Park Ra’anana, the biggest park in the biblical Plain of Sharon just north of Tel Aviv, was the place for Itai and the other kids to visit from the nearby elementary school – the opportunity to enjoy a petting zoo, monkey bars, rides, and, of course, get out of class without having to play hooky.
Today I am told “Bethlehem: No.” I am in Itai’s home in Israel, in the middle of a very European breakfast of pastry and espresso, flipping through scribbles of itineraries I had taken from my guidebook. Bethlehem was definitely on the list. “I’ll get shot, you might be okay,” he says, translating his father’s headshake:
Dassa is adorable, sweet, and quirky. She wears a small fabric headband, which, while looking like a fashion accessory, actually denotes that she is religious and married.
Her and Itai, my friend and now host in Israel, had met when both attended the University of Jerusalem. While she now lives in the area with her husband, amidst busy schedules of work, school and travels, they still manage to catch up every once in a while.