The Butavia family

It was mid-December last year when we arrived in Jerusalem after traveling through Spain, Italy, Greece and Egypt.  We came to Israel knowing no one, but trusting that we would meet people and make new friends.  After traveling by bus from the Egypt/Israel border to Jerusalem, we took a taxi from the central bus station to the studio apartment we would rent for one month, not far from the Old City.  It was Shabbat; the Jewish sabbath was just beginning that Friday evening, and all of the stores were closing down about the time we arrived.  As we were beginning to unpack, there was a knock at our door, and our landlord Avi introduced himself to us as our neighbor as well as our landlord.  Would we like to come next door to his house for Shabbat dinner that very evening?  Of course we would!  Many Butavia family Shabbat dinners later, we have fallen in love with the Butavia’s  and they have extended love and hospitality to Julee and I (and Cameron and Ruthie for the two weeks they were here last January). The Butavia’s, like the Gerassy’s in former blogs, have become our family away from family in the U.S.

I have a little ways to go to catch up to Avi’s beard glory.  Avi is a true friend, an inspiration and an example to me in many ways.

Avi’s daughter Danielle, so fun and so full of life and love.  Danielle and her husband Gonen have four children…

Gonen!  Avi and all of his family speak pretty good English, but they all look to Gonen when they get stuck on a word.

Gonen and Danielle’s oldest child Ili (sp?)  She learned how to say “Come with me” in English as she showed us around their beautiful new house on the outskirts of Jerusalem

Danielle telling brother Itay how it is.  I somehow missed getting a picture of Itay’s lovely Thai wife Tiki…

Itay and Tiki’s girls, and they are as sweet as they look in this picture!

Itay would be disappointed if I didn’t include this picture of him with his new Miata… Itay is a master builder/carpenter and was the general contractor for the building of Gonen and Danielle’s new home.

Big brother Tzul, keeping an eye on baby sister Giffin…

And then there is 2 year old Barak… He found his mother’s cell phone and was soon calling people on her speed dial while sitting in this chair and later walking around the house.  No matter how well they hide things from Barak, he finds them.  His Dad Gonen calls him “the thief”. At Shabbat dinners at Avi’s, he inevitably finds the chocolate.  He loves to pass out chocolate pieces to all the guests.  Although he has short pants on in this picture, they soon came off as he prefers to go bottomless. That habit did come back to bite him, or rather “sting” him a few days ago however when a bee got him right on the most tender part.  Didn’t seem to slow him down much…

Danielle agreed after some coaxing to pose for me in her uniform (as obedient husband Gonen irons the shirts in the background).  Danielle is a VIP in the Jerusalem police force, and we are kind of glad to have friends in high places there!

Shabbat dinner time at Avi’s house.  If this were Julee’s blog, you would have close ups of all the food on the table.  Suffice to say, there is always way too much of it, and it is very good.

A picture of a picture of Avi and his children.  Ben-Shook is pictured on the left.  Ben was tragically injured in an accident a year and a half ago and has been hospitalized in a type of coma ever since.  I got to visit Ben last week and talk to him in his hospital room.  Although he isn’t able to talk back yet, Avi and the family believe he does hear them and at times respond.  I felt the same way, that Ben was tracking with me and even at times was attempting to communicate.  Avi spends hours every day with Ben, making sure he has the very best care, is exercised, and has every possible opportunity to recover. Recent new technological advancements in MRI testing have shown that Ben does indeed respond to stimulus, and after two tests, slight improvement was seen from the first test to the second.  Please join us in praying for Ben’s recovery.

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1 Response to The Butavia family

  1. Ernie Nicklaus Great pictures, and glad to know you are safely in Israel. Hugs to both of you from both of us. says:

    I will definitely pray hard for this young man, and also for his family, it must be very hard.

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