Postmark: Jerusalem, Israel; August 2
How’s Chi-Town? The girls can’t wait to spend a whole two weeks with you. And I can’t wait to receive the hourly updates about all they’ll be seeing and doing during their upcoming adventure.
Danielle and I also look forward to our daughters returning to our home in Israel with Chicago accents and attitudes. Jerusalem is such a mad, mad mix of people, languages and backgrounds. Two little girls jabbering about “Da Bears,” drinking “pop” (instead of “Coke”) and riding ‘The L” will add a bit more spice to the city’s delightful stew of sounds. Am Yisrael Chai!
Since we haven’t spoken since the last time you visited, I thought I’d properly prepare you for Dina’s and Dalya’s arrival. They’re growing into such strong, confident young ladies. But like any finely tuned machine, they require constant care.
Don’t get me wrong: I have total confidence in your ability to look after our girls. Still, Dina will be entering second grade in the fall and Dalya, the first grade. Our family therapist says these are the crucial years in a child’s development. Danielle and I have invested so much time (and money!) on coaches, counselors, rabbis and dietitians. Don’t you think it would be a shame if all our, I mean “our girls’,” hard work was flushed down the drain in just 14 days?
With that in mind, I’d like to kindly but firmly suggest the following:
One. Danielle and I are so proud that our 6-year-old princess has decided to go off bread. She’s been on the keto diet for six months and is brimming with energy. Since shifting to the cyclical ketogenic diet in particular, Dina has even managed to sleep more quickly. Do you know any other first grader who only needs three hours of shuteye? She’s an inspiration. But to make sure that Dina doesn’t fall back into a high-carb lifestyle, I’ll be sending you a link to her daily nutritional requirements in my follow-up to this email.
Dos. We, unfortunately, won’t be able to complete the screening process of your apartment building’s 247 tenants. Instead of canceling the trip, I think it makes sense to install a few pinhole spy cameras around your apartment, inside your building’s two elevators, the lobby and on the two rooftop fire extinguishers. Even though we won’t be around every second of every day, these fun little gizmos will make it feel like we are. Hugs!
Thirdish. Dalya must not be woken up before noon. The holistic rabbi Danielle and I have been consulting with believes that Ray-Ray’s recent rash of pilfering paper and paints from her classroom (such a scamp!) is being caused by teachers who aren’t encouraging her creativity AND us having to wake her up every single day before noon. Poor thing. I’ve texted the school principal about modifying the class curriculum and hours of operation to accommodate Dalya’s unique needs. I’ll keep you posted.
IV. Bath time can be the most wonderful time of the day. However, both girls have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis and need to be handled with special care. Sweet Sheila, if you only knew how harsh the desert air can be on delicate skin. To prevent any more nasty flare-ups, we no longer use harsh soaps, detergents and other irritants. Danielle heard about an amazing ointment that makes those funky red patches on the hands, feet, ankles, neck and torso disappear. The cream is derived from the Vayambu plant. We order it online from a company based in Kerala, India. I’ll send you a link.
The sixth. As you know, there’s a six-hour time difference between Israel and Chicago. So, it’ll take the girls about six days to get over their jet lag. Danielle and I are concerned since Dina and Dalya are returning to Israel only on August 27 and their first day of school is September 1. Would you be a dear and ask the flight attendants on the flight back to Israel to kindly dim the cabin’s interior lighting? We want to make sure that the girls are primed for a successful school year. Otherwise, they can kiss the student council goodbye.
That’s about it for now. It would be amazing if you could print, sign, notarize, scan and send me back this document within the next 24 hours.
P.S. I understand that you spent a week poodle-sitting for a neighbor. You have such a big heart! But seriously, you do remember that Dina is violently allergic to doggie dander, right? Danielle and I spoke about it and we’d love to help pay to have your entire wardrobe dry-cleaned and house steamed. No thanks necessary.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gidon Ben-Zvi, who is not a helicopter parent, is an accomplished writer who left behind Hollywood starlight for Jerusalem, where he and his wife are raising their four children to speak fluent English – with an Israeli accent. Ben-Zvi’s work has appeared in The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Algemeiner, American Thinker and Jewish Journal.