We are back from our short trip to Israel. Sandwiched in between two yahrtzeits — my mother’s and my mother-in-law’s — was a wedding and time with our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. It is never long enough no matter how long we stay. As my son-in-law said this past Shabbos, “What’s App, Facetime, and phone calls don’t make up for spending real time in person.” But we work with what we have and we are proud of them that they have the zechus to live in Yerushalayim.
Our son, Rabbi Dov Teitz, teaches at Mikdash Melech and at Mercaz HaTorah and our daughter-in-law is a mechaneches at Darchei Bina. So, all you Queens and Five Towns graduates, look up Rabbi and Mrs. Teitz if you are going to any of these schools.
One granddaughter, their oldest, is graduating high school and the other grandchildren are growing fast. The older girls were studying for exams, so we didn’t take them out as much as we do when we go during school vacation. But they all enjoyed visiting us in our hotel, the Rimonim Shalom in Bayit V’Gan, especially since they could get there by themselves. And a soda tastes so much better sitting at the soda fountain on a high bar stool in a hotel lobby.
While we were there we drove to the new U.S. Embassy, revisited Ir David, and saw two 3D videos about Yerushalayim. We also visited an archaeological park at Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, in Yerushalayim near the new embassy. Once on the grounds of the kibbutz, the city seems very far away. There is a lookout spot in the archaeological park that gives you a panoramic view of the city, but the quiet and pastoral surroundings make you feel you are in the countryside.
The kibbutz was founded in 1926 between Yerushalayim and Beit Lechem and the settlers fought hard to keep it in Jewish hands in 1948. For 19 years it sat on the border with Jordan until the Six Day War when the borders opened and it now sits at the southern-most tip of Yerushalayim.
The kibbutz has a thriving hotel and sports complex, including an indoor and outdoor pool and a very nice kiddie pool. The archaeological park was founded in 1954 when digging uncovered artifacts dating back to the time when the kingdoms of Yehuda and Yisrael separated. A palace belonging to either Melech Yehoyachin or Chizkiyahu was found there. During our exile, other conquerors lived there and Assyrian and Byzantine artifacts have also been discovered.
We made our regular trip to the Dead Sea, driving down that long winding hot road through the Judean desert. I went exploring one day with my granddaughter to Katamon. I enjoy seeing new neighborhoods and we stopped by a paper goods/party store owned by the son of former KGH friends, Charna and Bob Duchanov.
Talking about new neighborhoods, we inadvertently drove a few feet into Beit Safafa, an Arab neighborhood bordering Talpiot. Waze confused us on a turn and we took the wrong one. As soon as I saw the sign, I told Akiva to stop, make a U-turn and get out. In fact, while we were in Israel and fires raged along the Gaza border, Arabs in another Arab town, also adjoining Talpiot, started some fires. I read that Talpiot was filled with smoke for a while.
Why are they doing this? They live well in these Arab neighborhoods and they have good jobs in Yerushalayim and elsewhere. The hotel industry is filled with Arab employees. Hadassah Hospital and other hospitals employs Arab doctors, nurses, and technicians. Sitting in Mamilla one day, we saw many Arab couples and families strolling through the mall. No apartheid there. It’s their rabble-rousing Hamas and Hezbollah leaders who get bored youth to fly fire kites and balloon bombs destroying acres of crops and potentially able to cause harm to Israeli citizens. And their leaders don’t care. They use these kids as their own propaganda machine while pocketing the funds that the U.S., the EU, and the UN give them.
As my husband observed when we arrived in Israel, everything is familiar and you feel that you never left. Once back here it’s the same feeling. Everything is the same and you feel that you were never away. We’ve become the traveling grandparents. Next trip will be a little closer, to visit our grandchildren in Waterbury, Connecticut. My little granddaughter asked me today when we’re coming to visit.
So enjoy yourself wherever you are and keep your family close — if not physically, then in your heart.
Mazal tov to my high school graduates — Rachelli Teitz and Shani Herskowitz. Zaidie and I are very proud of your achievements. I wish a hearty mazal tov to all the neighborhood graduates!
A Wedding Lasts an Evening, A Marriage Lasts a Lifetime, Sunday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Young Israel of Forest Hills, 7100 Yellowstone Blvd., Forest Hills. Presented by Chazaq and Sholom Task Force, this one session event is for engaged and married couples. For more information and to RSVP, contact Chazaq at 718-285-9132 or Events@Chazaq.org.
A Community-Wide Jewish Family Cultural Extravaganza, Sunday, June 24, 1 to 4 p.m. at Congregation Beit Eliyahu, 71-52 172nd Street, Fresh Meadows. Presented by Councilman Rory Lancman in conjunction with Chazaq and QJCC. Free admission. Inflatable bouncers, rides, games, prizes, entertainment, balloon animals, DJ/ music, cotton candy, snow cones, and much more! Need more information? Call us at 718-285-9132 or e-mail us at Info@chazaq.org.
Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.