The Greener Family
Another year gone by already? It doesn't seem possible. Perhaps the only way we can experience time moving along is in the growth of children. And we have seen quite a bit of that since our last report.
We've also seen our little family traveling across the Atlantic in two major voyages. Trudy and Doug enjoyed a week's vacation in Portugal, seeing the sights, hearing the sounds and tasting some of the flavors in Lisbon and Porto. It was the first time they planned a trip doing the internet thing and it was a learning experience, to be polite.
Two days were spent in the northern border town of Caminha, way off the tourist map, for the ARTBEERFEST beer festival. Doug was invited by the organizers to write about the first Israeli beer to participate in the festival (which you can read about at https://israelbrewsandviews.blogspot.com/2019/09/artbeerfest-alexander-beer-puts-caminha.html).
From Portugal, they continued west to Florida to visit Grandma Goldie and Uncle Hal. Goldie is 101½ and doing quite well, enjoying reading juicy novels, eating the food that she loves, and watching TV, a distant third place. Uncle Ami came from Washington, DC, to join them there.
Then they headed north to the clean green spaces of Shaker Heights (Cleveland) for an overdue visit to Trudy's brother Dan and wife Carole.
At about the same time, Melanie flew with Amitai (10), Yadin (7) and Maya (7 months) to Montreal for some quality family time with Bubbe Joyce, Nana Lucy and Uncle Jason, who flew in from Vancouver. Lucy and Jason were thrilled to meet Maya, their first great-granddaughter and niece. Amitai and Yadin spent two exciting weeks going to a sport camp in Montreal and really shoring up their English.
After Aharon joined the family in Montreal, he flew with Amitai and Yadin to Washington to spend some time with Uncle Ami and see all the great sights in the Nation's Capital. The family reunited in Florida to give Goldie and Hal a chance to meet their new great-granddaughter and great niece.
(We can't keep track of all these comings and goings, so don't feel bad if you can't either.)
Back home again, Aharon and family settled in for the new school year.
Amitai entered the fifth grade promising to spend more time on his homework, but also not ignoring the extra-curricular side of things. His new passion is tennis (which followed soccer, which followed dinosaurs) and he was accepted in the advanced tennis group, which means two practice sessions of an hour-and-a-half each week! He also took an advanced swimming course and is in a group for camping and hiking. Amitai likes to read, tell people his opinions and spend time with friends.
Yadin started the second grade, but his reading level is really above that. He devours books, including English. He has an enquiring mind and rarely takes an answer at face value. He also loves to build things; any kind of a construction set makes an excellent present. He has chosen basketball as his extra-curricular sport, after trying baseball(!) but hated all that standing and doing nothing in the outfield under the hot afternoon sun. He is in school groups for electronics and nature.
Maya is a discerning young lady, not given to letting just anybody pick her up. She has to get to know you and then you'll be rewarded by the loveliest of smiles. She turns over back to front and vice versa like a pro, and can then spend long periods playing with her dolls and baby gym.
Dr. Aharon is continuing as Program and Office Manager at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, and also doing independent work in editing, translating and writing articles. At the start of September, he gave a talk at a conference in Copenhagen on Stone Tools, which has become one of his sub-specialties.
Melanie is still on maternity leave, but hopes to return to her job at Tel Aviv University (in charge of international social networks) about the time 2020 rolls around. She is putting the finishing touches on her book about women and migration prior to its publication.
In Tirat Carmel, Eitan and Dalit are getting ready to move to their new apartment. In the meantime, their twins Yahav and Lotan have just turned two years old and started their second year in nursery school.
During the summer, Dalit was awarded her Master's Degree in Nursing from Haifa University. Dalit's poster illustrating her Master's thesis was chosen for distinction, and she presented it at a conference in Jerusalem last month. She is working as Head Nurse at the senior citizens' home on Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael.
Eitan began his second year as a process and development engineer at Haifa Chemicals.
Yahav and Lotan continue at their pre-school nursery school which stresses music and nature. What is unique this year is that their main teacher is a man. The twins are developing a good vocabulary – in both languages – and are just about to start putting the words into sentences. We are told that they "discuss" the latest news with each other in their cribs when they wake up in the morning and let Eitan and Dalit sleep a few more minutes.
Ami attended a tourism conference and inspection tour in Costa Rica in May, and led an adventure tour there in July. (You can read more about Ami's tours at: http://www.costaribbean.com)
He is also promoting his Hebrew tours of Washington (one of very few guides who do this), and led his first tour bus of Israelis (rather than small groups) a few weeks ago. (https://www.facebook.com/HebrewDC/)
From a family point of view, Ami had a busy summer visiting Grandma Goldie with his mom and dad in Florida, and then hosting brother Aharon and nephews Amitai and Yadin in Washington.
Trudy continues to support Doug's beer habit, though she hasn't found a beer yet that she can say she actually likes. She is continuing with her volunteer projects and craft projects, and is looking forward to a trip to Budapest after the holidays with a friend she has known since 10th grade! After making all the traditional stuffed cabbage, tzimmes and honey cake for the New Year, she found a new recipe for an apple roll that Doug didn't believe wasn't bought at a fancy bakery!
Doug is keeping active and pretty healthy with his regular activities: Pumping lots of iron (a modern community gym just opened in the neighborhood), jogging, drinking beer and writing about it, being a grandpa, reading, and trying hard to keep a vegan diet. One of those activities (or more ) has to be the secret.
A surprise visit from Eitan, Dalit and the twins brought most of the family (except for Ami) together for Rosh Hashana. So here we are wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year, full of all the good things that we will be remembering happily in years to come.
With love, Doug, Trudy, Ami, Aharon, Melanie, Amitai, Yadin, Maya, Eitan, Dalit, Yahav, Lotan
It's been a cold and wet winter here in Israel – and apparently it isn't over yet! We need the water, of course, but we're also happy that the first signs of spring have begun to bust out. It's time for new life – from the ground or above it.
Our family was happy to welcome Maya Daria, born to Melanie and Aharon in Modi'in. A baby beauty – and if you haven't already heard, the first female born in the Greener family in 100 years. Yes, the last one was Milton Greener's sister Jacqueline (Aunt Jackie) born around 1919.
So we need some adjustment after just men-children for so long. "You can have fun with a son," sings Billy Bigelow in Carousel, "but you have to be a father to a girl."
Two-month-old Maya is at the stage where she'll flash a sly little smile every now and then, and it melts our hearts. She also likes her long carriage rides around Modi'in with Melanie, and her brothers Amitai (10) and Yadin (7) can't get enough of watching and holding her.
Amitai is in the fourth grade and doing well in school. His new passion is tennis, which has taken over from soccer (though he still plays a lot of soccer with his friends). He's in a tennis training camp for the Passover vacation, while continuing the regular after-school tennis classes. His other after-school activity is cooking class, and he is becoming a very discerning chef. Once in the mall, Grandpa Doug wanted to take him to a fast-food Asian restaurant. "Grandpa," Amitai said, "you don't want to eat there. They mix all the different flavors together and it's terrible."
Yadin is also doing very well in school. He reads well above his grade (first) and has a talent for writing and drawing. He brings his knowledge of animals and archaeology into the classroom, once correcting his teacher that, "The Egyptians didn’t build the pyramids." His extra-curricular activities are soccer and building with Lego, which he really enjoys.
Melanie is enjoying her maternity leave with Maya but is looking forward to spring when they can spend more time outside. She still plans to finish and publish her book about women and migration as soon as possible.
Dr. Aharon is busy as Program and Office Manager at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, but still squeaks out time for writing articles, editing and translating. He enjoys playing tennis with Amitai, reading with Yadin and swaddling Maya.
Staying in Israel, we move north to Tirat Carmel, where Eitan and Dalit are pursuing their careers while raising twins Yahav and Lotan, now a year-and-a-half old.
Dalit recently left the sturm und drang of being an Emergency Room nurse, and was hired as Head Nurse at the senior citizen home on Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael. The days and the hours are fixed, she's home at a decent time every day, and she's involved in geriatric medicine, which was the subject of her Master's thesis. By the way, Dalit's graduation ceremony for her Master's degree will be held this summer, and all the family in Israel hopes to be there.
Eitan is working at Haifa Chemicals as a process and development engineer. The company’s primary product is potassium nitrate fertilizer and Eitan is working on a project to increase the yearly production. Every few weeks his work takes him down to the plant, that had been moved from Haifa to Arad.
Yahav and Lotan attend a pre-school which stresses music and nature. Every week the children are introduced to another animal. Turtles, rabbits, hamsters, snakes, snails and a lot of others have visited their classroom for personal introductions.
The twins are starting to say their first words, even stringing a few together, and they enjoy looking at books, listening to music and singing along, and getting into places that they know they shouldn't be. Red-headed Yahav is a bit more of the extrovert, quick to give a smile and join in games. Lotan likes to study the situation a little longer before reacting.
The family is looking forward with great impatience for their new apartment in Tirat Carmel to be ready at the end of the summer.
Across the ocean in Washington, DC, Ami is continuing with his Greener Travel Agency, with tours to Costa Rica and other locations. He also teaches Hebrew and conducts different Hebrew-speaking tours of Washington, including a new historical/cultural/culinary tour of the famous U Street. As a founder of the DC Snowball Fight Association, Ami helped organize one major fight this winter which received extensive media coverage. He enjoys visiting historic towns, Civil War battlefields, vineyards and breweries around Virginia and Maryland.
Trudy and Doug in Jerusalem just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Because Maya's birth and Amitai's 10th birthday took place around the same time, the festivities have been delayed, but we hope to report on them next time.
Since our last family report there has been a whirlwind of events: New jobs, new schools and pre-school, many birthdays, anniversaries, and Ami's visit in September together with a family gathering. In the middle of these joyous events, Trudy's middle brother Nammy, age 83, died in Florida, and the family came together for support and comfort – just as we do in times of celebration.
This year for the Passover seder, Trudy and Doug will be going to Aharon and Melanie in Modi'in, and Eitan and Dalit will be with Dalit's family. Ami will be celebrating with friends in Washington.
We note that once again this year, the first Sunday after the New Moon after the March equinox (also known as Easter Sunday) falls over the Passover holiday. A very propitious alignment of dates, and a perfect opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season.
With our love,
Doug, Trudy, Ami, Aharon, Melanie, Amitai, Yadin, Maya, Eitan, Dalit, Yahav & Lotan
Spring again! It seems that as we are slowing down, time goes by even faster.
It's time to concentrate once again on the Festival of Freedom that begins in only a few hours. No other story of national liberation has had an effect on world events like the Exodus from Egypt.
National leaders of all races, cultures and religions have compared themselves to Moses, their people to the Hebrew slaves, and their narrative to the parting of the Red Sea.
The Greener clan will not celebrate the Passover seder meal together this year. Aharon, Melanie and the boys, and Ami, are in Montreal to be with Mel's mother Joyce, grandma Lucy, brother Jason and other family members. Doug, Trudy, Eitan and Dalit are gathering in Jerusalem with neighbors and friends.
But we all join together in wishing everyone a happy and festive Passover and a wonderful springtime to follow.
On a more micro-level, here's what we have been doing
Dear Family and Friends,
It looks like our little family is waiting at the bus stop for the ride to Jerusalem. It should be pretty fast and comfortable and undramatic, not like our ancestors several thousand years ago. While we're waiting, let's bring you up-to-date with what's been happening with us.
Beginning in the north, in the Haifa suburb of Tirat Carmel to be exact, Dalit and Eitan moved into their own apartment six months ago. It's only a short walk from Dalit's parents, where they were living for over four years, but it's a big step towards independence and family life.
Dalit is working as an Emergency Room nurse in Haifa's Rambam Hospital, where her shifts turn days into nights, and nights into days. This is what hospital nursing is all about. On top of this, Dalit is also finishing her thesis on hospitalization and the elderly for her master's degree in Nursing from Haifa University.
Eitan is also closing in on his degree in Bio-Chemical Engineering at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology. He still has a few more courses to complete, but is also working part-time in a laboratory doing research on medical marijuana. He is sending out his résumé and has had several job interviews.
Dalit and Eitan adopted a little brown puppy shortly after they moved into their own apartment, and now "Robin" is already a part of the family. They are both dog lovers, so this was kind of expected. The Greener brothers grew up with our wonderful dog Chomps (who died in 2006) here in our apartment in Pisgat Ze'ev.
Aharon is keeping busy with several archaeological projects, mainly a post-doctoral fellowship at Haifa University's Institute of Archaeology, where he is working on stone tools from the Timna copper mines and other sites. He is also working on the publication of several different stone tool assemblages and other articles, as well as at the Temple Mount Sifting Project lab. Although he turned 40 this year, he has decided to postpone his mid-life crisis.
Melanie is busy at work at the Public Affairs Department at Tel Aviv University. She is in charge of the University's international social networks and other marketing efforts that ensure donations continue to flow in. She exercises regularly, runs a writing group, and is working on her second book about women and migration, writing mostly on her train commutes to north Tel Aviv.
Amitai is in second grade and has many friends. He likes to practice his soccer skills whenever he can and to play with his brother. He has an active imagination and reads a lot, mostly in Hebrew and is also getting better in English. For his recent 8th birthday, he invited his family, including grandparents and Uncle Eitan, to a soccer game at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.
Yadin is a rambunctious 4 1/2-year-old. He is a ball of energy and character and has lots of friends in his preschool. He is showing promise as a director, producing the family Passover play which means getting everyone to practice in earnest ahead of the seder. He is learning the letters from his brother and has deep thoughts about life. Once a week, Yadin goes to an after-school music activity, and he is quickly becoming the most cultured member of the family.
<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->Amiel, in Washington, DC, is still enjoying traveling the world with his Greener Travel Agency. Upcoming adventure vacations include Green Cuba (May), Alaska (July) and Costa Rica (August). Ami also keeps busy with part-time teaching and translating Hebrew, as well as enjoying DC city life to the fullest. He remains active in many Jewish community events.
As we write, Ami is in Greenland as a guest of the Tourism Ministry to visit some of the more remote villages. Whoever named it "Greenland" was playing a joke on the rest of the world. Maybe "Iceland" was already taken. Ami will celebrate the Passover seder meal on the way home in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
Trudy hasn't had any major changes these past few months, unless you count her entry into a new decade. She celebrated with a weekend away with the family, and Ami flew in from the US as well, to direct the wacky skits the boys think up for birthday celebrations and weddings. She left her new choir, and actually returned to her old-new choir that had resuscitated itself. She also decided to take care of her cataracts, which were finally beginning to interfere with her "quality of life," as the doctor put it, and is just finishing up the second procedure. Though it hasn't rid her of glasses altogether (she's been wearing them since age 11!), the world is brighter and clearer these days. Otherwise she continues with her volunteer jobs, babysitting, book club, and crafts (including another panel of Stitching the Torah). Makes for full days.
Doug is enjoying life as a semi-retiree, although there always seems to be those pesky deadlines that should have vanished five years ago. There is still work in advertising and fund-raising, writing (mostly for his Israel Brews and Views web log), gyming and jogging, keeping current with the world of Israeli craft beer, listening to music and reading, and pub crawling with wonderful friends. (You might have noticed a preponderance of beer-related activities in that list. Thank God!)
Right after Passover, Doug is traveling to Florida to spend some quality time with his mom Goldie, who recently turned 99, and to see his brother Hal. Goldie is appearing in a book being published shortly called We the Resilient: Wisdom for America from Women Born Before Suffrage, short profiles of women born before 1920, when women got the right to vote in the U.S. Doug is then flying to New York City to visit old and true friends, enjoy the city and drink some good beer.
On Passover eve, while Ami enjoys a seder in Reykjavik, and Eitan and Dalit will be with her family in OUR north, Trudy and Doug will be hosting Aharon, Melanie, the boys, and Melanie's mom Joyce from Montreal.
As Passover week coincides with Easter, we all wish you a wonderful spring holiday season, and a lazy, hazy, crazy summer to follow.
Wait a minute. Here comes our bus. We have to get on. Wish you can join us!
With Love From
Doug, Trudy, Amiel, Aharon, Melanie, Amitai, Yadin, Eitan
Back home, Trudy is continuing with her various activities – editing, singing in the Meitar Choir, volunteering at the Israel Free Loan Association and for the Jerusalem SPCA, taking courses at Pardes, and finishing and starting various craft projects.
Semi-retired Doug is still doing advertising and direct mail, while he writes his blog on Israeli craft beer (www.IsraelBrewsAndViews.blogspot.co.il) and other projects. More recently, he has begun to give lectures on the history and customs of brewing in the Middle East. He finds this a surprisingly enjoyable outlet to share his passion for beer. Other activities include: Reading, listening to music, attending lectures, pubbing with friends, cooking, and assorted physical exertions at the local gym.
With love to you all,
Doug & Trudy
Ami, Aharon, Melanie, Amitai & Yadin, Eitan & Dalit
Now it's official. The Senate of Bar-Ilan University has confirmed that Aharon Greener is a Doctor of Philosophy in Archaeology.
It was a grand evening when Trudy and I were joined by Melanie, Amitai and Eitan to see Dr. Greener awarded his Ph.D. diploma while a giant slide of his name, face and research project was projected above the stage. [See photos above)
A dream come true for every Jewish parent.
Oh, I'm ecstatic and proud that it happened. But it wasn't my dream for Aharon from the moment of his conception. Nor for my other two sons, for that matter.
When Trudy and I came to Israel, I consciously rejected several Jewish stereotypes which were born of the Diaspora, or at least of the North American Diaspora. Maybe I'll write about some of them another time, but for now I just want to mention one: The parents who push their children into academic fields which they may not want or be suited for. "You can be anything you want as long as it's a doctor or a lawyer," as the old joke goes.
I remember being perfectly at ease with the boys choosing any path in life for themselves. Oh, Trudy and I wanted them to do the best they could in school, and we helped out in every way possible: with homework, attending PTA meetings, getting extra help where it was called for. But it never became an obsession. In fact, it's no secret that neither Ami, Aharon nor Eitan were sterling students at any time through the end of high school. Their marks were no more than average. I was not at all certain that they would be pursuing academic educations.
When each of them started army service, we had no idea what they would be doing at the other end. Yet it was in the army where they all found directions. Ami, who served in the Nachal Corps, combining military service with agricultural work on a kibbutz, developed his interest in the animal kingdom and the ecology. Aharon entered an army competition on the Land of Israel and Military History – and reached the finals! The army gave him time off to study, and I think for the first time he discovered the connection between hard work and success, something he never found out in high school. Eitan passed the very difficult course to become an army medic after he developed an interest in medicine and biology – all while he was learning how to blow things up within the Engineering Corps.
I watched in awe as Ami got a degree in Biology at Hebrew University and a Master's in Environmental Planning at Wageningen in Holland; Eitan, after a false start or two, was accepted to the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in the Bio-Chemical Engineering department, one of the toughest engineering programs in the country, and is on his way to graduation; and Aharon went through his BA, MA and Ph.D. in Archaeology and Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
So, congratulations to Dr. Aharon Greener, and to Melanie, Amitai and Yadin. May this be the start of a successful and satisfying career. And to all my academic sons, who were pulled by their desire to learn and to succeed. Not pushed by their parents.
Once again, Jerusalem is snowy white. The U.S. mid-Atlantic gets covered in snow every week and in Washington DC they're having public snowball fights, but we get six inches of snow and the city shuts down and it's a national event. We've been having more winter storms recently. Maybe it’s global warming; I don't understand such things. Trudy is preparing lovely meals for our Shabbat and I will be opening a bottle of Maredsous Trippel abbey ale from Belgian for lunch tomorrow. It's the last of the bottles that I got from Melanie and Aharon on my birthday a year-and-a-half ago.
Trudy took the attached photo from our window this morning.
Shabbat Shalom and a good weekend to all,
As the year 5775 dawns, we can hear the great blast of the shofar heralding in the New Year. But we can also hear the still, small voice -- perhaps a prayer for a better (or at least not worse) year, or a resolution to make an improvement, or a kind word to somebody who could use one.
After a summer of great blasts and shrill sirens, we appreciate the quiet times even more as the New Year begins. Let's see what we've been up to.
Back in the Old Country, Washington DC to be exact, Ami recently got back from leading his eighth Jewish group adventure trip in Costa Rica – 17 cool Jews and nine days of hard work! Next year his company, Greener Travel, has Jewish group trips planned to Maine (dog sledding), Baja California, Trinidad, Alaska and Costa Rica.
Earlier in the spring he attended a conference of the International Ecotourism Society in Brazil’s Pantanal region (better wildlife viewing than the Amazon!), which might be a destination for a future tour of his. July saw him heading to the Mexican state of Baja Sur, where he went diving for the first time with sea lions. This was an exploratory trip for a 2015 group tour that will include ‘glamping’ ("glamorous camping") on a desert island in the Sea of Cortez, petting gray whales and snorkeling with whale sharks.
Earlier this summer Ami hosted Doug and Trudy in DC. He still lives in the vibrant Adams Morgan neighborhood, and would like to see more of his family visit him there!
Over in Modi'in, Aharon is still on the brink of handing in his doctorate. He is establishing an exciting new fund to support archaeological research in Israel. He is also working on revitalizing Dig the Past (digthepast.org), his program for youth in America. A few times a week, he works on the Temple Mount Sifting Project (look at the wikipedia entry for the Temple Mount Sifting Project). When he's not busy with archaeology, he has been going to the gym frequently.
Melanie has been progressing on her first book and looking for a publisher since leaving her job at Kenes last spring. She has also been taking advantage of her free time to revamp her blog, perpetualnomad.wordpress.com. Now that the kids are back in school and pre-school, she has started looking for a new job in PR and branding. She recently took part in the annual swim across the Sea of Galilee.
Amitai (5 1/2 this week) is excited to have started kindergarten. He feels he has moved up in life, learning to write and read letters and numbers, and playing more sophisticated games. This summer he learned to swim by himself, a momentous achievement of which his instructor (Melanie) is very proud. Now he goes to a gym class once a week. His knowledge of the dinosaur world continues to expand. Melanie and Amitai traveled to Montreal in August for cousin Bruce's wedding, where they also saw life-size dinosaur reconstructions.
Yadin recently turned two and jumps, runs, climbs and dances around his world. He speaks in full sentences in English and is starting to catch up in Hebrew. He is not far behind his brother in identifying dinosaurs and has an extraordinary talent for soccer and a great sense of rhythm. He has made many friends at his new pre-school. Both boys are avid book-lovers.
Up north near Haifa, Eitan and Dalit are beginning their third and fourth years, respectively, at the Technion (the Israel Polytechnic Institute) and the Ruppin Academic Center. Eitan, who is studying bio-chemical engineering, also took courses during the summer semester. At this stage, his courses are becoming much more practical-oriented than the general subjects he took during his first two years. He has also started going to the gym!
Dalit is getting ready for her last year of nursing school, which will include an internship in one of the area hospitals. During the summer she continued to work as a student nurse in the Emergency Room of Haifa's Rambam Hospital, sometimes pulling the arduous but interesting night shifts.
Trudy and Doug flew to the U.S. in June, visiting great-grandma Goldie in southern Florida, where they arranged for her to have round-the-clock care after she suffered a very minor stroke a month earlier. After they both had a wonderful visit with Ami in DC, Trudy went to see her brother Dan and family in Cleveland, while Doug went to New Jersey and New York to spend some quality time with old and precious friends.
Trudy is continuing her round of activities. She is putting the final touches on the Hebrew-English phrase book – hopefully it won’t be outdated by the time it actually goes to print! During the summer months she worked on writing and producing a calendar for the Jerusalem SPCA, to be sold as a fundraiser; this year’s topic was purebreds. It was lots of fun to research the history of the different breeds, though less fun to note how many of them end up abandoned and in the SPCA Shelter. In August, she sent off her completed Sefer Torah stitched verses, to which she added a decorative border patterned after an embroidered tablecloth her mother had given her. Choir has started up again, and after the holidays she will add classes and folk dancing. Not to forget babysitting for Amitai and Yadin, of course – including making Shabbat challahs again with Amitai one vacation day!
Doug is doing his best to keep dotage at bay by staying active in mind and body. No day (except Shabbat) would be complete without either a visit to the gym or jogging around the neighborhood. Something must be working because bus drivers and ticket sellers regularly ask for proof of age before giving him a senior discount. Ah, what pleasure that brings!
Doug's time also includes a little gainful employment (advertising and fund-raising), listening to music, reading, attending lectures and shows (mostly with Trudy) and, of course, blogging about good Israeli beer (look for the blog at IsraelBrewsandViews.blogspot.com). The waning days of summer brought the Jerusalem beer and wine festivals, and the super Tel Aviv beer festival -- and Doug was at all of them with camera, pad and pen.
In closing, we wish all of our family and friends a wonderful New Year and the start of a beautiful autumn-time and winter. We offer our still, small prayer for the New Year to see good people coming together to put an end to terrorism here and all over the world, and for all of you to have a year of good family and friends, small pleasures, and delicious food and beverages.
Doug & Trudy Greener
Aharon, Melanie, Amitai & Yadin
Eitan & Dalit
Sitting with my 95 year old mother is my brother Hal (MacArthur High School graduate 1968), who came from Miami, and behind him my son Ami and his girlfriend Gabby, who came down from Washington, DC.
Yadin Moshe, our second grandson, is now six months old and has a bubbly personality. Strong lungs too. His parents chose his first name (which means "He will judge") because he was born just before Rosh Hashana, the Day of Judgment ("Yom Hadin") and because of their great respect for Yigael Yadin, an early Israeli military leader and a scholar who laid the foundation of Israeli archaeology. Although he enjoys his baths and floating on water, he was given the middle name "Moshe" because that was the Hebrew name of Doug's late father Milton.
After a rainy and kind of slow winter, spring is in the air again. Pesach is already here and with it our family reports and greetings.
Eitan and Dalit Zaguri were married in October in a wonderful wedding in Netanya, on Israel's Mediterranean coast, with the huppa canopy overlooking the sea. The ceremony itself had a pleasant informality which was set by the rabbi, a former teacher of Eitan's at his pre-army academy. There was yummy food and booze, and the joy of the newlyweds was infectious, as everybody joined in the dancing, which included a Sephardi henna ceremony, with great enthusiasm.
Uncle Danny and Aunt Carole, cousins Shana, Jon and Marcia, and Ami and his girlfriend Gabby, as well as Len Wasserman, a dear family friend from New York, came from the U.S. to join us. Uncle Abi and Aunt Ellen had it the easiest, coming from Netanya, while everyone from Jerusalem and Haifa battled Thursday evening traffic to get there on time!
Eitan and Dalit are now living near Haifa. Dalit is in her second year of Nursing studies at the Ruppin Academic Center, and Eitan in his first year of Bio-chemical Engineering at the Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology. Because Dalit often leaves to go to school before Eitan wakes up, and Eitan often comes home after Dalit has gone to sleep, they are sure to see each other only on Shabbat!
With Yadin now on the scene, Aharon and Melanie are also finding their lives a bit more hectic. When they're not busy with their daily routine, they hike in the nature surrounding Modi'in, and recently took a family vacation to the desert of southern Israel. Mel is still on maternity leave, planning to return to her job at Kenes Media, organizers of international conferences and conventions, shortly. Besides the time with the two boys, going to the gym and organizing playdates, she is progressing with her literary projects with a writing group she started.
Aharon is now writing his Ph.D. thesis in Archaeology for Bar-Ilan University, intent on finishing by the end of 2013. As a recipient of a President's Scholarship, he was honored to receive a ticket to attend President Obama's speech last week in Jerusalem.
Amitai is progressing in so many ways since the family returned from Greece. His Hebrew is improving (the third language that he's had to cope with), and his love of books and storytelling just keeps growing. Moving on from his interest in dinosaurs, he now likes to read about all the world's non-extinct animals, especially birds. Last Friday he celebrated his fourth birthday with a chocolate Batman cake, family and friends.
Yadin's smile stops everybody in their tracks. He's beginning to interact with people in a much more active way, and can flip from his stomach to his back by himself. He eats a growing number of fruits and vegetables with gusto. Yadin watches his big brother with curiosity and admiration, waiting for the day he can run around the park with him.
Over in Washington, DC, Ami continues to work hard on his travel company, Greener Travel, specializing in Jewish group tours – and expanding from Costa Rica to offer a “Frozen Chosen” trip to Alaska as well as wilderness trips to Pennsylvania and the Adirondacks. Ami also teaches Hebrew and Jewish History at a local synagogue, and is active in the local Jewish community. Gabby continues with her work as a lawyer with the Department of Justice, traveling often to the Midwest on tax-related court cases.
Gabby recently moved in with Ami to his Adams Morgan apartment. When spring comes they plan to help renovate and fix up the small community garden near the colorful DC mural on the side of their house, which is a local tourist attraction. Ami and Gabby recently celebrated three years together; a few weeks later Ami organized a surprise party for Gabby’s birthday. Earlier in the year they spent a week in Paris on the way to Eitan’s wedding in Israel – a city Gabby lived in when she was younger.
Trudy and Doug are enjoying their retirement and semi-retirement. In February, they went on a lovely vacation to New Orleans (first time for both of them), walked along the mighty Mississippi on the levee tour (Doug told the guide if he wants the Levy tour, he should come to Jerusalem), and heard some great jazz in Preservation Hall. From there Trudy went on to visit her brother Nahmy in northern Florida for a couple of days, and then joined Doug in southern Florida to celebrate his mother's 95th birthday. How did we celebrate - by going out for kosher Chinese!!! We were joined by Doug's brother Hal, and Ami and Gabby. Ami put together a wonderful CD from old photographs and greetings from the grandchildren, and even the great-grandchildren got in the act.
Trudy still enjoys being able to have a leisurely cup of coffee most mornings. She continues her volunteer work and attends an Israeli folk dancing club (for the fun and the exercise). She is very busy now helping a close friend maneuver through the bureaucracy and move into a Senior Residence. She is also having fun trying to figure out how to use her new Kindle present for her alumnae Book Club. She also enjoys her papercutting and knitting, though she is hard put to find more "clients" who haven't received a sample of her work!!! Trudy and Doug both baby-sit for Amitai and Yadin on a regular basis.
Had you been in New Orleans in late February, you would have seen ol' man Greener walking along the banks of Ol' Man River. Doug also just keeps rollin' along. The only sweatin' and strainin' he does is at the local gym, although he does lift that bale carrying home fruits and vegetables and other goodies from the market every week. He hasn't toted a barge in a few years, but he still can be called upon to do some super ads and direct mail fundraising. If he gets a little drunk every now and then, he normally doesn't land in jail, but face down on his own bed. And tired of livin'? No way. Too many good things going on and too much still to do.
Like, for example, trying to figure out why Passover eve has never been this early (March 25) since 1899(!), and that it won't happen again until 2089, and thereafter -- never! No matter. This vagary of the Hebrew calendar just gives us a unique opportunity to wish all of our family and friends a wonderful springtime holiday season, with Passover and Easter in logical conjunction. May we all enjoy our feasts and festivals surrounded by loved ones, good food and pleasant booze.
Doug & Trudy
Aharon, Melanie, Amitai & Yadin
Eitan & Dalit