Friday, April 20, 2018

Israeli Independence Day, 5778, 2018, Tremping Saga

Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day is a very big national holiday here. Not only are schools and government offices closed, it's almost impossible to find an open grocer or supermarket. Some supermarkets opened in the afternoon yesterday, since they figured there would be customers who needed to restock for Shabbat. Also public transportation is seriously reduced frequency-wise in order to allow the bus drivers to celebrate with their families. As many of you probably know by now, we don't have a car. Generally we manage pretty well by taking buses. We even pay for a monthly bus/lightrail pass that gives us unlimited rides to and from Jerusalem, which is generally all we need. That didn't help me yesterday.

Our family Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day custom is to spend the afternoon at my cousin in Hod Hasharon with all the family and close friends. They make a humongous barbecue, supplemented by salads and other side-dishes brought by the rest of us. By car Hod Hasharon is about the same travel time as Jerusalem, but it's a bit more complicated by public transportation. On Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, there isn't a bus to Ariel in order to go in that direction. Our daughter passes Shiloh on her way, but she only has room for one extra passenger. Since I'm the fearless trampistit, (hitchhiker,) the seat goes to my husband.

I don't take anything for granted, and I firmly believe that we must make an effort for Gd to pitch in and help us. Traveling by tremping is very much a method which needs Gd's help. So, I sent out an email in Hebrew and English to the neighbors on three lists, including Shvut Rachel, that I needed a ride, at least to Ariel. Nobody replied with a ride late morning. So, at 11:15, which would give me almost two hours for the forty minute drive, I left my house and walked down to the main Shiloh bus stop.

After a short wait, I got a ride to Shvut Rachel-Shiloh stop which offers more than twice the amount of potential rides, since anyone leaving Shvut Rachel and all of the small communities to the east will pass it on the way to Highway 60. After another reasonably short wait, I got a ride to someone going to the Shomron via Tapuach. I took that ride only to the exit/Junction of Eli, which is a good place to wait. It's not far from their security gate, and you can see that there are security cameras.

 Again, I didn't wait all that long when a car pulled up. There were four young men in it who were going to be passing through Ariel. The front seat passenger was a real gentleman, and he offered to squeeze in the back with his friends to give me the seat. The dropped me off at the Ariel exit bus stop. And I was overjoyed to see that there would be a bus in eight minutes. The Efo bus app confirmed it.

I calmly waited for the bus to arrive and messaged my cousin that I had made progress in my travels.

There wasn't much traffic, and I didn't even attempt to get a ride, because I knew that the bus would take me to the Yarkon Junction, where someone from the family would be waiting to pick me up. I was very comfortably ahead of schedule at that point.

I got the seat right behind the driver and messaged my cousin with estimated time of arrival. She replied that I'd be picked up no problem. Thank Gd I got there with time to spare.

Getting home I had to reverse the trip. Friends dropped me off at Ariel, that same bus stop you can see in the picture on the right, above this. I was hoping for either a ride or a bus to the Ariel University stop, near where I could get a ride home. Seconds after I got out of their car, I saw neighbors drive by. I waved but could see that their car was pretty full. Imagine my surprise when a few minutes later they pulled up to take me home. The wife squeezed in the back with her two sons to give me the roomier front seat, and they took me straight to my door, B"H.

I never know exactly how it will work out, but thank Gd I do manage to get to where I need to be.

Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach
May You Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

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