Monday, 24 April 2017


Sorry to say that our visit to Israel has come to end, but  - what a fitting end. Today in Israel, it is Yom Hashoah. Last nite was an amazing world-wide live broadcast of "the Yom Hashaoch Memorial Program" from Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Words cannot express what we heard and saw.

This morning, while we were walking on King George Street in Tel Aviv, at 10:00 am, an air raid siren blasted for one minute throughout the whole country of Israel. Everything stood completely still and quiet. Cars and buses stopped and turned off their engines, motorcyclists stopped in the middle of the street and removed their helmuts, pedestrians froze in their tracks and everyone remembered the six million plus who perished in the Holocaust. A complete minute of silence throughout the whole country ... it's something Bernie and I will never forget as long as we live.

Farewell Israel, we love you and will be back soon!


This morning we caught the train to Netanya, to visit our dear friends, Gertie & Morris Forman. It has been over fourteen years since we have last seen them, but it's if the years didn't matter and it felt like yesterday since we had last gotten together.



Gertie and Morris were excellent tour guides and made sure we saw all the highlights of Netanya and beyond. We had breakfast in an outdoor cafe in Netanya on the square, then later, ice cream at a beach-side cafe.



Next, we enjoyed a lovely rest and tea at Gertie and Morris' beautiful apartment overlooking the magnificent beaches of Netanya. After catching up about our families and life, we continued on our wonderful tour.



We drove on to Hertzaliyah, where we walked the marina and had a late afternoon snack at one of the malls. 



They even drove us home to our B&B ... even though the GPS took a "round-a-bout way" through the back alleys of Tel Aviv! Sure hope you made it home OK guys!!!

Thank you so much for the incredible day and the pleasure of your company!!

Monday, 17 April 2017

SUNDAY - APRIL 16th to April 22, 2017

On Saturday night, we hooked up with Bernie's 1st cousin Tamara, who lives in Israel with her family. She lives just outside of Jerusalem and drove in especially to see us after Shabbat. It was so great to see her and catch up!



We just keep meeting Rabbi Yossi Biston by chance everywhere! (three times now).This time we spotted him when we were having a hot chocolate with Tamara. Thought we really should get a picture this time!


SUNDAY is the Sixth day of Pesach and NOT a holiday ... so time for MORE adventures!

This morning we caught the bus from the Central bus station to visit a friend of Barry & Sandra Greenspan's, who lives on Kibbutz Gezer. The bus ride was spectacular and we saw another part of the landscape around Jerusalem that we had never seen before. We travelled up and down a small two-lane highway, passing little villages, ruins, a monastary and towns. We even drove up an escarpment, much like around Collingwood, Ontario and got off up at the bottom where Emmanuel picked up up.



Emmanuel and his lovely wife Yokki, welcomed us into their home on Kibbutz Gezer, where they have lived for thirty years.


They gave us a guided tour, by foot, of the entire kibbutz. One of the highlights was the dairy. Each cow has a bracelet that has a chip, where they can ID the cow, measure it's milk output, how much cream etc. This dairy is extremely advanced and completely computerized!


We saw many beautiful gardens, a huge sculpture park, baseball field and massive swimming pool. We also saw the children's daycare, after school care, general store, activities centre, and met many of the kibbutznics. 



We were over-whelmed by the gardens, where plants, flowers and herbs of almost every kind grew wild and in the many, many gardens. They even had a massive cactus garden around the back of the old dining hall.  


After a short rest and lunch, Emmanuel took us on an amazing driving tour, to the city of Ramla, where there is a place called "Seven Arches", an underground  water reservoir with pillars holding it up and you can actually go boating under ground. We continued our drive and saw some Arab villages, one in particular where Arab and Jews live side-by-side called "Wahat Al-Salam" at the top of a beautiful lookout.






We also drove by the newly constructed, not-yet-open, massive hi-speed train line to Jerusalem, that will open at the end of this year.


At the end of day, after seeing the many incredible vistas of the foothills around Jerusalem, Emmanuel drove us back to our hotel in Jerusalem after a really fun time. We were so-o tired! Thanks for an "Amazing Day" ... Yokki & Emmanuel!!!



On Monday, the last day of Passover, Bernie went to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue again ... and who did he meet??? ... Cyril Fried's best friend when growing up in South Africa. He just happens to be "The Director" of the famous synagogue choir.



We checked into our Very Cool Air B & B in Tel Aviv - our hosts; Sammy, Dan & Eddie greated us very warmly! Their very cozy & chic apartment overlooks "Meir Park",  a park that is like no other! I has a restaurant, a pond, a dog park. many playgrounds, exercise parks, walking paths, benches gardens and so much more ... right in the of Tel Aviv.

Darlene Bushewsky arranged a great tour for us to the Na'Amat Canada Glickman Centre Womens Shelter & Daycare, where we met some of the staff and toured the daycare facility and crisis centre. Watch for a special aticle in the Pipelline in an upcoming issue!


We spent a very relaxing week going to the shuks, shopping, eating and taking in the sights and sounds, and hanging out at the beaches!

Our hosts invited us to their twice monthly "Shabbat Dinner", where they host over 20 friends, family, B & B guests and "Eat-With" guests to a very ecclectic Shabbat. 

We love you Sammy, Dan & Eddie - you made our stay with you so much fun!




Friday, 14 April 2017


We are now at Hotel Shani, just a mere four blocks from our former B & B, and right in the middle of all the action - just off Hillel Street and the light rail transit line.

There are blocks and blocks of paved pedestrian open air malls, restaurants, cafes and shuks. Such a delight for the senses!


We picked up food at the shuk (market) for the first couple days of Pesach, just before the holiday began.

We attended the Chabad of Rechavia's Seder that was held in the banquet hall of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. We sat at the table of a Chabad Rabbi from Boca Raton, Florida and his family. They were so much fun and totally made our Pesach a very special one.

 On the first day of Pesach, we attended services at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. What an overwhelming experience! The world-famous Cantor and Jerusalem choir sang the entire service. 

It was a like a private concert. I sat in the women's section three floors above the rising domed sanctuary, and was eye-level to the exquisite stained glass windows that covered the entire wall above the bimah. Chills ran up and down my spine as I closed my eyes and listened to the amazing choir. 


This synagogue also holds the world's largest collection of mezuzot.

NOTE: Bernie took these pictures a few days before the holiday ... 


After the holiday, we took the light rail transit around the entire city, from one end to the other: to Mount Herztl and back to Jaffa Central, which was our stop.









Guess where we ate after the first two holidays??? ... at a KOSHER FOR PESACH ... McDonalds! This felt s-o-o wrong on so many levels ...






Oh darn ... it's closed for Pesach ...














On Thursday, we caught a bus into Beit Shemesh to visit family & friends.  Bernie and I were  invited to his third cousin Mimi's house for a wonderful dinner. Bernie had never met Mimi before ... but they have heard so much about each other growing up. It was such a thrill to finally meet her and her beautiful family. Like Mimi explained, "whenever an Estrin travels, we go through the phone book and look for other Estrins"... ask them who their father and zaida's are and chances are ... you will be related. That's just the way the Estrin's roll! Looking forward to seeing the "Kamilar clan" this August in western Canada! Thanks Mini for a wonderful evening, great to meet your family. (Finally!)

We were so very honoured to be invited to Shlomo & Ayala Finkelshteyn's house also in Beit Shemesh. They are formerly from Edmonton and have now been living in Bet Shemesh for 3 years. They have seven daughters! We spent the afternoon with them and visited with their adorable little girls! Ayala treated us to a a lovely seudah, which we all enjoyed in their beautiful home.



Getting ready for another Shabbat & shopping at the Pesach shuks! So much "street fun" on our walk to Ben Yehuda market.