I should write something pretty here. Pretty people, pretty place, pretty words would fit. But I ain't in no pretty mood (this humidity is doing a number on m beard) so random it's gonna be.
In 2001 or so my mother (after making sure the whole Y2K thing was over) decided to move to Israel (one of her lifelong dreams). I was in Yeshiva there at the time and, suddenly, for no apparent reason, I became Mr. Popular (I wasn't a Rabbi yet).
At the time we lived in the Yeshiva which was in Bnei Brak. Bnei Brak is the perfect place for learning. There's really nothing else to do. Besides buying Cholent on thursday nights, and this really good Baguette place. And a decent falafel joint. (Yes my life surrounded around food. At times in Yeshiva all we ate was Chummus and bread. Three times a day.) And while bus #400 left every hour to Jerusalem from across the street (though we used to choose a further one so the administration would't catch us), we still had to either come back that night or find somewhere to stay. Enter my mothers apartment on 37 Azza Street, Rehavia, Jerusalem. Perfect location smack in middle of the city, wonderful neighborhood, walking distance to the Old City (and of course Ben Yehuda, which in retrospect wasn't that cool after all), and everywhere else (anything under 10 miles is walking distance in Israel).
Speaking of walking across town. Combine this with my healthy aversion to spending any sort of money (especially since, well, I didn't really have any) and you get some crazy walking stories. I've walked 8 miles at 2 AM after a concert (I had no clue where I was going) to save a taxi fare, and another time walked 6 miles to the Dr. for a jaw issue and 5 miles in on the return I tweaked my back and had to crawl the last mile (almost literally). I knew shortcuts across every neighborhood, oh man I miss that place.
Next door (39 Azza Street), lived this dude by the name of Benjamin Netanyahu. Yeah, that one. He lived in this unpretentious house with some uzi-toting muscled sunglasses in front, on the side, on top, down the block...
Summer vacation in Israel is 3 weeks long. So instead of counseloring, or camping, or skiing in New Zealand (though I really wanted to make that work), a few friends and I camped out at my mama's place. Until we got kicked out for not sweeping or something and slept on towels in the mountains for a week. But before that we had a grand ole time. One balmy evening we spent an hour or two making paper airplanes and chucked em over the porch in Netanyahu's direction, hoping they'd shoot some down. They didn't. I'm still ticked about that.
You may think I'm rambling and you'd be right.
When (okay, if) I grow up, there is no way I'm going to be regurgitating old stories (again and again) that happened way back when when life was interesting. I don't buy that whole "the best years of my life" happened between the years of 18 and 24.
Which is part of why we're moving. Life has seemed a bit, well, stagnant. Like we're just floating along the streams. Yeah we're working hard, raising a cackle of kids, yada yada. But man, I feel like we're just waking up. Like we just read the other day "until this day, God did not give you a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear..." It's time to see, hear, and know.
I photographed Amy Grace and her beautiful children last year when she lived down in SoCal and I was able to do so again now that they moved to the bay area (it's what all the cool people are doing). She has a fantastic way of seeing her world and family and is blessed with the ability to share that view, both with words and with photographs. You could see her work at A Beautiful Life and Motherhood With A Camera.