Report from the Boonies

November 27th was a sad day and a happy day. The sad part was because Arik Einstein died and listening to all his beautiful songs on the radio made me feel like a part of me had died, the part that longed for the imaginary Israel with a longing that only 20-somethings can muster. It was a happy day because I celebrated my daughter’s 35th birthday with her. We went to a relatively new restaurant in Jerusalem near the shuk, HaMotzi, which is so popular you need a reservation. It was started by a chef who won the local Master Chef competition after he stopped taking drugs. Since we didn’t have a reservation we got to sit at the bar and watch the staff run around and  work like crazy and make themselves sandwiches in between orders. The North African food was delicious, though the deserts were dry. Can you imagine eating chicken balls in strawberries? That’s what my daughter ordered and it was amazing. I had stuffed veggies. Intriguing. Then we walked over to the relatively new design center on Bezalel Street. (Nocturna Beit Café is in the entrance and on the sidewalk.) We did the rounds of the workshops, admired the art and schmoozed with the artists and I felt somewhat guilty that we did not buy anything from them. Everyone had only praise for Jerusalem. It felt like a holiday  in a quieter version of Tel Aviv, much quieter.  We shopped in a store where a woman with blue hair gave me her card should I want an hour of styling. I put on my blue hat with the wide rim for her and asked her if this gave me style. She didn’t reply and I don’t think I’ll be contacting her. For style, I believe in forty years of therapy. Then you can find your own style, if you still have any energy left.

Jerusalem Hand

Jerusalem Hand

Since our upstairs neighbors left in August and took the cable connection with them, we have been without tv. It’s been a quiet four months. I’ve done more reading than I’ve done in the past few years. Today we hooked up David’s laptop to the tv and now we can access movies, music and old tv programs. I was delighted to see Barenboim conduct Mahler’s Fifth at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. David opted for Beethoven’s Pastoral. The sound is much better than on our CD and I have a feeling that the possibilities are limitless. I know that for most of the advanced world, attaching your computer to a tv screen is no big deal, but for a woman who still remembers the first TV in 1949  that had three channels in orange dots and lots of snow, this is a big deal. I am determined to keep up with modern technology, though I do not have WAZE on my cellphone, despite the fact that our dear friends are the CEO’s parents. When I had to go to Ashdod today, I asked my son for directions and his directions were perfect. I enjoyed seeing the new roads, also not so new for most people, but I get out so rarely, living in the boonies, that to me it’s a big deal to see the road that crosses the country south of  Gedera. And all the work near the entrance to Ashdod. Soon our country will be one large road, but a nice modern road, nothing like the roads in America that are falling apart after fifty years. I’m even getting used to the idea that from our living room we will be able to see the new hi-rise road at the Motza curve. It will provide exciting viewing when we sit in the living room reading Albert Camus and listening to pre-Renaissance music.

I’m wondering how to tie all these threads together and I think it might be the tv- that’s where we listen to Arik Einstein, (don’t) watch Master Chef and will probably spend many hours (not) watching American sit-coms.  Happy Chanukah! To all those who still get excited by candles. And Happy Turkey to all those who relish a good bird.

One more thing. I must boast about my nomination for a Pushcart Prize, because if I don’t boast for myself, who will do it for me? By April I will know if I won, so I am going to enjoy the coming four months to the hilt, wherever that is. The nominated essay is about the day I spent in the Israel Defense Forces, checking it out for my daughter, before she was inducted. It will appear in Brain, Child: A Literary Magazine for Thinking Mothers online in the beginning of December. I must say, when I received notification that my essay was nominated, I cried a few deep cries from satisfaction. All my sitting in front of the screen may bring rewards yet. But even if they don’t, I will continue sitting in front of the screen or holding a pen, because that is what I love to do and apparently, I’m getting better at it. Also, it’s gratifying to know I am a thinking mother. That sure took a long time, too.

About Judy Labensohn

I'm a writer and teacher of writing.
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12 Responses to Report from the Boonies

  1. Congratulations on the nomination!! And for appearing in Brain, Child. I’ve always loved that magazine.

    And I really, really hope that you will continue to enjoy your nomination whether you win or not. Just being nominated is an honor.

    I also found this statement of yours to be interesting: “All my sitting in front of the screen may bring rewards yet.”

    So, are ya saying that people reading and enjoying your work all these years wasn’t rewarding? What am I — as a reader here — chopped liver? I’ll try not to be offended. 😉

    Chag sameach,



  2. Eve Tal says:

    That is wonderful news whether you win or not – and I certainly hope you do! Can the essay be read online?
    Chag Sameach – Eve


  3. estherhecht says:

    It’s so good to hear your voice again. I loved what you had to say about style. Also, because I too feel like I live in the boonies (anyone who spends 12 hours a day with their nose up against a computer monitor lives in the boonies), I appreciated the information about the places I could visit that are almost just around the corner.
    Keep on writing and letting us hear you from time to time.


  4. Laura Ben-Shmuel says:

    Congratulations on your nomination. Couldn’t have happened to a better writer or a nicer person. Hope you win — you should.
    Also — thanks for mentioning the resturant HAMOTZI — sounds good. Will put it on my “must visit” list.
    And last for now — waiting to get the link to your essay. Want to read it. Glad to have reconnected after all these years.


  5. saritaperel says:

    You have my vote site unseen- good luck and just the nomination gives me naches as your friend.
    looking forward to reading the essay.
    from your fellow boonie-ite


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