Sunday, April 16, 2006

Passover in Jerusalem

I wanted to be blessed by the Cohanim (priest) at the Western Wall - they do a mass prayer service during Passover and Succot and I found it kind of cool to be blessed in the open there. So I went "up there" with a friend of mine, stopping at various places in the Arab marketplace. I saw a Palestinian friend of mine that I knew from peace gatherings, whom I hadn't seen in months. We hugged and he asked us to stay for coffee or tea. I told him I had to be blessed by the Jewish priests and would get back to him later on in the day.

My friend, who is not into friendships with Palestinians (yet) looked at me - I think under that smile, she was horrified at me being hugged by an Arab.

"Not that I was looking, but that guy had the biggest hard on I ever saw" she told me, as we walked towards the Western Wall.

I was hysterical "Hey sweetie, I hadn't noticed a thing and wouldn't have known otherwise if you hadn't told me what you noticed because you weren't looking at whatever you weren't supposed to be looking at."

Was she trying to scare me or something?

After finding our spot with a nice view of the crowd, I closed my eyes and let myself be blessed - with interruptions, of course, by my ex-criminal daughter, who called me every 15 minutes because I didn't leave her money for cigarettes and how will she get back to her hostel today. I tried to arrange something for her - and finally got the Oldest Daughter to front her $5 to get to where she was supposed to be going.

My friend and I parted ways after the services, and I walked towards the Archeological garden. The rain poured down and I was still wearing my sandals, feeling that if I could "will" in the summer, it would get here already. 11 years in the country, and I hadn't seen these excavations. It was fun to play tourist for a day. The mood was festive, even though the weather wasn't. I stopped off at my Palestinian friend's office for tea, and he said he would like to show me the Koran in English and would I mind if he gets one for me in English next time.

"That would be fine" I said - wondering how I would bring it in the house, past Hubby, who usually doesn't allow any non-Jewish religious item in it and finds a way to unburden himself of the various New Testament gifts he received from friends, usually by leaving it somewhere. I thumbed through the text and kissed it afterwards putting it down on the table.

"Thank you. Thank you!!! I really respect you" he told me.

I told him I kiss all Holy Books and do that with my own - why not with the Koran. He was so pleased to see me kiss the Koran, he was beaming. I took off because I had to meet another friend soon, and looked down as I walked down the steps, trying to avoid glancing at him below the waist.

My friend and I were about to do another tourist thing and ride the red double-decker tour bus which goes all around Jerusalem in two hours. But when we saw the bus, it was closed on top because of the rain, and we nixed that idea until the weather gets better and the open-top bus comes around so we could feel like we're riding in a convertible.

We went back into the old city - this time doing the Easter thing. We got lost, as that is easy to do in the winding maze of streets in the Old City, but followed some "foreigners" into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I took some wonderful photos but at one point my flash went off when I didn't want it too.

"God DAMN IT" I said rather loudly, causing my friend to wander far away from me, totally embarrassed to be seen near me. Luckily the priests around seemed non-plussed at my outburst. There were hundreds and hundreds of Easter Pilgrims there and the priests were just interested in keeping order. By the Holy Rock was an African man praying in English so fervently, we listened in on his prayers, and we wanted to follow him around the church because he was so interesting.

Meanwhile, while I was galavanting around town, my future son-in-law had bought my son a fish tank, complete with 7 fish - as a consolation gift for not having spent time with him during the holiday.

"I think it would really look nice in the living room,don't you think?" I asked my son of the pretty fish tank.

"It's mine! It stays in my room!"

Fair is fair. Maybe he'll want to gaze at the fish more instead of at the computer for a change.

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