Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Funny, you should(n't) ask

I'm still in mourning over a trip I was invited to take, but know I can't take it because of my slave job. The trip was to be able to participate in Oseh Shalom~Sanea al-Salam which is a Palestinian-Jewish Family Peacemakers Camp September 1-4, 2006 -- Camp Tawonga on the Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park. Looking at the dates, and feeling my heart sink, because that part of the US is just so beautiful, together with the fact that this type of retreat is right up my alley,and knowing I am not able to afford such a trip on my own is tragic. We would be in midst of steering committee preparations at that time and there's no way I could even ask my boss. It's like asking to be fired. He kvetched as it was when I took 5 days to go to Barcelona to participate in the Parliament of World Religions, you think he'd let me take off during the 4 most stressful times of the year to go to "camp"?

It's so difficult to ask people for a lot of things.

Take my future son-in-law who is of Tunisian background. We need to take a count of who will turn up at the wedding so that appropriate numbers of tables can be set up. My daughter and I have no problem calling our friends to see if they are coming. Americans send out invites with RSVP cards. Israelis don't. So if you really want to find out statistics, you have to call. Tunisian Guy said no way will he call and ask his friends and relatives if they are coming or not. It would be insulting. I told my daughter not to force the issue on him because we have to respect his culture too.

Then Hubby asked me if Ibrahim is going to show up at our wedding wearing traditional Arab dress, keffiyah and all.

"People are going to ask - 'which side of the family is HE from?'" he remarked to me on the way to work.

I'm certainly not going to ask Ibrahim what he's planning on wearing to the party. Hell no. Besides, his dressing up in traditional Arab garb will most definitely stir up some sort of curious conversations between the wedding guests. If he dresses Western style, he'll just look like another older Sephardic Jewish man, so if you ask MY opinion, I hope he opts for the galabiyeh look.

But speaking of Ibrahim, when I asked him if he will be at the wedding, he said "Only if I'm not in jail" and told me he is up for a court hearing the day before my daughter's wedding. The reason? He invited two old friends of his, men in their sixties, to his home to do some work at his house. He's been friendly with them for years and they do handymen work around his house. Unfortunately, the separation fence was built so that his friends are over the fence and not inside like he is. He is a resident of Jerusalem, they are now considered West Bank Palestinians. By law, he cannot any longer invite his buddies that he knew most of his life over to his home even for a cup of coffee unless they have a permit. Well, he was caught by the police who checked their id's and this could carry a 6 month prison sentence (even if the "infiltrators" have a clean police record which they do). He didn't feel like asking his old buddies whether they had permits. He did what he always did and invited them over. Everyone in his neighborhood does because the fence split the town in half. But he got caught. I hope the judge sees alot of Ibrahim's supporters in the court house and realizes that this man is special and not give him jail time. Let them give him community service or something. For Christ's sake, the judge should know he already does Community Service. In a big way.

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