Dina sends her parents in America a recording weeks after her engagement in which she describes Pagi
A recording that Dina recorded herself during her college years (1972), a few weeks after her engagement to Eli. The tape itself was a common thing as the price of call minutes from the country to America was extremely expensive and of poor quality that it was always necessary to shout and repeat things over and over again. Sending tapes by mail can be talked about without pressure.
I'm really excited, I'm really awful .. well, listen to that, first of all when me and I decided to get married and call you and all that .. I want it to be very clear, very very clear, we did not tell anyone but you and Horwitz. Then we told friends. Anyone who knows about it in Washington is just rumors.
I have a lot of things to tell you, I do not know where to start. Well I'll start with the apartment we bought:
The Jewish Agency helps immigrant couples rent an apartment according to the relative size of the family, because we plan to have a family, it is more worthwhile for us to buy a small house of our own and receive assistance in purchasing. It will be more convenient than constantly paying rent.
The problem is that apartment prices are very expensive in the country and we do not want to live in neighborhoods where we do not want to raise our children. There are no dangerous neighborhoods in Israel like in America, but you want to raise your children in a good neighborhood. I want a quiet religious neighborhood with educational institutions and kosher shops. If you search in the newspapers you can find ads, but they are of expensive apartments.
I have a friend, Esther (Lebanon) who I knew in college and met with her several times and we became good friends, she lived in college and got engaged to Eliakim Lebanon, Eli's roommate in the yeshiva (Rabbi Center), we heard from them that they bought an apartment even though they have no money to buy an apartment. They did?! They went from door to door, knocked and asked people if they know about a cheap apartment for sale, maybe they have friends or relatives who want to sell a cheap apartment. In the end they found a very nice bargain apartment, small and very cheap.
We learned from their experience and Eli also went for two weeks and knocked from door to door and at the end we got a general picture of apartments and prices and found an apartment of 2 bedrooms and a living room.
We went to see some apartments Eli had found. I, Eli, his father and Elyakim Lebanon his friend. Why did Elyakim come with us too? Because Elyakim is good with people, he is great at making new friends and has senses to understand with this good deal. He sees the details that need to be paid attention to. What me and Eli and his dad are not good at.
Eli told me he had found an apartment, but he did not tell me anything beyond. When we got to the first apartment I discovered a very small and dark apartment and became depressed and in a bad neighborhood with no trees and grass around. Then we went to another apartment that Eli saw and I thought it would be worse and older. It is in a neighborhood called Paji. It is also close to the work of Isul (Dina's uncle) on Mount Scopus.
The apartment is very very very old. About 30 years old. But I like her so much. I love her so much. It is on the ground floor and the yard is full of trees and stones and grass and it is charming and quiet and full of birds. So much more than anything else. It's not a feeling of an apartment. It's a sense of home.
It's so much bigger than we've seen before. It has a kitchen with a table, which is more than we saw in the previous apartments, lots of space for a fridge and oven, from the kitchen you can get out of the balcony and I can watch the children play in the yard. There are 3 steps to go down so things can't get in from the outside.
There is a hallway but it is big, it is huge, enough to put a table in it, and there is another small room that can sleep three. There is a large window. Our room is really big with space for a big wardrobe and the family leaves it for us and there is a big window. And there is another large room, I have never seen such a large room in Israel.
I have not yet seen any apartment where I can put the piano (my wing), but in this apartment it is 72 meters, would you believe how big it is? It's so beautiful, it's almost the size of Horowitz (Eli's parents). Their house is 75 square meters in size. I love the house and the neighborhood so much. I am very excited and excited and love the house.
We can definitely put in the piano. There are 2 toilets, one with a bath but needs some renovation, may not have to be painted. But the part where we found the apartment. There are a lot of little things to sort out. One room I can not stamp the paint so we will paint.
The thing is that the apartment will not be available soon, the owners of the apartment plan to stay in it for at least another 10 months. We want to get married in three months, that means we'll have to find an apartment to rent for a few months. It's not terrible because we also get rent assistance as immigrants.
The people who live in the apartment now have 10 children and they have lived in it for 17 years. They did not even feel like they had 10 children. I was there twice while actually everyone is on Saturday night and Passover eve when everyone is cleaning and I did not feel crowded or anything.
We bought it that we would never have to go through. It's just a good decision. The part where the owners call it a 2-room apartment, they do not notice that it is more than that, a large apartment. Eli keeps telling me not to show them the enthusiasm. We want to buy it fast before they publish in the newspaper and realize they can earn so much more. She asked for $ 90,000. We can raise $ 80,000. Elyakim managed to lower them to $ 88,000
This apartment is just lovely. This is a very nice neighborhood. A very nice ultra-Orthodox community and the house is right next to everything and next to a grocery store. Need to take 2 buses to get to college. It is a 20 minute walk from the yeshiva (Rabbi Center) or Eli will take a bus and it is very close to Rabbi Zvi Yehuda's house.
Throughout the day with Elyakim we did not understand why he was smiling and only when we finished, before we got in the car, he pointed to a nearby building and revealed to us that the house they bought was a 40 second walk from the house we were going to live in. It's so funny and so good because that's how Eli will have a friend to come to the meeting with every day. Elyakim is planning to buy a car or a moped if there is another cabin, I'm not that keen on the idea of the moped. It's good to have another young couple from the yeshiva we know. And I, too, will travel with Esther to college.
We are working with the rabbinate to see when we will get married because in July there are days when according to Halacha it is forbidden to get married but it will be around the beginning of July.
I'm not going to be in the military because I'm getting married so it's okay. I can not come in the summer before the wedding. I'm honest with you, you can not understand how hard it is for me at all to come to America, I do not see myself leaving the country and coming to America, not even for a week.
It's not because of you, God forbid. I do not want to hurt you. It's me, I do not know how to explain myself, I wish I could explain myself. I know I take from you the pleasure of doing me good, I want you to come here with me.
A recording of Dina
Rabbi Eli describes to his students the way of life in the Pagi neighborhood:
I once lived in some such ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of old men. It was so striking the difference between the old and the young, the young no longer lived there. We lived there and everyone else was sixty or older. It was a neighborhood of Torah, you could see it, the whole world of Torah. They did not engage in "lights," they did not engage in a broad mind, but every mitzvah was so full of vitality and sweetness and pleasantness.
We had such a neighbor that every morning he would get up at four in the morning and study in the summer when the windows were open, the melody, in Yiddish, this melody, this sweetness, it's so so much.
When we hung a flag on Independence Day, okay, they do not know what this flag is, they understand that it is a flag of the State of Israel, but once young people from the Ezrat Torah neighborhood passed by, when they saw a flag of the State of the species they went straight to tear it to pieces. We were in a solemn prayer at the Merkaz (Yeshivat Merkaz Harav), of course, so these old neighbors came and tried them for themselves.
"It's their religion ..." they did not know exactly what it was, but they did not have - no fanaticism, no smallness, no politics, a very rich and sweet world.