July already?

It’s hard to believe it’s already July – we’ve been in Tel Aviv a little over nine months now. We’re getting our first taste of summer – hot in the sun but fairly pleasant otherwise, but we do feel the humidity rising. So far, not too bad.

Last Sunday we met our A100 classmates from Jerusalem at Raphael’s for another nice brunch. It was great to see Dave, Liz, Mary, and her husband Jimmy and baby Will. Will is such a good baby and a horrible flirt with the waitresses!

After brunch, Dave came home with us and we spent the next six hours sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine and talked. Great to catch up with him! We had another good visit with him yesterday when he came to spend the afternoon with us. Dave is a good guy, with boundless energy and fun to talk with.

Last Monday, the actual 4th of July, was a holiday for us. We spent it totally relaxing at home – wonderful and restful!

Last Thursday, I went with my ACS co-worker down to Dimona to visit the Hebrew Israelite Community (someone told me there is a song called “Ramona from Dimona,” but I’m not sure I believe it!). This is a primarily American community in the Negev desert who came to Israel from Chicago back in the ’60s by way of Liberia. They are African-Americans who wear traditional African clothing, practice strict veganism and mostly live together in an urban kibbutz. We had an interesting meeting with their founder and spiritual lead, Ben Ammi, and spent several hours talking with their PR person and touring the compound. If you click on this link, you can see Ben Ammi on the upper right. And click here for more of an overall view of the community. The state of Israel doesn’t know quite what to do with them. They have been here since the late ’60s, and only recently has Israel given them legal permanent status.

Thursday night was book club at our house. I led the discussion on “Prince of the Marshes,” by Rory Stewart. It was an account of his tour in Iraq as a deputy governor of one of the southern provinces in 2004. We had a good turnout and an interesting discussion.

Friday afternoon we had a happy hour at work for John and two other people who are leaving the NIV section (John starts his Staff Aide rotation on Monday – the new ambassador arrives later this month.) Later that evening, we were guests of Chip and Anne for an excellent dinner at their apartment, along with Paul and Jen. It was a nice evening. Anne made a great salad that I want the recipe for – watermelon, tomato and I think a balsamicĀ vinaigretteĀ – delicious!

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