Tuesday, September 19, 2017

ALEH Adults Update.

This is an update on my post: ALEH All People No Limits. Many friends and readers wanted to know what the children of ALEH do when they become adults. The website and videos all talk about the children and there is no mention of what happens later. So I contacted ALEH and received this welcome and heartwarming reply from Elie Klein, on behalf of ALEH's Communications Department.(I bolded the important bit.)

Our firm serves as an extension of ALEH's communications department.  Dov Hirth from ALEH saw your inquiry and requested that I respond.

I want to begin by letting you know how much we all love and appreciate your blog post.  We are so happy to hear that you were so touched by the presentations at the ALEH Jerusalem Ladies Committee gala, and we are so grateful that you chose to share that experience with your readers.  ALEH really is a special place, and we would be happy to take you on a tour.

Regarding your questions,  ALEH provides a continuum of loving care for individuals with disabilities, a framework for life – from infancy and childhood through adulthood.  Some of the children you saw in the video are not actually children – they are young men and women in their teens, 20s and even 30s.  While some ALEH residents move from our Jerusalem residence to our rehabilitative village in the Negev once they have reached adulthood (some prefer the predominantly adult community there), most of our residents remain in the ALEH centers where they are raised.  After all, it's HOME! ;-)

Again, it's one thing to talk about ALEH but experiencing it is something else entirely.  We would love to host you at any one of our four residential facilities.  Just say when.

All the best & Shana Tova,

A good answer, right? 
If you would like to donate to ALEH please visit the ALEH website.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Style And The Individual: When To Turn A Blind Eye

A while ago I went to an office that was situated in a roof extension. The ceiling was the sloping roof of the building and the windows were sloping skylights. They were tall windows with the tops stretching up and inwards to be above almost the centre of the room but near enough to the bottom of the slope so you could see the wonderful view over rooftops to the mountains beyond. It was really quite stunning. And the office itself was pristine, with clean lines and fresh white paint.

However, this bright, new, efficient space was 'finished' in a most bizarre way. Some budding interior designer (not) had put curtain rods along the tops of the windows and draped beautiful turquoise curtains framing each side of each of the two windows. Except of course, the curtains didn't frame the windows at all. They hung straight down into the middle of the room.

The two female secretaries had tied a knot into each curtain so that they didn't have them in their faces all the time. And the sun beat down into the room, casting eerie shadows like hangmans' nooses on the walls obscured by the knotted curtains.

I tried not to laugh but I couldn't help it. They told me I wasn't the first to be amused. The plan, or I should say the revised plan, was to put another rail at the bottom of each window to hold the curtains in place. But they needed to order new curtains with hems or ringed holes for the curtain rods on the bottom as well as the top.

"They make blinds for these sort of windows you know," I told them. I offered to show them and we spent a few minutes browsing Velux Blinds on the computer with the lid of a cardboard box taped over the monitor to block out the direct sunlight. We even found blinds in turquoise.

Years ago a friend told me that when planning your space, have the finished room in mind. That way you can make small changes as and when you have the resources, but you are always working towards your vision of how it will look in the end. If you don't do this, you'll waste money making changes to patch up what you have rather than towards the desired end.

My new friends in the dazzling office (pun intended) weren't ready to embrace the full uncluttered effect of crisp new blinds made to measure. They wanted curtains. I noticed they had crocheted doilies under the potted plants and I let the matter rest.

This is a collaborative post.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Snippets

Shut the Box
Persevering. Sunday Snippets is an invention of Jax Blunt on her blog Making It Up. I've done it before but it never became a habit. This month Jax set herself a challenge to blog all 30 days of September. I decided to join her but missed a week of days in the chaos and exhaustion of going back to school. I've not given up though and I'm still aiming to blog as much as I can this month.

Realizing that despite the heatwave of last week, this weekend the summer really did end. I had to wait all day to do laundry while the previous washes dried on the line. During the summer the washing took 2 - 3 hours to dry. I could have done laundry all day if I had enough things to wash or if I felt like I needed clean sheets and towels every day - which I don't obviously.

Wondering how this happened: I spent the summer decluttering and organizing my house only to find that two weeks into the new school year, we are once again living in an enormous mess. Luckily we have a few more holidays over the next few weeks because of the Jewish Festivals. God always gives you a second chance.

Discovering a design fault. We have this game called Shut the Box, which a friend sent for DD last Chanuka. I admit that we've not played it that much but we  never noticed the error - or possibly an intended quirk? (I don't think so.) DD just showed me. How did we not see this before? Did you spot it?

Enjoying the cooler weather. It seems like nothing to you but, believe me, we suffered this week - possibly more than during the whole of July/August which was bad enough.

Saving money by going back to my regular supermarket instead of shopping at the expensive boutique supermarket around the corner. My regular super is a ten minute walk away (downhill) and a 20 minute crawl back up the hill with a heavy trolley (yes I  have shopping-trolley, don't judge). I just could not do that trip in the heat. I could have taken taxis of course but the cost of the taxis was about the same a the savings so I didn't bother.

Sleeping well. DD has finally gone back to sleeping in her own bed after about two years of sleeping with me. We used to share a room in the winter to save on heating two bedrooms, and then separate in the spring, summer and autumn. But for the last couple of years she's not made the move back. I didn't mind too much but recently I noticed that I keep being woken in the night by stray elbows, knees and feet encroaching onto my side of the bed. It was probably always like this but only now it started to bother me. Well DD is bigger and I'm menopausal - nuff said.

Compromising by sharing the family bed on Friday nights when we don't have to get up in the morning. DD: "People say Shabbat is the best day, but it's not, it's Friday!"

Relaxing in our pyjamas the whole of Shabbat. DD wakes up on Shabbat morning with two question. Are we going anywhere today? Is anyone coming? She loves it when the answers are no and no as it was yesterday.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Happy Birthday To A Regular And Loyal Reader

Happy Birthday to Margie from Toronto!


I hope you have a lovely day.
 I wish you a wonderful year full of health, happiness and success in everything you do.

With lots of love from Jerusalem and many thanks for all your comments on this blog. We've never met but I regard you as a friend. Your regular feedback is gratefully  received. And I love the insights you share about your own life in Toronto (and Scotland 😊). 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Location Location Location - R2BC

Location location location (I'm top right). 

It's that time of the week again. Here are my Reasons 2B Cheerful this week. As usual I've joined the linky being hosted during September by Michelle from Mummy From The Heart.

The highlight of this week was obviously the ALEH event. A wonderful evening organised by wonderful people for an amazing organisation.

Diary of a Millenium Baby
DD has started writing a daily diary - in English. It's something she started off her own bat with no suggestion from me. Today she decided to start writing in cursive, after reading Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary. Who says that books don't influence children. She kept coming to me with requests for various letters in cursive. I'm impressed and proud of her passion for writing. Yesterday she said she might like to write a blog - but not include the secret things. Of course not include the secret things.

Locker Luck
I finally have a locker to be proud of in the teachers' room at my school. For two years I was the locker in the corner at floor level in the smaller block of lockers. I tried swapping the stickers around a couple of time so that I got a seemingly unoccupied locker but the owner always reappeared and swapped us back. Then, the other day someone pointed out that a teacher had left and her locker in the bigger lockers block was empty. I wasted no time moving in.

Finally, room for my teabags and private mug. Room to store notebooks for marking, textbooks, papers, anything I need for working during breaks and free periods without having to retrieve my stuff from a dusty stockroom in the furthest bomb shelter - which is where I had been keeping things for lack of any other solution.

I have to mention that I'm on the same row as the Deputy Head. Just four doors down in fact - she has locker 1 and I'm at number 4. You could call it a penthouse, although it's the same size as all the other lockers in the block -  no balcony or anything. I'm wondering now if I have building rights on the roof.

The Learning Lab
DD has been invited to attend the Learning Lab at school. It's twice a week from 2.20 when school ends, till 5pm. It's very similar to the afternoon programme she already goes to but with more emphasis on work. They help them with homework and to prepare for school tests, concentrating on Hebrew, Maths, and English. Obviously we don't need the English but the other subjects are very welcome.

That's all for this week folks with best wishes to everyone for many Reasons 2B Cheerful over the coming week.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

ALEH: All People No Limits

Before most of the guests arrived, Rubbish Photographer strikes again
This post wasn't supposed to be about ALEH. It was supposed to be about how my lovely friend Sally-Ann invited me to a charity dinner organised by the committee she's on.

Before I got there I couldn't even remember which charity it was in aid of.

This post was supposed to be about arranging for DD to stay overnight with a friend, getting all dressed up for a mid-week dinner at the King David Hotel (very pish-posh), meeting lots of people I know there (I think I've explained about the Anglo community in Jerusalem before - we're mostly all friends or friends of friends), a fabulous buffet supper (ok, turns out it wasn't a dinner), amazing entertainment by Nimrod Harel (Master Mentalist - OMG he was incredible!) and basically a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Then I came face to face with ALEH. I knew about ALEH of course, like you know about loads of prominent charities - RNLI, RSPCC, RSPCA, Oxfam, etc.... ALEH.

Thirty-five years ago a group of families in the centre of the country (that means near Tel Aviv) who each had a severely disabled child, clubbed together to rent an apartment, hired a special education teacher, and amassed a group of volunteers to help give their children the quality of life they deserved, but that is so hard to provide and sustain at home on your own.

This was the beginning of ALEH. Today ALEH has four campuses around the country providing medical care, rehabilitation facilities, education, and above all, a warm and safe home in which each child can reach his or her full potential. Today over 700 children are under the loving care of ALEH.

On Monday night we heard from Shirat Malach whose 18 year old son, Tuvia, has lived at ALEH for the past 15 years, since he was four years old. One poignant memory she shared was about Tuvia's eighteenth birthday. The family discussed how they should celebrate but in the end didn't run with any of the ideas. Shirat said that on the morning of Tuvia's birthday she couldn't get out of bed. She couldn't bring herself to paint on a smile and pretend that everything was wonderful. The family stayed home and did nothing. However, in the evening they were sent photos of Tuvia enjoying a lively birthday party at ALEH, surrounded by his  friends and carers. "They did what we could not do at that moment," Shirat told us. There were few dry eyes in the room.

We saw this video about ALEH:

I spent much of the evening thinking of my blogging friend Candi in Dublin, and wishing that her family and all families who need such a wonderful organization, could have an ALEH.

Thank you Sally-Ann and Tony for inviting me. It was a memorable evening and so important for the continuation of a vital service, saving children and their families from desperate situations.

If you would like to donate to ALEH please visit the ALEH website.

Click on the photos below to enlarge them and read about some of the ALEH family in Israel.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday Tidbits #47 - Didn't I Not?

DD: How do you spell moven?
Me: Moven?
DD: Yes, my friend has moven to another table.

DD: My new class teacher keeps telling us we are all one family, and she even has a  big sign up saying, 'Welcome to the class 4"1 Family'.
Me: That's nice.
DD: No it isn't. It's creepy. Every time she says it I think of a wicked witch saying it in a screechy voice. It's like she's trying to make us believe we're something that we're not. Creeeepeeeee.

We've been watching some reality tv on You Tube with Gail Vaz Oxlade helping people get out of debt (Till Debt Us Do Part and Money Morons). DD got hooked on it. So we were out shopping for school supplies last week...

Me: Ooh look, bed linens on sale. I just want to see the sheets.
DD: Remember, we're only buying needs, not wants.

Sometimes the lack of an English environment shows in DD's language. She's developed her own tag question convention that makes her sound like a character from Jane Austen.

I drew that unicorn quite well, didn't I not?
I'll soon be able able to cook my own supper, won't I not?
When I'm 9 I'll be walking to school on my own, will I not?
I can stay here while you pop down to the shop, can I not?

DD slept over at my friend's house last night. She woke up at 2 am crying and she said she wanted to go home. My friend's ever practical 6yo son turned to his mother and suggested, "you can call a taxi for her."