Our Aliyah Chronicle
By Shmuel Katz
The summer is a terrific time here. Although there are plenty of events held throughout the year, the summer has untold numbers of festivals and happenings for us to enjoy. Festivals of the arts. Food and drink. Concerts. Fun days for the kids. And we try to visit four or five of them over the summer.
One of the festivals we enjoy the most and have visited multiple times over the years is the Live Statue festival in Rechovot. Artists and performers from all over the world come to be a part of this festival, which is focused on the display of their talents as living statues. Fully decked out in makeup, they freeze in place, and some of them are incredibly realistic. It’s a great festival and we love going–especially because there is invariably a food vendor with hashgachah (usually more than one) and we get to enjoy the full street-fair experience, food included.
We usually attend as a family, but with most of the kids out of the house, we went alone this year, which was a change of pace for us. Goldie and I are family-focused. We will occasionally go out for breakfast or a birthday dinner by ourselves, but before last Pesach, when we spent a day of chol ha’moed in Tel-Aviv, we hadn’t done anything “date-like” together in years. I guess we should get used to it because the kids are not getting any younger and the house is getting emptier.
Each year, we try to show up with lots of small change. Many of the performers keep a small receptacle in the front of their stage and when someone drops in a coin, they will shift to a new position, often interacting with their patron while doing so.
The city has held the festival in the street, in local parks, and even inside a mall. This year they went with the street fair, closing off a main road to traffic and allowing the (anticipated) 200,000 visitors to stroll the fair at their leisure. In addition to the street performers, there were also random “stages” spaced in courtyards along the way where there were mini-concerts and other performances of magic, comedy, and acrobatics. A great way to spend an evening together.
– -Â – –
The summer is also a time of visits. Each year, thousands of tourists come to visit Israel, and many of them are friends and relatives from the U.S. The summer and the chagim are the most concentrated times for visits and for people to double up and come for a simcha as well. Yes, s’machot take place year round, but it is easier to coordinate coming to Israel during school vacations.
It has been 10 years since we lived on Highland Place in Woodmere. There’s no denying that we had great friends and neighbors that we left behind. We’ve had the opportunity to visit with them over the years and share in the s’machot they’ve celebrated here in Israel. And this week was another opportunity.
Our neighbors and good friends Yehuda and Carolyn Deutsch have become regular visitors these past few years. As their kids grow up and the boys become bnei mitzvah–and have now begun to learn here after high school–we’ve had the pleasure of having them join us for at least one Shabbat a year and participating in their sons’ hanachat tefillin at the Kotel.
Especially gratifying is their intense desire to have their friends who have made aliyah join the simcha. (There were quite a few at the simcha; ask Carolyn and she will tell you that the best way to increase your personal chances of making aliyah is to become close friends with her.) They reached out to us in the winter to reserve the date and even changed their schedule to accommodate the schedule of some of their friends here. Our participation as a group was that important to them.
We were pleased to attend the hanachat tefillin of their youngest son, Dovi, at the Kotel. As always, it was a great honor to be asked to be a part of their simcha. And it is a reaffirmation that you can take the Katzes out of the Five Towns, but you can’t take the Five Towns out of the Katzes.Â v
Shmuel Katz, his wife Goldie, and their six children made aliyah in July of 2006. Before making aliyah, he was the executive director of the Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.