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In Jerusalem we lived on Ramban Street in Rechavia across the street from Gan Eliezer, a nice little park that was convenient for Malka and the children but was hardly used by anyone else. Nowadays it is crammed with kollel wives and their children. Ramban was then lightly traveled. It is now a main artery for much of Jerusalem not the sort of street on which young children should live. Rechavia was and still is an upscale neighborhood with many German-speaking refugees from Nazi Germany.

A highlight each week was the Friday night trek to the Kotel or Western Wall. Shani would walk and Avi rode in a stroller that went bumpity-bump down the steps of the shuk in the Arab marketplace in the Old City. On all of my trips to Israel I have insisted on going directly to the Kotel via the Arab Quarter rather, as some do, via the indirect route through the Armenian Quarter.


In the 1970s and 1980s we tended to go to Israel every other year. By the 1980s we had four children and while it was always great to be in Israel, young children presented the challenge of what to do each day.

Our third trip, in 1971, was for a month. We rented an apartment in the Supersol building, near the Plaza Hotel. The building, which is now regarded by many as an eyesore, afforded a panoramic view of much of Jerusalem, including the Old City. Our apartment had a long wrap-around porch where I spent much time. A favorite activity was to calculate bus patterns at the intersection of Agron, King George, Keren Hayesod and Ramban Streets.

On a subsequent trip in the 1970s, after I had left City Hall and returned to academic life, I was invited to give a series of lectures at Hebrew University. I also spent considerable time at the university’s library on Mount Scopus, doing research on a constitutional law subject. The project was never completed.

Throughout the 1980s and until about a decade ago when we purchased an apartment on Ibn Ezra Street in the Rechavia section, we stayed in an assortment of rented apartments and hotels, almost always in the Rechavia area.

One early 1980s trip came after Malka appeared to have recovered from a severe virus that impaired her for months. We stayed ten days at the Plaza. However, the flight had been too arduous for Malka and for just about the entire period we remained in the hotel. The return flight was at 1 a.m. on Yom Ha’Atzmaut. I arranged that on the way to the airport I would go see the Steipler Gaon (Rav Kanievsky of blessed memory) and ask for a berachah for Malka who remained in the taxi, as the Steipler did not see women. The berachah was given, albeit with much difficulty because he was already seriously ill. I have been told by his nephew that this was the last such berachah he gave.

After we left his home in Bnei Brak, I decided we should go to the home of Rav Schach, who was a close relative of Rav Aharon Kotler and who apparently knew of the relationship we had. He greeted us warmly and gave us his berachah. We then went to the airport. Because it was Yom Ha’Atzmaut, there were many empty seats on the plane; each of us had three. Malka slept for nearly the entire flight and when she awoke she was restored to good health.

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It now costs next to nothing to call the U.S. from Israel. We have in our apartment an American line that transmits calls via the computer. For many years, a long distance call entailed a trip to the Central Post Office on Jaffa Street. Calls had to be placed through a central operator and the charge for a three-minute call was about $10. When our children were in sleep-away camp in the U.S., we would call as often as permitted and invariably a gasping child was at the other end of the line because he or she had raced to the phone. We were always scared that the three minutes would be up before we could have much of a conversation.

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Dr. Marvin Schick has been actively engaged in Jewish communal life for more than sixty years. He can be contacted at [email protected].