36 hours of going to the bathroom alone, I had to take Shlomo with me.  For the rest of the time, though, I enjoyed the solitude.  Man, was it nice to go by myself.

Anyone share the sentiment?  Or have I just randomly rambled about a topic that is disgusting, [supposedly] private, and completely non-interesting?

Of Vegetable Knives and Sleepers

sleeper, footed pajamas, toddler pajamas, baby pajamas, blue sleeperOur meat [vegetable] knife broke right before Shabbat a few weeks ago.  We borrowed from the neighbors, and then returned it.  Then, last week, Yitzchak went to find another knife.  He went to the store I suggested (but not the branch I meant) and bought two knives that he thought I would like.  Well, I didn’t like them.  First of all, they were in bright neon colors.  Second of all, they were too big.  And third, they didn’t fit well in my hands.  So on Sunday, I took them back.

I went to the store, showed the cashier the knives and receipt, and told her that I was returning them because I didn’t like them.  (I felt stupid saying that, but it wasn’t me who bought them, and I didn’t want to make my husband look stupid.)  She took the knives and told me to take something for 20 shekels.  After looking around a bit, I decided to get Shlomo a new pair of pajamas – he has three pairs, they’re all getting small, and they’re not exactly made for winter.  So, I picked up a warmish sleeper in size 18-24 months.  It looked huge, but I figured that it was probably the right size.  And if not, he’d grow into it.  And it cost exactly 20 shekels.  So I took it up to the cashier, showed the receipt, and successfully made the exchange – but the receipt stayed with her.

Then we brought the sleeper home.  I wanted to measure it against Shlomo, but he wouldn’t let me.  And then, in the middle of the night, Shlomo’s diaper (the bigger size) leaked.  And Yitzchak put him in his new pajamas, because there weren’t any others clean.  Guess what?  The new sleeper is too small.  The feet are too small, and the legs are too short – when he stretches his legs, the snaps pop open.  Since it’s been worn, the tags are off, and I no longer have a receipt, we’re stuck with it.  And since we’re a bit tight this month, that’s not too good.

Oh, well.  I guess we’ll save it for a sibling.  At least one item from this age should be passed on stain-free and practically new, right?  In the meantime, he wore them not only for the rest of Sunday night, but last night as well.  Today he’ll have two other sets clean.  Hopefully, he won’t leak on both of them in one night.

Busy, busy . . .

So, I’ve had a busy few weeks, but more particularly, this past week has been extremely eventful.  How?

1) Last Monday morning the phone and internet (we have dial-up) didn’t work.  The phone company came on Tuesday to fix it; it worked for that night, but in the morning, it worked no longer.  Then I called the company, and they said that really it’s the campus’ responsibility and not theirs.  So, we contacted the people in charge of upkeep on campus.  Then the campus upkeep people said it’s not their responsibility.  In the end, they came this morning (Monday) and did a few fixes that will hopefully keep for a while.  However, it turns out is IS the phone company’s responsibility, and not theirs.  Oops.

2) Right after Shabbat started (Friday evening), an air-raid siren went off.  We ran to the bomb shelter, waited while they opened it, dashed inside, heard the boom (and then the ambulances) and then went back to normal.  Well, if you can go back to normal after a scare like that.  And, we’re lucky.  We have a whole minute and a half to get into the bomb shelter before the rocket(s) fall(s).  There are places in Israel that only have fifteen seconds – or none at all.*

3) We walked up to friends of ours for Shabbat dinner.  Then, in the morning, we walked to my cousin’s for lunch.  We got there late.  And the whole time we were walking, we were scanning the roads to find the best place to go if another air-raid siren went off.  Luckily, it didn’t.

4) Sleepless nights, anyone?  There are eight bumps in Shlomo’s mouth – four in the back (molars), and four in the front (canines or premolars).  Needless to say, he hasn’t been a happy camper and hasn’t slept well, or had an appetite.  Oh, and he soaked through his diaper last night, and didn’t want to go back to sleep after we changed him.  He finally went back to sleep at 3:30am.  I think he woke up an hour prior to that.  Sigh.

5) Yitzchak has to stay out till 7:00pm this week.  We thought this stint was scheduled for last week, so he stayed out late two for long days, but it turned out to be this week.  The good side: He gets more accomplished.  The bad side: Shlomo goes to sleep at 6:30 or 7:00, so if Yitzchak only gets back at 7:45, they won’t see each other.  Unless, that is, I take Shlomo out to see Yitzchak.  Or Yitzchak gets permission to come back early.  And Shlomo hates it when he wakes up from his nap and Dad (we call him Abba) isn’t there.  He gets very mad, very upset, and very cranky.

6) ME DO IT!  Did I mention that every meal is a headache because Shlomo has to feed himself?  And if he doesn’t, then he throws a fit.  But, if he does, then it becomes a mess-making game . . . that I have to clean up.

7) My friend’s husband got an emergency draft order.  He has three little kids (5, 2, and 1 years old).  Luckily, he won’t be going into Gaza – but Sh’chem (Nablus, I think, in English) isn’t too safe, either.  And he’s not sure when they’ll let him off duty.  Luckily, her MIL is staying with them in the meantime to help with the kids while their father is away.  I’m not sure she’d have had any chance of getting to a bomb shelter in time if her MIL hadn’t been there to help.

8) Yitzchak is talking obsessively about air raids and ballistic missiles.  Needless to say, it wears me out.  He deals with stress by talking obsessively about the physics and statistics of it.  I deal with stress by talking about what I’m worried about, doing what I can, and then ignoring the subject.  Obviously, these two strategies are at odds with each other.  So instead, he calls Jack and texts (using his expensive, roaming, American cell phone) his parents, and asks them to call him back.  Then he talks to them, in my earshot, about all of this – and obviously, none of the housework gets done, because both of us are too preoccupied and stressed to do it.

And all this is in addition to work, housework, and baby games.  I guess I should just feel lucky that I don’t have air-raid sirens every day, right?

*Apparently, the Home Front Command (pikud ha’oref) has not updated their English map.  The one you see was for 2009; they have since changed the amount of time that citizens in some areas have before the missiles fall. The Hebrew map, also linked in this post, has the correct times.