Thanks on Thanksgiving – Shabbat Shalom

Thanks on Thanksgiving – Shabbat Shalom

Thursday was Thanksgiving in the US,

a holiday when millions of American families

gather to eat an annual turkey dinner.

In Tel Aviv a special Thanksgiving dinner was held.

Also an annual event,

the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

sponsors a mega turkey meal for lone soliders.

Away from families,

these young men and women, in uniform or out,

have come from around the world to enlist in IDF.

Not just Americans participated,

Mexico, Australia, Canada, Ukraine, and Great Britain,

did not matter where you were from,

good food and fun, if you get leave, you come.

Close to a thousand solders came this year.

Naftali Bennett at lone soldier Thanksgiving dinner. in Tel Aviv

Education Minister Naftali Bennett came,

and gave thanks for their contribution to Israel.

Thanksgiving dinner for lone soldiers, Michael Oren poses for photo with two

MK Michael Oren, who is a former lone soldier,

often participates in these events.

Thanksgiving dinner lIDF one soldiers

It took two hours to drive to Tel Aviv in the rain,

but glad we went to see the wonderful energy and fun.

Now time for Shabbat,

with turkey and most all the fixings,

still miss fresh cranberry sauce,

but will make do with lots of other side dishes.

From Jerusalem, giving thanks.

שבת שלום

Shabbat shalom.

More photos HERE 

Giving Thanks in Jerusalem

It is easy to forget about the Thanksgiving Holiday

when living in Israel.

Except for social media posts about the difficulty

of obtaining a whole turkey in a country

where so much turkey is consumed,

regular Israelis have no idea it is a holiday.

What is consuming everyone’s attention is that for

three days, arson-ignited forest fires are spreading,

forcing people from their homes,

with the latest fires raging in Haifa.

Thankfully,

I have not heard of any deaths,

but the destruction is massive.

Israel’s  working poor have a difficult time,

their basic monthly salaries are too low.

One set back with a sick family member

could tip the balance and set debts soaring,

causing families to lose their homes.

If you take the light rail train to the end of line

Pisgat Zev light rail trains street view

all the way to Pisgat Zev,

View street in Pisgat Zev

the northern Jerusalem neighborhood

with tens of thousands of residents

New construction in Pisgat Zev

you will see new construction projects underway.

Since it is further from the city center,

 rentals are more reasonably priced,

and therefore, it is home to some of Jerusalem’s poorest families.

This week I was inside several of their apartments:

religious, not religious, Ethiopian,

down-on-your-luck poverty does not discriminate.

an apartment in Pisgat Zev needing help

This kitchen with its wood trim looks lovely,

but it is a six-floor walk-up with no elevator,

makes it a lower rental property.

Israeli rentals, most often, do not come with appliances.

Oven in apartment that is broken

The oven was broken, and

 the tenant did not have money to buy a new one.

On the real Jerusalem streets,

not all is beautiful or perfect.

Thankfully, there are people trying to help.

as you will see at the end of this blog.

Meanwhile, if you have the time and money,

you could eat and drink every night in a different location.

Jerusalem winter festivals Hebrew signs

Hamshushalim in Jerusalem,

 special hotel deals and offers each December weekend,

has been going strong for years.

Open Restaurant is Jerusalem’s newest food festival.

From November 22-26,

tours, food, classes and more,

will be happening on the Jerusalem streets.

One event at the Hansen House has robots

serving as waiters for 3D printed food.

What a contrast to those struggling to get along.

There is so much to be thankful for every day.

This is first year in a long time,

I did not actively participate in a Thanksgiving Dinner for lone soldiers.

Hard to do it all, time is short,

I won’t keep you any longer today.

But if you are thankful for what you have,

consider helping those who are not so fortunate.

Here are links to three worthy organizations

I was involved with this week:

Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin

OneFamily

Give a Fridge Project 

Take a look and see what you can do

to make the world a better place.

Thanks from Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem Celebrates Israel’s 64th

This week was a roller coaster ride of emotions,

going from mourning on Yom Hazikaron, Remembrance Day,

to the joyous celebrations for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day.

On Thursday night fireworks displays lit up the sky over Jerusalem,

"picture Israeli flag", "photo Jerusalem", "image flags"

to celebrate Israel at 64.

In Jerusalem on Yom Ha’azmaut

"picture hammer","photo hammer", "image hammer"

the hammers were bigger, but softer.

"picture people looking up". "photo people looking up", "image Jerusalem"

These people were watching the Air Force fly over, 

but by their expressions I assume they missed my blog post.

The annual International Bible Contest was held in the morning 

and the Israel Prizes were presented in the evening,

"picture grilling", "photo Jerusalem", "image cooking meat"

but most people spent much of the day at a mangal, a BBQ, grilling meat.

"picture Gan Sacker", image sacker park", "Photo picnic"

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was the site of many family reunions,

"picture Israeli soldiers", "photo picnic', "image BBQ"

but I spent most of the day in Gan Sacher with 400 lone soldiers.

The Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin’s mangal

served 60 kilo of meat to  young people from around the world and Israel,

who do not have families here with whom to celebrate. 

See more  photos of the event on the Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

"picture Sacher park", "image park", "photo kids playing"

Gan Sacher did not seem as crowded as usual,

as there were plenty of open spaces for a “foam fight”

"picture Jerusalem", "Israel image", "photo Independence Day"

and there was plenty of the foam for sale.

I was impressed that in such a relaxed atmosphere, people made time for 

"picture Sackr park". "photo men praying", "image prayer service outside"

this impromptu mincha, afternoon prayer, one of many that took place.

"grilling photo", "picture smoke from cooking", "Image smoky BBQ"

Smoke filled the sky all day,

"picture Gan Sacher", "photo Sacker Park" ,"image park Jerusalem"

while the weather was perfect.

"picture Gan Sackr", "photo picnic" "image Jerusalem party"

 Tons of equipment were schlepped and food consumed… and beer.

"picture small flag", "photo Israeli flag", "image small flag'

Israel at 64 was celebrated in Jerusalem in a big way.

Why do Israelis get so hung up about their Independence Day?

We will keep looking for answers to the question.