Monday, October 31, 2005

On the Road to Delhi

It was a harrowing pre-trip. First I ended up in the hospital Friday night because I thought I had appendicitis. Turns out it was just a urinary infection but the doctors bugged the crap out of me. It was 5:00 am and I had been there for 6 hours going for tests.

"You don't look very good, maam. I don't think you should be going to India in 2 days."

Of course I looked like the Madwoman from Hell. My hair was dishevelled. It was 6 hours past my bedtime. And 15 different doctors were poking and prodding me all over.

By Sunday I was feeling 90%. I got the pre-travel jitters, nervous about flying, etc. Not to mention the terrorist attack in Delhi the night before. But once I checked my baggage and got on the Jordanian jet, things were good. We transferred in Amman and the passengers on our flight to Delhi were a UN of people. Incredible - people from Nepal, Afghanistan. Tarek could pick out the people from Iraq because of their Arabic accent.

I was thrilled that there was no turbulence and the 5 hour flight was smooth. But I was the last to get off the plane and thought - what the hell, why should I be in such a rush. I was one of the last to get to the luggage and there was no luggage of mine to be found. I was in total tears. It is terrifying to lose your good jeans, the mosquito net, the stuff I brought to wear to the ceremonies and conference and now I was wearing my shittiest clothing. What is a princess to do? Nothing. Tomorrow is Diwali - an Indian national holiday and nothing will be open. No flights from Jordan in until Thursday. This is the earliest they can notify me if my luggage came in - that is if no one had taken it in the first place, which I hope was not the case.

To take my mind off this, Tarek suggested we take a private driver to drive us all over Delhi for a 4 hour tour. Sure. I'm half asleep and miserable and hungry. What could be better than being chauffered around, having the doors opened for you and being called "Madam"? I could live like this.

We saw a few sites. I don't remember their names at all. One is a Moslem mameuke ruin - a tower and mosque of sorts. Just beautiful. The Indian women are so colorful. I love their clothing. And there were exotic birds flying around and nesting in the trees. I saw monkeys sitting side by side with people around the Parliament buildings. The monkeys sat in groups by themselves by one tree, and next to them sat people besides the next trees. It felt so trippy - seeing all of this.

I've got to run - my flight to Amritsar is about to leave.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Travelling Companions

Hubby actually came with me to visit the Messianic Jews who live near us. And he's sitting there telling them how lost he is, how he doesn't have direction, how he needs a change and they're smiling away. I can hear them thinking -

"Man, what a catch! The Lord brings us these lost souls so we can save them. Thank you Jeeesus!"

I know they were really happy to meet us even though I didn't seem lost to them. I told them I'm happy where I am spiritually. I'm not in a spiritual rut or vacuum. I may burn in hell according to their theology but I don't necessarily give a fuck. I just want people to understand that if they want to be tolerated or even accepted in the Jewish community, it would be easier if their motives wouldn't be to lasso me into their beliefs. But I understand that it comes from compassion because they truly want to save my soul, even though I believe it doesn't need saving. So because of their compassion I can tolerate and even admire them.

"Everyone has their own path to God" I told my hostess. She shook her head vigorously.

I continued -"I know you don't think so. But that's another 3 hour discussion." We didn't have 3 hours that day.

Hubby was down in the dumps afterwards, but I invited him to join the meeting the next evening with the 2 men who will be with me in India. I felt he would feel better if he saw that they didn't look like Richard Gere clones. They don't. They're big. Like wrestlers. I'm not into wrestlers so I'm sure Hubby was totally relieved. I even felt a bit of relief travelling on a Jordanian airline with my Arab colleague. I felt moreso relieved for him because I feel he'll be less harassed on this airline than if he travelled on El Al, the Israeli airline.

"At least I have a chance to practice Arabic with you for 17 hours"

I'll probably be a lot more fluent, but he'll probably have a great big headache after he gets off the flight with me.

"Just don't practice your Arabic on him at the airport in front of security" joked our Jewish colleague.

He's quite right.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Why does everyone have to harrass me

Yesterday I went out with the Complainer to the shuk. She bugged me about everything. We argued in front of the chicken lady.

"Don't buy that because of the flu" she told me pointing to the chicken cutlets.

"Honey, I read in the papers that if you cook it..."


"I have one of those at home" said the chicken lady to me, glancing at me with pity, and nodding towards the Complainer.

"Oh, sorry to hear that. How old is yours?"


"This one's 17 1/2"

We came to a truce afterwards. Maybe she realized her behavior was out of hand in public after the chicken lady dissed her about it in front of everyone. Good for her. Now she has a customer for life.

Then I came home and told Hubby I'm visiting some new English speaking people I met at the video store, who happen to be messianic Jews. Seems the only English speakers in my neighborhood are messianics.

"Oh, so now you're going to get converted?"

What a dick. I answered him promptly.

"Yes, and from tomorrow on my name will be Christ-ina. OK?"

Later on Ex-Criminal daughter called me from her reformatory.

"Nu, so how was the game?" She's a big Betar fan.

I started to tell her about the fans, the players and was in the middle of telling her the chants that were hurled at the other team's fans sitting in a section by themselves

"Hapoel zonah, Hapoel zonah, Hapoel zonah" ("Hapoel's a whore" - "Hapoel" being the Tel Aviv team's name)

And she was in hysterics, even putting me on the speaker phone so her counselor could hear me give it over.

He interrupted my take on the game.

"You took your kids to a soccer game?"

"Yeah so?" Isn't that being a good parent?

Obviously, he didn't think so.

"I hate Betar. Betar fans are so racist."

"Yes, you are right, which is why I didn't take them to the previous game,which had Arabs on the team, because I didn't want my kids to hear anti-Arab slurs. And besides, the police now arrest fans shouting anti-Arab stuff."

He was undaunted.

"It's violent at these games. And all the cursing that goes on."

"Yeah, but the curses are in Hebrew. It's not as bad as English swearing." And then we went on to talk about hockey in the US and how I had season's tickets.

He must think I'm a total violence freak.

"Hockey is terribly violent" -

"Yeah, but there wasn't any violence at the Betar game. What I did see besides everyone calling everyone a "whore" was a great deal of camaraderie. And we had alot of fun. It was really a lot of fun, even if we didn't win."

He probably thinks I'm a real shitty, irresponsible mom. I guess taking my kids clothes shopping and to restaurants and synagogues are the only acceptable activities these days.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Soccer Mom

I decided to take my son to a professional soccer game in Jerusalem. Their local team, Betar was playing Hapoel Tel Aviv. I hadn't been to a soccer game in 8 years, but remember it being somewhat of a family affair, with people bringing in picnic baskets, thermoses and sharing their grub with everyone seated around them.

I tried to get Hubby to go with me because it's kinda like Canadian hockey. Well it is and it isn't. They don't sell beer at soccer games, at least not in Jerusalem.

So in the end my Good Daughter, my Son and his short spikey haired friend and myself went. My son insisted we get seats on the "mizrachi" (Eastern) side of the stadium. I got them but didn't realize the stupid ticket broker gave the adults Gate 11 and the "youth" Gate 13. We had quite a difficult time, entering the stadium together. But in the end they let us sit by Gate 13 where the rest of the "youth" were. I noticed the gates on the Western side of the stadium were filled with mature adults and families. I also noticed that Gate 13 was full of greasy looking football hooligan types. And this is where we were going to be seated. The rowdy bunches already gathered more than 2 hours before on the upper level. They were singing and banging drums and I nixed sitting with them. I opted for the seats closer to the field, and on the same row where I saw other small fry with their dads.

"They're going to throw things at us" remarked by daughter.

"The security is so tight, no one can bring in bottles or anything dangerous. The only thing they'll throw is confetti."

"But confetti will stick to my hair."

"Oh, c'mon honey, it's not like lice."

It was true that no one threw anything heavier than confetti, and I was glad I didn't wear my red pants that evening because red and white were the colors of the opposing team who were sitting on the side. I would have had a more difficult time getting seated by security.

A few rowdy teens took the row in front of us. I noticed we were blocked in by high gates. It looked like we were in a cage. Most of the stadium seemed open but only our gate was especially built for the football crazies. Other young people tried to get into our gate but security locked them out. I was a bit frightened at first but - hey - we're all on the same team and I didn't see any serious fights breaking out. Occasionally during the game I saw the police escort about 4 people with their hands tied, out of the stadium, but around us it was pretty cool. Everyone stood on their chairs and after the National Anthem was sung, the confetti flew.

Curses flew like heavy rainfall. Everyone cursed. They cursed our team, the opposing team, and I, of course, cursed in my best English.

"Oh Dammit!"
"Oh FUCK!!! I can't believe he missed that GOAL!!!"

We lost 2 - 0 and the disappointment was felt more in the stadium than if you watch it on tv. I felt bad that for his first game, my son didn't see his team scoring a goal. Everyone in our section would have gone absolutely nuts over a win. But as the game dragged on, people were getting subdued and even left when there was just a few minutes left to the game.

There were a handful of women/girls in our section, but the boys around behaved nicely. Better than I expected. No ass pinching or harrassment. My daughter did have someone politely ask for her number and he told her that I was cute.
I smiled.

Next time I go to a game - I'll opt for Gate 13 in the Eastern section again.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Holidays feel Lethargic

I thought I'd be pretty much pumped up this festive holiday. It didn't begin too well. I was feeling under the weather last week, and was going to attend the International Christian Embassy Feast of Tabernacles Celebration at the outdoor Sultan's Pool. It's like a big kitchy extravaganza and I wanted to see all the upbeat visiting Christians standing and swaying with their hands stretched upwards to heaven. Even though I am amused watching them, I feel good among them. I do remember, though,feeling slightly uncomfortable a few years back when we were segregated at one of their festivities - Israelis seated here and Christian participants seated there. I told Hubby that I wanted to go because I feel loved in their presence, despite the segregation. He still can't understand why we're loved by Christians.

"Because we're the chosen people that's why!"

"We're just chosen to be stressed out." Needless to say he didn't go to the festivities and neither did I because it was friggin cold in Jerusalem that night and I didn't want my cold/sore throat to turn into anything worse before my trip.

Meanwhile, Hubby has been threatening me all week with tossing out my beloved Kitty when I'm in India. His mood swings have been getting to me lately and I'm quite happy to be relieved of his presence for two weeks while I'm in India. It's God's gift of respite for me.

But there's a good side to being here too.

Ex-Criminal daughter invited one of her girlfriends from the reformatory over to our house for the weekend. This poor girl's story is so sad. Her abusive mother knocked out her front teeth. I've had a friend pledge some money to get her to a dentist and when I mentioned it to the Social Worker at that place, she was practically speechless. It's so heartening to know that there are great, helpful people in Jerusalem. I'm sure it would not take me long to find all the resources to help this young and pretty 17 1/2 year old girl get her smile back!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Gift of Insults

Got this in an email today:

A great Samurai warrior, now old, had decided to teach
Zen Buddhism to young people. Despite his age, the legend
was that he could defeat any adversary.

One afternoon, a young warrior - known for his complete
lack of scruples - arrived there. He was famous for using
techniques of provocation: he waited until his adversary
made the first move and then swiftly counterattacked,
skillfully taking advantage of any slightest mistake his
adversary made. He had never lost a fight. Hearing of
the Samurai's reputation, he had come to defeat him, to
increase his fame. All the students were against the idea,
but the old master accepted the challenge.

All gathered on the town square, and the young man
started insulting the old master. He threw a few rocks in

his direction, spat in his face, shouted every insult under
the sun - he even insulted his ancestors. For hours, he
did everything to provoke him, but the old man remained
impassive. At the end of the afternoon, by now feeling
exhausted and humiliated, the impetuous warrior left.

Disappointed by the fact that the master had received
so many insults and provocations, the students asked:
"How could you bear such indignity? Why didn't you
use your sword, even knowing you might lose the fight,
instead of displaying your cowardice in front of us all?"
"If someone comes to you with a gift, and you do not
accept it, to whom does the gift belong?" asked the
Samurai. "To the one who tried to deliver it," replied
one of his disciples.

"The same goes for envy, anger and insults," said
the master.
"When they are not accepted, they continue to belong to the one who brought them."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Israel's epidemic

I don't know why Hubby is worrying about the bird flu so much. There's another epidemic here that I've just discovered in my town. OK - it's not really an epidemic but it's spreading like wildfire here and there's no cure for it. It's those vibrating rings. Made out of silicone. Get it? The same ones my hairdresser has been going on endlessly about and selling to Hubby.

I couldn't believe it last night when I saw it ON DISPLAY at my neighborhood hardware store down the block. In a hardware store of all places! It actually now gives a new meaning to the "hardware store". I innocently went in there to buy 4 long pieces of wood for our Succah roof and I'm ready to pay. My eyes shift to the window area - on display are keychains, blank video cassettes, other little knick knacks and a few clear plastic, very obvious vibrator rings. It even says so on the packages in English block letters.

What made this really funny, besides this being sold at a mom and pop hardware store was the fact that the owners are ultra-Orthodox (Hareidi in Israeli terms). Mrs. Mom is sitting there in her wig and modest clothing, and to the left of her are those dangling vibrator rings. I tried to stifle my laughter but could barely manage.

"Is there anything else you want to buy"? she smiled at me sweetly.

This time I couldn't contain myself. I burst into laughter.

"No. Just the wood please."

She must have thought I was temporarily insane, laughing about buying wood.

I really was trying to get the nerve to ask her what "those rings" are for - to see if she really knew. If she doesn't know what prices are, where things are in the store, she asks Mahmood, the Palestinian young man who helps them out. I heard her calling for him constantly. I imagined her calling him to help me out with my question, if she didn't want to be bothered or was too embarrassed to give any explanation.

I didn't bother to ask. I'll turn it over to Hubby. He loves this sort of shit.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sprechen zie Deutsch?

"Sprechen zie Deutsch?" asked Hubby to our French Sabbath dinner guest.

"Jeezus, you don't ask the French that!" I explained to Hubby. He thinks all Europeans are alike. He also has a fixation with anything German. I don't know why at all. He's like 7th generation Canadian. He loves Greta van Susteren from Fox News, maybe because "Greta" sounds German, even though "van Susteren" sounds Dutch to me.

I really didn't care about his crushes. I have mine, after all. Also, I was elated because I had made Mulligawtany soup, and my French guest was giving me his critique.

"Aaahhh! Ze flavor ees just right,with just ze right amoont of zeazonings, nothing overpowering"

It was like getting 2 Michelin stars from a famous French food connosieur.

"Merci, dahling"

I had more stuff to put on my grateful list. We had gone out earlier in the day to buy dishes for special occasions (Sabbath, holidays, guests) - they weren't expensive but were beautiful and I hadn't seen a new set in 20 years. We had been using paper plates all this time. These dishes were just plain white but were shaped square instead of round and looked elegant nevertheless. My kids loved them -even the Complainer. She "ooohhed and ahhhed" over them that I thought either I was hallucinating or the Messiah was coming. She even did the dishes that evening - a site I hadn't seen from her in years.

Of coure we argued about the color of the tablecloth I'll have to buy.

"I think I'd like a dark purple or dark orange tablecloth" I mused.

"You're hanging out with Arabs so much you want your house to look like an Arab house!!" - her face was turning red. "You should get a brown tablecloth"

"Brown?? Brown is dull. I'm not getting brown. And who are you telling me about hanging out with Arabs like it's a bad thing, when you've invited YOUR Arab friends to our Sukkah (a temporary outside hut/booth with a thatched roof for eating in during the holiday of Succot)"

She had no answer.

"And besides" I wasn't finished with her yet. "Don't think Arab homes are all decorated in oranges and purples. For your information, Ibrahim's home is decorated in brown! Ha."

Argument over.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My kind of Yom Kippur

I didn't go to synagogue this Yom Kippur. I really dislike the dry synagogues in my neighborhood. I could have ventured to the friendlier Moroccan, Yemenite, Kurdish ones, but their services are way too unfamiliar to me. So I spent the day watchig my son play World Federation of Wrestling with our kitten. He'd wrestle with her lightly, slide her across the living room and throw her on the couch and count ONE! TWO! THREE! until Kitty Kat ran over to him begging for more! Alot of the day, I thought about God, and felt Him close enough and within me that I felt I really didn't "need" to be in a synagogue that day, although even the most affiliated go if they don't go any other time of the year. I just have this kind of repulsion to -have to do- what most Jews feel they have to do. The freedom to be myself that day was totally enlightening. I read 100 pages of The Jew in the Lotus - about several Rabbis' meeting the Dalai Lama in 1990. We had just the changed clocks back the Saturday before, so the fast ended wonderfully early - at 5:45 pm.

I opted to break the fast the Islamic traditional way - with a date and water.

"Here" I tried to coax Hubby into breaking the fast as I do, offering him a date.

"No, it's not Jewish" he told me.

"OK" and so I bit off the tip of the date and showed him the newly circumcised date. "Now it is"

He still went for the Coke instead.

That evening I went out with my two daughters - aged 21 and 18 - to Jerusalem's downtown area. The place was swarming with people. I saw Alex from Laughing Yoga in the crowd.

"Hey Alex!!" I shouted to him. He's real cute, young, and has long blond hair tied back in a ponytail.

"AAAAAHHHH HHAAAAAA HAAAA HHAAAAA HHAAAAAA!!!!" Alex and I had our own very loud laughing Yoga happening as we hugged each other hello.

My kids were totally embarrassed.

"MOM!!! How can you be like that in the middle of the street??"

I introduced them to each other.

He asked me - "Are YOU Jerusalem Gypsy that I read about in the Jerusalem Post newspaper? You wrote about Laughing Yoga there."

Now it was my turn to be embarrassed.

After he left, they were more mystified than embarrassed.

"Mom, how is it you know so many young, cute guys?"

Hmmmm. Isn't this one of the things I should be grateful for?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

On the Eve of Yom Kippur

What a shame I didn't pack my camera in my bag. Today was a photographer's dream! I'll try to describe it. I went to the shuk to buy food for the pre-fast meals today and on the way to the market saw a group of animal rights protesters with signs outside the place where traditional Jews were doing Kapparot, where chickens used for this ceremony were being slaughtered on the spot and given to the needy. So the secular animal rights activists were in a shouting match with the Orthodox and traditional folk. The newspaper man was shaking his head at me, just as the police intervened to break up the fracas. "You can't slaughter chickens anymore now? This country is a disaster!" I really don't know whether the animal rights activists were there because they were just anti-anything religious because if that bothered them so, why don't they just protest at all the slaughterhouses where chickens, turkeys and cows are killed for food. No. They had to do it here. This time, I took the Orthodox/traditionalists' side because the chickens were going to go to the poor. Nothing wrong with that is there?

I was wearing my bright orange top with a sequined border.

"Where did you get that?" asked my friend.

"Oh, I bought it last year for Purim (a holiday similar to Halloween in that people dress in costume). And I just discovered it as I was cleaning stuff out."

"That's a sign of age, isn't it?" she went on. "That your Purim costumes become funky enough to wear during the year."

We both laughed, and wandered into the Kapparot area. They had security there - I think more to protect the people there from animal rights activists more than from Arab terrorists. We saw various people swinging the chickens around their heads 3 times before giving it to the slaughterer who quickly slit the chickens' throat.

"Did you see that?" asked my friend.

"Yup. It almost wants to make you become vegetarian."

I decided to do my Kapparot ritual with money instead. Much cleaner, less smelly, and the money also goes to charity plus it'll make the animal rights activists in my area happy that I chose to do it this way instead.

Way of the Heart

Eliyahu send an invite for a potluck break-the-ramadan-fast - Iftar at the Knights Palace Hotel where The Way of the Heart people were staying. I call them Chassidic Christians, even though some of them don't refer to themselves as Christians, because they get close to God through song and prayer and dance. There was a special aura about them.
I missed the first hour because of work - but got there in time for the listening circles. There must have been over 100 people. The group came mainly from the US and Australia plus a group of Moslems were bussed in from Nazareth to join us. It seemed all the local Jewish peace workers were there as well. The women from The Way of the Heart group were interesting to look at - all covered in ethnic shawls and beautiful colored clothing.

We shared the break-fast with the Moslems sitting down to a beautifully set table - with one date on our plate and water - which I found out is the traditional way to break the Ramadan fast. Pot luck turned out to be a buffet of a large variety of food - my cream cheese and labane were absolutely useless here so I tucked it back into my backpack. We'll eat it at home. Before we ate, blessings were said by Chrisian, Jewish and Moslem representatives. Then we dug in.

I was happy to see my new friend from the health food store arrive with a French friend of hers who is thinking of moving to our neighborhood. He was tall and looked to be quite a mix of races - black, oriental, and I don't know what else. I figured I'll invite him for Shabbat dinner and let Hubby do the probing which he always does so well.

After dinner, Gabriel Meyer, the founder of Sulha, was standing in the middle of a circle leading the singing and swaying. Chaim laughed and told me it looks like a Knights of Columbus prayer session. He also told me that Gabriel is going to India in two weeks to meet the Dalai Lama - at the Dalai Lama's invitation. Wow. By the time I get to Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama will be in the US. I'll have to meet him some other place and time.

The Moslems made a short presentation on Ramadan. The Way of the Heart people chanted the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic and sang songs in Aramaic. I thought it was pretty wild. I also thought they were probably the only people in the world who didn't need subtitles for Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ movie, which was all in Aramaic.

Afterwards, Dr. Michael Kagan made a beautiful presentation on the upcoming Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur and how we are like different threads that intertwine. We are different but end up touching each other, as it is now, having Ramadan and the Jewish holy days together this year. He explained Jewish traditions of Yom Kippur, by wearing white. It is also a tradition for men to wear a white "kittel" a thin belted cotton robe over your clothes - the same one you get married in, wear every Yom Kippur and eventually get buried in. This brings out humility. And the wearing of white is symbolic of being like angels, who generally do not eat, drink, have sexual relations - ever. But for one day we do this too. Moslems and Jews have a tradition that angels have one leg. Humans have two, denoting the choices one always has to make in life and the conflicts one comes across. Angels don't have this conflict - they just know what they have to do.

After we had an interactive session where we broke up into couples - asked forgiveness for someone we hurt and forgave someone who hurt us and forgave ourselves for hurting ourselves, while the other person was a witness.

My new friend was impressed by his teachings. I was glad to hear that, because he's having an interfaith thing at his home the first night of Sukkot. I would have had to have gone alone. Hubby is not into this stuff at all, so I am really grateful that God placed a like-minded person close to where I live so I have someone to share these experiences with.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

It's a disaster

I've been trying all morning to post this video up, so I've been trying to look at this tutorial and got constantly interrupted by my son wanting to check his ICQ. I'd love for his ICQ friends to come to the house and swoop him away for a couple of hours. But no. They'd rather sit in front of their computer ICQ'ing each other.

Then my Son tells me of the earthquake in India this morning telling me it's dangerous to go there.

Not to mention Hubby warning me of some bird virus going around which can be disastrous to large populations.

Yesterday I went to my New Age bookstore in town to buy a book and meet the woman I went to the Sulha with. She's having some strange goings-on during the holiday of Sukkot in her Succah, with stuff about interplanetary happenings and Atlantis. She asked my daughter if she would like to join her mother and her weird friends. Then she said her friend, a channeler, warned of a major earthquake in our region during January. A terrible disaster, which would eventually bring peace to this area because people would rally to help each other out. She even got earthquake insurance.

"So, you don't think I should go searching for a home before January, eh?"

"Not unless you get earthquake insurance."

Then I had a dinner guest over last night. She was a kindred soul in MY VERY OWN SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD who worked in the health food shop. I was thrilled to meet a like-minded person and wondered if there are others hiding around. Apparently there are. It is difficult if you're Anglo and not Orthodox here, even though everyone has been totally kind to her. But she was thrilled to see books at my home by Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shlomi, the Renewal Rabbi and will introduce me to others. Wow. Others!! In the 'burbs!!

But then she scared the shit out of Hubby and the girls by telling them of her tales of travels in India - people defecating in streets, large cows standing in front of you, people driving on sidewalks, and she warned me to take malaria pills even though 7 people told me not to take them because "it's like taking bad LSD". I've never even taken good LSD, so I'm a bit nervous of taking bad LSD.

I was going to go to the movies this evening with a friend. But I think I'll just stick around the house. Somehow I just feel safer at home (even with my kids).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Eye Candy for the Holiday

Both God and my eldest Daughter have been very good to me this holiday. I guess God must have heard my wish to take care of the unwanted children in this world. So my daughter asks if she can bring her friend for all the holiday meals. He doesn't have any parents and lives alone. Great! An orphan. Just what I asked for to be useful to mankind. To do a bit of charity. Nothing could please me more.

The first night the Orphan walks in. He looks like a Russian Jean-Claude Van Damme. Turns out Mr. Orphan is nearly 32, no body fat, and is in the police special forces - yup, the special forces where there are only hunky guys. I wonder if they hold male beauty-hunk contests for these jobs because I haven't seen any ugly guys riding these police motorcycles. Never. He's also training my daughter so that she passes her police physical. Yowsa.

The next day he walks in wearing a tight (skin tight) black top with short sleeves. His muscles are bulging. My daughter looks at my flushed face and tells me she told him to wear something with short sleeves..."because my mother likes muscles".

"Honey, you did this for me?" I said gleefully, thinking that this girl really knows how to get around not paying me any rent. Sure. I'll void this month's rent, if you keep bringing me these Orphans for dinner.

After the meal, we sit down to watch The Wedding Date where girl hires a male escort to make her ex-fiancee jealous. The Orphan spoke.

"After I'm done with the police, I think I'll become a gigolo."

I nearly spit out the pistachios I was munching on, trying hard to keep from choking.


"Yes, I have a friend who lives in Ashkelon and works in Tel Aviv. He has a great apartment, car, everything."

"How much would you charge" I asked. God, these orphans can be so resourceful.

"Oh, 400 shekels an hour"

My daughter interceded - "Would you give my mother a discount? 100 NIS?"

This time I did spit out my pistachios together with some chocolate....

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Some New Year Resolutions

Hubby and I were up this morning at 5:00 am and watched the sunset from our front porch.

"Let's have coffee outside, watch the sunset and wake the neighbors, okay?"

Hubby likes those kind of invites so he joined me outside. He was just about to cup his hand over my breast when in bounds the Complainer from partying all night.

"Want to meet some Arabs who drove us home from a party?"

"Sure." I'm saying "sure" to everything my kids want this New Year. Nothing like entertaining guests at 6:00 am. Absolutely nothing like it.

"He's shy. He's not gonna come up. But look at his car."

I peeled myself over the railing to glance at this guy's car. A fire red sports car with a convertible roof. Nice car. Nice looking kid. I thanked him for bringing my daughter home and he waved to me and wished me a good holiday.

My daughter explained how they met. "He's half Greek and half Christian Arab. At first when we first met him about a month ago he said he was born in Greece. But last week he said he didn't want to lie and said his dad was Greek and his mother is a Christian Arab. They live in Beit Hanina (an upscale Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem). He would rather hang out with Israelis than his Moslem peers."

"Yes, it's more difficult to be a Chrisitian Arab here. You don't exactly fit it with your Moslem neighbors and the Jews don't accept you either glumping all Arabs together" I added.

While twisting and turning in bed this morning, I felt pity for the girls at my daughter's reformatory - especially the one whose mother knocked out her teeth among other things, and who hadn't been out in 1 1/2 years for a weekend when the girls usually get out every 3 weeks - she spends some holidays with cousins. I invited her to our home for our next holiday. There are others whose parents don't want them home for whatever reason, but they don't seem like bad kids at all. In fact, it seems that their home life is way more dysfunctional than ours and they are the victims. I imagined myself being shit-rich and paying for this girl's caps, so she can have a beautiful smile. I felt if I had more time on my hands I would have volunteered to take some of the girls out for a coffee/breakfast as I do with my own daughter. Our outings were becoming so frequent that the counselor explained we can't do it all the time because other girls don't get that special treatment. I think one of my new year's resolutions is to find volunteers who will give the girls some good "mothering".

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

celebrating the holiday

I felt a need to go to a synagogue this year for the holiday. The ones in my neighborhood just don't cut it for me. Too dry, too long, too boring, people too uptight. I would have been happy with the tiny conservative synagogue on kibbutz but since my kids nixed that trip, that was out.

Hubby decided to go along with me to Jerusalem's funky Reform synagogue Kol Haneshama. Funky because the congregation is young at heart, funky, gay, straight, singles families, spiritual, friendly and the rabbi was wearing his ashram clothes, which I pointed out to Hubby. I really felt at home looking at this rabbi wearing a knee-length white caftan over white cotton pants. I think I would have felt a bit alienated had I faced a pulpit rabbi wearing a conservative white shirt, tie, black pants. I don't know why I felt that way but I did. I also liked when during the service before an important prayer he'd lead the congregation into "take a deep breath" and then we'd belt it out after that deep breath.

The singing was loud and I joined in loudly too, even embarrassing the ex-Criminal daughter who came with us, who hissed - "You want EVERYONE to hear you.! Fadchanit! (embarrassment)"

But I continued singing joyfully loud, as did a male acquaintance of mine sitting right behind me who once owned a steakhouse in Jerusalem, and we harmonized happily throughout the service.

This service was more pleasurable for me because over many years I had been praying at Orthodox services - which take hours. Reform services cut out at least 50 pages and we started at 9:15 and were out by 1:00 instead of the 7:00 - 1:30 services at Orthodox synagogues. Much more do-able for me.

The speeches and services and Torah readings were shared by women and men. Hubby, always the conservative, didn't take too much of a liking to the women being called up to lead the services and Torah readings, and he even asked me sarcastically if I wanted to wear a kippah. I could have used a tallit (fringed prayer shawl) because they had the airconditioning on and I was freezing.

After about 2 hours Daughter and Hubby had their ADD fits and spent the rest of the time outside. Even though it annoyed them that they had to wait, I mingled after services saying Hi to 5 people that I knew there and the circle widened as they introduced me to others, and we blessed each other for the coming year. May it be great one for us all.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Happy Jewish New Year

"Tomorrow is your 2006" asked this woman from Sri Lanka on the bus.

"No, it's 5766"

She looked totally confused. I was as amused as she was confused. My lawyer friend told me it was Karma that because I'm travelling to India, I'll be noticing more people from that part of the world, which I have been. Sri Lanka is close enough.

I warned her to stock up on food as all shops will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. I don't want her to have an empty fridge on Wednesday morning.

We began the Eve of the Jewish New Year today - quite calmly. Except for Hubby's bouts of depression, he seemed to be doing better today. Perhaps because last night I walked in very late but carried a gift of cologne for him and a new bathrobe to replace the one I trashed a few months earlier. So after shopping in the shuk - we sat down for breakfast at the Shuk coffee shop.

"Only in Israel do you see this" he said to me staring at the young kitchen staff.

"See what?"

"See that girl walking around and her pants are falling down halfway down her ass. You see all her underpants."

"At least she's not wearing thong undies." I was feeling relieved for this cute young thing. She was wearing a modest white pair with what looked like dragons on them.

Another woman sat down opposite us. She had cleavage and sparkles on her upper boob.

I muttered to Hubby - "This broad wants to be looked at. She's probably thinking - if they're not looking at them, I'll put loads of sparkles on them, so people will just have to look.'" It works, lady.

Wandering through the shuk - former Jerusalem mayor, Ehud Olmert, was doing his shopping and yakking - flanked all around him by the most gorgeous security guards one could ever want flanking oneself. At that moment, I thought how nice it would be to be an Israeli government offiicial.

I shopped at this vendor and at that vendor. The guy selling me figs was laughing at me as I wrote down the price he charged me.

"What are you writing?" he asked.

"I'm just putting down what you charged me so that I know where all the money went for this holiday."

"What for?"

"Because HE wants to know." I nodded towards Hubby, blaming him for this seemingly loony public act of mine.

The vendor knew better.

"He doesn't want to know anything. Look at him. All he wants to do is finish shopping and get back into his car."

"HE SURE GOT YOUR NUMBER!!" I squealed with laughter to Hubby as we went on to the next vendor.

We got home in one piece and began preparations for our guests - my Good Daughter's boyfriend and my Eldest Daughter's cop friend who has no parents and no where to go for the holiday. The chairs around the dining table that we brought from Canada 10 years ago have seen much better days. They looked worn and tattered. Nothing much we can do at this time. My kids voiced their New Years wishes as they set the table.

"I hope this table breaks while we're sitting on it."

Hubby was annoyed at the Complainer because she hadn't lifted a finger.

"Why don't you marry that little nigger and leave the house already." He loves her boyfriend - who is not black but is very dark skinned nonetheless - and the term "Little Nigger" doesn't make anyone too upset knowing it's coming from Hubby.

"Why don't I write a children's book called "My Little Nigger" and we all laughed at the craziness of it all.

We're just about to settle down to a meal soon with a full house. I've been wished blessings for the new year, ranging from chronic slimness to being a millionaire and good health.

I'm hoping for lots of joy for my family and good health - and more than a bit of moolah can't hurt either. And I'm wishing for Hubby to be sick and tired of being depressed - getting some help for this condition so that he won't only notice the awful and seeing his glass forever half empty when I know one can see life as the glass being half full if not nearly full. Happy New Year.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Idol Worshipping - Jewish style

Someone sent this to me. Real cute.

tall tales

My girlfriend at work was telling me that before her trip to Thailand, people were telling her to beware of coconuts and pineapples falling on her head. We laughed just thinking about the scene.

That afternoon we met some friends in town - people we hadn't seen in many months. He read my blog and was aware of me going to India in a month.

"Watch out for monkeys raping women" he warned me.

"You gotta be kidding me"

"No. Google it and you'll see. Take a can of mace with you."

Well foolish me googled it and didn't come up with anything other than monkeys outside a temple attacking children (just children) and monkeys getting sloshed on some Indian brew left outside and attacking people.

I think he just wanted to goad me into this "I made you look (on Google)" thing we used to do as kids (but without Googling of course)

I'm off tomorrow morning to get my vaccines and visa for this exotic place.