First a piece of very good news: On January 17th, as we were leaving for Prague, Jonathan called that Rachel had given birth to a little girl, 7.7 pounds – pretty big for Rachel who is very small. Two days later she was given the name Yocheved, who is the mother of the biblical Moses. Mother, child, and father are all doing well. Rachel and Yocheved are now at home in their apartment and Jonathan is being helpful in every way. We will stay in Prague for a week or so and then go briefly to visit young Yocheved and her parents, as well as revisit Keren and her parents.
Second, we have arrived in Prague. Our coordinates are as follows:
110 00 Prague 1
Tel.: 011 (or: 00 from Europe) 420-222-323-555 (home)
011 (or: 00 from Europe) 420-776-049-065 (cell)
The apartment is just beautiful, much bigger than I had thought. We have an office that is really a bedroom with a desk, a living room, a large kitchen-eating area, a bedroom and a loft for visitors, plus all the facilities and storage space. It is also wonderfully located, a scant four minutes on foot from the oldest synagogue in Europe and five minutes from the Chabad (hasidic) synagogue. It is well heated and perfectly located. As is custom in European cities, we have all the local stores within a few momentsÕ walk.
We have walked and walked. The architecture is unlike anything we have seen; as one person put it, living in Prague is living in a city of Havdala spice boxes. There is lots of music and, had we not been tired, we would already have been to concerts, the main concert halls being only seven minutes walking time from us. On Friday night, we went to the Altneu Synagogue, the oldest in Europe, dating from about 1260. It was awesome to sense the presence of so many distinguished Jews who have prayed there. Remember that Prague was twice the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and the second city of the Hapsburg empire. We ate in the Jewish community dining room. Shabbat morning we went to the Chabad services – not as distinguished as their counterparts in Brussels but always friendly.
The move was reasonably smooth though the ride here from Switzerland was very long and fast, traveling at 160 k/h. And, of course, in spite of all the baggage there are things we forgot. We just simply thought we had packed them in some other bag! And setting up email here has been a nightmare. IÕve got the ADSL working but canÕt seem to get the wireless going. Oh well, tomorrow is another day. Meanwhile, tomorrow, Monday, we start classes in Czech though, since we will never need the language again, we may not complete the course.
Much love from both of us, U&D