Sunday, November 16, 2008

Magical Minyan and other weekend stories

1. These past few weeks I have been going steadily to my debtors anonymous meeting in Jerusalem. Being that all things money related either make me ridiculously giddy or terribly anxiety-ridden, I thought it was time to get back to that protective cocoon of a support group, get a guardian angel sponsor who will walk me through the frightening things like not opening up mail from the bank, or not checking the checking account and start some real 12 step work so I can feel grateful with what I have and with what I get and with that appreciation the abundance/miracles with money comes. I already feel 50% relieved at knowing that there is help out there and up there with the Higher Power's power.

2. Thursday evening I went to the gravesite of the singing rabbi, Shlomo Carlebach as it was the anniversary of his death. There was something very mystical about being at a gravesite at night. It wasn't frightening as gravesites are imagined to be during the evening. The moon peeked through the clouds and lit up the tombstones beautifully. We walked over to where there was a tent set up among the graves near Rav Shlomo's grave and where the musicians had already gathered. They were reciting Psalms to his music, and there was a magical feel to it. The man singing sounded eerily much like the late Rabbi.

Until my cellphone rang and disturbed my peace.

Hubby: "I gave my key to Daughter #4. Now I'm locked out of the house. WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME??"

Me: "Um. Well, I'm in the middle of a cemetery right now, and there aren't any buses going here at night. And if there were, they are only once an hour. So, why don't you go down to our married daughter's house. She's only 5 minutes away."


30 seconds later. Another ring. I put my phone on vibrate so not to disturb the others around me who were singing along with the music.


"Why aren't you at our daughter's home?"

"I'm NOT Going!! I'm gonna wait outside for 4 hours until you get here."

"That's your choice then."


30 seconds later.

"What's 4th Daughter's number. I don't have it. I gave her the key and I want her to come home now!"

"Why don't you go to our daughter's home?"

"When are you coming home?"


30 seconds later.

My 4th daughter calls.

"He's driving me crazy! Every 2 seconds he's calling me and he says he'll pay for my taxi back and give me money."

Me: "WHAT!!! Then we'll only have 100 shekels ($25) for food for Shabbat. Don't do it. Don't take his calls."

"OK mom"


The phone keeps buzzing and I refuse to answer. I want to enjoy the little time I have with a Rabbi who gave so much joy to so many people. I spotted a friend in the back of the crowd and caught up on things with her. A woman came over to us and announced that she knew Shlomo all her life. We smiled at her. It's nice to know people who have known him well. I had known him just a bit. She continued, "I travel around the world singing his songs." Lovely, we thought. "And you're talking is really disturbing to me." OY. We saw her standing by herself quite a ways behind where everyone else was standing, and didn't believe our voices carried over that much, as the music was quite loud. But as I was being disturbed throughout the gathering, I unintentionally disturbed someone else. Karma is karma.

I found out that Hubby eventually trudged 5 minutes to my daughter's home, and my 2nd daughter came by just by chance and had a key for him. Don't you love happy endings?

3. Nava Tehilla, the Jewish Renewal minyan had its Friday night services. It's so much like the mythical town of Brigadoon, a movie I used to watch with my favorite aunt when I was a kid - about a Scottish town that appears once every 100 years. Thank G-d I don't have to wait 100 years - this service appears once every month. And when it does, it's a wonderful mystical spiritual connection to God. I arrived there late, as usual, and a friend I went to elementary school with (Bais Yaakov, an ultra-orthodox school), ran over to greet me. It was almost like a two people taking the same tab of acid, but one has a bad trip and one is in heaven. She was having a bad trip and couldn't deal with the guitars, darboukas and violins during the service. She went upstairs to the Reform synagogue, Kol Haneshama, and said it was like an Orthodox service compared to this. Well, I wanted to jump right into the service. There was one seat left - next to a nun, dressed in white. She was French and had the most angelic face. She had a siddur (prayer book), and I did not. Ironic, non? I helped her find the place in the book, and she was grateful, planting two kisses on my cheeks after the service.

Afterwards, we had the usual pot luck dinner. I was nervous that people would hate what I brought - soba noodles, bean sprouts with arame seaweed, but I saw that everyone ate it, and I was relieved. It seemed like many people put their souls into the food they brought, as everything tasted wonderful, and it was different from last month's food. I had a craving for pomegrantes and after dinner they appeared on the table for dessert. God is good. The music after dinner was as enchanting as it was during the service - someone came in with an Indian instrument and played some Indian music to Hebrew lyrics. There was a Indian teacher there with cascading long grey hair and a beautiful face. She took the instrument and sang in Hindi. I closed my eyes and I was on a different plane or planet or dimension. This was another evening of "who needs drugs when you have this".

I was happy to see Ibrahim from the Mt. of Olives there and we sat down to talk. He was having trouble with the Israeli authorities who, like I wrote about earlier, don't give Palestinians permits to build, and threatened to demolish his house. He was able to defer the court date several times, and hopefully he has a decent lawyer. But no matter, even a lawyer doesn't help in cases such as these. He needs help from Above on this and support from the people down below. It did put a damper on my evening, but he was so joyous that evening, even while going through all this hassle, that it put me right back on the happy path.


lars shalom said...

this is the best post Ive read for quite a while!!

jerusalemgypsy said...

Aw Shucks. thanks!

rbarenblat said...

I found my way here because your blog was linked in the Global Voices roundup of posts about the straw and mud mosque which may be demolished, and wanted to drop a quick comment to say that I loved reading about your experience at Nava Tehila. Davening with that crowd is one of the things I miss most about Jerusalem!

jerusalemgypsy said...

Thanks for writing. Adding your Velveteen Rabbi blog to my favorites!

When will you be back in J-lem for that wonderful ecstatic davening again?