Sunday, June 24, 2018

Mother of All Notes

Mila was born at 8:01 am, on a sunny Friday in Manhattan, exactly one year ago. This yellow note was the last thing I wrote before leaving the house, trying to figure out when it's time to go to the hospital, writing the times of contraction pain attacking my body, knowing it’s going to get much worse when I can’t write anymore. 
Then, you come back home, with a new, perfect little human and everything is different. You try as much as you can to hang on to familiar things, routines and schedules. You try, and fail, at eating breakfast together, watching Netflix at night, or reading a bedtime story to your son (the one who truly didn't know any other option existed).

She's One today, and that note had stayed on the side-table next to my bed for at least five months after she came into the world. Writing down the times, was a last desperate attempt to stay in control, and this dirty, dusty, ugly paper, was as good reminder as any, that I need to let go.
Nothing, from this day on will go according to my plan. Naps, dinners, trips. I cannot control anything, and maybe I never really did. 

I kept that note for a while next to my bed, maybe because I'm not very good at cleaning, organizing my place and maybe it stayed with me for months until I agreed to acknowledge it - and move on.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bring Yourself Back Online

Feeling sentimental lately. Maybe it's the long winter, maybe it's old age... But it must have something to do with the approaching milestone of my 10th summer in New York, and it feels like one that must be reckoned with.

So, I’ve started to plan a virtual surprise party for myself, and in the process, I remembered - I used to blog.
Rediscovering this archive of my 20's reminded me a lot of things that were completely wiped from my hard drive. Like the fact that they were pretty good, that I had a blackberry and plenty of time for recreation and introspection.
It was strange to see how my- naive, fresh off the boat -self wrote with more vulnerability and less vocabulary. Strange, because it is embarrassingly raw, but it works.

In a way, I'm right where I started in July 15th 2008. I live in the same neighborhood, although it's almost unrecognizable.

Many of the landmarks and people who were part of my universe have left or relocated, and so has the Hope, and Change that were very present in those days.
Small bars and eclectic music scenes were rammed by tattooed soccer moms with double strollers. Now I'm one of those, no tattoos, though.

Instead of focusing on the decay, global and personal challenges I'll try to channel that romantic, younger vibe, jump-start my ancient crush on The Big City.

At the turn of a decade, a new chapter. Or at least a fresh post.

Friday, January 13, 2012

One in a Million

If you've never seen one before, that's how a saint looks like.
Meet Prof. Leonard (Lenny) Bliden, the kind and energetic cardiologist. He really likes his job. That's why, at 73-years old he's still seeing his patients three times a week.

Somehow, he managed to keep his South-African elegant style and accent even after more than five decades in the aggressively raw Israel.
I was a few months old when my mother and grandmother brought me to his house in Ramat Hasharon on a Friday afternoon exactly 30 winters ago.
A few months later, my little blue face turned baby pink.

Throughout the years, I always liked coming to see Prof. Bliden. When I was six, I told him about my engagement with the art of ballet dancing. He asked that I demonstrate my first and second positions. There I was, 1.20 meters, dancing and spinning in his office. It was almost as if he cared to get to know ME, more than he was interested in learning about my health.
This month, at our 30 year - surprise reunion at Beilinson Hospital, I understood the rare brilliance of this man - with his patience and sensitivity - he gained the deepest understanding of my heart and knew exactly what to prescribe. More dancing!

Coming in for a check up, on a rainy day in a grey hospital turned out to be one of the highlights of my visit. We've both changed a lot since our first meeting but he remained exactly the same.

Before we left the hospital, my mom and I chatted with his secretary. "Tomorrow," she said, "is a very special day. He's very humble, you know, but Prof. Bliden is receiving a life achievement award at the Knesset."
Almost whispering, she continued, "some people here at the hospital recommended him. I guess management received a lot of letters over the years".
Before saying goodbye, we went back and congratulated him. He mumbled something uncomfortably and quickly changed the subject. He told us he's going to a yahrzeit for his best friend and tennis partner. He died last year, just hours after his second tennis match that week. But he didn't let us leave with a serious-sympathizer face.
"He was 94 years-old," the professor said and smiled.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Artichoke season

Each visit is different.
This time it's spring, it's a holiday and a birthday. One big fat festival.

Hertzeliya minus the daily - swim factor. Still, pretty damn good.

From the seamstress' house, you can see the beautiful turquoise-blue Mediterranean sea, with the Onagraceae and the mosque, of Sidney Ali.

I spent the last night of my 20s in my childhood bed, where I spent most of my teens. In a room where everything is almost the same as it was, in my memory. It's confusingly cozy and at times, romantic. I still have a room of my own.

Eggplant with tahini, zucchini salad with basil and goat cheese on rye. amazingly sweet cherry tomatoes, spinach shakshuka, everything salad and The Brownies.

At Noam's, last week.

crazy bats, had a party the other night, circling the neighbors' loquat tree. I watched from behind the windshield, how close they were flying to my flat-tired car.
Tired, and finally - a week later - just tired, not jet legged.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ethiopia. Israel. New York.

The Beta Dance Troupe performing in the Bronx last month. Tradition and contemporary met and created ecstasy. Eskesta.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Free Day

Hello Kitty

The third September in New York.

Fall 2010. The beginning of the end. In a good way.

כל סוף הוא התחלה חדשה


Monday, June 28, 2010

A Note and a Boat

The Holy Grail

There's a special kind of a murmur in the synagogue during the World Cup, an Israeli-Orthodox journalist said on the post-game TV studio, Saturday night. A soft whisper that finds its way to the interested believers' ears. Even without watching television on Shabbat, whoever needs to know the score - will find it.

Meanwhile landing in JFK, the EL-AL captain announced the final score in the USA- Ghana match, after announcing the local time and weather. USA lost.
Summer 2010 belongs to Germany, no matter what happens this week.

I arrived in Ben Gurion Airport with the news about the flotilla.
Since then, I've had a lot of questions and feelings, but not one clear line of thought.

Leaving Israel 21 days later, this poster on the long white brick wall leading to the gate, seemed like a good wishful thinking to leave the Middle-East with.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Levant part 1

I arrived with the flotilla, it was quite the welcome home you'd expect after six month in New York. I tried write about it, but it was very challenging. I wrote, but never posted it.
I'm out of service and off-line and I'm loving it.
It's easier dealing with frustration here then there. It helps being closer to the eye of the storm sometimes.

On the beach, business as usual.
Jellyfish and helicopters are the only threat to the Mediterranean's last pearl.

Friday, May 28, 2010

BB rehab

No flickering red light for 20 days. Starting soon.
It’s good for the brain waves. Like the ocean.

Summer is here. vacation wise. As far as the season, it’s been bipolar so far.
yesterday, however, smelled like summer all day.

Picture of Emily and I by the river on Grand
(taken with the bb

and also, La Superior.

guacamole chips, fish tacos and Corona. It's good to be free.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Paging Congresswoman Velazquez

Two things happened this week. They weren't really aware of each other's existence, but they had a mutual impact. Something like spring and allergies.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus under Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez announced its priorities for the Health and Environment Task Force in the 111th Congress.

And a mildly ill - non-Hispanic resident of the 12th District, paid a visit to the Williamsburg Health Center in Brooklyn.

Being sick sucks. No matter what your ethnicity is.

On a warm spring Tuesday, she schlepped her sweatpants-influenza-ish- self all the way to the closest clinic. “It’s better to be on the safe side,” her mother always said. Even if that side is on the South Side of the neighborhood, 16 blocks away.

The CHC’s announcement came just in time, the recent visit to the doctor shows.

In the heart of the Hassidic neighborhood, signs in both Yiddish and Spanish advise on hygiene and health rules. The Orthodox woman at the reception desk, tried to be efficient and sympathetic. It wasn’t easy as she was alternating signing in patients and answering a constant stream of phone calls.

The waiting area that only minutes earlier was filled with nothing but Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s voice, talking about beets and cholesterol on the health channel, soon became crowded with real people and coughs.

One floor higher and 40 minutes later it was already a zoo.

A nurse - THE nurse - was hidden under a pile of files, medical records, manually filling out the paper work.
When the door opened the nurse mumbled, “They’re trying to make us quit our job,” an answer to one’s question – why are you here by yourself?

Then, she put an ad-hock sign on the door: Please knock once and take a sit.

There were no sits available.

About a dozen chairs were occupied (plus few kids running around). Young parents, babies, an elderly women – all Spanish speaking. Hispanics were on the other side as well, along with Afro-American, Asian, Jewish, and Indian doctors and nurses. A real hospital melting bed pan.

By the end of your visit you wished you had gone to work.

The lack of IT or manpower at health facilities is what the CHC Task Force will try to cure this year.
Here are selected examples of what The Health and the Environment Task Force priorities include:

  • Community Health Centers: Latinos comprise 34.8% of health center users. We support the development and expansion of community and migrant health centers and increasing funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • Health IT. We support access to appropriate incentives to enable health care providers in low-income and medically underserved communities to move forward in adopting HIT.
  • Expansion of the Primary Health Care Workforce. We support short term programs and policies to address immediate primary care and nursing workforce needs.

Congresswoman Velazquez should care. Not only as the chair of the CHC but also because the health industry is keeping her in good shape.

“Health Professionals” is the leading industry in donating to her 2010 campaign with $33,500, according to (Dentists $7,5000, Orthodontist with $5,000 and optometrists $5,000).

Although a very energetic supporter of Health Care, Nydia Velazquez’s legislative charts show that health issues were ill treated in the last decade.

With no major legislation record, some efforts can be traced, but not many. A million dollar program here, $500,000 health initiative there, Velazquez targeted AIDS, asthma and Obesity in Brooklyn’s Hispanic community. But no significant breakthrough on file.

Velazquez should follow the wise maternal advice and not neglect her health initiatives - because even just a minor inconvenience can lead to a more serious ailment – if not treated with care.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

local patriotism II

There's good Karma in the air.
Lost and found
my red purse in Grand Central on a day
I really couldn't fit losing it
in my schedule

New York -- not what you thought

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

snowday or: how I stopped worrying and started liking the snow

It was a little girl and a pointandshoot

finally, I found someone I can identify with. she was probably 4.
of course.
dressed in pink.
(of course)
She was just sitting on her sled, carried like a princess.

I think we felt the same about this whole snow business.

pink girl from Dana Rapoport on Vimeo.

Friday, January 29, 2010

America. socialism and patriotism in one ticket

In the summer of 2003 I spent six weeks in Firenze.
I remember how in one of my many strolls around the city, when the Ponte Vecchio was revealed to me for the first time. I asked Hanna; do the people who live here wake up every morningwith astonishment? how could they not?
I couldn't imagine someone becoming indifferent to this sight, making coffee in the macchinetta, without feeling the luckiest girl in the world.

Then, I asked Luigi, who lived in Firenze for seven years (but was originally from a tiny village in the tip of the heel) if he looks up every day, when he goes to work, to look at the beautiful bridge and colorful houses.
He said there are too many tourists, they're blocking the view.

And now I'm in New York.
And my school is in Times Square.

It's been a while, maybe a year, since I experienced my "firsts" - first time I saw the skyline on a ride on the Williamsburg bridge at night, the first time I saw snow, or covering the presidential elections (and going out to the street in my pajamas to celebrate with all the hipsters at midnight). Since then, I managed to forget how fortunate I am.

Last week I saw 'The Sleeping Beauty', and this feeling was awaken once again.
The New York City Ballet, at Lincoln Center, left me speechless for a change.

It wasn't only the live orchestra playing Tchaikovsky, or the technique of Princes Aurora (Megan Fairchild of Salt Lake City) but also the fact that the front seat tickets to the two hour fantasy were bought at the price of $26. Socialism in America.

You may not have health coverage, you can be a struggling student who can't afford to breath the city's polluted air, but nights like these remind you why it's probably the best city in the world.

And then you walk out, to a windy 10 degree cold night (minus something in Celsius) and wait 15 minutes for the train, to hear the announcement that the downtown 1 train will not be running on the downtown track. It won't be another hour before you'll get to the other side of the bridge.

p.s. ballet teacher Peter Schabel disagreed on the quality and interpretation of the NYCB's sleeping beauty. "It's not like the Russians'". Well, the socialism is not quite the same either.

[This is a different sleeping beauty. The beautiful Sofiane Sylve, according to youtubers.]

Monday, January 25, 2010

Two advils for two peoples.

“... and I accept responsibility for nothing else. If people want to have headaches among the overtones, let them. And provide their own aspirin.”

Just like Samuel Beckett's famous answer to a theater critic - last Friday in East Jerusalem, the four hour tour was free - but aspirin was not included. Sadly, it was not a play. Reality's absurd exhibition.

On the super sunny- mid January - desert morning, a bus with people from China, Germany, USA, Holland and Israel, left the heart of the hectic 2,000 years- old capital, to see for themselves what is really going on along the "Jerusalem envelope".

Just 40 minutes away, there's a beautiful beach. What are they doing on a gorgeous day like this, looking at an nine meter cement wall?

The non for profit, non partisan (City of Peoples) Ir - Amim organization tour along the security barrier, wall, fence or however you wish to call it, was too short to cover the long and complicated issue, the political and social situation of the two peoples living in one big mess.

I though I saw the big picture, a big picture. But there are many more bigger and smaller pictures I never saw before that Friday.
I lived in Jerusalem as a child, I lived a quarter of a century in Israel. I voted, I religiously follow the news, but I didn't get around to see the significant difference of the way those buildings look like. I didn't see the streets, the kids, the neglected streets and wild west caos of construction in East Jerusalem. The Jewish Democratic city.

What did the Chinese tourist on the bus got out of the "study tour"? Did any of the foreigners understand how divided and in-dividable this city is?
And what would I have done if someone had built a wall in the middle of my sacred beach?

Two peoples build, one on top of another, trying to mark as much territory as fast as possible, before the other side gets there first, making more babies, building as many balconies.

One last stop before we went back home; overlooking Judea desert, it was such a clear day, you could see down town Amman. This how small the Middle East is.

By the end of the four hour field trip, a tour packed with information, facts stats and commentary, with no time to eat, drink - you knew a little bit more, and understood much less.
Past and present were very obvious. Future - not as much.

Knowledge IS power, but when you stare at the mountains of illegal construction, hills of refugee camps, and valleys of poverty and chaos, you don't feel neither wiser nor stronger. Just a big headache.

Even though no solution makes sense, it doesn't mean there's nothing we can do.
If you don't like Ir Amim's style, if you don't want to wake up at 7 am on your day off, you can still go there, with or without the narration, just go - the images speak for themselves.