Saturday, July 22, 2006

Great Deals on B&B's

My brother called me up this afternoon,

"There are great deals on zimmers (B&Bs) in the North! They're practically giving weekends away."

Yup. Dunno if he was joking or not, but summertime is when Israelis flock to these picturesque country zimmers, nestled in the Galilean hills - some are decorated simply for families with enough yard for a barbecue and some are luxurious for couples with a jacuzzi and romantic breakfasts for two. They are pretty much empty now.

I told him I had about 11 people over for the weekend, for Sabbath dinner.

"Are they all Jewish?" he asked. Which got me thinking that I could ask my Israeli Arab friends from some of the Northern villages if they are ok – and if they wouldn't mind sending some of their (older) kids down to me. They're probably better behaved than my kids and would get a crash course in English.

He continued - "How can you afford this?"

Afford what? Having guests? I learned from both my Ultra-Orthodox Jewish friends and my Arab friends that having guests is not a financial issue. If there are guests – then it's a blessing. And anyways, I have to work on myself on the guest issue. I'm certainly not as generous as Ibrahim from the Mt. Of Olives who has built a separate wing of his home just for guests, mostly internationals who pass by for a few weeks or even months, but sometimes for Jewish Israelis who want to get a taste of Arabic culture. I wish I could learn from him how he does it. Here I have guests for 5 days, and I'm nearly tearing my hair out. Maybe it's just because they're teenagers. Maybe I need adult guests. Or a separate wing to my house so if I want to disappear from the friendly chatter, I can.

But I was insulted at being asked if I could afford guests. I could only answer him with what I hear both my Arab and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish friends say – God will provide.


anne said...

I can imagine it's a pain sometimes to not have quiet in your home. But good for you for doing it anyway.

Sherril said...

I could relate to what you were expressing here. My husband is originally from Morocco and grew up in Israel, where most of his family is today. These people exude hospitality from every pore of their body. It never ceases to amaze me. There are never too many guests and never too little food. You are made to feel at home all the time. I grew up in New Jersey in an Ashkenazi family and we had many attributes, but super-hospitality was not one of them. My mother would have preferred to pay the hotel bill.

As for your brother questioning the financial side of your having guests, I also could relate. My hubs family came to visit us a lot less frequently than we visited them. So, for those few times they were here, my mother wouldn't miss the opportunity to ask me, "how are you going to do it..isn't it too much for you...etc etc." Forget that generally if my hub wasn't cooking, his family did. And they always cleaned up after themselves. So, my mother really had no right to question it at all. When it comes to hospitality, the Sephardim have it all over the Ashkinazim and as far as I was concerned, my mother could have learned a lot from them.

jerusalemgypsy said...

Oops Sherril, I forgot to mention the hospitality of Sephardim. Yes, that too.