I planned to go to the Sulha with a woman I met at the Jewish Gospel evening, who invited me along with another woman. Dealing with a chaotic morning, I was only too happy to meet her in town and get away from it all. To my oasis of peace. God pseems to always put me with bad drivers, I guess because I don't pray enough, and he really wanted to hear from me today. He sure did. The driver rear-ended this 95 year old guy, but fortunately nothing happened. She didn't see the car in front of her had stopped and wondered why he did stop. This was during the first 5 minutes of the trip. The rest of the trip had her travelling on the highway about 120 kilometers an hour, which is about 20 more than I can handle without craving a valium or sleeping pill. I thought of jumping out of the car, and hitching over there, which would have seemed safer. Miraculously, we did get to our destination.
It was great seeing all the familiar faces and not familiar faces. When we got there, there was a place where people sat down eating melon and were playing some music. It looked like an ashram and the people looked like they had just been back from a pilgrimage to India. The weather was unbearably hot and the driver said she'd like to go back in a few hours when it got dark. The thought of her driving ME in the dark was just too much. God, in His mercy, heard me loud and clear. Minutes later Hubby called to say he was bringing Abed -his coworker - with him to the Sulha. Huh? The same Hubby who goes nowhere with me, and whose bedtime averages around 7:00 pm? God is great.
Ah yes, we trolled around the large parksite - this was held at Yarkon Springs, where the Yarkon river's source is. Unfortunately, the river looked kryptonite green and cesspool rancid. The water didn't move. Even the mosquitos stayed away. There were several tents set up - one was the Adam and Eve tent, which I thought was for nudists, but everyone was dressed. There had been flyers printed out stating in bold print that because we were to respect the "other", to please dress modestly. A head covering and sleeves to the wrist are definitely out for me - at least for the time being. So I ended up wearing a cotton top with short sleeves - to be somewhat modest. There was the compassionate listening tent, the journalists tent, the tent of Bereaved Parents, the House of Prayer, the Meditation tent, and my favorite - the tent of Sarah and Hagar - Abraham's wives, which was the women's tent. More on that in my next post.
64 Jordanians came to the Sulha. I met and hung out with 4 of them and sat in their large bedouin-type tent, which they slept in as well. Last year only 24 came. I spoke with Samira who used to work in the Royal Palace before she retired. They all spoke perfect English and we spoke about how when you finally meet the "other" all the previous thoughts fly out the window. She had a daughter in Maryland whom she visited and chatted with her daughter's neighbor, who happened to be Israeli. She said to her daughter -
"Aren't you afraid to live next to him?"
The daughter replied that he was just as anyone else. Even though the mother had her doubts. I appreciated her sharing this with me because we are all afraid of each other until we meet. I was one of the first Jews she had ever met.
Mohammad told me his family was originally from Yatta, near Hebron. I told him about my adventures in that area, and he seemed so happy that I had helped people who were living there under tough conditions.
I stopped to listen briefly to a presentation by former Palestinian and Israeli soldiers who have put their guns down for peace.
Hubby came with Abed who had never been to any peace festivals like this and couldn't believe his eyes. There seemed to be an equal number of Arabs to Jews, and the energy was one of total peace and serenity and happiness, which manifested later on in music and lively debkas from the young teenagers. I joined in dancing with them, feeling like a total klutz, but happy to dance like a dervish, to the pounding darbukas and other instruments unknown to me (which looked like a flute or a halil - but is used alot in Turkish music - don't know what it is called though).
There were famous Israeli musicians who were going to be the evening's entertainment, but everything was running late and the speeches were still going on by 10:30 pm. The real fun starts when we will be fast asleep.
Hubby was telling me how Abed had told him that although he wasn't a member of Hamas, he leaned towards their ideology thinking that that could be the way to his people's salvation. But now he told Hubby - he realizes, after tonight, that there just may be another way. A better way.
When I heard that, it was worth having the Sulha just for Abed. If one person's thinking can change after experiencing something like this - can you just imagine?
Friday, July 22, 2005
Posted by jerusalem gypsy at 10:07 PM