Monday, October 04, 2004

Sukkah gathering

In the midst of the holiday, I invited my interfaith group to my home. The Palestinians didn't want to take the buses - I don't know whether it was because they're not comfortable on Jewish buses or not comfortable because buses occasionally blow up here. When the first shift of people came, I asked Suhair if she was uncomfortable coming to my place, or did she feel nervous. The only time they felt uncomfortable was at the meeting place at French Hill. There the way they were running to the car that picked them up, aroused the attention of some soldiers who yelled at them to stop and checked their ID's. He explained that is the way the last female suicide bomber approached some soldiers. I couldn't understand it fully, but they all seemed fine when they passed the checkpoint into the suburb of Jerusalem where I live - Ma'aleh Adumim, considered one of the biggest settlements. I hate using the term "settlements" because it denotes separation of some sort and denotes borders which are politically incorrect. I didn't have to explain anything to the 3 Palestinian women who showed up along with 3 Christians (the Jews, as usual showed up 2 hours later). They seemed to understand simple logistics of why I would want to settle in this place. I pay half of what they pay in rent and property taxes as living in Jerusalem in unaffordable for us. It was hot again today and I had these grandoise plans of making simple things like Potato Bourekas, Tabouli salad and Israeli salad, but couldn't get to any of them because I had to work until 1:30 pm and the kids actually woke up and decided 1/2 hour before the party began that the place needed a bit of cleaning. My daughter's bean bag tore upstairs and she put in on our upper porch. The wind blew all the foam beans all over the house, our garden and our neighbor's garden. They complained bitterly to my kids at having to clean up that mess from their property. They're chronic complainers anyway and I laughed when my kids told me about their complaining, thinking about how frustrating it is to sweep up the light tiny little foam beads, as they escape the broom with any tiny gust of movement. They complained to Hubby last year because we hadn't planted anything in our garden and the dirt would blow up onto their porch, which they had the misfortune of having to clean. "They want us to buy plants, let them buy us plants" I said to Hubby. But getting back to the party (am I ADHD or what!?? Focus girl - focus!), we all sat around the hot plastic sukkah eating dips and various breads/pitas. they marvelled at how lovely it was. I told them about next year's plan to swathe the walls in wall hangings as my friend in Jerusalem had done. I managed to get a lulav and etrog - which is citron and palm branches - with myrtle branches and willows on the side of the palms. It's traditional to make blessings over these waving them with one hand in all directions for the unity of the Jewish people - I recited the blessings in English and Hebrew and waved them around in every direction. I actually forgot alot of the symbolism but Karmela the nun came to my rescue and in detail explained what everything was and why we used them and do what we do with them. She had gone to Meah Shearim - a very ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem and asked questions from the guy selling these things. He looked at her - "what is it to you?" Not because he knew she was a Christian, she can pass for Golda Meir's sister, but because she was a woman and what do women care about such things." But the man next to him insisted she be told because "maybe there's not a man around and she wants to tell her kids." "That's right" smiled Karmela. And she got the story of why and what and how. 5 hours later, everyone left and my house is empty now. But at least it was a joy being blessed by Rose who blessed our home in Hebrew and feeling a big euphoric at the fact that I accomplished sharing one of our traditions with others of different religions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your site is never boring...thanks for sharing all about this holiday. Someday I hope we can manage to do it properly as well. Sounds fun actually!