August 26, 2004

Happy 20th Anniversary!

Our Yishuv is 20 years old this year; yesterday was the annual party for the Yishuv, celebrated in high style in the grassy lot between two children's play areas.

Most everything was for the kids; four bouncy towers (or whatever they are called. Do they actually have a name?) One, on the podium, had a "bull " in the center of the pillow to toss willing children onto the cushiony mat below;another had a water slide. Moms agreed; this would be the one we would go for! But lacking the courage to actually stand in line with the under 14 set, I satisfied myself with the occasional drifts of sprays that came my way. Both the Artist and the Monkey happily went down and then graciously gave shared the cool water with me by hugging me and leaning on me.

Too loud music blared from the loudspeakers, and shrieks of laughter rendered all unshouted conversation practically unhearable. Up in the first playground area was an archery booth and tables set up for painting; I thought the Artist would certainly want to try her hand at the painting tables but by the time the paints came out she was starting to get cold and, I think, her intense needs for quiet and privacy kicked in.

Sweet treats of course; can any fair be lacking sugar? Enough of the white stuff in a variety of forms present to guarantee the children of a community three times our size would never be able to go to bed that night. The two little ones scurried up and bought themselves lollipops.

"But Ima," The Artist said to me. "It was three shek each and I was suppose to get change, but I don't know what happened." I shrugged; the loss of four shek is not a crisis, but when I passed the booths on the way out I stopped by.

The booth was run by the amazing owner of M.C's shop.

Here's the wonder of living in a yishuv: I pointed out the candies that my two had bought "Cama ze oleh?" I asked, "How much for these?" Perhaps Artist had made an error, misunderstood what the price.

"3 shek each"

"Oh, because my daughter bought..."
I got no further than that.
"Yes, four shek." He said, and reached into his pocket and pulled out his money. Would this happen anywhere else? Most likely he hadn't change when my daughters bought their treats, so he told them to come back, and they just didn't understand. He started handing me my money.
Then I saw some licorice for sale; black licorice, my favorite type, with a white filling. What was that white stuff? How good was the licorice? Another unsatisfied want; a craving I've denied myself over this past year, each time thinking "not now. Maybe next time."
But it was only 2 shek. I considered, and as he started to hand me my change I decided.
One piece of licorice, two shek returned. I smiled my thanks. And bit into my indulgence.
Damn, was this candy heavenly! The white creamy filling was rich, like the fillings of some doughnuts, the licorice full bodied. I ate slowly savoring every morsel, and made up my mind to indulge myself a few more times during the year; luckily for me he isn't open every time I go up the hill!

I bumped into a friend, and we started talking. "Oh, by the way, my dh made some falafels and we have extra, want some?" (Her husband is the cook for a nearby school.) Now, who could say no to free dinner? Along with the too many for us to eat in one day falafel balls came homemade tehina and a salad. Yum, was it good. Those are some lucky kids! This was definitely not the normal food one finds in most cafeterias. Now I have to learn how to prepare homemade falafel.

Music, laughter, fun conversation, sweets, and a dinner I didn't have to cook or pay for, all in celebration the greatest communities I've ever lived in.
Who could ask for anything more?

Posted by Rachel Ann at August 26, 2004 06:38 AM

Happy sounds great.

Posted by: Simon at August 26, 2004 11:41 AM

I am just about ready to cry...falafel.....the food I miss most of all. How I adored that fried treat.MMMMMmm......then all the salads that go into the pita and those big poofy chips (french fries)and the sauces....I think I just drooled on my keyboard.
The bouncy things have many names:moonwalk,inflatable jumpers,bouncers....
The anniversary sounded like a great time. I know that black licorice with the white center. I used to buy it in a little candy store at the Kfar Sava bus stop. It was run by a little German woman who didn't speak English but since I knew a few words in Yiddish I understood her. Plus Candy is a universal language, isn't it? YUM!

Posted by: Robin P at August 26, 2004 01:17 PM

I LOVE falafel. There was a great neighborhood dive in Buffalo that made fantastic falafel. I haven't found anywhere here in the Atlanta area that does it justice.

You can keep the licorice though. My Lovely Wife is a huge licorice fan too but I can't stand it. What's all that salt about anyway? Yick.

But send over some falafel! ;-)

Posted by: Jim at August 27, 2004 04:45 PM
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