Dating in Israel is a far cry from the way things were back in my dating days of which I have such fond memories. (If you believe that, have I got a bridge to sell to you.) Most notably, as a girl, my dates always picked me up at home, with the exception of the unusually considerate guy who met me in Manhattan and sent me home by train all by myself at midnight. I can’t say I felt unsafe, though. I believe that the smoke that was emanating from my ears during the entire ride encouraged most people to keep their distance from me. If you (the unusually considerate guy) happen to be reading this article, you should just know that I participate in a weekly musar class and I’m currently hard at work trying to improve my midah of forgiveness. I haven’t reached the point of forgiving you just yet, but I’m getting very close.

When we received the invitation to a family engagement party in Zichron Yaakov, I was thrilled despite the distant location. The picturesque town, located 35 kilometers south of Haifa, at the southern end of the Carmel Mountain range, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, is one of my favorite destinations here in Israel. It was one of the pioneer Jewish agricultural settlements of the First Aliyah. The town was founded in 1882 by immigrants from Romania. In 1883, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild became the patron of the settlement and renamed it after his father Yaakov. Many just call the town “Zichron,” which ironically causes the name of the person meant to be memorialized not to be remembered.

Gary and Lisa were a young married couple living happily in South Africa back in the mid-1990s.  They both worked in the field of corporate clothing, with Gary managing the operations and Lisa handling the design.  They were not what one would call religious, but they were traditional. They would always eat a family meal together on Friday night.  They would light candles, eat challah along with their meal, and then head out to the movies and parties.  Lisa’s sister had become religious overnight when she married a religious boy.  At the time, Lisa actually felt sorry for her sister, who was suddenly bound by a myriad of restrictions, which included not being allowed to talk on the phone or watch TV on Saturdays.  Gary and Lisa did not want to be limited in that way. 

Do you remember, back in the day, when you needed a phone number? You would dial 0 for an operator (dial means to place your finger on a number with a corresponding hole and rotate the dial clockwise until you reach the metal stop).  You would request a phone number from an operator, who would then provide you with the number you were looking for. 

Warning: Parts of this article may be considered unpleasant, especially for those on the squeamish side.  You can stop reading right now.  I won’t be insulted.  I won’t ever even know.  But if you continue, you do so at your own risk.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

My husband and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  I thought we were going to do what we do most years - meaning we would not go out on our actual anniversary because we got married on Lag BaOmer.  On Lag BaOmer, we are usually at someone else’s wedding, which is okay because it’s a nice way to relive our wedding on our exact anniversary without having to pay for the expenses of a band, flowers, and catering for a crowd. It’s a big celebration, often with many of our friends and/or family in attendance, with someone else footing the bill.  Not bad at all. But this year, in a rare occurrence, we weren’t invited to a wedding.