Friday, February 24, 2006

העם עם תל אביב \ העם עם גוש עציון

Last night I went out to Tel Aviv to meet up with some internet non-blog friends. We had all participated on a geeky listserv a few years ago, and during my two years in Isreal I had managed to meet up with both of them, but each one individually. One lives up in Yerushalayim, and the other down on the coast. So this was my second time meeting up with each of them, but their first time meeting each other. So we hung out in the food court of the Tel Aviv Tahhana Merkazit (Central Bus Station) and ate shawarma and talked about our geeky pasttime.

This morning I met up with Cara at Tzomet Habanqim ("Intersection of the Banks"; there used to be three of them at that one intersection; now there's only one, and one a block away), where David a.k.a. 'Trep' picked us up in his tricked out minivan and drove us down the Tunnel Road to Gush ‘Etziyon.

We passed Beit Lehhem ('house of bread'), whose Arabic name Beit Laħm — while the exact cognate of the Hebrew — means 'house of meat'; Beit Jālā (from where there were shooting attacks at the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo a few years back), and crossed the longest tunnel and longest-highest bridge in Israel to get to the Etzion Bloc.

Efrat, a.k.a. Efrafa Efrata, is shaped like a sausage or caterpillar, strung out along 7 hills named after the Seven Plants For Which The Land Is Praised In The Torah — except for some reason they combined Wheat and Barley into Dagan 'Grain' and doubled [Date-Palm] Honey into Deqel 'Palm' and Tamar 'Date'.

So David, Zehava, some of their kids (and dog), and me and Cara had a nice Friday (for those of you who've never been to Israel, that's sort of like Sunday, but more hectic) brunch of [real] coffee, burekases and pashtida, and talked all about our crazy Jewish Geography connections through Washington University (on Cara's side) and Upstate New York (by me). We also discussed blog culture, and contemporary Jewish labels (for example: why i don't like the words 'frum' or 'heimish'). Then David was nice enough to drive us all the way back to Jerusalem, dropping Cara off at the Tahhana Merkazit and then swinging all the way around to drop me back off in the Valley of the Aboriginal Ghosts — which, btw, on our way back in to Yerushalayim I saw from an angle that I had never seen the scenery from before; I've looked across the valley from the eastern side (Talpiyot), and the northwestern side (Qatamon), but never from the southern (Gilo) side. So that was pretty cool, although disturbing when I realized I couldn't make out any landmarks from that direction. And I missed getting a picture of it, since I had to put a new roll of film into my camera. But there's always the summer (iy"H)!

Many thanks to the Bogner family for their hospitality, and it was great meeting everyone — and I hope to meet up again in the future (a.k.a. the summer) — keep on treppin'!


Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Steg: After today's call - do I kill at Jewish Geography, or what?!

Shabbat Shalom!

2/24/2006 9:33 AM  
Blogger treppenwitz said...

First off, it's not a minivan... it's a station wagon. I know, only about a half a step up on the manly scale, but I'll take what I can get! :-)

It was great finally meeting you. I hope we'll get to hang out this summer when you come back.

2/25/2006 1:37 PM  
Blogger Mike Miller said...

Jameel: do I kill at Jewish Geography, or what?!

Hrmmm. Jameel, Kill, and Jewish are three words that don't belong in the same sentence...

2/25/2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


I second Mike's comment :-P


It sure looked like a minivan to me... i thought station wagons are shorter, heightwise. It's European, but what do they know about cars? ;-)

2/26/2006 12:31 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Mike: I guess I've been hanging out with you for too long (Steg - really, its Mike's fault - you know I'm not really like that...right?)
Have a safe flight back - hope to see you this summer...

2/26/2006 3:13 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

If you see Cara again give her my regards. Supposedly we've met.

2/26/2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Jameel - no, my wife kills at Jewish Geography. And I third Mike.

Steg - You didn't get a chance to walk around Efrat!? Oy. It's still my favorite walk in the Holy Land... walking around Friday nights whenever I'd stay at family friends there. Absolutely stunning. (Neve Daniel was stunning too, but I thought I would get killed when we were a bit too far away with no weapon and a guy who didn't look very Jewish was walking toward us...)

2/28/2006 4:44 PM  

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