Suzhou, China, 22-24 September

img_9577Dear Blog Followers,

We had a delightful beginning of Sukkoth. First, pre-Succoth, we celebrated grandson Daniel’s 2nd birthday in a Tel Aviv park on Shabbat. Pre-hag, Daniel spent the day with us, and granddaughters Abigail and Eliana joined us for a few hours in the morning, which included a walk to the local playground, and a making Sukkah decoration session. Last night, Erev Hag, all of the Israeli-based kids and grandkids celebrated Sukkoth in our Sukkah. Today, Edie and I had an interesting bike ride, on the section of road 531 which is not yet open, which will connect Derech Yerushalayim with the Ayalon Highway.

The blog link below is the last installment of our visit to Suzhou. One more installment, on Xian and our return trip via Korea, will follow later.

All the best….

Ray and Edie



Suzhou, China 17-21 September 2016


Dear Blog Readers,

Yom Kippur passed much more comfortably than last year, thanks to having air conditioning installed and working in our new synagogue building. We were encouraged to see that many inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhood attended our services, and so we hope this will be a good omen for the growth of our congregation.

We utilized the time after our break-the-fast to do some light editing of two (out of three) blog chapters, both set in Suzhou, China’s “city of gardens”. Download the pdf files via the links below. (It OK (1) to just look at the pictures and skip the text, and (2) to delete the file after you read it. There will not be an exam!)

Happy reading!

Ray and Edie




July-August 2015: Chicago-London (Ontario)-Niagra Falls-Boston-Maine-CT-NJ

Dear Family and Friends,

We are nearing the end of our sojourn in the USA, so here is a quick update. We stayed in Chicago until 17 July, living the last few weeks with Lilly and Nir. We exploited this time to finish the 1st draft of our text book, “Communicating Science” and send proposals to publishers. So far 3 have responded positively, and we are expecting their formal offers next week. And we toured quite a bit around Chicago (even buying ‘city passes’). Below are some photos in Chicago’s Garfield conservatory.




Edie also gave a bread baking seminar for Lilly and Smadar.


We visited Chicago’s Museum of Science and Technology, the Field Museum (Natural History -surprisingly interesting for collection on native Americans),  and took the elevator to the 103rd floor of the Sear’s Tower (see the view facing south on the left below). And we visited the Chicago Food Fest. Nir conducted us on tours of potential ‘flip properties’ in his current role as a real state mogul. Maybe the properties below on the right will be his next venture?



In the midst of this period Edie had a reunion in South Bend with a few of her colleagues who served together on the La Leche League Board of Directors in the 90’s. In the pic below they are still sober.


We also visited Ernest Hemingway’s boyhood home in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, a few minutes walk from the Wright home and studio which we visited last year. Below is the nearby Hemingway Museum,  situated in a former Christian Science church.


Finally on 27 July we said goodbye to Chicago, and headed East. We had a long lunchtime stop in Marshall, MI. The town is named after the Supreme Court Justice, and proposed itself to be the capital of Michigan – the proposal lost in the legislature by 1 vote, and the gubernatorial mansion built in anticipation of success was never used for this purpose. But the town has very nicely preserved its historic past without becoming kitchy, and proved to be a very pleasant stop. Below is the fountain in the entrance to the town.


We traversed Michigan, and crossed into Ontario, Canada, where we stopped at London to visit our friends Bill and Randy Fisher, who had several sabbatical leaves in Israel, and have an apartment in Herzliya.

From London we drove to Niagara Village for lunch, and then along the Niagara River to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, for some spectacular views. Only a few hundred meters from the falls is a very underpopulated natural reserve, which provided a pleasant retreat from the crowds.






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We then drove to the Finger Lake region of New York State, for an overnight at a B&B, and the next day to Lenox MA for another overnight, and a string quartet concert at Tanglewood. The following day Ray visited his colleague Vadim Yakovlev and gave a seminar at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Then we drove into Boston, had dinner with another of Edie’s LLL colleagues, Judith and Jack Elder, and finally arrived in W. Roxbury to Mark and Roxanne Horenstein for a visit of a few days. We exploited our time in Boston to canoe with Mark and Roxanne on the Charles River, visit the Gardener Museum in Boston, and have a fantastic sesame waffle breakfast (prepared by Jim) with our friends Sara and Jim Feldman in Newton.

Then, it was on to Ogunquit on the Maine Coast, to visit Edie’s cousins, Charles,  Carol, and Lilly Fayerweather at their rented cabin in a lovely family style complex out of the 1950s. The cabin is sited on a tidal river, which separates them from a beach on the Atlantic coast. We enjoyed playing with their toys (kayaks and SUP’s), walking along the coast, and wading (at low tide) or swimming (at high tide) the tidal river to the beach. See the pics below:






From Maine we drove to Connecticut, first to Jim and Cynthia Vibert in Cheshire, near New Haven. Cynthia is a high school friend of Edie. Last year even though we were in the area for nearly 2 months, we didn’t have the chance to try famous New Haven Pizza — with Jim and Cynthia we rectified this deficiency, at an authentic joint in the Little Italy section.

We then drove to nearby Waterbury, to visit Edie’s cousins, Ernie and May Philips. Edie took Ray to visit the homes of Mark Twain and Emily Beecher Stowe in Hartford. Together with Hemingway in Chicago, this has proved to be quite a literary trip! And together with Ernie and May, we rode bikes along the northern portion of the Farmington Valley Rail Trail. Edie and Ray rode from Simsbury CT to Southwick MA and back. A year ago in New Haven we did most of the southern section of the travel. We’re leaving the remainder of the northern section, around Farmington for another trip.


From CT we drove to Ray’s sister Marlene in Sea Isle City, NJ. Typically we play tennis every morning at 0700, have a great brunch provided by Marlene, and spend the heat of the day in the library, where we are preparing this blog. The library is at the edge of the wetlands on the bay side of Sea Isle, and the 2nd floor veranda provides a nice view of Osprey perches and nests:


Late afternoon is usually time on the beach. Marlene’s friends Charley and Bob have shared dinner with us, and provide good stories and political debates. We all miss Don Selina, this was one of his favorite places and some of his (many) favorite people.

We look forward to a family visit in Ventnor on Sunday, and then a visit with Ray’s niece Gail on Monday, and finally our flight home from Philadelphia on Tuesday.  We’re looking forward to being home and hope for a year of minimal foreign travel.



Ray and Edie