The Ladermans Come to Visit

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I got back to Tzfat very late Wednesday night, but not too late to say good night to Seth and Rachel, who were still at my house but were leaving the next morning. On Thursday morning, I met up with the Laderman family and started them on a highly accelerated tour of the town before taking them to hike down in the wadi. I walked them through the Artists' Colony, past Becca and Avraham's house, and through the alley in the Old City that's filled with vendors of multifarious art objects. Sara Malka's eye was caught by the promise of weaving at the Canaan Gallery located just a little before my house, and so we stopped in to check out the looms. The kids, Efraim and Shoshanna, occupied themselves with ogling the nifty collection of elegant metalwork in the gallery while Jacob and Sara Malka talked shop with the weavers. I practiced my highly inept flirting skills on Uri (the sweet Israeli I'd gotten to know on Rosh Hashanna) who was working there.

Eventually, we got ourselves past the town and onto the hiking part of the visit. As we trooped down the hill, Jacob was impressed by the prodigious amount of fennel growing wild among the thorny brush. As we got toward the bottom of the hill and beginning of the descent into the wadi, we encountered some rocky terrain that was moderately difficult for Sara Malka to climb down, but she pressed on valiantly. I knew exactly what to expect, but it's difficult for me to remember that most people can't carelessly bounce down stony slopes the way I do. It didn't take long for me to be compared to a goat again. We passed a couple groups of chassidim hiking the trail from Meron to Tzfat before reaching the creek at which the wadi terminates, where we cooled our heels for a bit before turning back to return the way we came. But halfway up the wadi we realized that the parking permit the Ladermans had bought for the lot where they'd parked their rental car was expiring and so they were in danger of a fine or worse. To spare them such a fate, I volunteered to rush over there by way of the shortcuts I knew and renew their parking permit. The main shortcut consisted of scaling straight up the side of the ravine instead of following the gentler slope that the official trail followed. I foolishly wasted a lot of energy sprinting my way up out of the wadi, so I was quite overheated and out of breath by the time I made it to the car, but I was lucky enough to be able to buy a pouch of chocolate milk from a nearby grocery to refresh myself.

A cell phone call revealed that the family was still going to be a while before they got back to town, so I headed home and met them a little later at the Caanan Gallery where Sara Malka and Jacob were getting treated to a demonstration of how the looms were threaded with warps. As I had to get to work, I took made my farewells and let them enjoy the rest of the day on their own.