Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years

New Years in Jerusalem is very toned down. There are a few restaurants having New Year's dinners tonight. The hotels basically cannot have New Year's celebrations because the rabbis of the Kosher Certificates will be upon them and take away their Kosher Certificates. Threats have been made in the past, and this year I see none advertising.

I was going to celebrate the secular New Year - which is called Sylvester here. What a silly name, I thought, calling New Year's after a cat that lisps. My kids have imitated me called Sylvester "Thylvethter". But, curious as I am, I did read that Sylvester was a Pope in the Middle Ages - in fact, a very anti-semitic pope. So why do they insist on celebrating "his" day? Call it New Years, folks. That's what it is in the rest of the world, even if it isn't the Jewish, Moslem or Christian Orthodox New Years.

I booked a lovely restaurant for 10:30 this evening. The promised gourmet fare, violins, flowers and champagne at midnight. It sounded so romantic. It sounded like such a nice, quiet way to end 2005.

Then I thought of the realities. Not only would it set me back over $100 - a small fortune here - for many - half a week's salary. But we have work tomorrow. On January 1st. And that really sucks. Who wants to stuff oneself at 10:30 in the evening, come home in the wee hours of the morning, only to have the alarm ring at 6:00 am. Not me. So I cancelled. Maybe another time. Maybe when New Years falls on a Thursday since we have Friday off.

I thought of New Years resolutions. It's like a twice-yearly mental cleansing. I do them in September/October for the Jewish New Year, and then again December 31st. Here they are:

1. Try and give more charity - I've been well below the 10% mark, and feel terribly bad about that. God has been good to us this year, and we have to show some thanks.

2. Have guests over more frequently for Sabbath/Friday night dinners.

3. Once a month - go on a "trip" with Rabbis for Human Rights or some other organization to help Palestinians, who cannot help themselves.

4. Go to the gym three times weekly

5. Eat a healthier diet

And that's about all I can handle. For this year, anyways. Have a good one folks.


The furor has basically died down over the expense of my multi-focals. I had a odd few days wearing them. The first day I wore them, I noticed my shirt was inside-out while in the board room meeting with my boss. Then a couple of hours later a woman asked me to help her compose an e-mail to someone quite important and extremely wealthy.

She rang me quite worried.

"There's a typo in the e-mail you sent"

"No - can't be. I haven't had a typo in 20 years!"

But I looked at it and alas, there was a typo. I wrote the word "lo" instead of "no". I told her I was perhaps thinking in Hebrew as "lo" is actually "no" in Hebrew. But are my multi-focals causing me to multi-err?

Thursday, December 29, 2005


These. These are what caused Hubby to go into a bit of a funk this morning. They're my new Happy Glasses. Happy Glasses because when my kids first saw them on me, they burst out laughing. When the girls at work saw me in them - they called me a "meshugana" (crazy one). They match my hair, and look good when I wear purple lipstick. And no one in Jerusalem has these. No one. Not in this color anyways. And I wonder why? Because orange has been a politically "right" color this year. But I don't look politically "right" in them. I really don't. But I do feel funky.

They're multi-focals. Bi-focals - a thing of the past. The optometrist corrected me each time I nearly choked when I heard the price of these "bifocals".

"They're multi-focals" he told me again and again, pronuncing them "mooltee focahls".

Hubby was telling me this morning how I'm always spending money on myself. Of course, I am darling. Because if I'm going to need bi-focals -- I mean multi-focals - - because I'm getting old, they better damn not look like old lady glasses. And they certainly don't.

Arabic Christmas

I got a last-minute invite to a women's interfaith celebration of Christmas in Beit Hanina, just north of Jewish Jerusalem. You just pass by the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem and voila, you feel like you are in another country. Also Beit Hanina is one of the more wealthiest of Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods. We drove in a convoy of 4 cars - stopping at the French Hill intersection. A young Arab kid - perhaps around 9 or 10 - was selling silk flowers, and other assorted things one doesn't need. He pressed his face against our window looking really mournful.

"He must look at himself in the mirror each morning and practice to get that tragic look" - said our driver.

We gave the "tragic-looking" kid some change and drove off.

Mistakenly, we knocked on the downstairs apartment, but the young couple who answered greeted all of us as if we were expected. 25 unexpected guests.

Although I am not very active in the women's interfaith group - however, whenever I do meet up with them, it's really like getting together with a bunch of sisters. Alot of sisters - about 25 of them. We sat around the table eating all the goodies - it was a feast ending with my favorite dessert - kanafe - among other baklava-like treats. The Jewish women there were stuck though when Christmas carols were sung in Arabic. We can do the English versions but not the Arabic ones.

Before I went to this party, I had a chat with our new receptionist. She asked me -
"Doesn't it freak you out to hear Christmas Carols in Arabic?"

"It is kind of strange, but it also is kind of nice being able to celebrate our holidays together in our native languages." I told her of getting lost last year in Beit Hanina.

"Weren't you terrified?" she asked me.

I have long since given up the useless emotion of being terrified when in a neighborhood of "others" or being confronted by the Other.

I told her a story about when I was about 15 years old of being terribly frightened of African-Americans. I thought anyone black who came over to talk to me was either going to rob me or beat me. This is what is was like for me in the New York City of the early 1970s. I had some Jewish holy books on my lap. I was on the subway going to school. A young woman, a bit older than me, perhaps 18, sat next to me and began a conversation.

"Did you know that Moses was black??" On her lap was a book called "Black Moses". I was terrified of her, and felt my face redden. I thought she was going to beat me up for thinking that Moses was white, or at least somewhat white, being of Middle-East extraction. I just nodded at everything she said. When I think about it now, I think what a loss it was for me. If I hadn't been so terrified, and have been somewhat of the person I am today, I would have engaged her in a wonderful dialogue. How sad that fear got in the way....

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

When the Shit Hits the Fan

This morning I had to take a routine blood test. My doc said I hadn't had a routine check up in 4 years, and it's high time to do so. I had to fast overnight which isn't so terrible. I had been perusing colon cleansing stuff on the internet - one treatment of which included juice fasting. Doc also wanted me to take 3 days of stool samples (photos not included, folks).

I looked through my wardrobe trying to find some shirt/top/sweater whose sleeves can be rolled up easily for blood-letting. I couldn't bear the thought of stripping my top off in this weather, even indoors, because I wore a tight fitting sleeve.

On the way, Hubby is talking about his demise.

"When I'm gone, try to only go out with guys who have money. Real bucks. Don't go for all the shit around here."

"Why are you talking like that?"

He continued - "And don't be like all the single women around here who can't find a guy. You can find anyone. He can be from anywhere in the world."

"I don't mind someone with a decent salary - about double what I make. He doesn't have to have truckloads of money. Really. But what if I speak to your brother and let him find me a stinking rich gay man, who needs to be closeted for public image's sake. This way I won't have to have sex with him and I'll live a luxurious life, if I can be good friends with the guy. Know what I mean?"

He let me off at the medical lab downtown.

"You need to give me stool samples" - said the lady at reception.

Urine tests I can do on the spot, but I asked the lady - if I "go" in the afternoon,can I bring the samples in the following morning?

"We won't accept samples from the day before. Sorry. You'll have to go to the bathroom and bring the sample immediately to us."

How will I tell my bowels to empty between the hours of 6:30 - 11:30 am?

"Look, I normally go around lunchtime. That's after closing time. Can you make any special provisions for people like me who can't go in the mornings?"

She shook her head. "I'm sorry, but you'll have to speak to your doctor."

I went to work and around 9:45 a.m. felt the urge to "go". Splendid. God is on my side. He really wants me to get those tests in. Only one hurdle. My boss. How do I explain that I have to leave for an hour to give in stool specimens. His secretary was equally as worried as I told her what the score was.

"I'm gonna have to tell him somehow that for the next 3 days, I'll have to split immediately, if I get lucky enough to go in the mornings. I know he likes to have advance notice about me taking any kind of leave, but how the hell am I gonna give him advance notice?"

I met him at the reception area and told him I had to take a "culture" over to the lab now.

"OK, but don't let anyone see that!" he pointed towards my office.

I was horrified. Did I leave my specimens on my desk? For everyone in the office to see?

"See what????" I asked grimly.

"The report! No one should see the report."

Sighing a sigh of relief, I bounded out the door, quickly - before he changes his mind.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas in Our part of the world

What's it like? I dunno. I'm at work. So is 99% of everyone else here, unless they're affiliated with some Christian organization. We thought we'd check out the churches as alot of Israeli Jews do on Christmas eve, but it was raining down on us hard. I can deal with snowfall, it's alot more gentler, but not a pounding, cold rain. So I stayed in and watched a video, where I fell asleep for the 2nd time in a row watching this flick.

I had spent the better part of my waking hours on Friday evening trying to convince a cute Israeli male friend of my Eldest daughter, who had been in the US for the past 3 years, why staying there would be a mistake.

"You have everything over there. Everything!"

He was extolling the virtues of Cedarhurst, Long Island.

I was curious - "Everything? What is everything? Free medical care?"

He ignored that one.

"Whatever you want, you can get. My cousins have 50 inch televisions and they're all driving cars."

"Hmmm. This 29 incher isn't good enough for you, son? You know if I really wanted a 34" flat-screen tv, it would probably cost a bit more here, but eventually, if I really wanted it, I can have it."

The sin of wanting. Of wanting too much.

But I read several articles in the papers of how the US is returning to its Christian roots (note the 'wars' on Christmas in public places), and how much more the Jews need our very own State as a result.

And I'm hoping this cute young guy takes my advice and remains here. It would sadden me to see him settle down in the US, have kids, buy a house, then a bigger house, then an even bigger house in that never-ending whirlwind of US materialism.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Week in Review - Part II

Saturday morning - and my son is still sleeping at 9:52. I can still use the computer without any tantrums coming from him, should I pry the machine away from him. Hubby knows I'm writing.

"Am I in the blog?" he asks.

"No, sweeties, you haven't aggravated me enough this week to warrant any more exposure."

Life is good today.

Tuesday I met up with someone I had been friends with since I was 14. To those of you who think I'm 24, Thank you. It doesn't seem like ages ago. But for those who know I'm half-a-century next month it really is a big deal. Especially so because she is thinking of moving here from New York, and no one is a bigger advocate for making aliyah than me, Ms. Optimist.

We got together for dinner where I bombarded her with -

"You live on miracles here"
"You will not feel like a total weirdo here like you do back in the States, everyone here is nuts"
"Your children will thrive here"
"God has His hand in everything here and you feel His presence here much more than you would over there"
"This country is geared towards Jewish life here - notice the dish sponge packages - one to be used for dairy and one for meat"
"We came here with only $2,000"

Hopefully one of these will sink in and she'll brave her fears (everyone is nervous about moving to a new place and the unknown. She also has a daughter and granddaughter here which makes it all the more enticing.

I called her daughter frequently asking for her mom. This was, of course, my revenge on daughters for when they are living at home and mom answers. And it's always for the kids, unless it's a telemarketer. So now it's her turn to hand the phone over to her mother - at least 10 times a day.

I even told the kid - "Wow, you sound so much like your mother"


Uh oh. Repair work needed fast. "I meant, at first hearing, you sound a bit like your mother. Of course, you don't sound exactly like your mom." Really. I do not want to make enemies in Jerusalem.

I walked into their home, gave my friend a big bear hug, and peppered our conversations with quotes from Beatles songs and movies. This "code talk" solidified our friendship. We had first met in 1970, while I was on the way to cutting high school classes and seeing Paul McCartney who was in New York City, recording his album Ram. I told her where he was recording - at CBS recording studios and we became fast friends from then on. She was into George Harrison, who had found religion at the same time she was searching and finding her own sprituality in Judaism instead of Hinduism. Being together again, I didn't feel close to 50 any longer - even though her adorable grandchild was hovering nearby.

It will be good to have you move here, friend. This way, I'll feel 14 years old all over again.

Week in Review

It's bright and sunny today in J-town but really cold - perhaps close to freezing. My internet flickers on and off - probably because cables aren't used to the cold weather here. I'm looking at my lemon tree with its flowering buds hoping it could take the cold. They say it will snow tonight. Most Israelis were like "yeah, right" upon hearing the news yesterday. But I was optimistic thinking I'm not going to work on Sunday and it will be a God-forced Chanukah/Christmas day-off.

This week saw so many activities, it was a good thing my family knew how to open up the fridge door to get some food for their dinners.

Sunday I saw my Sikh friends again at Eliyahu's home. They covered the entrance to his apartment with tea candles and the place lit up like a temple. It was so warm and welcoming. His apartment floor was entirely covered in mattresses and colorful blankets, contrasting with the white clothing of the Sikhs. The newspapers called it a "Punjabi banquet", which it was. The Sikh leader extolled the virtues of modern internet and said you can reach God everywhere - or They described their week in the holy land - meeting with mystical rabbis in Safed in the Galilee, Druze sheikhs in Issafiya, visting Nazareth and Bethlehem. Eliyahu described what seemed to be his highlight - visiting the Dome of the Rock, where non-Moslems are not allowed into Al Aksa. "They are all Moslems" insisted the Sheikh who brought them there. They were allowed in. But then one of the young people inside the mosque noticed Eliyahu's tzitzit (4 cornered fringed garment worn by Orthodox Jews underneath their clothings - showing only the fringes).

"There's a JEW here!!! There's a JEW here!!" shouted the guy. But no one paid any heed to him. No one cared. He was the only one upset. So you actually had 3 religions inside the mosque that day. Was this the beginning of "And it shall be a house of prayer for all people" - quoting from Isaiah? I am such a bad biblical quoter and only the Christians really excel at this. But I love this quote so much, I say it all the time, and think it all the time.

There was our Interfaith meeting on Monday. We had a potluck dinner in celebration of Chanukah, Christmas and Eid Al Adha (which is on January 10th). OK, it's a bit early for the Moslem holiday celebration but why leave them out? We even had someone from a settlement come join us - prompting e-mails from one of our members to me the next day .."Was that an 'orange' at our meeting?" Yes, it certainly was and the young woman seemed earnest in wanting to meet the "others" from our country, even going so far as to driving her children over 1 hour each way for them to take Arabic lessons. I have connections for her to take her kids 5 minutes away from her home at the Hope Flowers School near Bethlehem. I'm sure they'll be happy to help. This is what peace networking is about. Also, the kids will not think it a "chore" to learn Arabic if they don't have to travel so extensively.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lunch Hour

My boss never makes me make him lunch. He gets the "girls" to do it for him, usually. But he knew they were exceptionally busy and asked me to make him tuna with a little mayonnaise on 2 pieces of brown bread with a tomato on top. I went down to the kitchen to find some whole-wheat bread which was frozen. He didn't ask for toast - if I make him toast, I'll be toast. So I toasted it just a bit to defrost it, praying it won't toast. I hoped the mayo was just the right amount. Who knows what exactly is "a little mayonnaise?" I even cleaned his plate before I put the food on it.

He began to eat it and talked to me while eating, nearly choking on the food. I was totally startled. Was the toast too dry? Was the tuna dry? Was he thinking I did this on purpose?

During our staff lunch meeting today I mentioned I had British non-Jewish relatives who recently found out about our side of the family.

"Doesn't that bother your brother?" asked someone?

"No, not at all. Think of the poor British guy who just discovered not only that part of his family is Jewish, but that they're Israeli to boot. How awful is that?"

But it wouldn't have been awful in America where it's cool to be a Yid. Look at Matisyahu. Look at wanna-be-Jew Madonna (even though she lives in the UK -she's still a Yank).

The discussion turned to soccer. One guy said he doesn't want to go to soccer games because the Jerusalem fans are so racist. But he does enjoy the game.

I asked - "Then why should they have all the fun? Let us Arab-loving Jews go to all the games and take over the stadium, dammit."

Heh heh - sounds like another project to take on this year...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Shmuck of the year

Hehe heh - what an idiot. (double- click on the photo. It looks better in black and white)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Buying a House

It's 10 to 8 on Saturday morning. It's the only time I have to post, e-mail people, etc. After 10 am, the kids wake up and it's a big struggle trying to pry the computer away from all of them. In order to have a peaceful Sabbath, early mornings are my computer time.

This past week, we were seriously thinking of buying an apartment. Most people in Israel own their own homes and people who don't are considered "pathetic" or are told how much money is being wasted on rent. I called up a builder's agent in the beginning of the week. She had a lovely brand new place to show us for $170,000 with a 100 meter garden, 4 bedrooms and it's 11 meters larger inside than our present rental. The view was my dream view of the mountainous desert and nothing else.

Could we afford such a thing?

Not so much with no money down. We are not a family with "old money" - and new money? Heh. Once the government gets wind that you have as much as $5 in your bank account and are not overdrawn in the bank, along come letters from every government tax agency claiming monies for 1998 and other various claims for penalties for late filing, underpayments, etc.. It's no wonder many people work overseas for a few months at a time and keep the moolah there.

But maybe it's time now to buy a home. After all, we've been here over 10 years and who wants to fix up a rental, even if it's a long-term rental? I tried talking to our builder who owns our place and he wanted $190,000 for the dump.

I pleaded with his assistant - "But it's OLD and run down, the tiles are worn, the kitchen is horrible and the bathrooms are ridiculous. Can't he move the price down to $150,000."

"No, he really doesn't want to see the place."


I'd even gone so far as to write a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, even though he is no longer alive - to ask for advice. A friend from Debtor's Anonymous told me to try it. This is how it's done. You write a letter and have someone stick it in one of the 29 volumes or so of letters that people had written to him together with his answers, called "Holy Letters" or in Hebrew - "Igeret Hakodesh". Then you open up the volume where you stuck your letter and get your answer. Some people swear by it. My friend who meditated before she stuck my letter in the volumes, was astounded by the results. No matter how many times she tried, she always came up with the same kind of answer which went something like this -

"It's good to hear from you after such a long break...."

I hadn't written the Rebbe since 1989 - when he was still alive. But there was no clear message about purchasing a home in any of the answers. The answer was pretty wild nonetheless.

Further investigation with banks showed that we would only be able to afford something much cheaper, since we'd have to finance the entire thing - which meant fewer rooms, which means my kids won't fit. Which means we probably are staying put for now, unless some miracle happens, like government agencies leaving us alone, meaning we would be able to save for a downpayment.

I walked into my bank on Friday for routine bill paying stuff. There was a huge LCD screen in front of the tellers' area. There was only one teller on staff. Someone behind me grumbled -

"They should have used the money to pay for one more teller rather than this Plasma television."

At least we all know now where the interest the bank pulls from its customers goes.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Will you have THAT with your tea

We were invited to a swank party in honor of my boss at some lovely restaurant in Jerusalem last night. Hubby was invited, and I was praying like a mantis that he would behave and not look like he has Tourette's Syndrome. He whined about coming along with me because there's no television there and he'd miss his Fox News Alerts for the evening. And the restaurant was dairy. Another no-no for my meat'n potatoes man. But unlike events that I'm usually invited to and don't care if he comes or doesn't, I told him that this thing he MUST attend - as painful as it might be.

"What is so awful about having a shitload of gourmet things to eat and not having to pay for it?"

He rebelled by downing a couple of sandwiches at home, as if to say - "I'm not there for the food"

"Please go easy on my tuna patties." I begged him. "I saved them for the kids, who aren't going to this thing and need something to eat for dinner.

Then there was the clothing thing. I managed to put together something for the formal event. Hubby did find something not streaked with paint and plaster and a shirt freshly pressed from the cleaners. But no jacket. Never mind, I told him, I'm sure "formal" to some Israelis means just coming with a shirt buttoned to the top.

We got there and thankfully Hubby wasn't the only one jacketless - there were about 5 others. Many guests were also from the US.

I went around saying my hellos and introducing Hubby who was rather quiet. The h'ors doeuvres were passed around.

"What is THAT?" asked one woman pointing to a fried food thing, as she took a biteful into her mouth.


The poor lady looked green. She whispered to me "Did she say LOCUSTS?"

I answered - "If she did, don't worry. Locusts are kosher. The Yemenites eat them with gusto."

In the end I told her it was fish. I didn't want to see anyone faint.

Hubby sits down at the table with my co-workers and flirts with my friends. I drank 2 glasses of wine and was totally tipsy, laughing hysterically when anyone spoke to me - even if it wasn't funny. And Hubby wanted to find religion. He told a co-worker.

"I do the things on holidays. I build a sukkah..."

I continued for him - "yeah and he shakes his Lulav" and howled with laughter.

I guess this is how I behave during formal events - but I was far enough away from the "people in charge" for them to notice, or so I think.

I simmered down somewhat for the rest of the meal, until dessert came and Hubby looks at the chocolate dessert drizzled with vanilla cream on the plate.

"Now what does THAT look like?" he asked of me.

I said nothing. Just howled with laughter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sikhs in Jerusalem

I had gotten an itinerary of their Israel trip from one of my Sikh friends whom I met in India last month. They arrived on Monday morning. My friend Eliyahu was organizing their entire trip. I asked Hubby if he wanted to meet them. But we just had a grueling meeting with the insurance guy and even my energy was sapped. I didn't push it. I'd rather go alone than go with a cranky husband who, when tired, is totally embarrassing to be around. I was afraid he'd regale them with the story of when he was 14 years old and cruelly got ahold of an unsuspecting Sikh and untwirled his turban in Toronto in the early '70s for kicks. Better not go, darling Caveman.

I met them on the way back from a trip to the settlement of Tekoa, where they must have really tripped out some of the residents, especially the young Orthodox yeshiva students. They chanted with their musical instruments on a cliff on the edge of the Judean desert bringing many curious onlookers to watch the spectacle. Rabbi Froman joined them with his own chanting in Hebrew.

On the bus were four of my dear friends whom I met in India. They were held up at the airport for two hours - Israeli security not knowing who these turbaned types are. But one of them was happy to give over their knowledge of Sikism for the airport security personnel.

The group all looked majestic, dressed in white caftans, pants and white turbans. They, of course, turned alot of heads when they got off the bus at Ibrahim's place on the Mt. of Olives. Once inside, I got a phone call from Hubby.

"Did you get there ok?"


"Who is there"

I told him.

"Tell that fucking hippie to keep his hands off you. Are you busy hugging and kissing everyone?" He was practically shouting into the phone while Baba Ji was giving a talk. I was sure the entire room could hear him, especially the "hippie" sitting next to me. Meanwhile the "hippie" who was feeling rather ill that evening, walked towards the Sikh leader singing "ba ba ba - bababaji" to the tune of the Beach Boys' Barbara Ann. He had never met Sikhs before and was astounded about the similarities in our religions - like washing of the hands after the meal with the cup and basin passed from person to person, and the short prayers before and after eating.

Eliyahu told him that Ibrahim is the reincarnation of the biblical Abraham - since they also believe in reincarnation.

Baba Ji told of a vision he had of a place with no doors and no windows and he felt it was here in Ibrahim's place, where the door is always open to everyone and where there were no windows in his living room.

After about 2 hours we all went back into West Jerusalem - the Sikhs staying at a hotel which has mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish guests. Seeing the Sikhs turn into their hotel, I chuckled at the Jewish long-bearded men standing next to the turbaned long-bearded Sikhs in the lobby, wondering what they'll make of each other.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A WTF day

"Did you just fart?" I glared at Hubby who said nothing to warn me, as good people who know each other intimately should do. He was driving me to work as he does nearly every morning and I shouldn't be too harsh on him.

"I did a little back there" he answered.

"Just a little? The what the fuck is that not-so-little odor hovering around my face that I feel like I'm going to puke?"

I didn't continue. I focused on positive thoughts. Perhaps he was just getting rid of the rampantly evil and rotton night energy he reeks of nearly every evening. Last night he calls me from bed - not the usual calling a wife would want but this -

"How are those fucking people you saw tonight? Were they all a bunch of fucking hippies? If you are having a birthday party at whatshernames house, I'm not fucking coming. What will people think of that? Huh?"

I prayed to God for him to fall asleep so he doesn't continue his sermons because they can get lengthy. I need to have the last word.

"What will they think of that? They know you. They won't give a fuck. What do YOU think of that?"

Monday, December 12, 2005

$10million bat mitzvah

There was an article in the Jerusalem Post about this girl's bat mitzvah. Of course, this celebration didn't happen in Israel, I don't think it ever would - at least I hope not. She was from Long Island, NY. My son had his bar mitzvah nearly a year ago to the tune of $2,000 for everything. I didn't even get to eat the food, as I was too busy being the hostess/photographer. I was proud to have such a modest affair, even though the kids would have liked a swankier do. But one has to draw the line somewhere.

But $10 million for a kid's party? It drew criticism from alot of people. Imagine how many people $10 M could feed or how much necessary surgery or medicine could be given to people who can't afford it.

And what 12 year old is worth a $10 million bash? Geez. Certain none of mine. The party consisted of live performances by Aerosmith, Tom Petty, and rapper 50 cent. Wow. Is this really what a bat mitzvah is all about? Isn't it cheaper just to see those folk in concert?

My friend at work chided me.

"You mean you wouldn't have booked the Rolling Stones for your son's bar mitzvah if you could have afforded it?"

"Absolutely not!!!"

My friend didn't seem to believe me, but I was really happy with our DJ that cost $90 for 3 hours.

"On the other hand, my 50th birthday is coming up and if I could afford it, I'd certainly hire the Stones for THAT bash."

Because I'M worth it.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Weekends in J town

I would really like for Saturday to be my Day of Rest day. It's supposed to be. But Hubby was busy on Friday and couldn't visit my Ex-Criminal daughter who is now in a hostel so we -had- to visit her on Saturday. I stayed up late to see Matisyahu, the Jewish Chassidic reggae singer. Hubby didn't want to go and I asked my Good Daughter if she'd join me. There were loads of young American kids, whose parents would send for them immediately, if they had seen or heard how they were acting out of their religious schools for an evening out.

"Are you high? Are YOU HIGH?!!" shouted one young one on line with us to his female friends. He was wearing Orthodox Jewish garb and was annoyingly loud.

"If you're so friggin' high, do you mind getting lower?" asked my friend.

We took our places close to the stage - two American teens took seats besides us.

"When is that mother fucker coming on stage already? Huh? Damn fuckin' motha fucka"

My daughter sneered at me - "THIS is why I don't go out with Americans"

I protested - "I'm sure they're not all like that."

The music was groovy, the place was packed and the sound was better sitting in the back with the old folks my age. The show ended after midnight and I was feeling it. My days of clubbing seem to be over.

Saturday we took my daughter out for coffee. The only place open nearby was in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat.

"I'm not eating there. I'm not eating at an Arab restaurant!" said my daughter. She looked very uncomfortable. I was a bit stunned that she would feel like that, and I wondered if I were a bit like Hubby - an Archie Bunker clone - would she then rebel and feel nicer towards the non-Jews in this town? But I won, as usual, and we sat down to drink Arabic coffee.

"What if they put something in it" she asked.

"Well we'll soon find out, won't we?" as I slugged back the invigorating brew. She needs to be back home with me where she'll get her weekly dose of love and peace to everyone from her mother.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Co-existing today

The women in my office were gathered together in the reception area yesterday afternoon.

"What's going on"? I wanted to know. I catch bits of their conversations in Hebrew but knew they were "oohing and aahing" over some guy.

"Who are you all looking at?"

"Him." She pointed to a news article. "He's the handsomest man in Jewish education"

We are now holding male beauty contests according to professions?

I turned to the papers and the situation was even more bleak, which is why Dr. Weil recommends news fasts. I should have fasted today.

The Jerusalem Post's front page read - "Palestinian soccer players who played side-by-side with Israelis in a highly publicized peace match last week may face punishment by their soccer association for playing with Israelis during occupation". The idiot who said that was Jamal Zaqout, a senior Palestinian Football Association official from Gaza. And then he had the gall to continue "We are against the normlization of ties (with Israel) and therefore we oppose playing any game with any Israeli team until there will be peace."

While we give "office awards" to handsome men in Jewish education, this guy wins the "shmuck" award in Palestinian education.

Well how do you suppose there will be peace if you don't let Palestinian players interact with Israeli players. Interaction - and I know this from experience - that breaks down barriers and then eventually the walls with it. Don't you all think?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My Sit-Down Job

I can't stand it when people who are not slaves like myself, think that because you have an office job, you do nothing. They know nothing about slavery. Especially Hubby.

He called me today at 2:30 pm.

"Hi honey, I'm just taking my first break of the day now!"

"Really? You just sit in front of a computer all day"

"What and play freecell and minesweeper???? I do have those moments, but you have no idea how exhausting it is to be shuffled from boss to boss 'here you take her' 'no I need her now' 'she gives me nothing but trouble, so you take her'. I'm a fucking human yoyo slave. And they all want whatever they ask for in 60 seconds - no matter what it is. And when I do produce whatever they ask for in 60 seconds flat, they smile at me, like they have a "super slave" even a super duper slave."

"Even Abed says you sit down all day."

"What the fuck does he know about office work - he, the idiot who won't let his wife work. I'm gonna kill him!"

Gee Whiz. I have found another commonality between these Jewish and Arab men. They're both idiots.

Then my taskmasters walked in.

"So-and-so says you have nothing to do, so meet me in the board room in 10 minutes and we'll work on this document."

That did it.

I went down to the kitchen and brought up a plateful of birthday cake from the fridge. Not one co-worker dared to say anything to me. Not the way I glared at everyone.

I was in a totally sour mood until I answered the phone at home - something I rarely do. It was a childhood friend. A friend I went to the Concert for Bangladesh with and had many a Beatle memory with. We used to cut school to see Paul McCartney when he was in New York recording. I am talking early 1970s. She's coming to Israel - to Jerusalem to see her grandchild. Yikes! A close friend of mine is a grandmother. It just can't be. But I'm grateful living in Jerusalem so that people whom I haven't seen in decades will eventually pass by here at least once in their lifetime. And that got me out of my doldrums.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Adventure Holiday

Just received this hilarious e-mail from my favorite Sinai resort. It's really a paradise, although you'd think not from reading this:

Adventure Holiday to Nakhil Inn,

Dear Nakhil Guest

In your next holiday to Sinai,you will be received at the boarder by group of kidnappers to guide you through the amazing mountains.

Reaching the hotel ,you will be parking next to other cars full of explosives to bomb the hotel any time you choose.

Relaxing at the beach,you will have the option of receiving katioosha missals from zodiacs all over the beautiful red sea.

swimming or snorkeling in the sea ,you will be bitten by wonderful Sharks.

Having lunch in the restaurant ,you will surely get a hepatits c from our delicious fish.

unexpectedly water falls will flood and isolate the whole area from the world.

There is also a chance of a sudden earthquake upon your request.

We know you love Sinai,so be sure you will hae the best ever adventure holiday.

For confirmation please send your D N A number

best regards

SO! who wants to go on a real adventure now?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Chocolate Fights

Yesterday was horrible - HORRIBLE. All the men in my life were bonkers. My son played hookey from school because he was up watching the soccer match in Barcelona which began at 11:00 pm and couldn't wake up even though I tried. We punished him by taking away his computer keyboard. Then he retaliated by hiding the keyboard and mouse from us. Hubby couldn't do his quotation he needed to do for his work - so at 4:30 am he realizes this and the two are having a dawn-breaking fight. It woke up the entire household, not to mention probably our neighbors and me, being the enabler that I am, went on a keyboard and mouse scavenger hunt which ended at 5:15 am when I found both items.

At my slave job - Boss was equally unreasonable.

"OK get out the document - you have it ready?"

"What document?" - we're only speaking about 100 documents and I have to mind read.

He casts me a look filled with venom. Later on that day I make out a list for him of all the assignments I believe he has to do. It comes out to two pages. He looks at it.


What exactly DO you want to see? Huh? And thought about lifting off my shirt. Will THAT do?

I went over to the office manager's office. She was hoarding Cadbury's chocolate from a co-worker's trip overseas and I broke off a piece. She is not only the office manager, but my weight manager too. She tried to pull the Cadbury's package out of my hand. But I held on tight.

"You can't have this chocolate" she warned.

"You Don't understand. I NEED it. I'm having a terrible day. I MUST have this chocolate now."

She and I continued this chocolate tug-of-war until I won, with the package now in crumbled bits.

I triumphantly sat in my office with my row of Cadbury's. I was about to chug it when another co-worker comes in.

"What are you doing?"

Everyone in the office has turned into my weight patrol.

"It took you so long to lose that weight, now you're going to ruin everything?"

"Listen honey, I'm having a rough day with all the men in the world right now."

She grabbed ahold of my chocolate-holding hand.

I was livid. "Listen now - either I eat this chocolate or I turn into a full-fledged lesbian. I've absolutely had it with men. OK? It's your choice. What will it be?"

I was serious.

She let go of my hand. Her choice was made.