January 23/24 – Community Service & Babylonian Museum & Friday in Tel Aviv

Mark at Giborie Yisrael Elementary School

Thursday afternoon, after community service,  we went to the Babylonian Museum….really the museum of Iraqi Culture…in a small community near Ben Gurion Airport.

Group entering Babylonian Museum
I had visited it before and thought it was a hidden gem.  It has changed so much since I was there 5 years ago….probably due to large donations of money from Iraqui Jews now spread over the world. 
The building…inside and out has been completely renovated and there is much more info and displays of Iraqi cultural items from around the world, especially from Shanghai and India….which have large communities of Iraqi Jews….who were probably more comfortable in places where the Jewish people practiced Sephardic customs. 
The part I especially loved last time….the dioramas depicting how Jews in Iraq celebrated the holidays….Sephardic with a bit of Muslim influence…was still there, well integrated into the expanded exhibits, as was the recreation of the bima from the great temple in Bagdad.  The museum is still charming, but I ‘kinda’ liked it better when it was less polished. 
One special part of our visit was the story our guide told us about  her family’s departure from Iraq some 16 year ago….taking one suitcase for six people and leaving all else behind in an effort to escape the persecution of Jewish people…..
Yesterday, Friday, was a lazy day……especially beautiful and very warm.  After walking through the Arts and Crafts Fair and the Shuk (very big market)which is crowded and noisy on Fridays….their busy day, I came back to the hotel and debated between going to the beach or sitting on my mechpeset (little balcony) and reading.  I saw lots of people at the beach and several in the water, too….although the part of the sea that I observe from my balcony has no lifeguard and does not permit swimming.  Well, I opted for the ease of sitting on the balcony….as I had already walked about 3 miles…..so I read until I got tired, took a nap and then read a bit more…..it was heavenly….as I was in the sun, warm and cozy and just breathing in as much of this Israeli air as possible.

Looking forward to Israeli dancing on the Tayelet on Saturday. 
Shabbat Shalom,




The Canadian American Active Retirees in Israel, CAARI, offers active seniors a unique opportunity to experience Israel. The program is designed to explore the biblical landscapes, follow the footsteps of the early pioneers, and envision the future of our Homeland. The CAARI Program includes community service, toursa speakers forum and the camaraderie of the CAARI Family. The Program is designed for to feel, touch, hear and see Israel from the mountains to the desert, from sea to sea, and from ancient to modern.

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