Wine & Cheese and The Mentalist

17 03 2013

Last night (3/16) the Ariel Anglo community was invited to a special performance by Yona Schnitzer, the Mentalist. The show was held in the newly renovated, formerly known as the internet Cafe room, in the Matnas. Prior to the show there was a nice selection of wine and cheeses, with fresh baguettes and some nosh. After a bit of socializing it was time for our minds to be blown.

The show did not disappoint, The Mentalist had a steady stream of volunteers come up and he was able to guess, or read our minds, to determine which card we looked at. He went all “Inception” on one person and implanted a specific card in her mind, and when she revealed the card, he took out a closed box of cards, and sure enough that card was flipped around.

Here are videos of two tricks that I volunteered for.

One of the cooler tricks was he had 3 volunteers, one wrote the name of a childhood friend, one thought of a vacation destination, and the third drew a doodle. All three put a slip of paper with their answers in a sealed envelope, and somehow the Mentalist got them all right.

It seemed like everyone who attended had a great time, and much time was spent afterward trying to break down the tricks and figure out how he did it.

After the show a group of us kept the party going by heading over to CheckPoint, a local kosher bar in Ariel. While we were there someone who works at the bar came over to our table and wowed us with some insane card tricks.  All in all it was  a great night. Many thank to Reuven Franks for setting everything up, and all those who helped out.

Baseball in Ariel?

24 07 2012

Before we made Aliyah, we would take the kids to Tiger baseball games. My oldest, who was 4 when we moved, really enjoyed going to the ballpark and was able to sit through an entire game. Fast forward about 4 years, and he is still really into baseball. Every morning he asks me who won the Tigers game. He is always asking me to either play catch with him, or pitch to him. And now that the kids are on summer vacation, when the Tigers play a day game, I’ll let them stay up and watch a few innings.

I kind of feel bad for him, because other than me, at least in Ariel, he has no other real outlet for his love of baseball. He has cousins from Modiin who are also really into baseball, and play Israeli Little League. His oldest cousin is currently playing in a tournament in the States with the National Israeli Youth Team.

I’ve recently started thinking about what options we have in Ariel. One option is to take him to Karnei Shomron, it’s a yishuv about 20 minutes from Ariel – that has a little league. There are a few downsides to that plan:

  1. That would be his only Chug (after school event), and it wouldn’t be with his local friends,
  2. Shlepping back and forth to Karnei Shomron would probably be a pain for my wifeJ

I was discussing this with a friend of mine here, and he suggested that I start a local Chug, It wouldn’t be a Little League more of a “learn how to play baseball”. There are several issues with this option:

  1. I don’t know how to teach baseball
  2. I don’t have gloves, bats and balls.
  3. There isn’t a good flat area that we can play on.

So that is the (lack of) Ariel Baseball situation I’m curious to see how this all plays out over the next year or two. Ideally more American kids (and their families) they don’t even have to be American, just an interest in baseball, will move into Ariel and we can get a team started here, and join the Israeli Little League circuit.

Fun on a Friday Morning – Ariel Leadership Development Park

2 07 2012
The group is ready to take on The Odyssey

We were ready to take on The Odyssey

This past Friday a group of guys from Ariel celebrated the last day our kids are in school and Gan by going to the Ariel Leadership Development Park (פארק אתגרים) for a guys day out.

The Odyssey - Ariel Leadership Park

The Odyssey

The Park is designed for groups, usually work groups or families, to learn to work together, rely on each other and basically to bond as a group. It looks like a jungle gym for adults.

There are many different structures and things to do at the LDP, our group braved The Odyssey, I’m guessing it’s around 50 feet off the ground, there are two levels – the upper level, and then the really high level. We were divided into 2 groups of six. The group I was in went up to the really high level.

The Rope Ladder, going up the The Odyssey

It begins

Our journey started on a simple rope ladder; once we reached the top of the Odyssey we had our “Lobster Claws,” or safety belts, strapped to cables above our heads.  Our guide, Shlomo, explained the rules to us. We had to get to next platform, which was 20 feet or so in front of us, walking on a cable wire. There were 3 lanes which we could walk on, and three rows of cables above us, each row having 2 people connected it by their safety belt. In front of us were 7 wooden beams hanging from a cable, our entire team had to grab a hold of the beam before we could move on.  There was nothing to hold onto for balance, except our friends, and the wooden beams (once we reached them). There was nothing

Taking the fiorst step, The odyssey, Ariel

Nothing was more terrifying than that first step onto the ropes

more terrifying than taking that first step off the nice solid platform, onto the wobbly cable wire, with no safety net underneath. We discussed our plan of action, figured out how we would maneuver, remember, since we were attached to different rows of cables, it’s not like we could just go from cable to cable, every step had to be coordinated with the other guys.

After we managed to get to the other side Shlomo presented us with out next challenge, once again we had to cross another 20-30 feet of cable wire, this time we were set up so that there were 3 people on each side, and 2 ropes coming down from the cable, through a pulley. Each side had to hold onto a piece of the rope, manage to get across. The trick here was there were several knots in the ropes, Shlomo said that if one of the knots touches the base of the pulley he’d knock everybody down, so we had to manage how hard we pulled on the ropes, and keep a level balance.  The closer we got to the end, the farther apart our two sides got, and we had to adjust our walking strategy on the fly. Again, we survived and passed the course with flying colors.

Step 1 Grab the beams - The odyssey

The first two guys reach the wooden beams

The third section was a little easier, all 6 of us sat on a bench and had to pull the bench, buy grabbing ropes and get to the other side. At first it was a breeze, but towards the end, the bench got stuck, and we had to readjust our weight, I was elected to stand up, move to the back of the bench and crouch down over the rope while pulling it, as if I was water skiing. I did as I was told, the bench flew forward and I fell backwards. It was not a comfortable fall, but boy was I glad that the harness held!

A view from the top of The Odyysey

A peek at what the other group was doing

The fourth and final level on The Odyssey was to again cross about 10-30 feet, but this time we had to stand on a platform maybe 1 square foot.

All set to go on the Odyssey

You see those little squares way up in the sky, we had to balance 6 people on each square

To be clear, I mean that all 6 of us had to stand on this wobbly little platform without falling. Once everyone got on the platform, we had to, one at a time, get to the next platform, and maneuver around so everyone can get on. Again, the closer we got to the end, the more wobbly the platforms became. Twice, most of the group fell while we were trying to move around on the platform so the next guy could get on. The rule was you couldn’t walk on the cables like in previous challenges; you had to basically stretch your leg as far as possible and with the help of the other guys, get onto the platform.

Getting off The Odyysey required a zip line

Taking a zip-line off The Odyssey

When we were done with that, we got to go down with a zip line which was cool.

The last activity we did was the swing. Here we got strapped to a harness again, and the other guys pulled a rope, which raised the swinger in the air. When the swinger was as high as he wanted, he yelled stop, the rope team stopped pulling and the swinger let go off a rope he was holding that kept

Swinging at Ariel Leadership Park


him up, and basically sent him into a free fall and he started swinging around. It was very cool.



To look at the full photo album click here

Here are some video we were able to take

Here is a video of Yitzie getting off the Odyssey on the Omega

Here is Shauli going up (and down) on the swing.

Meet Some Anglos of Ariel

12 06 2012

David Kilimnick, from the Off the Wall Comedy Empire in Jerusalem came out to Ariel one night and had us all rolling. After the show, a few of our Anglo families introduced themselves and told us where they came from and how they came to Ariel

The Zacks’ make Aliyah

12 06 2012

Watch as the Zacks’ make aliyah to Ariel, this video starts with their pilot trip, and follows them through several milestones: Landing in Israel, meeting the Mayor of Ariel – Mr Ron Nachman, their first local elections,, and the birth of their daughter. It’s a nice story of a successful Aliyah

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