40 – Nahariyah and Grandma

A 30-minute drive from my current digs brings me to the  beach town of Nahariyah. 54,000 Israeli’s currently call Nahariyah home. I’ve discovered those who don’t speak English speak Russian, as the area became a popular landing point for Russian immigration.

Tragic events of 1979 link then with now for this resort, seaside town just 10km (6.2 miles) from Lebanon’s border. Wikipedia‘s version reads like a Patrick Clancy novel, but far worse than a terrific imagination, it Happened.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_Nahariya_attack 

Then. Now. Forever?

I finally dedicated a morning to visit 3 of the 4 landmark/historic places listed online. The first was closed, with a sign telling me that much and more, but the more was beyond my language skills. I drove on to the next: the Lieberman House Museum.

What did I know in advance? Only that it was listed with the others as a site to visit when in the city. Google “What to see in or near (Your City)” and see what you find. Perhaps something for an outing. Let me know!

It seems Nahariyah owes its foundations to a handful of visionaries and many hardworking pioneer families, most formerly middle classes of Europe, beginning new lives far from all they’d known. The visionary founders, experts in their respective fields – agriculture, city planning, finance, land management -endured conflicts not unlike today’s leaders. Disagreements, ego, competition, and whatever else complicated the effort. A lifetime of working with skilled professionals in several different arenas leaves me convinced there are predictably challenges among any group, doing most anything. What’s your experience?

the whole story is here:   http://museum.rutkin.info/en/node/27   

The timing was crucial, as foresighted Jews who were and able to escape Europe in the mid-1930s arrived. Learning agriculture, climate and endless adjustments of an international move, they were the embodiment of centuries of prayer to return to the Land. They received none of the assistance I received in 2014. I can only imagine how very very difficult.

I studied the visionaries faces, read their bios, and imagined them finding commonalties and differences as they collaborated to establish Nahariya. Never a team person as a child, I learned in professional arenas to collaborate, follow the leader, and disregard the irritants that accompany every group effort. Years later I enjoyed teamwork singing with Sweet Adelaines choruses, 70 – 170 women, ages 13 – 85, as well as smaller bands. All had challenges, but were functional because unified by common goals.

What teams are landmarks in your experience?

How were you stretched?

What did you learn?

I read Nahariyah’s story and studied photos, taking in all of the tiny Museum’s first floor in 20 minutes. The first few years of the settlement went well, with great crops and growth, but then the crops struggled the pioneers were forced to explore other options. Some built guest cottages and tiny hotels, earning the settlement a Honeymoon Stay reputation. Others opened shops to train hairdressers, or made clothing, furniture, and other specialty items. Surely they would not have ventured in new directions had their initial agriculture plans succeeded perfectly.

How adaptable are those who succeed! Whether finessed or clumsy, it seems the goal is to maintain vision while adapting, changing methods and strategies whenever warranted.

Fifteen noisy tourists had arrived after me, looked over the first floor displays and climbed the stairs to the second floor, so I waited. Their voices carried through the floor so loudly, I absolutely did not want to be beside them, and later was grateful I’d been patient.

The 2nd floor was at a glance, a disappointment. Nothing of interest. Black and white photos of the 1930s and 40s hung on the walls, and in a corner by the window stood 2 mannequins with women’s regional attire. I took a quick look, shook my head and glanced at the stairs I’d just climbed.

I shrugged, and stood.

Waiting.

A scratched and chipped sculpture of a woman’s head was on a stand in a corner. It called to me, so I approached. Nearly lifesize, and not especially impressive, I looked more closely. My fingers wanted to touch it more than any other sculpture before which I’ve stood.

Confession Alert: I touched it.

Museum behavior like that can get a gal in serious trouble, but they must have not had video surveillance because the authorities were not waiting for me when I eventually descended the stairs.

My fingers traced her eyes, cheekbones, her lips, over and over. Tears filled my eyes.

What’s this about?

I was touching my grandmother’s face. How long has it been, or did I ever touch her face like that. Perhaps when my hands were tiny, the size most grandmothers wouldn’t push away. I don’t remember her ever pushing me away.

Years later, I did caress her face, but it wasn’t clear then that she recognized . . . herself or anyone. My fingers, now on the keyboard, remember and pull my heart back to that non-descript corner’s humble sculpture. I’m stirred by how real she was to me in that moment, and now.

Her love, imperfect as it was, but passionate for me, filled me with memories. Sleeping in her bed with her, pet name for me only, Matzo Ball soup, her cookies (I have her cookie jar, but never has it produced for me any of her cookies). Her eccentricities!

She once shook her finger in the face of a beau who towered above her, warning, “If you hurt her, I’ll kill you.” He nodded and said, “Yes Ma’am.” I wonder these many years later whether she would have killed him, had she know how that went.

Why that sculpture? I don’t think the face was so like hers? Was it a memory I needed refreshed?

I was refreshed.

I’ll return to Nahariyah for the other places yet unseen, as well as continue to walk her beach when the evening’s cool the humid heat, but Nahariyah will forever be sweet to me for the experience of Grandma.


Silly pictures and games with sounds help me begin to learn new words. With repeated use they become what they mean and the association drops. Do you have a story from using similar techniques to learn professional vocabulary or hard to remember names?

  1. Imagine a park or beach scene with colorful kites flying, their colors a kaleidoscope:  קייץ  is pronounced “kites”  and means: summer (easy enough so here’s another)
  2. How do vegetarians feel about meat?   חלבון  sounds like “Hell-bone” and means: protein. It kind of fits, if you think about it.

They say learning is good for your brain, and now your brain has had some exercise. Besides new information here and there, I hope this blog overall  stimulates your heart. Has it?


You cannot even laugh when you want to laugh, and you want to tell me that I’m in prison and you’re free?   Natan Sharansky

Is the name Natan Sharansky familiar? A Russian Jew who agitated against the USSR regime, he was convicted by political court for spying for the CIA, despite U.S. government efforts to prove otherwise. Sharansky spent 9 of a 13 year sentence in USSR prisons (1977 – 1986). Relentless protests and appeals led by his wife, Avital, combined with the changes in USSR’s regime and finally resulted in his eventual release and immigration to Israel.

I took the opportunity to see him interviewed in Jerusalem in May. He told the audience of more than 300 about taunting his captors by telling them jokes about the Communist Regime, and that they wanted to laugh, but didn’t dare. How much freer he was, as a prisoner, than were they.

His quote above rang within, and I scribbled on a scrap from my purse, in the dark. I think a lot about freedom. FreedomS, that is. There are so many kinds I’ve experienced in a lifetime, and yet have often felt bound, nonetheless. Those binds are wrong lessons learned and fears that I no longer want to rule my life. Many have been shed, but it’s an Onion Phenomenon – always another layer.

This link has several good video clips of his interview (simply scroll down a few paragraphs into the article)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/at-toi-event-sharansky-talks-of-freedom-and-how-israel-went-wrong-propping-up-a-dictator/

Recent news about Otto Warmbier’s return and heartbreaking death brings to the forefront that some things remain the same, always. Absolute power. The fragility of our lives. A family’s grief. What can others take from us? Sometimes, we only think they have power, and yet other times they really do, and can take those we most love.


Animals! I prefer people

I came home one evening to find a HUGE roach on my bathroom floor – this guy was easily 2 inches long. It took a lot of “whapping” cuz he moved fast, but I finally got him with the bottle-bottom of toilet cleaner stuff. Then the dogs in the neighborhood barked all night. Big, deep, barks and barks and barks. Then leaving for the morning, I encountered a SNAKE easily 3 feet long and a fatty, too. The last snake I met was on a Colorado hiking trail, an angry rattling rattler and we hikers and bike riders lined up giving him his due respect, AKA “distance!”  After about 10 minutes, he calmed himself and slithered off of our trail. I greeted the snake here with a startled scream and my hostess’s daughter, around 10, came running, then explained something about another snake shorter but still plenty long, having recently been sighted. She said more but that’s all I could sort out of her rapid Hebrew. I walked to my car still shuddering, thinking how fat he was. Shuddering, until it occurred to me, they eat mice. A good thing. He looked like he had eaten many many mice. Finally, most evenings I walk the nearby lake, smelling like the repellant to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Addendum: Several days later my hostess explained Fat Snake was actually some sort of legless lizard. Neither would be a friend of mine, but I hope they keep up good appetites.

Enough already.


Note the Hebrew letters for spelling play, and the don’t-litter sign

“Ready-set-GO”            “One-two-THREE”

Which did you hear as a child?

In Israel, it’s

שלוש-ארבע-ו

(translated) “Three Four And-


>http://www.fandango.com/thezookeeperswife_188135/movieoverview Zookeepers Wife – a must see movie – especially you animal lovers; Holocaust era but no camps or that kind of despair


A Loving Moment in the Sheltered Workshop

The woman from Ethiopia immigrated to Israel with family more than 25 years ago. A grandmother of several, she is blind, welcomes conversation and is quick to say she is grateful to work. Besides 2 languages from her nation of origin plus Hebrew, she speak some English. Most days she strings ceramic shapes with assorted sized beads into simple decorative mobiles. Someone arranges, from left to right, the color sequence and unless one of the handmade shapes was not made correctly and is without a tiny tunnel for the wire, she works independently.

A week after our initial meeting, she recognized my voice as soon as I spoke. “Linda, is that you?” Please don’t ask me if I remember her name.

One recent morning, she worked beside a younger woman, wrapping for store display darling ceramic catch-alls, tiny soap dishes in the days before liquid soap. Downs Syndrome does not interfere with her intense concentration to the task at hand, filtering out a bevvy of distractions that take down most other workers. She never, absolutely never, seems to be told to get back on task, as do so many others. As the expert at our project together, she told me when I’d not met her expectations, but otherwise keeps to herself while working.

At one point the Ethiopian woman coughed, lightly, a suddenly dry throat. A moment passed, and the younger woman with Downs syndrome asked if she was alright, then whether she wanted “something cold.” Without waiting for a reply, she left her own work and returned several minutes later with a glass full of water.

The simple gesture made my day.

What have you seen in the way of kindness that took your breath away?


May you draw closer to those you love, and may they become more sure of your affection for them. I’ll be visiting friends in Colorado and California in August and hope to manage the same.

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