Just minutes after “Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik announced Monday that she is bringing her two sons, ages 5 and 8, for a visit to Israel this week, dozens of Jewish mothers in Israel began to offer her advice.
On her Kveller blog Bialik, who was recently divorced, wrote, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about traveling alone with my sons, even if I did have full use of my right hand. (She sustained serious injuries to her hand in a 2013 car accident. “I’m scared about handling jet lag alone and shlepping luggage alone and being alone; but my [Israel-based] family is wonderful.”
Bialik, who is proudly Jewish, expressed the hope that her older son will be content playing with his cousins, but expressed concern that her “sensitive high-needs sweet 5-year-old” will have a harder time adjusting. “It’s anyone’s guess how this will play out. What I do know is that I believe in traveling to Israel. I believe in taking children to Israel. And I believe that I can handle whatever this trip looks like.”
The actress noted that she is considering bringing an iPad to entertain the kids, and that she plans to rent a car (and borrow car seats from her cousin), visit the Kotel, search for amazing humus and keep her itinerary kid-friendly.
Those who responded to the blog post, the vast majority of whom are American expats living in Israel, discouraged her from bringing the iPad but did suggest packing a lot of healthy snacks — Bialik is vegetarian — and toys from the $1 store.
They recommended trips to the Tisch Biblical Zoo, the Bloomfield Science Museum and the children’s wing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. They suggested visiting the Kotel when it’s less crowded, such as between prayer times. And making time for a giant slide called the “Meefletzet” — the Monster.
Regarding humus, one respondent recommended dining in the Israeli Arab village of Abu Gosh, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Another suggested Bialik assign her boys a task, such as praying for someone at the Kotel, or putting a note in the Western Wall “that they work on on the plane.” Such a task “will have focus for them and will help them not be bored.”
Many readers invited Bialik and her kids for a meal, even an overnight stay.
“This Shabbat my husband and I happen to be having two awesome single-mom friends with their kids and are cooking vegan (and wheat-free),” Lorien Tova Balofsky, who lives in Beit Shemesh, wrote in the comments. “We have tons of space and would love to extend an invitation to you and your kids also for Shabbat if you don’t have any plans. There will be lots of wine, chocolate and good conversation.”
Another reader tried to reassure the actress:
“Don’t be worried about traveling alone. We are all family here and you’ll be offered more help than you know what to do with.”