Posts Tagged ‘Ra’anana’

The Frozen Yogurt Store

The frozen yogurt shop

My wife and I enjoyed frozen yogurt today. There is a store called לבן (la’van: white) on the main street in Ra’anana. The yogurt is unflavored and you add a variety of toppings to satisfy your taste and mood.

We were tempted to enjoy the yogurt at the outdoor tables, but we ate inside instead. Two weeks ago we ate it outside even though it’s the middle of winter, but today it was too cold to eat frozen yogurt outside.  Other customers started outside and then moved inside.

The yogurt is very good, but it depends completely on the toppings. One wrong topping can ruin everything.  I stay very conservative with my frozen yogurt — strawberries, kiwi, chocolate, flax, and raisins — always a good combo.

While at the store, an item on the English menu caught my wife’s eye: Goat Cheese Smoothie. Why would such a thing catch her eye? Certainly not because she would order it. It caught her eye because recently I have been fascinated by goat milk products. She thinks the whole idea of consuming goat milk is gross; I suspect she was joking with me to see if I would actually be interested in a goat cheese smoothie.

On a side note, I have found the most amazing chocolate goat milk. It is the best chocolate milk ever… and as an added bonus, no one else in the house wants to drink it.

Back to the goat cheese smoothies: Truth be told, it sounds gross. What the heck is a cheese smoothie?

Before ordering such a thing, I had to find out what it really was. The guy behind the counter opened a refrigerator and removed a bottle of goat yogurt. The yogurt in the bottle is a very thick liquid.  He explained that the yogurt is dumped into a blender along with “toppings” and blended into a smoothie.

In other words, it is not a goat cheese smoothie — it’s a goat yogurt smoothie! Not gross after all! That sounds awesome.

I didn’t order it.

I have the same bottle of goat yogurt in my refrigerator at home. In fact, last night I tried to make a chocolate goat yogurt drink with it. The experiment failed because the goat yogurt is too thick and I could not stir the chocolate powder properly. I was thinking last night that I should mix it with a blender. Now, I can make my own goat “cheese” yogurt smoothie at home.

Categories: Food, Stores Tags: , , ,

No Parking!

Blue and white curbs are only for residents of Ra'anana

Ra’anana has a problem with automobiles.  In particular, there is not enough space for them.  It seems like this is a typical problem caused by (lack of) government planning. The plan was probably fine years ago when the roads were expanded and the parking spaces allocated, but now it is woefully inadequate and there is no obvious way to fix the problem without using a bulldozer.

Traffic and parking can be a nightmare. I walk or use a bicycle as much as possible.

About two years ago, in an effort to help fix the parking problem, the city of Ra’anana decided to have special parking areas for residents. These special parking areas are identified by a blue and white stripped curb. Almost all the available parking is blue and white.

I am a resident of Ra’anana, so I am allowed to park in these special places. However, normally your car has an electronic chip that identifies the owner as a resident. The chip makes it simple for police officers to figure out who is illegally parking in a Ra’anana resident spot. Since I’m still renting a car, mine doesn’t have the chip. So, if I park in a special space, I’ll get fined. In theory, I can show up in court and get the fine waved, but somehow that doesn’t seem like a good plan.

No parking in red and white spaces -- unless you use the sidewalk (or know the mayor)

A better plan is to just act like you own the place. People routinely park in no parking areas, double-park, or park on the sidewalk. This seems to be okay since everyone knows there is a parking problem and, as a result, the parking laws are (seemingly) not enforced. The no parking areas are easy to find because the curb is painted red and white.

Another solution is to use a motorcycle or scooter. These are commonly parked in little niches, nooks, or on the sidewalks. As an extra advantage, the motorcycles routinely drive between the lanes during heavy traffic. When that’s not possible, they can always squeak around a tight spot by using the sidewalk. It is basically a free for all, but the motorcycles and scooters do travel fairly easily even during the worst traffic situations. For this reason, all the fast-food delivery guys ride scooters with giant, oversized carrier boxes mounted on the back.

Although it doesn’t help with traffic, there is a third option — the mini-sub-subcompact. With this wondrous vehicle, parking is dramatically simplified.

The wondrous mini-sub-subcompact in (non)action!

Categories: Israel Tags: , , , ,

It Came Back to Me!

It came back to me — the Feeling. I had it for a few weeks after I arrived, but it vanished about a month ago.  It came back to me this week and I cannot help but feel blessed and awed by simple things that I see around me.

I was driving my daughter to an activity today at dusk. We drove past a little playground almost completely filled with little children playing on swings and running around acting like little children.  Parents were sitting on benches chatting while sort-of watching the children. It was a completely normal scene. As I drove past with the windows down, it suddenly struck me that all the chatter and noise coming from the playground was in Hebrew.  Well, obviously all the talking would be in Hebrew, right?  But I wasn’t really thinking about it. The Feeling just bubbled up from my emotional core, this feeling that these people are talking (more or less) in the language of the Book, here, at the focal point of creation, and that I’m here too.

It is a hard feeling to explain. You cannot really explain the feelings created by an amazing sunset or a magnificent waterfall. This is a similar feeling. I’m quite certain most people would not feel it, but I do.

היום יום טוב מאוד!

Today is a very good day. This just feels like paradise. This is November. Shouldn’t it be getting cold? This is my neighborhood.


A house in the neighborhood

I live on this road

This week, I really love being here.

Yesterday, my wife and I decided to take a walk on the beach. Ra’anana is not a beach community, so we had to drive 15 minutes to reach the beach in Herzliya Pituah.

An entrance to the beach

The weather was beautiful — absolutely perfect. We walked for about a mile along the shore. The beach started as a sandy swimming area (with swimmers). This portion of the shore has a cliff line. As we walked, the beach became almost deserted. We passed rocky areas that were difficult to cross (in sandals) and more sandy areas.

We passed all the things you would expect to find at the beach. Crabs running in the sand, sea shells lining the shore, and a local neighborhood mosque.

The local neighborhood mosque is just over the cliff.

We also passed the “Hermit’s House” (also called the “Fisherman’s House”). This is a crazy structure apparently built by a hermit from debris. We didn’t actually see the hermit, although we did see his dog. My assumption is that he doesn’t have a permit for his house. I guess it would get torn down if it was built in the West Bank, but here in Herzliya Pituah, no one cares.

If we had walked a bit further, we would have come upon the ruins of a castle built by the Crusaders. (I discovered this later using Google Earth.) I’m going to try to make a bicycle trip to the castle soon.

This is just an amazing place. Right now, I cannot think of anywhere else that I would rather be.

Categories: Hebrew, Israel Tags: , , , ,

Rosh HaShana

Wow. I just had the best ראש השנה (Rosh HaShana) ever. I am really beginning to love living in רעננה (Ra’anana).

I’m quite certain that this must be some form of insanity. The house that we are renting is (still) a disaster. My kids complain that they don’t understand anything in school. You never stop sweating (because of the 90 degree heat and 70% humidity). People drive cars (and shopping carts) like they are in some third-world country (or Ohio). The streets in the town are arranged seemingly according to the design of some complete lunatic. Did I mention that it never cools down. It takes forever to do anything. Parking is…, well,.. actually it isn’t — parking is basically driving around the center of town endlessly until you forget what you want or get bored and go home. The traffic lights are timed and always too short. When you speak, most people don’t have a clue what you are saying.

And yet, it is really growing on me. The people in Ra’anana have been so inconceivably friendly and helpful that it defies all explanation and reason.

We joined the Beit Knesset Ohel Ari.  This is an amazing shul — simply beautiful. We joined because it is “the American shul where we will feel more comfortable because it is run like an American shul.” Hmmm, I suppose that might be true.  It does have a lot of American members and it does have a head rabbi and it does maintain a schedule.  I’ve heard that many other local shuls work differently —  local Israelis just get together at whatever time and argue about how to run the shul. I have not yet experienced this, although I plan on experimenting with other shuls since there are about 80 within a walking distance.

Having said all that, my first few visits at the Ohel Ari were underwhelming.  Back in Maryland, my local shul was a small Chabad.  Sometimes, my family would visit friends in Baltimore and we would attend services at a larger shul. The Ohel Ari, however, is huge — maybe I just felt lost (and clueless) in the crowd. But the services for Rosh HaShana were just awesome.

I started my ulpan class today. I thought ulpan meant something like “Hebrew Language Class for Dummies”.  I was wrong. I now know that ulpan really means “Hebrew Class for a Bunch of Smart Russians and Brits Along with One Dummy from Maryland”. Since I was advanced (I can spell my name) but not quite ready for aleph+, I was placed in the advanced aleph class. We “learned” at least 16 verbs (with conjugations) along with quite a few nouns. After we went over most of the verbs, the מורה (teacher) asked if anyone thought it seemed like a lot of verbs.  I raised my hand; actually I raised it only half-way. No one else bothered to respond at all.  The teacher looked at me, alone, with my hand half raised, and said, “I thought you might think so.” Then she goes on to give us more verbs.

Later, we broke into groups to work on creating sentences with all the new verbs.  We were each suppose to take turns creating sentences that everyone in the group would write. I thought trivial sentences would be fine, but I lost that vote. So, we had to create complex sentences using words and phrases that I didn’t know or understand. The group members were kind enough to explain the sentences to me though — even the ones that they wrote for me.

But it is all in good fun and I don’t mind the challenge of muddling through the super-advanced beginners class.

Categories: Hebrew, Israel Tags: ,
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