Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Yup. "What the hell is THAT?" I asked myself as I did the laundry and saw this thing that measured 6 inches long and 8 inches wide. It looks like a skirt. I placed it up to my waist and it didn't even cover the crotch area. My daughter sees this and tells me "You don't wear it up so high. You wear it around your hips." It still wouldn't make much of a difference, would it? I mean look at it. It's a micro micro mini and that's what these kids wear to parties? HELP!!!!

"I'm siiiick" croaked mini-skirt's owner into the phone today. "Call the docta fa me." Her voice was so croaky that the receptionist who answered her call was puzzled.

"That was a GIRL???"

Yup and my girls - all of them - have been giving me a run for the money lately. One of them, not happy with her non-sagging "A" cup, wants a boob job and is saving up towards it.

"How do you know the plastic surgeon is any good"

"Because I saw two girls who had theirs done by him and I like what I saw"

"They showed you their boobs?"

"Yes. After you get your boobs done, you show them to everybody."

Great. That's just what a mother wants. A daughter who shows her boobs to everybody.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

a very special school

Thanks to my friend Esra'a, the head honcho at MidEast Youth who sent me this link about a really wonderful school in London, England with mixed Arab/Jewish pupils. It's really worth the read.

Friday, February 09, 2007

a different kind of birthday celebration

Eliyahu celebrates his birthday every year in Jerusalem. This year, this Jerusalem Peacemaker invited not only his Orthodox Jewish friends from the Jerusalem area, some coming from the settlement of Bat Ayin, but also his Palestinian friends from Ramallah were there, having received a special permit to come into Jerusalem to celebrate with him. As well, Palestinian musicians from Sawahare, outside of Jerusalem were also granted permits for this evening. There was a Jordanian couple there, who were studying at the Hebrew University - he is researching the Jewish community of the Jewish quarter in the Old City and claims he is the first Jordanian doing any research on Jews in Israel.

The special guest that evening was a Moslem visitor from Iraq, who was here because his young child needed urgent medical treatment and he received a special visa for this. He is very grateful that his kid was healed here and hopefully he will bring that thankfulness over to his country and tell his people we in Israel aren't all ogres (we are sure they hear that over there). People were curious, and asked him all sorts of questions like "did he meet any Iraqi Jews while he was here?" "Did his view of Israel change now" "What did he think of Israel beforehand".

The organization that brought his child here is called "Shevet Achim" translated as "tribe of brothers". Once the child is found to be operable, the organization obtains visas for the child and one parent.
Representatives of the organization were recently in Jordan meeting about 30 families whose children desperately needed medical attention of the kind that could only be found in Israel, with their advanced medical techniques and, well, Jewish doctors. You can't find Jewish doctors in Saudi Arabia so one's gotta go where one's gotta go!

There was woman from Bustan Leshalom an environmental justice group, based in the Negev, working mostly with Bedouin communities. The group seeks to restore an environmental balance together as well as fight injustices such as home demolitions which are rampant in the Negev as many Bedouin live in unrecognized villages and are forced to move into townships. Often their homes get razed if they don't move.

Palestinian representatives of Combatants for Peace were there. Eliyahu remarked how it is easier for Suleiman to be a head of a Palestinian peace movement as he was in an Israeli jail for 10 years and therefore, he wouldn't be considered a collaborator, as some are considered by their own if they join up with Israelis for some activity or another...

And of course there was food. You can't have Jews and Arabs together without food. Pasta salads, fruit, popcorn, cakes, baklava, pizza - it was a potluck and a potpourri of all sorts of things you can shove in your mouth. The music was great - Jewish musician Rebbe Soul provided the Jewish side of tunes and Mohammad and Mochi performed wonderful oud music.

I wondered out loud if there was a way we could not only gather together for Eliyahu's birthday - but wouldn't it be nice if we all lived in the same apartment building together. Where's Arkady Gaydamak when you need him to buy up apartment buildings and put Jews and Arabs in them together to make beautiful music together. We saw tonight it can be done.

Uncovering yourself

“That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m letting it all hang out.”

I overheard this conversation from where I was sitting in my office coming from the receptionist. Curiosity overcoming me, I came out to see what she was letting hang out. Quite newly married and an orthodox Jew, she had begun her married life covering her hair, which is a very difficult thing to do for most women, unless they are born into an orthodox lifestyle and look forward to shopping for wigs or hats and scarves, depending on how one wishes to cover one’s hair. But she had had enough and missed having her hair drape around her neck.

“Was it difficult for you?” I asked. “What about your friends where you live? Can they accept the change?”

“I only do it when I’m out of the neighborhood. I’m not comfortable uncovering my hair where I live.” But when she moves out of that neighborhood, it’s all coming off.

I completely understood where she was coming from.

Back in Toronto, I was a Hassidic woman, covering my hair with a wig, or actually quite a few wigs, because I never stopped being funky. I had a short one, a long platinum blonde one, a reddish one - medium length and an assortment of head scarves called Snoods. But after I cut out of the Hassidic lifestyle, I began to let go. The first step was uncovering my bangs. It horrified the hell out of some of our neighborhood rabbis and some even stopped speaking to me. I was on my way to hell and they didn’t want to be associated with me, I was sure.

After our move to Israel, the rest of the head covering came off after Rabin was murdered by an orthodox Jewish guy and I didn’t want to be associated with the group of people who wanted Rabin dead. It was easier if people couldn’t figure out how to label you.

But going back to Canada to visit my sister, I had to don my snoods again because her husband is the principal of an ultra-orthodox day school and if anyone in their neighborhood got wind of the fact that a sister-in-law of the rabbi was not ultra-orthodox and wasn’t a “head coverer” - oy vey - they would have problems marrying off their kids/grandchildren because it would cause a blot on the family’s “perfect” status. So I didn’t mind playing along for the sake of my family.

I know how terrifying it could be for this newly-married woman who uncovers her hair now to bump into a relative, where she least suspects it and then the secret is out. This happened to me at the beginning too. It felt funny and sometimes I’d avoid that person by running into a store, turning my head the other way or who knows what, but I really didn’t want some relatives to know that I’ve gone off the path.

But we’ve come to some compromise now. When the ultra orthodox relatives visit me in Israel, I don’t cover my hair, but I don’t wear trousers when I see them because I think that is even more mortifying for them than head coverings and I put on a dress/skirt so they are more at ease.

But I often wonder what about Moslem women who decide to uncover their hair and stop wearing the hejab. Do they also put it on in front of their more devout relatives? Do they freak out when they’re uncovered and bump into friends/relatives they don’t want to bump into? Do they run into stores to avoid them like I did?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I Quit

Well I Hubby would have said this about his smoking two years ago. Now that we're in the market for mortgage insurance, because he's a smoker it is DOUBLE the cost of mine. How's that for an incentive to quit?

We thought about it at work today.

"Well I do have life insurance on him. Should I just let him croak?"

"When they get ill from lung disease, it's a slow and painful death." said a co-worker

"Oh shit. Which mean's of course that I'LL be the one taking care of the bugger if that should happen."

Not good. Not good at all. There's some place around town that advertises a 90% success rate for stopping smoking. That's a good enough percentage for me. And they offer a money back guarantee if it doesn't work. It's expensive - about 4 months worth of ciggies. But then, after that, we'll see the money he spent on ciggies going for something more worthwhile - like clothing or restaurants or - furniture for our new place, instead of having to bring into the apartment dog-eaten chairs, and chewed up couches and a ratty-looking dining room table. Now there's an idea.

Plus in two years, his insurance mortgage can be cut in half.

Why didn't I think of this before?

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I don't know if I'll call myself gramma, savta, bubby but I will be calling myself one of those come this July when my eldest daughter gives me a grandchild.

I knew about this for a while, but was sworn to secrecy, even from my children, until the 16th week hit.

When she took her pregnancy test in October, she told me she thought she was pregnant, her period was like 8 hours late or something ridiculous like that. Our family doctor had been on sabbatical for a year, and had no idea she had gotten married in the interim. When he walked in with the results, his face looked gloomy.

"I don't know if this is good news or not"

"What is going on?" asked my daughter.

"Well, you're pregnant" he said sadly.

"I'm SO HAPPY!!!"!! she shouted at him.

It was his turn to go "Huh?" and then she told him it's ok - she had gotten married in June and his mood definitely lightened up.

Then it was absolute torture for me not to tell a soul. Not even Hubby, though I managed to persuade my daughter to let me tell him 3 weeks later. I told a best friend at work, whom I know kept her mouth shut. On Thursday, I brought in to work a lumpy photograph of the fetus taken at the latest 16-week ultrasound. Its head, arms and chest were clearly visible.

"Would you like to see a photo of my grandchild?" I asked everyone and they all raised their eyebrows like "WTF?" I explained it's 16 weeks in the making and that's how everyone at work found out...

I thought of hiring labor coaches and my daughter asked me what was doing about that.

"Honey, I really think labor coaches are for women who don't have their mothers around. I'll be happy to massage your lower back, to breathe with you through your contractions and give you ice to suck on."

She thought and remembered the time I took her to the hospital nearly 15 years ago when she was 8 years old to watch me give birth to her brother. She remembered giving me ice too. Now the tables turn...

But she still worries and asked "How will you know what to do?"

"Because I've been through this five times, THAT's why." I still remember the pain, but it was wonderful pain. She doesn't understand how excrutiating pain could be so beautiful and wonderful. But she will.