Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Years in Jerusalem

It's such a non-event, this secular New Year here in J-town. First of all, I had to wake up today at 5:30 am to get to my class in Kfar Saba. We all have work and school today. That is everyone who doesn't work for the US Embassy or Consulate or some other foreign entity. Last night the local tv station counted down to midnight in the TV studio. When it turned 12:00, confetti fell from the ceiling in the tv studio and the 50 or so people in the audience clapped and cheered. No fireworks display, no big street festivals - nothing really. Some restaurants in Jerusalem offered special "end of year" meals with champagne at midnight. They can't say they're serving up a "New Years" dinner because then the local Rabbi squad will get mad and take away their kosher licenses. I had the choice of going to a friend for a get-together with other friends and a midnight champagne toast, but I was feeling fatigued by 9:30 pm and did homework instead. How pathetic is that?

I met my friend on the bus yesterday who was discussing his former life in Sweden and his Christmas celebrations there. He seemed happy to be away from all that stuff now being that Christmas has nothing much to do with Jesus and is more of a commercial, capitalist holiday. He even told me that Santa was Turkish, which was a total surprise for me. I had always thought Santa was just this big fat German, when in fact Saint Nicholas was a 4th century Turk. A Jolly Fat Turk at that.

And my co-workers were telling me yesterday that President Bush will be coming soon to visit Israel. He'll be in Jerusalem. Whoop de doo. With his visit comes traffic tie-ups in the city, up to an hour or so. Something to look forward to in the New Year.


Sheema said...

Heh if you think that was pathetic...I spent my New Year's in Malaysia editing a proposal on Environmental Education for schoolkids in Ramallah and Bethlehem. All the while chatting online to my Palestinian friend in Jerusalem, whose proposal it actually was.

6 hours later, said friend was out partying his New Year's away, living it up with whisky and champagne and copious amounts of belly dancing till the early hours of the next morning.


Sheema said...

P.S. - Happy New Year, Leah!!! Here's hoping for good things in 2008...

Ben Avraham said...

Shalom and happy new year from Sweden. Who was this friend of yours, pray tell?