Monday, December 25, 2006

(not celebrating) Christmas in Jerusalem

Well, it certainly doesn't feel like Christmas here. It's work as usual. Nothing is closed, except for the US consulate (and other consulates of course) and the Filipino caregivers have their day off today.

Last night two Breslov Hassidim, with long earlocks, came to my door to ask if I want to buy this ridiculously gigantic book of Psalms. I have Psalms thank-you, but I opted for their charity box. They took out their notebook to jot down my address and all that. It was cold outside so I invited them in. They seemed happy to get out of the cold. The men hardly looked at me (some ultra-Orthodox men do not look directly at women) even though I was modestly dressed but were friendly none-the-less and were grateful for an opportunity to say a blessing over the glass of water I gave them and blessed me and thanked me for my hospitality.

"Funny those guys coming over Christmas eve" said Hubby.

"Huh? You even think they KNOW it's Christmas Eve?" I answered - they may not have a clue being that they probably don't read the papers and don't watch tv.

"They're probably from the Tax department snooping around"

I rolled my eyes. I blame the Holy Ganga for Hubby's paranoia.

"Yeah, looks like we'll get a reduction on our taxes then won't we" I retorted. What's on display at our house, other than torn sofas, broken dining room chairs and a color tv that displays only a blue and red picture.

I added to the fun. "Maybe they're the Three Wise Men, only one is missing, so only Two Wise Men showed up at our home."

Today at our staff lunch, the president wanted to hear from us immigrants how we saw Christmas once-upon-a-time. I told her about one of my fondest memories of my two Catholic friends who, years ago, fought with their respective families and had nowhere to go for Christmas dinner. Seeing their distress, I ended up making their festive meal, turkey with all the trimmings. Despite the lack of Christmas tree and decorations in my house, I think we had a damn good holiday meal together. And it was pretty funny for them to be hosted by their Jewish friend and it put us all back in a good mood. The next memory was of my Sicilian friend's family's dinner where we pigged out from 4:30 pm until 10:30 at night, while her grandmother gave me a verbal thrashing for not going to Church, while the rest of the family chuckled and tried to tell her that I was Jewish and that's a good reason not to go to church.

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