Thursday, March 13, 2008

Short term studio apartment in Dizengoff

Just renovated, clean, quiet, great location!
A friend has a furnished studio apartment for rent. Steps away from Dizengoff Center, down a few steps in a quiet alley. A great location for someone who needs a place for a few days or weeks. Please contact Esti at: stshlevi [at] netvision [dot] net [dot] il -- this is a better choice to a hotel if you like to be in the center of Tel Aviv and cook for yourself. Great daily and weekly rate. CLEAN / CENTRAL / BASIC / COMFORTABLE ~~/AmiV {in-the-city} You are steps away from Dizengoff Center Read More...

Cafe Greg in Dizengoff Center, a breeze from the north

There is a new player in the Tel Aviv cafe race: Cafe Greg on the second floor of the Dizengoff Center (north building). It is an extension of a small chain based in Haifa. Since everybody is opening cafes in Tel Aviv, the race is on to win the hearts of the drinkers. Cafes in the malls have not been as much of a bid deal in Tel Aviv. Probably ever since Abraham passed through from Messopotania to Egypt people have been sitting around drinking coffee here. There are a few very old cafes which survived the changes in the city, but for the most part the new 'hot' spots are clean, fresh, and heavily packaged. Cafe Greg has a little bit less of the slick marketing of Aroma, Arcafe, Cafe Cafe, and Cafeneto. Maybe because they are a smaller chain or maybe because they just started competing in the Tel Aviv region. The nice thing about the Dizengoff location is the environment, its still a 'mall' in every sense of the word, but the corner they picked is a little quieter, next to a book store. The furnishing is comfortable with couches and padded chairs. They also give you a feeling of comfortable service without hovering and interrupting your conversation.

Greg in Dizengoff Center, comfortable couch for coffee
If you want to meet someone in Dizengoff center or even in the area, this is a good place to get a cup of coffee and to have a talk with a friend. On a regular day you will find half of the people working on their own or having business meetings. The city needs places like this, off the street and close to the commercial businesses. There are a few other cafes in the center, but they tend to be in busy locations and the furnishing is more utilitarian. Greg hit on a trend of shopping and working in the mall and having a comfortable place to rest for a while.
Cafe Greg also has a nice breakfast and lunch menu. Salads, sandwiches, hot lunch plates (schnitzel, chicken, etc.) and a few side dishes. Cafe Greg is a good place to catch a bite for lunch and get going quickly. So in Dizengoff Center, head to 'the Greg' and have a cup-'o-joe and a talk with a friend... Read More...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Choosing Us Nannies by Nanny Frankie

So it is. This world we live in today forces most of us to work for a living. We found our partners, had our little "bundle of joy" and now we need to work and buy all the "stuff" we need. We need a car seat, we need a crib, we need a stroller, we need cloths, we need bottles, we need! we need! we need!! Don't even think about what we want. Not yet anyway.
Our maternity leave in Israel is usually 3 months. In the US only 6 weeks. Every country varies the amount of such time. Whatever the amount of time leaving your one for a kind perfect baby with a caretaker is no small task, NO SMALL NEED! What really matters to almost everyone is peace of mind and someone you can trust with our precious child. If a grandparent is willing and able to give you this care you are sssoooo lucky! Many grandparents are unwilling to be a full time babysitter. Life holds new horizons for your parents. The love is there but they now have a life of their own. Been There Done That, but always around to help and do love! Just don't feel bad if this is not your option. Relatives are of-course the best but if none are available - on to plan B.

Who will take over?

Nanny searching should start months before the care is needed. The best network is word of mouth. Good nannies are well known in the neighborhoods within your cities. Even before giving birth ask the "stroller pushers" a few questions. Are you a grandmother? Are you a nanny? How long have you been with this child? Hang around the gardens and observe the nannies. You will gain valuable information just by watching how the mothers, grandmothers, fathers, and baby sitters interact with each other and each other's children. Trust your instincts. The nannies know each other and they also know who does a great job and who does not. Don't be shy and let them all know you are interested in help within the next few months. Discover what you like about how the caretakers handle their children and what you do not like. A little self education goes a long way. You will learn who is free to start a new job and when. The Internet also will give you information and you will find agencies more than happy to find you a nanny. (YES - it does cost money with agencies).
Once you have an idea of exactly the kind of person you would welcome into your home, the real search begins. What to look for in an interviews is another story. Maybe nanny Frankie can help you and the nanny look for the right match. ~ See yah next time, Nanny Frankie.

p.s. Just to let you all know - MONEY is the VERY LAST thing for discussion! Read More...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Terrorism, Worries, and MONEY ?

I don't like to write about politics and terrorism. Mostly because there are lots of good political writers and endless Israeli-Palestinian blogs. Also, I tend to think that speaking about the situation here in Israel is not productive. Only by doing something can we really change the situation. I don't think that writing in a blog and telling people how "wrong" falls into the "doing something" category. But the terrorist attack on a Jerusalem Yeshiva last Thursday has really hit a nerve. Not just in my body but in the collective Israeli nervous system. It seemed to have hit the Tel Aviv stock exchange as well. The Tel Aviv 25 index took a drop at the morning opening on the next session (Sunday 9-Mar-08).

is the TA25 index a sign of the Israeli collective nervous system?
The same goes to a few other worried minds like the tourism operators, specially these catering to Jewish religious groups, mostly non-orthodox. The ones sending their children to instill Zionist values but not too much of it. Just like the past two intifadas, tourists abandon Israel completely when the terrorist activities escalate. Some of you are probably nodding your heads, rolling your eyes, and saying quietly:

'who is this heartless-capitalist-nut anyway?'

Well, good thinking, after all, are we trading a few tourist or investor dollars for the life of 8 religious-pious Torah students? Especially at one of THE most renowned educational institution in Jerusalem (a veritable Harvard of the orthodox world)? Well, yes and NO! Yes, I write about the non-political issues and stories in Tel Aviv and Israel. NO - I am certainly not blind to the pain and anger of the Israeli spirit. This attack is by far the most disturbing in a long time, maybe since the big wars of 1967 (six day war) and 1973 (Yom Kippur war). For the first time, terrorists have gone into what would be considered a sacred location. Well, now the Israeli army has the 'excuse' to go and attack Gaza and who knows what else... you see. It's easy to get distracted into the political commentary mode.
      So here I go back to the non-political, slightly capitalistic, mostly economical and daily life writing. Let's focus for just a minute on the economic, social, and daily work life in Tel Aviv. Economics do matter, specially in a country with such a fragile economy, it's own currency, no trade with adjoining countries, and high or even VITAL dependence on foreign economies. While the pain and anger of a terrorist attack spikes our adrenaline, the economic impact lasts a long time. Actually, what terrorist activities have done to Israel economically and socially could be considered a greater damage. It affects all the population with exception of a very small part at the top and the very bottom of the socio-economic scale. Socially, terrorist attacks demoralize people and spread a feeling of uncertainty. The wars and intifadas were used to blame the sharp economic cycles, ultra-inflation, a continuous brain drain, difficulty in attracting foreign investors, and a slew of other problems which plagued the Israeli economy. The problems in the past were all attributed to the 'security issue' with the Palestinians. The same was also said to be the driving force in the social split between the ultra-right Zionist and the central Israeli camps. Essentially giving the ultra-right side fuel and incentive to justify settlements and attract new members. Which makes for a social-political split and further angers the Palestinians and creates an endless cycle of blame and violence.
        Back to Tel Aviv today, the feeling on the street is simply of sadness. In Tel Aviv the last few days you sense that people simply don't have life. The vitality in the talk of cafe and restaurant patrons was sucked away. The quiet is simply a sign that people don't even know what to say to each other. That small-talk and excitement about daily activity turned into serious hushed conversation. What difference does it make that you are taking a vacation next week. Or that you have a new job? That new car you bought is just what you were dreaming of, and it was cheap because the Euro is so low? You see, even "heartless-capitalist-nuts" have feelings and care. We also live with the reality of daily life, economics, and the struggle for happiness. Not the idealistic-politicized happiness, the simple daily feeling that most people deserve. One of them is the comfort of a rational and predictable economy. One that does not depend on the whims of a terrorist attack or a protest settlement somewhere in a deserted Judea hills. Maybe the practical, economic view of the world is an idealistic opposite to the political one, but I don't think this way. I tend to think more in terms of what people really need. When it comes to the economy, surprisingly it is just what the political side wants: security, predictability, and peace of mind. So you see, thinking about the economy and people's daily life is not such a: heartless-capitalistic-nutty idea! Read More...