When my husband decided to move to Israel, despite the fact that he is Orthodox, he specifically chose to live in a town that is not mostly Orthodox. A dazzling array of Jews live in Naharyia , mostly with Sephardi and Ashkanaz roots. The mixture includes secular, traditional, Lubovitch, other Chassidm, modern Orthodox, Reform and Conservative.
A visit to Faisel’s Market (a huge, and famous, Arab market in Naharyia), will allow you to feast your eyes on a passing parade of Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze. They load up their carts with fruits and vegetables from tables piled high with colorful fresh produce and walk down aisles where shelves display a variety of groceries to please the palates of all those groups.
The one thing I have to say I miss here though is the variety of animals. In Cincinnati a doe was delivered on my front lawn and stayed there until nightfall when mommy came back for it. The geese overrun the neighborhood, and I have a family of groundhogs under my back porch and a bachelor groundhog under my front stoop. It is not uncommon to see raccoons, possums, and mallard ducks. They come in pairs to swim in the water above the tarp on my pool, and under the tarp is a breeding ground for hundreds of frogs.
After getting over the shock of seeing a lizard scurrying around our apartment several days ago, and twisting our brains to figure out how it got there (we are on the seventh floor), we decided, in the spirit of Naharyia’s diversity to embrace tolerance and accept the lizard. We named our lizard Lizzie.
Since we also, not happily, share our apartment with tiny ants, we were not concerned about what Lizzie would eat, but we worried that it might die of thirst.
After trying to figure out how Lizzie could access water (a bowl, for instance, would be hard to scale), we settled on an ashtray, one of many that my husband had brought home when we were expecting guests and I had sent him out for serving dishes.
Now, like mother hens, we watch the ashtray to ensure that the water level is sufficient to keep our lizard hydrated. While Lizzie is not quite as cuddly as the cats I have owned, or as trainable as the dogs we have lived with, Lizzie does not require much attention. We have decided that Lizzie not only fits the spirit of our new found home, but we are thrilled that we do not have to walk her, shake her fur off our clothes or clean kitty litter.