Rosh HaShanah - 2009
My head is spinning! We've had an amazing few days...
London, Tuesday, Sept. 15th...Rent-a-Mum
On Tuesday, Rick and I visited with Thelma Ruby Frye, our Rent-a-Mum.... In 1976 when I spent a year in Israel, a colleague of my father's contacted friends of his to let them know that a young American would be staying on a kibbutz outside of Jerusalem.. Thelma and her husband Peter invited me for a picnic and it was love at first meeting. Peter and Thelma promptly wrote to my father to ask if they might "rent" me for the year. Dad was thrilled to have them looking out for me. Throughout the year I'd spend weekends with them or they'd scoop me up for an adventure. Since then we've stayed in touch and the rental agreement was long ago extended to a lifelong arrangement..
Our visit with Thelma was wonderful. We had a fabulous lunch and laughed our way through the afternoon, watching amazing home videos of the extended rent-a-family dating back to 1917.
London...Wednesday, September 16th...John Burgess
On Wednesday, we visited with John, a dear friend that I met by happenstance in the mid-80's...He and his family have been members of ours ever since. He lives in the London neighborhood of Golders Green with son Paul, wife Yanni and their kids Luca and Maya. He's doing great and looking forward to an extended visit to the states this fall.
Thursday, September 17th...Viva La Roma!
Finally, after months of planning, we arrived in Roma! Our exchange apartment is amazing.. the link above is actually the apartment next door to where we are staying.. ours is just as nice without the piano.. We are near the central train station which is in the heart of Rome... On our first day we had planned to take it easy, but of course we ran right out and took a tour of the entire city...ancient next to modern, fountains next to obelisks and churches next to churches... some 900 in Rome alone!
First meal: Pizza!
On Friday, Rick ran us ragged... which he swore he wouldn't do. We spent the morning at the Coliseum, where I swear he counted every brick. Then after lunch we went over to the Forum and Palatine Hill, the Palace of Vestal Virgins and the Arch of Titus. It was appropriate that we visited the Arch of Titus on Erev Rosh HaShanah.. as the Arch was built to commemorate the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. I knew about this piece of history and that Jews weren't allowed to walk under the Arch until after WWII. What I hadn't known, was that Titus brought back 50,000 Jewish slaves with him to Rome from Judea since the Jews refused to bow to Rome. The Jewish slaves built both the Arch of Titus and helped in the building of the Coliseum. As I chanted Kadish (the mourner's blessing) for those long ago ancestors, I was amazed at the connection through the years.
By then the tooties were aching so Rick went off to crawl along every inch of the area while I sat and spent some time putting those art lessons to practice. Michelangelo doesn't have anything to worry about, but it certainly adds an entirely other dimension to the experience.
After a quick bite, we hooked up for an evening tour with one of the Rick Steve's recommended guides...a young man* with a Masters in Roman art history from Yale. He gave us a speed tour through Rome, including the Pantheon, the Piazza where Mussolini made his famous speeches, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps (which, as it turns out, were actally built by the French). By the time we got back to our apartment, the feet were screaming and my hair felt like gum from the humidity.
*Recommended Tour Guide- Jason Spiehler... email@example.com
Yesterday, Saturday, September 19th, Rosh HaShanah.. while I was chanting in Hebrew, Rick was chanting with dead people in the Catacombs.. He also traveled down the Appian Way and visited one of the Roman Aquaducts. I slept, one of my favorite Rosh HaShanah activities. I always celebrate the holidays in unusual ways. This year was no different. We wandered around the old Jewish Ghetto and sat in a nearby piazza drawing different aspects of the area. It was beautiful out, perfect for enjoying the day with pencil and paper. What a different perspective we are able to enjoy when we not only get to view the treasures of this amazing city but when we spend time capturing a piece of it through out eyes and hands. We topped the evening off by having dinner at a restaurant in the Ghetto, Giggetto's, enjoying Carciofi Judaica- a traditional Jewish artichoke dish. Sunday, September 20th Today, we ventured out to the National Museum of Rome - or Museo d' Wackem and Slashem.. a veritable treasure trove of ancient sculptures and mosaics. My only question is where are all of the wacked off appendages (penies and schnozolas)... and I'm delighted to report the sighting of the original shmata worn as a headscarf' from some 2,000 years ago. Actually the mu
seum is really wonderful.. I was particularly fascinated with the mosaics... here we are trying to draw and they were doing it with itty bitty pieces of stone. The artwork from 2,000 years ago, especially the statues are breathtaking.