Monday, May 6, 2013

Shabbat in Givat Ze'ev with the Ever Family

I was about to go into "panic mode" having missed the last Friday afternoon bus from Jerusalem to Givat Ze'ev when Gad Ever, one of my closest friends, called to inform me he was still in the Jerusalem area and would pick me up from the Central Bus station and take me to the West Bank settlement where his parents moved about five years ago.

As Gad and I traversed highway 443 which connects Givat Zeev with Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, we watched the sun dipping beyond the hills to the East. Shabbat was approaching. Soon, public transportation in Israel would shut down, and people around the country would put away their mobile devices in preparation for the Sabbath, the national day of rest.

Givat Ze'ev is a thriving settlement just northwest of Jerusalem. It's named after Ze'ev Vladimir Zhabotinsky, perhaps the single greatest Jewish leader of the 20th century. The population of Givat Ze'ev numbers about 11,200. Most of these are young families. The flourishing municipality has continued expanding under Binyamin Netanyahu's government.

Having said a brief "Hello" to Gad's mom, I took the next half an hour to take some pictures of the serene countryside. I imagined how much my parents would perhaps enjoy living here one day. I imagined this Judean town growing into a sprawling city. "One day," I thought, " will be possible."

Shabbat at the Ever's was a refreshing experience. Gad's parents came to Israel from Yemen as little kids. His dad fought in the Sinai Campaign of 1956 and the Six Day War of 1967. The Ever kids all served in the army--the boys along with the girls. It's a family that's time and time again risked their lives for the future of the Jewish people. A majority of families in Givat Ze'ev are exactly the same.

His parents recounted stories about the past, and of course, his mom treated me to the finest Yemenite delicacies. As Shabbat came to an end and I was all packed and ready to go, she shoved a bag full of food into my hands.

"Here, you'll enjoy these!" She was thanking me for helping explain her something on Facebook. No good deed goes for naught in the Ever household because this is how they were raised, and this is how their parents and grandparents were raised. Israel is a country of many unfamiliar faces; many different colors and brands. It takes time to learn to appreciate them equally. For me, it's been a journey; one I wouldn't ever think of doing any other way.

As the new week begins in Israel, we welcome fresh opportunities. There are problems on the horizon in Syria and Iran, but Israel will handle these in due time. Meanwhile, people are getting married, communities are being built, and Israel continues to grow. No one really buys too much into the troubles those on the outside are predicting for our tiny state. You won't hear a word of complaint from Gad or his parents at least.

As Givat Ze'ev continues to grow, so does the rest of Israel. Now is the time to take the bull by the horns, and continue building in Judea and Samaria. I wish all of you a shavua tov, a good week from an area in Jerusalem which the world considers part of a future "Palestinian" state. May it, too, continue to grow.


  1. Nice blog Eitan. I am glad you found me and I will link to you too!

  2. This post has been including in Shiloh Musings: Jewish Blog Round Up, Let's Link Up Together.  If you haven't read my  "roundup" yet, then please click, check out the other links, comment and share, thanks.

  3. Hi Batya: thanks so much for including my post in your roundup! I'll check it out right away. Shavua tov u'mvorach!

  4. Heya West Bank Mama!

    Thanks so much! I loooove your blog. I've been following u for years. Shavua tovvvvv!

  5. think you're so Frum. Some Yidden are Frum, but the ones that consider themselves Erlich, Erliche Yidden, not all of you are Frum. Maybe you keep Shabbos the way you're supposed to, that’s also not so sure. Maybe you keep Kosher the way you're supposed to, that’s also not absolute. But you're not Frum, you think you're Frum, but you're not. I'm not speaking to those that are really trying hard to go back to the Emes. Go back to the way it once was in Europe, and in the lands of the Arabs where Jews were very ostracized and they had their own Kehillas not with any influence of the Goyim. And the Yidden in Europe that lived in the Shtettels and that held on to their Rebbes, to the Rabbonim who were greats, were giants, I'm not talking about them. They're almost extinct today. I'm talking about the regular Yid, the average Yid, the average Yid is what's going to save Am Yisroel, because he's never been average. He's always been much bigger than average, much greater than average. Because a Yid anyway is greater than any other type of human being. This is why Edom is so jealous of Yaakov, why Esav could never make peace with Yaakov.

    But now my dear Yidden my fellow Yidden, please, please listen again to me. You're going to see even more tragedies than we've seen this week. Irrational unfathomable things have happened and will happen in the future, Hashem Yishmor. Thousands of people, tens of thousands, millions of people have had professionals come to their homes to pesticide the house with all kinds of chemicals in order to get rid of unwanted bugs and rodents. No one died from it. It's never been in any newspaper that anyone ever died from it. How could it be that these children and the parents are so sick from this? How could it be that some of them have already died from this, Hashem Yishmor? How could it be? Years and years people are using gas for heating, for cooking, for whatever you want. Yes here and there we heard of one of those gas canisters blowing up, but nothing much ever happened. How could it be that now a whole family was wiped out after the technician came and checked it and found nothing wrong? How could it be? Obviously all these tragedies that we've been seeing lately, and I only named two, are divinely sent.


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