There's been some excitement on Rehov Ramban this week...thought I'd share the latest from the street. On Wednesday I was saying goodbye to someone in front of my apartment. All of a sudden there were sirens and police cars whizzing by. Then two very long limo's, all black with darkly tinted windows sped by. Each of the limo's had the Israeli flag and the Ukrainian flag displayed on the front. Where's the camera when you need it most???
Yup, the Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko visited the 'hood. I tried to stop the motorcade to see if they wanted to drop by for coffee, but no..they flew by too fast. The prez was in town to try and build better relations with Israel and to assure them that the future held promise for Jews in the Ukraine. The Jerusalem Post reported that the purpose of his visit was to "accelerate political and economic relations with Israel".
The Knesset, the legislative branch of the Israeli government is not far from Ramban so perhaps I'll site more VIP's whizzing by. I heard that Condi once went by. For what it's worth.
At the other end of Ramban, at the corner of Keren Hayesod, Ramban, and Gershon Agron you'll find teachers. Lots of teachers. Secondary and Middle school teachers who have been on strike for almost a month now. They are demanding more money and smaller classes. The average teacher now makes $12,000 a year...approximately 5 classes a day with 40 students. Starting net salary for new teachers, with advanced degrees is NIS 2,800 a month which is $8,400. Teachers are union.
Somebody here, the Finance Ministry, needs to get their heads out of the clouds. Israel prides itself on technology and medical advancements - can they not see that it all begins somewhere. Thanks to teachers who work long hours well beyond just educating a child and have been willing so far to work for substandard pay, Israel has been lucky. Let's hope that their striking will improve conditions drastically for them. The professors at Universities have also been on strike since the beginning of October. It hasn't effected Rothberg International School yet. I heard a rumor that it might, will keep you posted.
Annapolis, the word on the street has not been so hopeful. I've seen several posters of a man (not sure who he is) and underneath it says, Annapolis: won't save you. Security I've noticed has been tightened on the bus system.
That's about all for this week from the 'hood. Other than that, it's been a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
FYI: Ramban was Rabbi Nachmanides who lived from 1195 to 1270. Check him out.