Friday, October 14, 2011

Free "Entertainment" During Succot, and a Rant

In Israel, school has been on vacation and will be for longer.  It's Succot, and many schools started the year early in order to give the teachers and students an extra-long vacation from before Yom Kippur until after Simchat Torah.  This may be great for a few types of families.
  1. If you have oodles of money and don't need to work.  You can leave home, travel and have a real great long vacation.
  2. If you make enough money to pay for childcare, special "camps," etc. so that you can go to work and know that your kids are all being safely supervised.
  3. Both parents are teachers, so they can be with their children, instead of teaching others.
Otherwise this extra-long vacation is a nightmare.  How does one go to work as a professional with their kids or constantly on the phone checking up etc?  Summer vacation just ended a few weeks ago, and all official/paid days off have been used up.

Last week, working at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, we felt it.  After some unsupervised kids knocked down some very pretty baby clothes I told a father off. 

"There are Jewish Laws concerning how to act in a store.  You're not permitted to waste a worker's time nor damage merchandise.  I'm not here to be your children's gannenet, nursery school teacher!"

I don't mind when a customer makes a mess on the shelf looking for something to buy.  The store isn't a museum.  Our goal is to sell our merchandise. 

But I do get angry when kids run around, or do drag races with the shopping carts and knock clothes onto the floor and leave it there.  I also don't want to have to clean the spilled ice cream or try to clean the clothes from dirty, sticky, chocolate coated hands touching what they just wanted to touch or what they ran/rolled over.

For free entertainment, ride the Jerusalem lightrail!  Yes, it's still free.

The route goes from Pisgat Ze'ev to Mount Herzl.  You can get on and off numerous times.  And did I say that it's free?  There's lots to see on the way.  In Pisgat Ze'ev, there's a nice mall.  Buy some food or anything else you need there.  Just be prepared that the route then takes you to some neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, inhabited almost entirely by Arabs.

After that, you get to French Hill/Ramat Eshkol. Take the train to Ammunition Hill, Givat HaTachmoshet to the 1967 Six Days War Museum.

The train, then, continues towards downtown Jerusalem with a stop by the Municipality complex, near Jaffa Gate of the Old City.  The route continues the entire length of Jaffa Road.  You can get on and off.  Shop and eat in the various stores and restaurants.  When my husband took the grandkids out, they went to Heichel HaGvura, the Museum of the War of Independence Underground Fighters, in Migrash HaRusim, near Zion Square.

You can shop in the Machane Yehuda Market.  After "floating," (it's a smooth ride) through "town," the train gets to the Central Bus Station and then goes on the "string bridge" to Mount Herzl, where there's also a museum.

If your kids are old enough, you can turn this into a really fun and educational project.
  • Have them sketch or photograph what they've seen.
  • Have them write and research the various sites.
  • They can follow and mark a road map.
  • Please leave more ideas in comments...
School vacation doesn't have to mean aimless anarchy.

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