I just lit the 2nd Chanukah candles for both of us. No tears! Tomorrow night I’ll be lighting in Hoboken with the Rosenberg clan. I’m sure you’ll be there too, right?
Tuvia Tales #2
On our first sleepover, I remember waking up and finding you that first morning, pouring over my photo albums. Of course my photos of my year in Israel held particular interest for you.
As I moved closer, you looked up at me grinning. “I thinking that I would like to take you to Israel next summer, when you’re finished with your school year. ”
Yes, you took me by surprise. “Are you sure you want to start planning a big trip like that so soon? ”
” Yes, and I want to pay for it. It’s my idea.”
“What? No. We should share expenses.”
It was clear from that look of shock that you were not used to being with a “modern” woman.
“Well, we’ll talk about that. For now, let’s just dream.”
In July we boarded a Continental flight for Tel Aviv for our first trip to Israel and now I need to be masterful at trying to remember what might have happened on that first of many trips we took together to Israel. If you were here with me, you would probably not be much help.
It was the grand tour of your life. We arrived in Tel Aviv, at the old Ben Gurion airport, complete with the little bus that arrived at the plane to escort visitors back to the airport entrance. The new version is much grander but I’ve always missed the warm welcoming bus.
Oh well, probably safer this way.
Israel through your eyes was non-stop adventure. In Haifa I met your sister Dori and you met Earis’ mom and sister. You took me to that hole-in-the wall lunch spot and I fell in love with humus in pita. We stayed in your go-to hotel near Dori’s nursing home and as parts of the ceiling fell on us and the air-conditioner stopped working we grabbed blankets and pillows and moved out to the balcony to finish our night of sleep. Young love 🙂
From the humidity of Haifa we traveled to the cool of Jerusalem and stayed at the hotel you dreamed about. Every morning we got up early for a swim in its Olympic sized pool, then we changed for a breakfast fit for a bar mitzvah brunch and for the rest of the morning Donnie Gill, our very special guide and your good friend would arrive and take us to amazing places of interest that few knew about.
Remember our walk in the City of David where, as he was showing us an ancient water source he casually pointed up to a window just above us, and let us know that it was the home of a reputed member of the PLO… I shivered, and you and Donnie kept on talking.
You were so comfortable, so at home, even if I didn’t understand much Hebrew then(or now) it was a pleasure to hear it everywhere, to hear you chat with friends, cab drivers…
Finally we were in Tel Aviv, at a small hotel the Adiv, just a few blocks from the sea. Good thing both of us were early risers. Israel in the summer was only tolerable early in the morning and later in the day when the sun begins to set.
We walked together on the empty streets and as we moved closer to the beach we took off our sandals to walk barefoot on the clean sand, recently combed by the machines. You walked ahead of me, right up to the edge where you could sink into the wet sand. I watched you, loving you, imagining your very first walk here at the edge of the sea.
“We couldn’t walk at the edge for a long time. It was a mess, sewage, garbage everywhere. But over time, a miracle.”
We walked together that first morning. I had to slow up because you were happier to just stop and breathe it all in.
There was never a time that this walk on the Tel Aviv beach wasn’t spectacular. We have walked together on many beaches, some much more beautiful but never as significant.
Thank you T, for that first time and all the others. I hope I can love my next trip to Israel. Will you be there by my side as I walk at the edge of the sea?
Love you with all my heart,