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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'll always have gum

Wow, this past week has seen a bit of a drought here on treppenwitz!  Sorry... lots of entertaining the visiting relatives and requisite touring around the country.

First off, thank you so much to everyone who left such beautiful comments on the slide show from Ariella's Bat Mitzvah.  Several of you emailed me for the details of the background music so I'll post it here (sorry if the translations are choppy):

The first song was Etti Ankari, one of my favorite Israeli singers, performing 'Yoducha' which is actually Psalm 67 set to music:

For the conductor, on neginoth; a psalm, a song.
God will be gracious to us and bless us;
He will cause His countenance to shine upon us forever.
That Your way should be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.
Nations will thank You, O God; Nations will thank You, yea, all of them.
Kingdoms will rejoice and sing praises, for You will judge peoples fairly, and the kingdoms-You will lead them on earth forever.
Nations will thank You, O God; Nations will thank You, yea, all of them.
The earth gave forth its produce; God, our God, will bless us.
God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.
You, O God; Nations will thank You, yea, all of them.

The second song was by another favorite of mine - Matti Caspi - singing Yalduti HaShniyah (My Second Childhood):

This is my second childhood
Whatever you give me I’ll accept
This is my second childhood
With you.

This is my second childhood
The burden of years has been forgotten
This is my second childhood
My heart is opened.

Through your eyes, daughter
I see and discover the world again
Through your hands I’ll learn
To touch the ocean waves again.
Through your lips, daughter,
A new taste to words
And with you I’ll grow-up again with no fear
Now we are three

This is my second childhood
Whatever you give me I’ll accept
This is my second childhood
With you.

This is my second childhood
The burden of years has been forgotten
This is my second childhood
My heart is opened.

Through your songs, daughter
I’ll learn to listen to creation again.
In your footsteps I’ll step,
On the way to the seven wonders.
In your smile, daughter
A new morning to nights.
And with you life has a reason…
Now we are four.

In your gazes, daughter,
I’ll learn to love again without thinking.
In your tears I’ll tremble
As if the end of the world were near.
In your hugs, daughter
A shiver goes through my body
And with you I’ll ask for another day.
Now we are five.

This is my second childhood
Whatever you give me I’ll accept
This is my second childhood
With you.

I suppose that I can't really post today without some mention of the elections. 

No, I won't tell you who I voted for... but suffice it to say there were few surprises (other than the pensioner's party) yesterday.  It was a thrill to be able to walk into an Israeli polling station, walk behind the partition, select my party's 'petek' (slip of paper), place it in the envelope... and then drop the envelope in the sky blue ballot box. 

Something about physically placing one's vote into a ballot box is so much more satisfying than pulling a lever in a mechanical or electronic voting booth.

The real fun will be watching Olmert try to build a coalition over the next few weeks.  Oh, he'll build one, but I honestly doubt he'll be able to create a government that will allow him as free a hand as he wants/needs in order to act unilaterally to quickly establish permanent borders for Israel.

The net result of the outcome is that I think (hope) Kadima will be forced to act more slowly and transparently than their founder (Sharon) ever felt compelled.  This is a good thing in a democracy. Slow and deliberate... with lots of discussion and heart searching... is how a democracy is supposed to function. Such monumental moves as disengagement are not akin to tearing a band-aid off a child (best done quickly and with little discussion)... but rather a deadly serious process that requires a national discussion and a real consensus (not just a small majority).  The entire country has to be able to live with the results... not just 55% or 60%!  And those that are most effected (e.g. the evacuees) must be properly taken care of... not just thrown in tent cities and fleabag hotels to rot while waiting endlessly for their promised compensation.

Anyone who wants to learn more about Israeli politics from someone deep inside can go read my friend and neighbor Ben Chorin. He has spent the last few days writing a primer on the current lay of the land.  You may not agree with all of his observations and opinions, but he is very careful not to blend fact and opinion.  This is more than one can say about ANY of the Israeli print media which has been shamelessly blending facts, opinions and wishful thinking for years.

Lastly I want to say how sad we all are to see my two sisters and their families return to the US.  My older sister left yesterday and the younger left this morning.  It was the first time to Israel for both of them (as well as their families) and we covered a lot of ground for such a short stay (Dead Sea, Masada, Jerusalem's Old and New City, Machane Yehuda, Beit Guvrin, etc.). 

My two sisters have been doting aunts to our children and have competed with one another for years to see who could spoil them more.  I'd have to say it is still too close to call.

There is a line I love from the TV sitcom 'Friends' in the episode where Ross and Rachel's baby is born.  Monica - the baby's aunt - is so overcome with a need to express her future role in the baby's life that she blurts out "I'll always have gum!". 

Both my sister's are like that. 

In addition to providing all the love and emotional support that an aunt ever lavished on nieces and nephews, their role really boils down to that simple statement of absolute readiness to offer sweets behind our backs.  And that's how it should be.

Yes, even from half a world away... they'll always have gum.

220_23

Posted by David Bogner on March 29, 2006 | Permalink

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Mazel Tov to Ariella on her bat mitzvah! I am sorry I missed the little slide show... but I am so happy for your family and that both the aunties not only got to visit you and your family on such a special occasion but also to see Israel for the first time! How wonderful! Now I know who to get as tour guide when I come over!

Posted by: Regina Clare Jane | Mar 29, 2006 2:39:42 PM

Welcome back. Morning coffee is not the same without a little Treppenwitz stirred in.
Looking at the slide show and all the pictures of Ariella and her beautiful smile, she will always have people looking for a stick of gum to offer. (Surrogate family is so important when you live far away.)
Mazal Tov

Posted by: Chedva | Mar 29, 2006 2:55:09 PM

Your kids are lucky to have such a great family. :)

Posted by: jg | Mar 29, 2006 5:01:16 PM

My sister doesn't live as far away from my family as yours, but I very definitely appreciate the sentiment.

It is hard to watch the kids grow up separately.

Posted by: Jack | Mar 29, 2006 5:11:44 PM

being an aunt or uncle is a blessing, you get to play with the kids, love them and when they do something bad, you can give them back to their parents :P

i'll be posting about my nephews and nieces soon.

Posted by: no milk | Mar 29, 2006 5:39:36 PM

I. for one, am for stricter gum control.

Posted by: ralphie | Mar 29, 2006 11:00:24 PM

I'm with Ralphie on the gum control, however, there are plenty of other things to lavish upon my special nieces and nephews!!!! David's kids are wonderful role models for their younger cousins and they all had a blast together!

I also want to express what a great tour guide my brother is... we were very lucky to be spending time with him and his lovely wife who shared both their home and time with us showing us parts of their amazing country. We look forward to coming back in 3 years for Gilad's Bar Mitzvah and seeing other parts!

It was a trip that really will be with me for a very long time.

But it's great to be back home, as well!

Posted by: Val | Mar 29, 2006 11:54:40 PM

That's what I love about you, even though we have never met: you are just a huge sappy, sentimental guy! I love that episode of 'Friends' - and as someone who FINALLY got to be an aunt, 3 times in the last year, (and another time in 8 weeks!) I am happy to say I spoil the heck out of my niece and nephews, just like their parents did with my kids for the last many years (and still do). Family is a beautiful thing (you know, when we're not being featured on Jerry Springer :-))

Posted by: Ezer Knegdo | Mar 30, 2006 2:09:34 AM

Being an aunt is amazing--I should know, I have 6 nieces and nephews! I, too, always have gum (and all other treats) for my little ones. That's what it's all about. Having family is so special. I'm so glad for Ariella and all of you that your family was able to join you for the special occasion.

Posted by: Essie | Mar 30, 2006 4:29:54 AM

Yeah, I'd say that being an aunt would probably be a great thing - if not for the fact that your nephews/nieces could have been your younger siblings. : ) That's a really cute quote! Sounds like you all had a great time together!

Posted by: Irina | Mar 30, 2006 6:28:31 AM

Regina Clare Jane... If you go to the previous post and click on the only hyperlinked word there you can still view it. Thanks for the good wishes.

Chedva... Funny you should mention coffee... see today's post.

JG... And here I was feeling lucky. This is like a Hallmark moment! :-)

Jack... We went from living very near one another to half way around the planet. This has been a rough transition for our family... which is why it was such a big deal to have so many of them here all at once.

No Milk... I agree 100%. I'll look forward to seeing your post.

Ralphie... Ya know you read about gum accidents all the time and you never think it will happen to someone you know! :-)

Val... I hope it isn't 3 more years before you visit again! Airfares are pretty reasonable during the off-season... pop over when you can.

Ezer Knegdo... That's me... just a big shaggy sentimental bear. :-)

Essie... Kenainahara! I'm sure you spoil them perfectly and they love you to pieces!

Irina... It was wonderful to have most of the cousins together in one place. My generation had no first cousins and almost no contact with the few second cousins we had so this is a wonderful thing to watch and enjoy.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 30, 2006 10:11:46 AM

Mazal Tov again - I am glad that things worked out, and that your family got to see some of Israel. The logistics of overseas guests add another layer of complexity to making a simcha, but it seems you wisely took the time to enjoy each other, and the happy occassion itself.

Many happy returns...

Posted by: Ben-David | Mar 30, 2006 11:11:34 AM

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