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Koby and Marianne Tanzer and family


by Marianne Tanzer, written May 24, 2011 , posted June 16, 2011

Editor's note: Former Winnipegger and  graduate of  Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate  Koby Tanzer, (son of Shira Waldman Z"L, nephew of Robbie and Carol Waldman, and a Camp Massad alumni) has recently  made aliya to Israel [from Los Angeles] and  his wife Marianne Tanzer contacted the Winnipeg Jewsh Review (for which we are grateful). Koby graduated JWC in 1991 and stayed on after the class trip to Israel eventually making aliya and serving three years in Tzahal. He left Israel after completion of his army service for a year or two of travel. One year evolved into another, and it wasn't until 15 years later that he returned, with a pregnant wife and three kids in tow. Since completing his studies in Business Economics at UCLA, Koby has spent the last decade as an investment banker with Lehman Brothers and Imperial Capital and continues to work in this field from Israel. His wife Marianne Tanzer began blogging about the family's experiences transitioning into Israeli life.

As an editor, I chose to reprint this piece of hers below because it  rung true as a "slice of life" in Israel--it made me smile thinkijg of my own similar experiences (with  only  two childrne). Marrianne blogs at The Winnipeg Jewish review intends to reprint more of her pieces in the future.

Lag B’Omer: Our Unexpected Journey

By Marianne Tanzer, May 24, 2011

A few days ago it was Lag B’Omer — 33 days after Pesach, marked by bonfires, parades, and carnivals marking the Yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.  Life was a little too hectic for us to make it to a bonfire, so I decided to make an effort to get to the apparent celebrations in the middle of town here in Raanana.  Since I can’t read anything, I relied on hearsay to find out the happenings that day.  I was told to report to a plaza in the center of town (Yad Lebanim) at 4:00 pm for a parade and carnival.  Since Yad Lebanim is just a few blocks from my home, I decided to walk, despite the fact that I was alone and have four younginns who could all use a stroller to some extent.  I decided to push baby Elan and wear Ori on my back, since these were the best options for maneuvering in a crowd.

When we got to Yad Lebanim, we learned that we were actually the parade!  So instead of watching a parade, we were going to be the parade, and walk just a few more blocks up the street to the carnival.  No problem.  “Just a few more blocks, kids!” I cheered them on.  Ori was now running free, refusing to be strapped to my back.  It was hot and the kids were tired given the time of day, but walking home and driving seemed like a lot of effort, too.  We got to the street where the carnival was supposed to be, and again, it was just a few more blocks down the road.  On we marched.  It isn’t that we are just walking.  Keeping everyone going in the right direction, that is the real effort.  I am simultaneously pushing a stroller, trying to keep Ori from running in the street, and making sure neither Shira nor Noa gets too far ahead or behind.  Despite the challenges at hand, I was on a mission to show my kids some fun.  A little walking in the hot sun around my their usual dinnertime wasn’t going to spoil it.

Where was the carnival?  We could hear it.  We could see people walking towards it.  We could not find it.  We finally saw another family disappear down a small sidewalk, towards the entrance.  We got there only to see them walking back towards us.  A conversation between them and the security guard ensued.  He was shaking his head and the entrance appeared to be taped off.  Of course, as usual, I had no idea what anyone was saying.  I heard the words “hafetz hashud” and I was instantly informed.  I know very little Hebrew, but that is one phrase here everyone knows.  A hafetz hashud is a suspicious package.  Whenever a backpack, briefcase or other bag is left alone and apparently ownerless, here, it isn’t taken lightly.  The package is guilty until proven innocent of being something harmful or destructive.

“Can we go to the carnival now?” my kids are asking me.  “Why can’t we go in?”  They’d been licking their lips ever since the girl with the giant cotton candy had walked by a few minutes earlier.  There is a hafetz hashud, I tell them.  I try and explain about the suspicious object.  Aye, how to explain the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to 6 and 4 year olds in the context of their prohibition from entering the carnival?  After doing my best to give a non-scary but informative answer, we turned our attention to the action going on in front of us.  My hot and tired kids were now energized to see the special suits the police were wearing, and the robot that would be doing the dirty work of analyzing the parcel.  Of course, questions begot more questions, and their fascination continued.

It was clear we would not make it into the carnival.  True, another entrance was ostensibly “just a few blocks” away, but we were done.  The only problem was that I was stuck now with 4 tired and hungry kids about 30 minutes walking distance from home.  Fortuitously, Koby is in the good graces of a taxi driver who shuttled him to and from Tel Aviv for some of his consulting work.  I called Effie and reported that we needed his help.  Five minutes later, the cab rolls up and we pile in.  We hop out at our favorite burger restaurant, and think about the twists and turns of our afternoon.  Nothing happened as planned, but we still managed to enjoy the journey.  This must be what aliyah is all about.

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