Somewhere Between a MeMe and a Localism Post..

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes

I owe my friends Inna Hardison and Eric Webster a MeMe.  This post probably falls short of filling that request, but if you dig, you'll learn a few things about me that you didn't know.

This morning, I found myself thinking about my favorite restaurant thirty-three years ago.  I was living in Jerusalem at the time, working with the Israel Radio Orchestra (Jerusalem Symphony).

I went on the Web and, to my delighted surprise, I found that the place is still there!  Abu Shukri Restaurant is on the Via Dolorosa, close to the Damascus Gate in the Old City, close to the fifth station of the Cross.  To the west is the Christian Quarter of the Old City, and to the east is the Moslem Quarter.

In the mid-1970s, Jerusalem was a very different place.  Saul Bellow wrote about the Israel I remember in To Jerusalem And Back.  Reading Bellow's description of Jerusalem and the Old City makes me homesick at times, if it is possible to yearn for a place where you lived thirty-three years ago.

We would walk to the Old City after weekday rehearsals at the Jerusalem YMCA (across from the King David Hotel) and made our way over cobblestone streets to Abu's for lunch at least two or three times a week.  Abu's became a lunch hangout for members of the orchestra.  Some of the "regulars" at Abu's included Frank Morelli (our principal bassoonist at the time, who now works with the Orpheus Ensemble in New York and teaches at Juilliard, Yale and Manhattan Schools of Music), Bill Lipman (our co-principal clarinetist, now on the faculty of Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas) and Larry Kaufman (a fellow Indiana University grad and the orchestra's co-principal hornist).

The décor at Abu's was simple.  Faded yellow-green plaster walls with arched ceilings and old-fashioned commercial light fixtures, each with a naked light bulb, plus a few ceiling fans rotating lazily overhead made up the surroundings.  Frommers.com reports the tables are now Formica, but my recollection from the seventies was wooden café tables with chipped, well-worn marble tops.  Abu brought us hummus drizzled with olive oil in small bowls, and loads of pita bread right out of the oven.   At the tables were small white onions that had a "bite" to them.  We'd peel the onions with our fingers and break the pieces up over the warm hummus.  A little boy with bare feet brought us more pita bread and Coca-cola in small, green glass bottles which cost about a pound and a half each (1.5 IL at the time, or about thirty-five cents).   The little boy is probably running the place today.

The Via Dolorosa had a "touristy" feel to it in those days.  There were gift shops, restaurants, camera stores, antiquities dealers and pharmacies.  I remember a place called the "Fourth Station of the Cross Pharmacy" where you could buy penicillin and other antibiotics over the counter.  A few minutes' walk away was the Damascus Gate, where we'd change money at Victoria's.  You could purchase a carton of Marlboro cigarettes at the time, real American cigarettes, for $40. 

This was not meant to be a restaurant review, although I highly recommend visiting Abu Shukri if you're in Jerusalem.  Abu's was much more than a restaurant to us.  We went there to talk and argue, and occasionally to complain about a conductor.  We were kids then, thousands of miles from home.  We felt like we were living history.  And in some ways, we were.

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Contact Broker Eric Kodner with Wayzata Lakes Realty about Minneapolis & Saint Paul area properties, including Lake Minnetonka, Edina and the Minneapolis City Lakes area (Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet). We also sell on the Saint Croix River and on Lake Superior, including Bayfield, Wisconsin and Madeline Island homes.  With sixteen years experience marketing and selling waterfront properties in Minnesota and Wisconsin, we know Lake Minnetonka and Madeline Island real estate.

Wayzata Lakes Realty LLC (Minnesota) and Madeline Island Realty LLC (Wisconsin)

Real Estate Brokerage licensed in Minnesota & Wisconsin

Phone or Text Message 612.670.2539

EMKodner@Gmail.com  or

MadelineIsland@Gmail.com

Wayzata Lakes Realty

 

 

 

 

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Rainmaker
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Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group
Eric, so glad you finally got around to doing this! Thank you so much for sharing... and yes, you can be homesick for a place so far a way in both time and place. I could so see you and your musician gang, full of optimism and thirst for life at that little place thousands of miles away. Beautiful memory you shared.
:-)
Mar 09, 2008 02:00 PM #3
Rainmaker
152,344
Leslie Bloss, Bellevue Real Estate Professional
Bellevue, WA

Hi Eric,

Nice post, very descriptive--but what else did you eat beside hummus and pita?

Mar 09, 2008 02:45 PM #4
Ambassador
3,579,377
Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital
When you got to the hummus with olive oil drizzled, I got really, really hungry!  That must have been a great gig!
Mar 09, 2008 03:04 PM #5
Rainmaker
217,981
Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire

Eric that was so colorful...I could almost see the place...why is it the memories of some places grow sharper with time and other fade away? You never said what instrument you played.that's quite a stretch, from Musician/artist to Real Estate!

Mar 09, 2008 03:08 PM #6
Rainmaker
709,039
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY
That's great...how long did you play with them?  When did you come to America and what made you decide on real estate.  I know several friends who were in the arts (in NYC) who decided  to sell real estate when they weren't working on stage.  It ended up being their "day job."
Mar 09, 2008 04:35 PM #7
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island
Inna -- I'm very glad you enjoyed the post.  It was a privilege to work with the people I mentioned, among others.  And it's funny how something triggers a memory out of nowhere and takes you back so vividly!
Mar 09, 2008 04:44 PM #8
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Leslie, it took me awhile to adapt to Middle Eastern food.  Meat was too expensive, so we had to adopt a largely vegetarian diet.  Israelis eat falafel (ground chick peas) fried and served in a pocket pita with vegetables and tahina or cucumber dressing.  Falafel is an Israeli "fast food".  Fruit and vegetables were relatively inexpensive and plentiful when I was there.  And there were some fabulous pastry shops in Jerusalem, along King George street and the Jaffa road.  We'd also go to Cafe Atara in downtown Jerusalem, which was across the street from the Exchange National Bank of Chicago.  Cafe Atara had fantastic French onion soup and breadsticks!

Naturally, the vast majority of Israelis keep kosher households, but a few tourist establishments do serve the occasional non-kosher item.  In Tel Aviv, you could order a "white steak" (pork chop) at certain establishments.  And I remember a kosher butcher who kept a back room behind his shop, with a Christian Arab butcher there, where it was possible to buy bacon! 

There was a great Italian place on Ben Yehuda street called the Gondola.  I don't think it's there anymore.  They served fantastic seafood (not kosher) in a red sauce!  Most of the menu was kosher, but you could get fresh seafood in a back room.  

Mar 09, 2008 04:58 PM #9
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Pat, I was in Israel during much of 1974 and 1975.  It was an exciting time for the orchestra.  They had made Lukas Foss the Music Director and Mendi Rodan our house conductor.  We had some great soloists, like Arthur Rubenstein, Veronica Jochum, Alexander Schneider, Isaac Stern and Jesse Levine.  And we worked with a pretty wide array of notable conductors.  I remember performing Mahler Sixth Symphony for the Israel Festival at the Frederick Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, with Gary Bertini conducting.

Thinking about Abu Shukri's made me hungry too!

Mar 09, 2008 05:05 PM #10
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island
Joan -- I played French horn in the orchestra there.  All in all, I spent twenty-five years in the music business before going into real estate, first as a hornist and later as a conductor for theater and studio orchestras.
Mar 09, 2008 05:09 PM #11
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Ruthmarie, I spent the better part of two years in Israel.  I was born in Minneapolis and grew up here, then attended Indiana University, where I was offered the job with Kol Israel (the JSO).

Going into real estate was a matter of necessity as much as anything.  I had two daughters to put through college and that isn't easy on a freelance musician's salary! 

Mar 09, 2008 05:12 PM #12
Rainmaker
296,739
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate
Eric- Your journey back has stirred my own thoughts of living overseas.  The first time I ate Middle Eastern food, well I couldn't even pronounce it.....we had a little place close to the Peace Corps Office that all the volunteers frequented.  Your Post took me back there for sure :) 
Mar 10, 2008 03:35 AM #13
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island
Kathy -- Nice to know that what you write can inspire some fond memories for your readers..thank you!
Mar 10, 2008 03:55 AM #14
Rainmaker
417,264
Debbie Malone
Londeree's Real Estate & Property Management - Lynchburg, VA
From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369
Eric, what an interesting post. I haven't been to the Middle East yet but love to travel and I really enjoyed your description.
Mar 10, 2008 08:26 AM #15
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island
Debbie -- If you find the opportunity to visit the Middle East, I hope you go.  It is a fascinating place!
Mar 10, 2008 10:53 AM #16
Rainmaker
176,052
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Eric,

That is really interesting.  My great grandmother escaped from Russia before the Nazis invaded, and that is how my dad's end of the family came to call the U.S. home.  My brother has on again, off again thought of making a trip to Israel.  If he does, I hope to learn more through him.

Mar 10, 2008 04:50 PM #17
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Rebecca, my dad's father came to the States from Russia around the time of the Revolution in 1917.  

I spent an entire year in Israel, not as a tourist but as a temporary resident.  The time I spent there was perhaps the most significant influence in my adult life. 

Mar 10, 2008 05:05 PM #18
Rainer
24,554
Jason Todd
Compelling Media + Design - Halifax, NS
Eric - this is an awesome post. You are a talented writer and know how to tell a great story. You've connected with anyone that's lived in Jerusalem, lived aborad, worked in an orchestra, peeled onions over hummus. It was entertaining and it reminded me of travelling.
Mar 15, 2008 09:58 PM #19
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island

Jason, thank you for the praise!

From my own perspective, writing about what you've done, where you've been or where you're headed in life is the soul and essence of blogging.  There is so much more to all of us than our work and career. 

Mar 16, 2008 05:47 AM #20
Rainmaker
137,681
Bonnie & Terry Westbrook
Westbrook Realty - Ada, MI
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate
What a nice visit down memory lane, Eric. Since you spent so much time over at my post today, I thought I'd put a comment in here, too.
Mar 20, 2008 02:28 PM #21
Rainmaker
411,169
Eric Kodner
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Eric Kodner Sells Twin Cities Homes - Minnetonka, MN
Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island
Bonnie, I thoroughly enjoyed your post!  It was very well thought out and expressed.  And there's nothing wrong with a little controversy, especially when it opens people's eyes!
Mar 21, 2008 02:53 AM #22
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Wayzata Lakes Realty: Twin Cities, Madeline Island
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