Wedding of Miriam and Zev


Northern District

State of Israel

October 29, 2012

Larry Benowitz

Boston, Massachusetts.


Dear Larry,

cc: Friends and Family

Thank you so much for inviting me to your daughter’s wedding.  I am sure that you and Brooke and all of your family are delighted that your daughter Miriam has chosen Zev Padway to be her husband.

I was happy to make a slight detour in my travels in the Caucasus and fly from Tbilisi, Georgia to Tel Aviv.  I rented a car for the beautiful drive north past Haifa and then east to Tzfat.  What could be more inspiring than the farmlands on the open plains and on the rolling hills of the Galilee?

Tel Aviv and Jaffa

Tel Aviv


June 13, 2007

Dear Family and Friends,
Boker tov. Good morning. 

I just finished a tasty Israeli salad and a satisfactory cup of coffee at an outdoor café on the campus of Tel Aviv University.

The University sits on a hillside, and from the cafe I have a fine sunny view of the suburbs. In the distance I count at least four tall construction booms swaying back and forth over this busy city that seems to be growing in all directions.

I am shocked at what I see here at the University. But in a good way. Despite the fact that too many of the kids are smokers, there is not one cigarette butt anywhere. The students are neatly dressed and attractive. There are no scruffy outfits or torn jeans or gatkes hanging out. The lawns are green and smooth. The trees are pruned. There is not a paper bag or plastic cup rolling around. Not one poster or handbill is pasted on any wall or lamppost. No graffiti defaces any building. This campus is a clean and beautiful parkland.

Binyamina to Rosh Hanikra: "Mishpocha"


June 21, 2007

Erev tov,

"It's coffee time," Moshe announces with a smile. I know what's coming. I smile too.

Every afternoon at exactly 5:00 pm, Moshe and I sit at the kitchen table. Miryam serves a tall glass of iced coffee. The dark coffee is topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

"Coffee time" is our time to relax and chat and to reminisce and compare notes about our family.


Binyamina: "Life is What Happens ..."

Bangkok Friday

April 18, 2008


Dear Family and Friends,

As the poet said,

"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans."

To keep a short story short, I flew to Israel and along the way I picked up some sort of "bug." I struggled to maintain my strength but after almost two weeks of feeling weak and tired, I decided to return to Bangkok. I saw a doctor here and nothing seems abnormal. At the moment I am slowly recovering. I will go for more tests in a day or two if I don't feel 100%.

Naturally I am disappointed. I expected to do some traveling in Israel. I was also considering a side trip to Cyprus. The biggest disappointment is that I will not be with my Israeli family for the Passover Festival.

My Israeli family has adopted me as their new son, welcome cousin and close friend. Even though we only met for the first time last June, I am now a member of a generous and energetic family. At its head are Miryam and Moshe Lauer who emigrated from Germany as very young children more than seventy years ago. They have three adult children and eight teenage-young adult grandchildren. *

Miryam and Moshe prepared my comfortable room in their large home in Binyamina, a town halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Miryam's delicious German/Israeli style cooking added at least three centimeters to my waistline. And despite my illness, we managed to see several sights in northern Israel.

Places I Missed the First Time

Places I Missed the First Time

Bangkok, Thailand
4 October 2009

Dear Friends,

When I visited Egypt two years ago, I missed Aswan and Abu Simbel.

When I visited Turkey seven years ago, I missed the Aegean Coast, the Mediterranean Coast, and Southeastern Anatolia.

When I visited Israel last year I missed The Negev and Masada.

So for my next adventure, I decided to see some of the places I missed.