Posted by: chrisdavis | August 13, 2006

In Ma’ale Levona

Have been on “vacation” so haven’t been able to post. More on that later…

Last Tuesday afternoon I was at home putting pictures on the last entry of this blog when Yossi called. He was in Jerusalem and wanted to get together to discuss the book. He wanted me to take the bus to meet him. I still don’t know the city very well so when I took the bus downtown I got off several blocks beyond the Sheraton Hotel where Yossi wanted to meet.

When I got back to Yossi, he and I sat, drinking coffee while I read aloud the chapters I had rewritten. He listened attentively and we discussed whether or not my suggestions would be beneficial to him. Finally, Yossi said, “We really need to work on these chapters sitting together and discussing what we will do.” Yossi’s idea was that he would drive me to the apartment where I would pack. Then he would drive me to his house in Ma’ale Levona where we could spend the evenings working together. Then, during the days, when he was leading tours, I would write. I told him I could only work that night and the next day and evening because Yitzchak had invited me to spend Thursday-Sunday in Samaria in an Orthodox settlement called Shavi-Shomeron. That night, I went to Ma’ale Levona with Yossi after packing for the next 5 days.

We arrived at Yossi’s around 9PM. I hadn’t eaten anything all day but a bowl of cereal and a humus sandwich, and I was hungry. Yossi’s wife, Aviva, was out shopping and their 2 little girls plus 3 little friends had made “baligone” (a favorite Hebrew word, meaning “a terrible mess”) of the house. Yossi scolded the girls and told them to clean up and that I would be spending the night and to straighten up a bedroom for me. Then he tried to scrounge up something to eat and could only find some crackers, olives, and some yogurt-looking stuff (that I later found out was Arab cheese).

We set up my computer and tried to do some work. But, both of us were so tired that, after about an hour, we decided to go to bed. Yossi said that he worked best in the early morning hours, anyway, and asked if I could get up and start working at 3AM. I set my alarm and tried to go to sleep over the chatter of 5 little girls. Suddenly, my alarm went off. 3AM!

Yossi had already made coffee, so we drank up and began work. As Yossi dictated a completely new chapter, I made suggestions and typed. By 5AM we had worked through a little more than 3 pages. Just the, Yossi turned on the computer which brought up the pictures of several soldiers who had been killed the day before. (Yossi had been a tank commander and knows many soldiers in the current war). Yossi turned to me and said, “I must quit now. You can continue to work if you want, or go back to bed.” I went back to bed and Yossi got dressed and left for Jerusalem.

But, with two cups of caffeine in me, I couldn’t sleep. Instead, I stoodat my 2nd floor bedroom window and watched the sky grow light. The hills produce an amphitheater affect so that the sounds from the valley floor rose upward to greet my ears. By 5:30, I could clearly hear the engines of large trucks as they made their way along the ancient Patriarch’s Highway, carrying product from the north to the capital city of Jerusalem. The sky was growing lighter each minute and a cold mist was swiftly drifting across the hilltop community. It looked like a high, wide, shimmering curtain as it moved along. Then the sun broke through the clouds over the eastern mountain range, and the cold and dampness quickly burned away, declaring that this would be another hot day in the Valley of Levona.

Spent most of Wednesday working on The Book (notice the capitalization–This book has taken on a life of its own). Was really hungry by 11AM, so ate a bowl of Cocoa Puffs and Aviva cooked me 2 scrambled eggs. Worked on The Book some more and then walked to Danny’s house to help him write a letter to prospective travelers to Israel. Danny’s wife, Judy, made me a falafal sandwich. It was so much food that I couldn’t eat it all. Went back to Yossi’s and took a short nap. Then walked to visited Yitzchak and Aviva and then back to Danny’s to check emails and make some phone calls to family.

Judy and I walked to the Community’s petting zoo to feed the horses their grass clippings. Many of the community’s kids work on the zoo to keep it running. At the zoo, I met one of the many families who had fled to Ma’ale Levona (and so many other communities) to escape the Katusha rockets being fired at their homes up north. Took a couple of pictures to show that some people in Ma’ale Levona can afford to put money into a garden, while other’s can’t..

While at Danny’s, the sun began to set behind the western mountain ranges. I have watched the sun set from this spot before (when the sky was much clearer), and could see it setting in the far-off Mediterranean Sea. If I could walk from where I stood, directly toward the setting sun, I would arrive at the world’s most ancient port city (Jaffa) from which the prophet, Jonah, boarded a ship to escape from God.

Yossi arrived around 8PM from Jerusalem with some kind of wonderful sandwiches. We ate and began working on The Book around 9PM. An hour later Yossi had to quit and so we both went to bed.

Personal notes: 

Frank: I feel your pain. Just remember that you were keeping things on a “higher plain” all be yourself before I arrived. Stay rested, eat well, and don’t let your mind lose it’s razor sharp edge. Be encouraged. You can do it. After all, there’s not much competition, with  one possible exception [name withheld…].

Doug and everyone else who sent “comments”. Thanks for letting me know you are reading the blog. I don’t know unless you tell me.

Turners: Are you out there? Haven’t heard how you are doing.

Charles: You asked about the grapevines we planted last year just below Ma’ale Levona. Here’s a picture. They look pretty good from this distance.

I’ve got a special blog for next time, but only for those who are interested in biblical places.



  1. We’ve been eagerly awaiting your next “installment.” Love hearing about Ma’ale Levona. Seeing a picture of Judy made me smile. Does Yossi have any direct involvement in the war? Or is that an inappropriate question? Thanks for keeping up the blog. Blessings to you – Nancy

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