Friday, October 26, 2012

Shalom Aleichem

Hope you enjoy this~ Gabriel Chouraki~ Musician of Excellance in the IDF band.
Shabbat Shalom Ya'll

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Joint Military Drill

Such a whirl of activity starting this past month~ First the Hagim with a major house move in the middle. LOTS of lovely company for Sukkot~ including our son and his family. Now everyone has gone and The 2 Spies are getting back to 'normal'.

For us, 'normal' seems to have made a right-hand turn and is traveling in a whole new direction. The past several years we have lived in a lovely, small, 'retired-honeymoon-cottage' (our term for an empty nest apartment.) We haven't entertained much nor been very active. Just enjoying retirement and family.

However, 'Someone' took hold of the corners of our lives and gave a really good shake. Everything has been up-ended with a move into a two story 4 bedroom house. (Thus the son could build his sukkah with us and move in for the week) We are certainly able to entertain more and to host whole family activites~ which will be our joy.

But, on a more sober note, we also feel that the empty space may be used for unforeseen events in the future. During the last war with Lebanon, many people had to leave the North and find a safer place to stay to wait it out. We are feeling that something similar will happen again. It is our hope to be ready to be hospitable should our fellow Israelis need a refuge.

We are sharing this today for two reasons.

One: Israel is getting ready to hold a joint military drill with the United States. Over 1,000 U.S. troops as well as Navy ships arrived last week. These drills will last a month. To read more about these drills click here. 
Trucks transporting 'Patriot' batteries
These drills are another reminder of the very real possibility of war for Israel.This brings us to reason number two we are sharing.

Always striving to bring a positive report about Israel, you may be wondering what The 2 Spies can find positive about war preparations.

We are reminded that we are a Covenant Nation. G-d has promised to never leave us or to break this covenant. In spite of 'wars and rumors of wars', we can stand firmly rooted in the reality of our relationship with the 'Shomer of Israel'~ the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps. The true Captain of our IDF. The One who has written us on the palm of His hand. We know that there will be devastating events in our future. Events come and go. Circumstances always change. What great peace in the midst of battle to know that we are being held by the One who never changes.

So, He will prepare us. He will provide physically what we need~ gas masks, emergency supplies, medical equipment~ for us~ a large home. But more importantly, He will provide the Peace that Passes understanding. And in this The 2 Spies can bring the most positive report ever.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ein Gedi

One of The 2 Spies went hiking on Yom Rishon (Sunday) As long as I have lived here I have never hiked Nahal David ( Ein Gedi). Not sure why not. When we came on tour the bus driver just pointed them out on our way to Masada. Having a willing house guest and a son who has hiked most of the Israel trail convinced me that it was time.

Sunday, leaving early to beat the traffic and the heat, we made our way out of Jerusalem toward the Dead Sea. We beat the traffic. We did not beat the heat. It had to be the hottest day of the year~

Heat or no, I was determined to do this. Packing food and water into a just-bought-at-the gift-shop back pack (I forgot mine at home) I was ready for the day. Only to find out 'NO FOOD ALLOWED'.

Wanting to be a 'typical' Israeli and ignore the rules because they are obviously for everyone else EXCEPT me I was going to take my snacks anyway. My son however, shamed me into being obedient and leave it behind.

Of course I was thinking this was an all day hike and now I was going to STARVE. Little did I know that the hike is only about 35 minutes long. That's all. Longer if one choose to lounge in the water. (Yes, in this national park one is allowed in the water)

We hiked Nahal David, lounged quite a bit and came out rested. Hot but happy. After a bite to eat, we decided to hike Nahal Arugot. This trail is longer and was supposed to have springs all along the way. I guess it depends on which trail one takes and how much rain we've had. We took the high road and wound our way up the rocky crags.

After huffing and puffing for about 20 minutes I asked our guide how much further (without complaining as said guide does not tolerate complaining) After seeing how far away our goal was, I took my water bottle and arranged to meet them back down the hill at an eddy I saw there.

Needless to say, getting out of the blistering sun and heat and sitting in the water for 40 minutes really made this Spy's day! Thanks to my Trail guide and our gracious companion for a great day.
Home of the Ibex... and King David for a season


Sweet young lady from the States (One of The 2 Spies at heart!)

You're right here 'Mom'

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Jerusalem March

Israel Milk
Every year during Sukkot one of the highlights is the Jerusalem March. Sponsored by the city, everyone seems to want to participate.Israel businesses like the electric company, milk producers, judo classes and even the police department all take part. When we first came to Israel, the parades were a bit of a disappointment after our parades in  the States with big bands, fire trucks, beauty queens and clowns~ lots of entertainment.  The 2 Spies have to admit that the Israel participants have much improved in their presentation and zeal. Quite enjoyable.

There is one group that always has out-shown all other in the parade though. Year after year~ wars or no wars~ Christian Pilgrims who have come up to Jerusalem to celebrate 'The Feast of Tabernacles' (as they call it) have taken a joyous part in this parade. They love Israel. No, They are passionate about Israel. They are zealous over Zion. And their zeal and adoration for the Land and it's inhabitants is so moving~ sometimes to tears. If any Israeli is feeling discouraged in ANY way, after being at the march and being the recipient of such affection there is NO WAY they can go home untouched.
The 2 Spies would like to express our gratitude to all these Lovers of Israel who sacrifice so much each year to come up to Jerusalem and shower us with your loving support. May the G-d of Abraham bless you as you have blessed us~

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ron Bronstein~ Shuffling Through the IDF

 The 2 Spies could not stop smiling while watching this young soldier's video. He has a unique way of documenting his military beginnings. We hope you enjoy him as much as we do. Be sure to leave a comment for Ron below~

Original Article Here

 IDF soldier Ron Bronstein has found a way to blow off steam in between training drills and boot camp. He shuffles.

The 24-year-old from St. Louis has been with the Israeli military since March of this year, and he brought his special brand of dance rhythm along for the ride. Over the last few months he’s enlisted friends to help film him as he dance-shuffles across desert scapes, barracks and air force facilities. Basically, every day he’s shufflin’.

“The day I was drafted, I stood excited at the enlistment office and I wanted to document the moment, to preserve the experience. At every stage, from being drafted to the end of basic training, I asked my friends to document me dancing, and that’s how they got to know me, as the guy who every few minutes asked them to film him,” he told Yedioth Ahronoth.
Bronstein made aliyah in 2007. He uploaded his dance video last month onto YouTube, and it has already garnered nearly 70,000 views.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


 Original Link
 An amazing lady will be celebrating her 107th birthday soon. We want to share her story with you. We have put her uplifting quotes at the end in bold ~ there is much we can learn from all that she has walked through.
Please consider sending her birthday greetings. Contact information is at the end of this post.
Hag Sameach~ The 2 Spies!

Alice Herz-Sommer

Today she's both the last person alive on the planet who can claim to have been both a close friend of Franz Kafka and to have regularly sat on the knee of her Mother's friend; Gustav Mahler, as a little girl. But what really makes Alice stand out from the pack is her extraordinary optimism and forbearance – her absolute conviction that despite all the terrible things that she witnessed and endured – she still can not and will not bear any trace of enmity or hatred for those who did everything in their power to terminate her existence and that of her family and her People.


"Music, yes music saved my life"
Alice Herz-Sommer is 106 years old. As well as being the second oldest person living in London, England - she is more significantly the world's oldest survivor of Hitler's holocaust.

As might be expected Alice is rather unique. Living entirely alone in a tiny private purpose built apartment block she spends hours each day at her piano, practicing beloved Bach and Beethoven, for she was once a renowned and celebrated concert pianist performing to enthusiastic audiences throughout central Europe. But of course, all of that was before… before the 'lights went out all over Europe' and the continent was plunged into years of misery and bitter conflict.

During those years Alice suffered experiences that no human being should have to endure. She saw both her mother and her husband put aboard the transports to Auschwitz and yet today she speaks of those times with an absence of malice and quiet grace that wins the hearts of all who know her. Along with her six-year-old son, Raphael, Alice was imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp where her most enduring memories are of her helplessness and inability to feed her child or to answer his many questions about why they and so many others were being subjected to the indescribable nightmare of the Holocaust.
Yet Alice found a way to survive the terror of the camps – a means to look beyond the horrors of day-to-day life in order to recall and cherish what was joyful, pure and noble about her fellow man. Alice survived through music… Still today, she speaks with great pride and passion of playing more than 100 concerts inside the concentration camp and she likens that experience, both for the performers and their imprisoned audience as being close to the divine. Alice is unequivocal in stating that music preserved her sanity and her life – while bringing hope into the lives of countless others. To this day Alice never tires of saying; "Music saved my life and Music saves me still."
Alice When she plays Schubert and Beethoven, it's in a style that the world has long since forgotten. It's the style of her mentor and teacher; the majestic Artur Schnabel: a style redolent of a happier and more confident time in music-making and one which today many may find heartbreakingly nostalgic.

Yet despite all that has befallen her, Alice insists that she has never, ever hated the Nazis, and she never will. Some see in her tolerance and compassion a secular saint who has been blessed with the gift of forgiveness, but Alice is far more pragmatic - she has seen enough in her life to know all too well that hatred eats the soul of the hater, not the hated. Alice laughs easily and still becomes flirtatious in the presence of young men. With her remarkable memory she's able to keep her busy schedule in her head without a diary or the assistance of a secretary. She talks frequently talks with journalists, students, musicians and just about anyone else who understands and loves music.

And it's from music that Alice derives her supreme optimism. As she's so fond of saying; "I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times - including my husband, my mother and my beloved son. Yet, life is beautiful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate."

To this day Alice Herz-Sommer still plays chamber music in the evenings with her few remaining friends. As she approaches her 107th birthday in November of 2010 she said, "I have had such a beautiful life. And life is beautiful, love is beautiful, nature and music are beautiful. Everything we experience is a gift, a present we should cherish and pass on to those we love".

"Alice will celebrate her 107th birthday on November 26th! Please send her birthday wishes to: We are compiling a book of best wishes that we will present to her on her birthday."