Sunday, February 26, 2006

TV repair guy

They cost a fortune, but my Eldest Daughter offered to pay for fixing the dvd. I wasn't sure whether she meant hers or ours, but our 12 year old tv is just viewed in red technicolor on some stations, our dvd doesn't open on command, the Eldest daughter's dvd plays background noise but no voices are audible.

He wasted no time and immediately put me to work.

"Get me the Sony remote."
"Huh? I haven't used it in years." I remember seeing it once in one of our closets and sure enough it was still there, however dusty. He futzed around with it and told us we had a 92% chance of it being fixed and then it may last 5 years, maybe 6 months. But it would cost us $125 nevertheless.

"there's red, blue and green in the screen. If the green and blue are weak, the red is predominant" he tried to explain to me in Hebrew.

My son was horrified and didn't want to part with the tv tonight. A soccer game was on this evening. I didn't want to part with $125 so we put this repair on hold and will continue to see red until we're able to afford the repair or a new tv.

He went up the stairs past all the dirty undies lying on the steps from assorted members of the family to have a look at my Eldest Daughter's dvd player.

"Can you go downstairs and get me a flashlight?"

"Sure" I don't mind the exercise of trudging downstairs and back up again.

"Could you call your daughter now and find out where her warranty is?"

I called her. I am not only a slave at work, I'm a slave to my tv technician. But she was working and couldn't speak. We found the papers next to the tv, but no receipt, and it's newly bought.

"Could you look for her receipt?"

I poured through her piles of papers in her closet and told the tech guy -

"Look. I'm really uncomfortable looking through her stuff. I never look through her stuff. What if I find something I don't want to see like drugs or condoms?"

At that moment her sister walked in the room.

"You found condoms?" she asked.

"No honey, I was just joking" fearing a sibling war was about to erupt if this conversation continued.

There was a pile of shit in her closet - notes, bank statements, phone numbers of people, photos, business cards, but no receipt.

I found a delivery slip for the tv stand which the tv guy grabbed from my hand. He shrieked at me

"They charge 250 SHEKELS ($50)extra for delivery over the green line??? THEY CHARGE 250 SHEKELS EXTRA FOR DELIVERY OVER THE GREEN LINE???"

He looked awfully scary getting all red-faced and worked up over the small print. I'm glad I didn't work for that outfit. He would have floored me.

"She didn't pay more than 50 NIS for delivery" I assured him. That calmed him down somewhat.

"You'd think that in Tel Aviv, they'd write something like this, but from a store in Malcha Mall in Jerusalem??? What nerve!!"

I called my daughter.

"Where is your receipt? I need it before the technician makes me look through every room in the house. I'm tired. I don't want to work for him!"

"I paid in cash. I didn't get a receipt."

"WHAT!?? How will you have a warranty without a receipt?"

She figured she'll never need to worry about a warranty, and not have to have unnecessary papers clogging her already clogged up room.

The technician saw my weary face.

"Don't worry. That's happened before. I'll make them give it to you. She'll tell me where she bought the dvd and I'll call them up and make them fax the receipt to you. That's what I do."

And for this I pay him the big buckos.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Is it safe to go back there now?

I just read this post from On The Face and they've gone to Ramallah to do some fine dining. Hmmmmm. Plus they seem no worse for the wear there.

Now a few weeks ago, when French-Canadian filmmakers filmed me for a documentary, they said they had gone to Ramallah the day before. All the Palestinians there mistook them for Israelis and began to speak Hebrew to them. In fact, they were really warm to them, believing they're Israeli. That's not the kind of reaction I expected from Ramallians. All I could remember and all most Israelis could remember is that awful lynching during the Intifada, and many of us have steered clear of this place since.

So have things changed? Frankly, I would love to go for a visit.

Spring time


It's not an almond tree. I haven't been able to stop and photograph the almond trees that are all blooming at the moment. My mother-in-law in Toronto says it is still freezing over there. Ha. Well, my lemon tree and these daisy-like flowers, whatever they are, are blooming in my garden. I'll take these over Canada any end-of-February. Posted by Picasa

miracle sponge

It's not very clear, because I couldn't focus. Just wanted to share this unique thing here. Got this gift from Bridges To Peace. The blurb says this miraculous sponge was created by a Japanese Christian lady who loves Israel. I haven't used it yet, because it is supposed to work without soap. I'm not sure my superclean kids would be thrilled at me using this non-soapy thing, however, miraculous it is. More miraculous would be my children washing the dishes with this sponge or without it. Posted by Picasa

Knorr Wars

I don't know if there is Knorr outside of Israel - I'm sure there is. But they have lovely soup mixes and many varieties of them. I yelled at the minimarket store owner up the street who was selling Knaidel mixes (dumpling mix) for chicken soup at a rip-off price of $3 a pack. I saw them at Rami Levi supermarket for $1 and told him so.

"They're not Knorr" he insisted. "They're selling the cheaper versions."

"I'm sure it was Knorr"

Sure enough, on Friday I checked and it was Knorr. I took 2 of them off the shelves so I could "give it" to the minimarket guy up the street. Who was he to tell me he knew better.

On Friday, too, I ended up buying an alarm clock for my son, who has been coming late to school. Partly my fault, because we leave for work before he needs to wake up. I went to all the stores and then bought an expensive one for over $10 because it had the loudest, most annoying ring. An alarm clock that won't fail for sure. My daughter got annoyed at me for buying it.

"You bought it because it looks nice. There were much cheaper ones. Why couldn't you get those? That's what bothers me about you."

On the way back she pointed to a car she liked. A Bem Veh.

"A WHAT?" Even Hubby who knows about cars couldn't figure out what a Bem Veh was. Then she pointed it out.

"It's a friggin' BMW. And she's calling it a Bem Veh (Israelis don't pronounce "w"'s). Hey kid, that's what bothers me about YOU!"

Jah Bless

I was wondering what it would be like to be in a state of Jah Bless. Actually, I saw this name from someone who was posting in the Hippie email forum called Rainbow Mid-East. So he or she is jobless but feels blessed from God (the reggae form is written Jah) at the same time. And I am a slave - starting at work at 7:30, not having regular lunch breaks, except when I rack up the nerve to tell my bosses I'm having a break, but only on those rare pressure-less days. And then, not getting out of work until 5:00 pm. I wonder what it would be like to be Jah Bless. But then I'd be frightened of not having that monthly paycheck which pays for rent and other sundries like my multi-focals, the dentist, the orthodontist, the cable tv, internet, etc.

At the macrobiotic Nabe party I went to - not a party for chocaholics or alchoholics certainly. This is where you sit around a table where there is a broth boiling and you boil many kinds of veggies one by one and eat them together - the Queen of Macro in Jerusalem pointed out proudly that she never held a 9 to 5 job in her life. She gets her money from what she loves doing - healing, counselling, teaching the macrobiotic way of life. Plus she lives in a beautiful country home 20 minutes from Jerusalem. That is living.

And my kids are as confused as I was at their age. The oldest may not go to university or she may decide to study some kind of business administration. The 2nd one has the brains for university and the grades, but has no clue what to study. There's no liberal arts here, where you study a variety of things and then you decide what you like best. Here you have to decide first and then study for it.

I want better for my kids. I don't want them stuck in a state of job/salary slavery. I would love for them to be fearless while they're young and without the heavy responsibility of family and go for it. But they haven't a clue yet what to go for.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


ugh. The name worries me. The whole thing worries me. On Saturday night, someone in our town got stabbed while walking his dog, and a terrorist organization claimed they did it. This caused frantic calls to the mayor to hurry and build the fence and wall around us quicker and for better security checks at our entrance.

My son went to his party tonight, and for the first time in 10 years I was worried at him walking alone to this girl's house. I haven't been worried since I left Toronto at kids roaming around by themselves, as they all do here. But the world is changing here. Our world is changing.

I got an e-mail from an English friend who got an e-mail from her Bible-thumping friend. It was a worrisome e-mail.

"VERY URGENT ...for your prayers!*

Below is an email from Labib who is the executive secretary of the Arab Bible Society in Israel and gives details regarding current threats upon the Gaza Bible Society. Some solid brothers and sisters of the Lord are working there to share the good news of God's amazing love. They need a supernatural intervention!

Dear Friends I have just received a call from Jerusalem and Gaza informing
me that this morning we have received another very serious threat. Few
masked and armed militants distributed fliers around the area where the
Bible Society's centre is located in Gaza this morning.

The flier included the following:

A threat to the landlord that if he does not evict us by the 28th of Feb they will blow up the whole building

A warning to the tenants in the building that they should leave before that date if we are still there

A warning for us that we should completely close down our operation in Gaza and not to try to relocate as we are being watched closely

Accusations that we spread a doctrine against Islam and that we
are a Crusaders' evangelistic operation supported by the Crusaders' West

A strong worded warning about their seriousness proved by the bomb
which they blew up at the door of the Bible Society last week.

Our team in Jerusalem and Gaza are taking two lines of action:

Calling upon the Lord and claiming the blood of Jesus upon the team
and the neighbors and the building Informing all the security offices responsible and also copying the office of the Palestinian President Mr. Mahmoud Abbas

Calling upon the Church through all of you to lift us up before the Lord as we want to hold in balance:

Trust in the Lord and His protection

Not giving in to the threats of the enemy

An attitude of responsibility towards the safety of the team, and our Muslim neighbors who are terrified by this threat, the landlord came to the
Bible Society centre and demanded that we should close for a while!

Please pray for us. .

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem for who knows whether you have been brought
to the kingdom for such a time as this." Psalm 122:6 and Esther 4:14

Spring is here

You felt it in Jerusalem today. You even see it on the beautiful almond trees, as they bloom (pictures to come tomorrow). I even dared to ask my bosses if I can take an hour for lunch, as it was such a beautiful day. I felt like Oliver Twist asking for a second morsel. Hardly anyone here takes advantage of the newly instated thanks-to-me lunch break, and it's awful. I took a walk down Emek Refaim to the New Age bookstore Olam Qatan, and was treated to chai, as soothing Indian music blared from the speakers. This bookstore stocks up on the most wonderful ethnic music you'll ever hear, as well as some unusual books.

And Spring is in the air, heralding changes with the kids at home. they're all turning to me for help. My son has a birthday party - this time it's a girl's birthday party, and being he was in an all boys' class since he was in third grade, and 7th grade in his secular school is mixed, he hasn't a clue what to give this fair maiden and enlisted me to buy her a gift. I opted for an orange-scented Kassel candle, wrapped up beautifully. He was happy at my choice.

Yesterday the Complainer, cried on my shoulder as she broke up with her boyfriend of nearly two years. He immediately found another girl and she was hysterical - not about the breakup - but because of the "other" woman.

"couldn't he just wait a bit until he started dating?" she cried bitterly.

"Even if you're married 20 years" I told her, "even if the guy is a real prick, the minute a couple gets divorced, it's the guy who immediately finds a woman." Lord knows why this is so, but it is so - as it has happened to many of my friends. And the poor women are left with no one. At least no one normal.

I asked her why she broke up with him.

"I didn't like the way he treated me. I told him if he doesn't change, I can't see him anymore."

"Honey, never wait for them to change. They never do."

And she hugged me, while her tears dripped down my back.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Turkey Testicles


I kid you not. There they were in full regalia at my local supermarket. I was the first person there at 7:00 am on Friday - feeling that the supermarket was mine exclusively and everything in it. Even this. The Arab men behind the meat counter, who have been teaching me chicken parts in Arabic, didn't find selling these things amusing. Even when I pulled out my camera to take a picture.

One of them spoke English to me. The one, with the university degree from Ber Zeit U.

"They don't sell these things in Canada?"

"Absolutely not. They probably wouldn't let them off the plane."

"Not even these?" he pointed at the chicken hearts.

"Not even those."

"But the livers yes." Of course, they sell livers.

I had hoped I wasn't offending them by taking a photo of their wares. But they gathered together watching me.

"You know in our tradition, it's good luck for us to see the first customer of the morning!"

I asked "Good luck for you? Or good luck for me?" thinking how lucky could I get to get a glimpse of a full tray of turkey testicles.

Oh, and I never did bother to ask them how to say "turkey testicles" in Arabic.

 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This week in Review.

I had been so busy at work this past week, that it was impossible for me to post, and as impossible was wrestling the computer away from my son who is 14 years old today. He wanted us to let him take off school tomorrow morning to have breakfast with us. He refuses to invite friends over for a small pizza/ice cream party and a video of his choice tonight. What a geek. But he's been suspended twice from school this week, so the luxury of skipping yet a third day of class is definitely out. The most I will do is brunch when he gets out of school on Friday.

"What is brunch?" he asked.

Fine. He doesn't know all the words in the English language so I told him - "It's breakfast and lunch together."

But what is the excuse for my nearly 22-year-old daughter who asked me this morning "What is a Dalai Lama".

These kids do not read anything except subtitles in videos.

I explained in less than 5 minutes who he was. He is in Israel now for a few days, and I tried to get tickets to his lecture tomorrow a few weeks ago, but it was already sold out. I could camp out like I would have at a Stones concert for any extra tickets from people who can't make it, but Friday is a difficult day for me to travel to Tel Aviv. If I would have a like-minded spiritual partner in Hubby, he would have gladly taken me to Tel Aviv and back after the buses stop running on the Sabbath. But given his stresses these days, I'm not even going to ask.

Hubby and I went out last night - as a 50th birthday gift from my boss - to the luxurious Canela restaurant in Jerusalem. It is fine dining at its best. My boss talked to me about this for weeks now and raved about the place with orders for me.

"You have to ask about their specials before you order"

"You have to have some wine. Which wine do you like?"

This is akin to asking me about cars. I know zippo about either. Hubby always asks me "What car does she drive? What car does he drive?"

"I dunno. It's red/black/white with 4 wheels."

I can tell if it's a 4 seater or a 7 seater, a two-door or a four-door - but that's my limit. The same with wine. I am not a connoisseur. I know there is red wine, white wine and that Merlot is quite popular amongst the red wines for a fancy dinner out. That's the extent of my wine knowledge. Oh yeah, and there are the semi-drys too.

"And you have to try the desserts" was my Boss's last order. He had arranged to pay for the entire meal including the tip.

Far be it from me to stray from his requests. One doesn't want to get fired. He may even call to check to see if I got there in time, and ask what I ordered. No kidding there.

Hubby was a grumpy as whatever grumpy character you can think of (because I can't think of any at the moment, except Scrooge does come to mind), when he came to pick me up from work.

"Can't you be thankful for the gifts you get?" I asked. Even though it was MY gift, he did have an equal share in it.

Fortunately, when we got there, his attitude shifted, as we were pampered by attentive restaurant staff.

We ordered -

Fois Gras
Salmon sashimi with citrus sauce
Entrecote steak
Duck breast in rasperry sauce and chestnut puree
I had Merlot and Hubby had a shot of Chivas Regal.
We shared a sinful chocolate dessert with caramelized bananas.

Hubby also was ignorant in some stuff too.

"What's foie gras"

"That's what you're having for an appetizer." Of course I wanted it too, and he does like liver - after all, eating liver is a very Jewish thing.

"This is the Rolls Royce of livers" I told him, showing off that I knew something about cars - especially luxury cars.

We got to talk over dinner, which most people married over 20 years usually do not do. One of my daughters is dating someone quite seriously. I told Hubby her boyfriend is Tunisian.

"What's a Tunisian"

I rolled my eyes. Why must I always explain these things to all the dimwits in my family? It is perfectly ok to be ignorant in wine and cars, but nothing else.

"He's North African. There are Morrocans, Algerians and Tunisians. He's one of them."

Plus his mother is good to my daughter.

And it felt strange and even more wonderful to walk out of that restaurant without having to pay for that meal. The other patrons, who may have noticed us not getting a bill and not paying and not leaving a tip must have thought we were restaurant reviewers (or criminals??).

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Birthday kid

We have a slew of birthdays this month. Man, do I hate February. On Saturday it was the Complainer's birthday. She turned 18. Old enough to vote. Old enough to move out of my house, since she likes nothing about living here with us old folks. I wanted to take her out to the movies yesterday - just a mother/daughter outing. I thought either Brokeback Mountain or Mrs. Henderson Presents, at my favorite theater in Jerusalem - where one could chug a beer, sip a hot cider, eat an entire meal right inside the theater.

She woke up at noon.

I approached her cautiously.

"Wanna see a movie with me later today?"


Fuck you, kid. That's no way to get a birthday gift.

Two hours later, I took my traditional Sabbath afternoon nap.

The door opens.


It's the 18 year old Beast.

I retaliate.

"Get out of here!!! Don't wake me up. OK!???"

Later that evening when I roll out of bed, I confronted the Complainer, who was complaining about no one doing anything, or getting her anything for her birthday. Even her boyfriend avoided her today.

I explained - "You wanted me to buy you a ring. I can't buy you a ring, because I don't know what fits you. For that you have to come with me. And you had your chance to go out with me today but you were totally rude."

"I DID want to go out but not right when I woke up! I went into your room to tell you I wanted to go out."

"Great! You wanted to tell me that WHILE I was asleep."

I'm thinking this girl has as much sense as Paris Hilton.

Today at work, one of the secretaries interrupts my meeting.

"I'm sorry to interrupt but your daughter is on the phone crying. She doesn't feel well."

I called her to find her sounding worse than a 500 year old frog. With her whining she sounded even worse than that. Her throat is sore and burning and can I make an appointment with the doctor? Sure, what else can a mother do?

I told her if she feels better, she can stop by my work and we could go and pick out a ring in one of the boutique shops in German Colony. And suddenly, as if the throat genie came visiting, her voice changed back to her Princessy self.

"See you at 4!"


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Day at the Spa

My Eldest Daugher treated Hubby and I for our birthdays with a choice of either a weekend at the Dead Sea for last weekend or a day at the Regency Hotel Spa in Jerusalem. Of course, being the kind of mother who wants to train her daughter in "honoring your mother and father", I chose the more expensive choice - the weekend away, but by the time Hubby made his choice, it was already too late for the weekend away. We were satisfied with the day at the spa including having either reflexology or Swedish massage. Hubby was stressed that week, and I thought a spa would be good for him to relax and get his mind away from things irking him.

Daughter called me - "Dad doesn't want to take the treatments offered him. I told him 'you're an idiot!' it comes with the price of the package." I told her to just book him in for reflexology. He doesn't like massages but does like his feet rubbed.

"With a woman or a man" asked Daughter.

"With a woman. He likes women."

"What about for you - would you like a massage with a woman or man"

"I'll take a woman because if the guy is cute, I don't need to be breathing heavy in the room alone with him."


Sorry kid. Even over-50 year old women feel this way too. Even if they're your mothers. Next time she'll know not to ask me those kinds of questions.

The day began with breakfast after spa check-in. The breakfast was ok - but there was no freshly squeezed orange juice, which gave it a minus over restaurant breakfasts/brunches. I enjoyed the selection of dried fruits, ful (fava beans) and chick peas over humous with scallions, aside the usual breakfast fare.

Then we walked around the hotel's balconies admiring the view of Jerusalem. We had our respective treatments at the spa, where we lounged in our fluffy white robes. Hubby felt totally rejuvenated at the "professional" attending to his feet.

We're not used to being pampered and having a day of leisure on a Friday with nothing to do. Friday is a usually action-packed day full of shopping and errands, which we put aside today.

The Turkish Hamam was lovely but not as hot as it should have been. Hubby opted for swimming while I took advantage of the gym and Core Conditioning class where they worked on stomach muscles. Then there were the separate women's and men's wet and dry saunas. I had never tried the steam room sauna before and found it frightening at first. When the steam came out of the shower head above, I freaked out and had an awful Holocaust-type thought - perhaps because I do believe in one of my last lives I was a Holocaust victim. I wonder how the elderly holocaust-survivor women take to that sauna? It was creepy, but after talking to the one woman sitting there who noticed my panic, she calmed me down by telling me it takes a few minutes to get used to. I breathed slowly and said - this is the Regency hotel spa not Auschwitz, I felt better and let the steam do its magic on me, opening up my pores and letting the toxins out and man, do I have toxins.

Hubby was feeling amorous after our 6 hours there and walking up the steps to our home, he was like - How would you like to have some 'humdillala' tonight - poking fun at the Arabic expression of "Thank God". (Hope this doesn't cause any riots because Hubby makes fun of all religions equally). Looking up I see my Eldest Daughter's boyfriend there, hoping he didn't catch any of Hubby's endearments or at least hoping he didn't understand any of it.

They were preparing to go to his mother's home for the weekend. This is the first time she is going to be staying there.

"Please help the mother tonight with the dishes and serving." I called out from the kitchen window at my daughter who was racing down the steps. Her boyfriend was already in the car. She shot me a glance again.


"I don't want them to think you're lazy." I was panicking in case she didn't lift a finger in their house and it would be known to them, what is known to us.

"Please don't forget to help out. Lie if you have to!!" I thought I gave good advice. And I slammed the kitchen window shut.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Friend's Bar Mitzvah

I went to a friend's son's bar mitzvah yesterday morning. I had asked Mr. Boss for time off last week and he was upset because I only gave him a week's notice to take 4 hours off. So guiltily off I went.

A friend of hers came in especially from England. I was actually nervous about meeting her because she had given me her beautiful long-haired, calico cat to keep when she went back to England 3 years ago and a year later it got run over by a car. How was I to tell her this. Friends told me to lie to her and say "Wow the cat's great, etc." But I'm a terrible liar. Fortunately, either someone told her about the mishap or she forgot, because she never asked me about her cat.

Getting on to tradition - when the bar mitzvah boy is called up to read from the Torah, it is customary to throw candies at the kid. This is everyone's favorite part. You usually try to hit the kid in the face because of all the torment he gives his folks. No, that's not really why you throw candies, but it's the reason "I" throw candies. The real reason is that the Torah is sweet and you pelt him with sweetness. And then all the little kids scurry to pick them up from the ground. But yesterday, the little girls were dishing out to everyone Hershey's Kisses and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups to throw to the kid. I turned around to my friend and said -

"I'm not throwing these. They're too good to throw and have all the bratty little kids scoop them up."

Behind me, I heard all the women express the same thing. No one was going to throw all those rare treats and waste them on children.

They're hard to get in Israel and if you do get them, they're expensive. So most of us took about 4 or 5 of them and stashed them for ourselves. When it was time to "pelt" only a few were thrown here and there. You saw most of us already with these goodies in our mouths. I saw one little kid with two handfulls, after he had collected them from the floor, run to his mom with the loot and put it in her bag. Too bad I didn't have a little kid to do that for me.

Jews Rock

Just got these links from Popbitch.

David Lazar - Jewish heavy metal artist, but sings off key some times. His musicians are great though, even though I don't often listen to heavy metal.

Then there is Jew Da Maccabi . I vote for him. I enjoyed this listen.

Lastly, there is a black Hassidic Jewish rapper . I haven't listened to all of it. Not my type of music, but he's cool. Real cool.

I remember a time not too long ago, when it wasn't cool to "look Jewish" on-stage. These guys trash that.....

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

TV time

My day was a bit hectic. The first thing that happend was that my Boss and I both showed up at work at the same time - 7:20 am. I always feel weird when I walk in with him so early in the morning. What will people think? Here - thank God - they know me well enough, but it would have set tongues wagging in the US, that's for sure.

And then everyone made fun of my green plastic bracelet from Seeds of Peace with Arabic writing on it and Hindi, Hebrew and English.

"You're wearing Green for Hamas!" they shouted at me. But we all laughed. I was actually able to make out some of the Arabic inscriptions and it really did say "Peace" and not "Kill the Jews" as my co-workers assumed it said on my bracelet. Those Arabic courses did come in handy.

Hubby and I were watching Coretta King's funeral last night. When Bill Clinton stepped up to speak, we were astounded at the ovation Clinton got. I kind of had a feeling that George Bush, sitting behind him, was just a wee jealous at the love that everyone has for the former president.

"People love him because he cheated on his wife" piped in Hubby. He has a bit of a point there. Clinton was your regular guy, a former pot smoker, liked rock music, played saxephone, cheated on his wife, the kind of guy you'd see at the local pub, someone you'd feel comfortable talking to. Nothing pompous at all about him.

Of course, in office now, is a cowboy with a "we'll git 'em" attitude, reeking of religious right and Texas oil. It's not what most people in the US are about.

And we were laughing at Hilary nodding away at everything her husband said - she looked like one of those bobbing head dogs in the back of cars.

Tonight the Israeli talk show host,Yatzpan was poking fun of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, speaking in mock Arabic, saying "because of the cartoon, we'll burn down all of Europe!" The audience roared with laughter. Yikes. This isn't funny. I'm afraid I won't be able to invite some of my Palestinian friends over for some Danish butter cookies.

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's all in the karma

For days I've been reading about the Danish embassy being torched in Damascus, other embassies in Arab countries in danger, protests world-wide by Arabs and the European Union offices in Gaza being mobbed because of an offensive caricature of the Prophet Mohammad in a Danish newspaper where he was depcited wearing an explosives-laden turban. Yes, I'd say that is offensive. However, and this is a big "however" - the Arab newspapers have not been altogether innocent in their depiction of Jews. OK - it's sometimes fun to poke fun of political personalities. We all do that and laugh at them. That's what politicans are for. But they go beyond the funniness and have been printing vulgar, offensive, anti-semitic cartoons for years now. And none of us Jews have made much of a peep about it. Is this a bad case of what goes around comes around?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

free to be you and me

I walked into the health food store where the owner is on a macrobiotic lifestyle. I dared show up at a meeting once and now I'm considered recruitment fodder.

"Do you have that wonderful sea salt from France." I asked?

I thought - wow - it's sea salt and therefore, it must be healthier than the other salts you buy in the supermarket.

"That's too yang for you. It's grey. We were told NOT to use it."

Huh? Too Yang? Fuck that, I'll buy it somewhere else where people don't care how friggin yang it is for me.

I opened up one of the gifts I got from my Messianic Jewish friend and it was a recording of - you guessed it - Messianic Jewish songs.

So now I have a macrobiotic person trying to convert me to their lifestyle as well as this Messianic Jew. It's not enough to love Jesus because he was a Jewish Israeli brother of mine. I have to also believe that he is God and Messiah. Jesus! What next?

I put the CD next to a book of Sikh meditations given to me by a sweet Sikh gentleman from Vancouver, when I was in india, who heard me saying how wonderful their religion is. "If you will use this, I'd like to give this to you," said the teacher from Vancouver. Over there, the gentle Buddhist monk tried hard to persuade me that there really is no God.

I know my Orthodox family would love for me to return to Orthodox Judaism, and my Moslem friends would ullulate to the high heavens if I converted to Islam.

I love when everyone shares their religious//spiritual stuff with me and I can share back, but I cannot be like any of you. I can only be my silly self.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

New Boyfriend in Town

My Eldest Daughter has a new boyfriend. She and the Persian broke up a few months ago due to the fact that he wanted a maid for a wife plus his mother was awful to her, insulting my daughter the way she cut up a salad. I usually don't butt into their love lives too much but this time I warned her that if the mother was awful to her now, it'll only get worse once they get married.

This new one is of Tunisian extraction and quite alot older. She'll be 22 and he's already 35 - never been married. But it seems quite serious. Plus his mother is warm to her - which "oks" the relationship for me. They work together and the girls at work have their suspicions about the couple, but they have been trying to keep their relationship a secret. When they both take off work this week to meet his brother who lives out of town, maybe more tongues will wag.

My Good Daughter told Hubby this guy is a hamburger flipper at the restaurant where they work. We laughed and started to call the guy Flipper. My Eldest got insulted. She insisted he is a chef, not a hamburger flipper. The truth came out at my party where he made a three layer chocolate mousse cake for 50 people that was out of this world. And it would have cost me a fortune to buy. So the "Flipper" name is gone. The guy really can bake and has talent. But what we don't know is his last name.

My daughter says she doesn't know it yet. Isn't that weird?

"What do you talk about when you go out?"
"Nothing much"

Sheesh. They're already acting like an old married couple.

At our Friday night family dinner, we sat around the table and the sisters teased her mercilessly because she wouldn't tell us his last name.

"She's too embarrassed to tell us his last name. He probably has a name like Pines" piped in my Good Daughter. "Pines" is a common Israeli name, but unfortunately, it is pronounced "Penis" which is awfully hysterical when you're a native English speaker.

So just know that when most traditional Jews sit down to a Friday night dinner, they're usually singing spiritual songs specially for the Sabbath, or giving over holy words of Torah or having guests over. But in my house this Friday night at our Shabbat table, everyone was teasing my Eldest laughing and screaming and calling her "Soozie Penis" "Soozie Penis".

Well, we don't know that for sure yet. His last name could very well be "Shitreet."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

I managed to turn 50 on Wednesday evening. And the party I threw for myself wasn't too shabby either. I had 50 friends over, including my family and my daughters' boyfriends. Even the ex-criminal was allowed out of her hostel to attend. It was an awkward start looking at all the different kinds of people that were there. How were they to mingle with each other and get to know one another. Unfortunately, none of the Arab friends I invited attended except for Ibrahim. My co-workers gave him a warm reception - they had heard so much about him. My boss's secretary remarked at how Jewish he looked - "like one of the guys going shopping at the shuk or playing backgammon with the other men". He didn't wear his keffiyah that night.

But I said a few words, as did a friend of mine about 1 1/2 hours into the party and then I blasted the music so we could all dance. I had burned MP3s - hundreds of songs - so by the time the party ended we were up to the D's - Dave Clark Five, David Bowie, etc. I invited a musician I knew vaguely. He didn't know I was married and looked at Hubby whom he knew from somewhere.

"Wow! You invited the coolest people!!!" remarked the Hobo-looking musician, looking at Hubby.


"He's such a happy guy!"

"That's my husband and he's hardly ever happy. Are you sure you know this guy?"

Turns out they do know each other. Even stranger, the messianic Jewish couple who live near me and a friend of mine who is a Reiki master met and turns out they are 1st cousins. They had no idea but had similar last names so they investigated each other's family and it turns out they are the same family. So if I got family re-united, it was worth throwing this party. Even though my kids sat on the sidelines watching their crazy mother dance away to "Bits and Pieces" and "Twist and Shout" and "Rebel Rebel" - it was fun to be able to legitimately embarrass them. Yes. I could embarrass them at my own party and let me tell you - it felt great. My son was like 'could you please change the music?" Hell no. It's my party not yours. You had your bar mitzvah last year with YOUR music. Now it's my turn.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Syrian Cab Driver

My daughter could not get to work today at the police station in an Arab neighborhood. She usually gets rides, but because of the disengagement from Amona today, there were no transports available. Hubby gave me $ to take a cab to work and I decided to drop her off at her work.

The cab driver wore a kippah, meaning he is Orthodox and didn't seem to mind carusing in an Arab neighborhood. He had more trouble from the Ultra-Orthodox Jews protesting cremation or an autopsy or whatever it was they were protesting in Jerusalem yesterday.

"I was just driving on Bar Ilan Street, taking kids home from school. Along comes this mob and they are pulling on the doors trying to smash it, with these poor screaming kids in it. They were absolutely terrified. If my car were stuck in an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem, they'd offer me advice, tell me to go here, there - this is insane!!"

So now I got the story of why he wasn't like other Israeli cab drivers, who are usually too nervous to venture into the Other's territory.

He told me he speaks fluent Arabic.

"How? Did you learn from your parents?"

"No, I came from Halab, Syria when I was 12 in 1973. They killed my father and my mother was in jail for helping people immigrate to Israel. But when she got out, on the eve of the Yom Kippur war, we left and escaped to Israel via Lebanon." From the bits he told me, he explained that they went to some large well-known synagogue in Lebanon and stayed there for a bit before heading to Israel.

He continued on "We were multi-millionaires in Syria. We owned 16 stores and had alot of homes."

And here he is driving a cab for a living.

His wishes were similar to mine - even though his family suffered from anti-semitism in Syria. I was his back seat egger-on. Wouldn't it be nice to have open borders with our neighboring countries - Lebanon and Syria. Yes, wouldn't it be nice to drive through Lebanon to Turkey. Go shopping in Damascus? Sit in a Lebanese cafe? We both think so...