Bright and early yesterday I walked over to the Meitar Regional Council office to have my Israeli identity card changed to my new address.
Yay! Now I am an official resident of the Negev and of Meitar.
(It is pronounced may [like the month] + tar, accent on the tar, so: may-tar' .)
Hmm, would that make me a Meitarite?
Dina of the Desert?
The secretary said I was in luck because at 4:00 there would be a festive ceremony to re-open the newly-renovated Moadon LaGil HaZahav, literally the Golden Age Club.
OK, so I dutifully walked back over there in the 35 C/ 95 F heat of mid afternoon.
The new glass wing of the clubhouse really IS impressive.
What a view!
The young Minister for Senior Citizens, Knesset Member Uri Orbach, came down from Jerusalem to give a speech.
(Does YOUR country have a Ministry for Senior Citizens?)
He predicted that the old-new clubhouse would be full of cultural and learning activities.
Once Meitar gets its own high school, he added, they want to open a class for retired people.
The group would have classes all morning taught by the high school teachers, and several times a year "stars," visiting professors and experts, would come to lecture.
Orbach also gave a hint that his Ministry is working on starting a Shnat Sherut for retirees, a year of volunteer service, complete with certain benefits!
Until now, this Sherut Leumi year of civic service was meant for young people who, because they are Israeli Arabs or very observant Jews, are normally exempt from compulsory military service; it gives them a chance to serve their country and be recognized for it.
Meitar, founded in 1984, is a community built around good education, cooperation between the religious and non-religious and young and old, volunteerism, and general quality of life.
Here above is the Moadon LaGil HaZahav as seen from the wadi, where a nice park and playground have been built.
A local rabbi and of course our Regional Council head Avner Ben-Gera also spoke to the audience.
But the best part was the man in the photo, Anatoly Lain, an Israeli born in Russia. What a singer!!
He started with La Traviata. Hear him on YouTube (at a different venue).
Anatoly gave us an hour and a half, if not more, of arias, old Israeli Hebrew songs, and a few Yiddish songs too.
But the most moving was what he sang in Russian.
What could be more touching than a baritone singing soulful songs from old Russia.
(You can enlarge the photos 2x. The desert sky is for SkyWatch Friday.)