I've been having interfaith meetings for months, quietly, at my home. It all started with a chanukah party and then grew into a full-fledged proper interfaith group.
The last time I announced on the local email group list that this week's meeting was going to be on Wednesday instead of Thursday (as seeing Paul McCartney took precedence), a very frightened woman emailed the 1,000 member group as follows:
"'Jerusalem Gypsy' is asking people to come to her house for an interfaith meeting with Arabs from Abu Dis. Meeting with Arabs will only encourage their
welcome to move to our city. We already have some Arabs living here, but
encouraging more to come by these welcome meetings, will change our city from being a safe neighborhood to a French Hill or Pizgat Ze'ev where the Arabs that moved there,(Piz'gat Ze'ev has 100 Arab familes and French Hill has a larger influx of Arab familes and growing daily. Jews won't buy there now.). This influx of Arabs
which started slowly and increased only brought terror. Terror with Arab gangs
fighting Jews in the streets, terror in car thefts etc. Do we need to encourage this
on the Chatline?"
I then received a whole slew of emails from frightened people asking me to stop my meetings and have them instead in Jerusalem or somewhere else.
I then wrote back to the entire group telling them that "many antagonizing and marginilizing attitudes are those that, in fact, encourage terror, while attitudes that build mutual respect (like ours) eliminate the roots of terror (you can not terrorize someone you do not hate and you think is human and you care for)." which only brought even more bizarre responses.
Some emails were totally retarded - people screaming at me in all caps that they had always felt safe in the city and now that I am inviting Arabs, all hell will break loose. Some were one sentences "Neville Chamberlain thought the same in 1939", one blamed me for causing strife among the Jewish people in our community, and some were totally against this but were willing to dialogue with me. One said I'll lose my friends, not knowing I have no friends to begin with - so it really doesn't matter :-)
My major point to them in individual emails was this: if our community allows in daily hundreds of arab workers for construction, gardening, garbage collection, municipal workers, house cleaners - every day from 6:00 - 3:00 pm, then WHY is a once-a-month meeting of 1 1/2hours with five educated professional men who happen to be Arab Moslems, who have the necessary permits to enter, causing such a ruckus?
Monday, September 29, 2008
I've been having interfaith meetings for months, quietly, at my home. It all started with a chanukah party and then grew into a full-fledged proper interfaith group.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
got to the park around 9:30 am. There was no one at gate 6. September is still summer season in Israel (we have a rainy season from October - April - from May - October , it never rains). First my husband and I went inside the arena and took refuge in the shade where the food stands were being set up. Hot dogs (!), pretzels, popcorn, beer, ice coffee, ice cream and that's all the fast food I noticed. As opposed to European concerts where I've seen hundreds of cases of beer at the tailgate, Israelis are not a nation of beer guzzlers, as much as Europeans/Americans are - so I only saw a few people with a bottle or cup of beer. Also, beer dehydrates and it was extremely hot weather so even though I love a beer, I tried not to have drinks that would make me pee every hour I must have drunk 4 liters of water though. Most of us who waited from the early morning brought food and snacks which we shared with each other. There was instant camaraderie among us, which was lovely.
My two friends came in later on and I went to their gate to hang out with them. When I came back to my gate I saw Hubby sitting like a swami, engaged in a "lecture" about life,feng shui, marriage, clutter, etc. to about 10 young Israeli kids, sitting in a semi-circle, listening intently to him. They all looked like they just came out of an ashram in India. Hubby the Guru. Maharishi Mahesh Hubby.
The way we were positioned at the gate was completely unorganized and unfair, I thought. First we sat by the gate itself. Then security came and had us move 20 (?) meters back behind a plastic tarp leaving a large grassy area between us and the gate. There was hardly any shade and people made makeshift "tents" with sheets they brought. By the time 4:00 rolled around fans rushed to the gate (many getting ahead of me) and were told to move back to the tarp place. Finally around 4:30, we did end up in front of the gate somehow. Hubby gave the security guy who was going to check us one of his hats. He checked us before the rush so we were actually the first in our gate to get in. The woman next to me was like "in Israel, you give to somebody, you get back."
I just thought it should have been better organized at the gate with barriers set up so that first come first serve could be in place. They could have put barriers in several aisles and not have left the fans in an unruly "pile" meters from the gate. That and the heat were my only gripes.
This was NOT a day to be wearing Tom's Natural Deodorant, and by noon, I asked people for deodorant.
"I have men's deodorant" offered one girl who had come the same time we did.
At that point I didn't care if it were an elephant's deodorant. I needed something badly - FAST. And I was grateful for that.
5:30 the gate opened and hubby and I ran and ran and ran. We were about 3rd or 4th row from the stage, but it was terribly pushy, hot and crowded that my husband said he was at his limit and moved all the way to the back (!) of the stadium. He said he won't enjoy the concert being crammed like that. I also felt uncomfortable. I could hardly see the stage. I thought Israeli men were on the short side, in general, but somehow these 6 foot 5 giants were all in front of me. I couldn't see the stage. I called friends who were at the concert and my girlfriend had a pink long scarf that she waved in the air like a "flare" to show me where she was. She was back a bit and when I went to where my 2 friends were sitting comfortably in their chairs I noticed I could see the stage perfectly (around 12 "people rows" back from the stage in the center right). Hubby joined us thanks to the pink "flare" we had.
It didn't get any cooler as night fell. But the excitement was incredible.
My friends and I began singing Paul/Beatles songs loud, getting the people around us to join in. There was a man in his 50s with young children (10, 12) who knew all the words to the songs. I told him "You gave your children a good education" as they knew all the words. The guy did the harmony.
When Paul took the stage, it felt like a dream. It didn't seem real. I was tickled at the way he spoke in Hebrew. I only expected a word or two in the language, not full short sentences. I took several photos (most came out awful - but some came out real nice) and short videos of a minute or two which I'll post on YouTube and pass on the link - tomorrow. The interaction was great between Paul and the audience. He really connected with his fans.
I've been to many Stones concerts. Jagger does not connect with the fans. He prances around the stage, which McCartney doesn't, but there's no "feeling." I could only say that it was very spiritual for us. I sang and danced my ass off - although it was difficult to "shake" in my crowded spot (but I managed). Today I've lost my voice.
Hubby, who was not a McCartney fan and who just went to keep me company and I think for curiosity's sake and who wanted to have an historical experience, said it was the best concert he'd ever been to. So Mac's added yet another fan.
In the taxi the 4 of us took back to Jerusalem, we kept on thanking God for the opportunity to see Paul, for bringing Paul to Israel (despite the threats) and that it was a blessing for us. My friend was saying it was like a messianic experience for her. I told her if it were indeed messianic, we'd be seeing "tehiat hamaytim" (revival of the dead) and he'd be on stage with John. For THAT I think I'd take out a bank loan.
Today my legs are sore, my voice is gone, but I'm happy and feel very blessed.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Hubby isn't particularly politically correct. I was thinking about even allowing him to go to the Paul McCartney concert this Thursday. Knowing that Paul is quite a gung-ho vegetarian, I promised myself no knockwurst sandwiches while waiting at Gate 6 for 12 hours. I'll take egg sandwiches for the morning, goat cheese and sprouts sandwiches for lunch, and humous sandwiches and salad for dinner. I feel I need to respect Paul's wishes and his wishes are that everyone on the planet will become vegetarian. So far, munching on a chicken leg doesn't bring me to guilt pangs yet, but if I go to a McCartney concert, I feel biting into a juicy hamburger at the venue would be offensive. I mean, you don't want to be eating a ham sandwich while face to face with the Prophet Mohammad or Moses, so this is like the same thing, isn't it.
Hubby, on the other hand, has no qualms about eating whatever it is he wants when he wants. If there are rules against bringing meat into Park Hayarkon, Hubby might get agitated as he does when there are any rules to begin with and break them in spite. Then he'd get into a heated argument with local vegetarians, telling them "it's all bullshit." Everything is bullshit to him. And he just loves pushing peoples' buttons.
He has dared me for weeks that if we were alone in the home one weekend, that we should prance around the house naked. I usually give this suggestion my usual 'blank stare' response as I usually do to his ridiculous proposals. But today, while my son was out playing soccer, he looks at me with one eyebrow raised and a sly smile appeared on his face.
"Well? We're alone."
"OK" I said and pulled my top off at the dining table and continued to read the papers as if reading the morning papers topless is a regular thing.
Hubby then got nervous. I dared his dare. He didn't expect this.
"Please don't go over to the window to do the dishes or anything."
"Shit darling. It's my day of rest. Whose doing dishes?"
Fast forward...Saturday is HIS day to clean. Even though it's just the three of us in the house this weekend, he wonders why every 5 seconds there's another dish or cup to wash.
He looks at me, shrugs and says
"What am I - the Shabbes (Sabbath) Nigger?"
I look back at him. It's no use. I can never politically-correct him.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I'm listening to Galaatz radio this afternoon - the music Hubby was listening to on the television (MTV) was getting on my nerves. Every hour the same new thing, the same new thing, the same new thing. I switched stations and they were playing McCartney stuff. Good thing I live on the 8th floor. I was singing loud and dancing all over the kitchen/dining/living room while cooking.
The radio blasted out Oh Darling, I Will, Sgt. Pepper, and I didn't have a care in the world, as I looked out at the fantastic view of the Judean and Jordanian mountains out my window.
Then my son sneered at me,
"Yes. Shhhh!!!" I hissed at him. I hate being interrupted while I'm singing along with Paul. I love knowing all the words too to his stuff.
He rudely continued, "For THAT you paid almost 1,000 shekels for two tickets?"
Baby You Can Drive My Car was playing in the background.
and this was my answer to him - Beep Beep um Beep Beep YEAH!~
Thursday, September 18, 2008
That is what the world is filled with.
I don't know who was stupid. Me or the high school. They sent a notice about a parents' teachers evening with the date 17/9/08 on it. That was yesterday, which I had marked on my calendar. I was all set to go. I was happy, for a change, because my son is actually doing well this year. I hurry and do my shopping list, go to the getting-crowded supermarket, shop for the week, arrange for delivery, call a cab to first pick up Hubby who reluctantly decided to move from his couch/bed/tv to come with me and then the taxi rushes to the school and it's dark. The place is fucking dark.
"it doesn't look like there's any parents/teachers evening tonight." says the wise cab driver who is of course gonna charge me a fortune for a round-trip trip.
I plow through my bag full of stuff trying to find the paper that tells the date.
"Here it is" I show the cab driver and Hubby, who is getting totally irritated. "The date is the 17/9/08."
"But it says 'Sunday' says the wise old cab driver.
So should I have ignored the date, and read the entire thing in Hebrew? The numbers were easier for me because anyone can understand numbers. The school put the wrong date on and the right day. How was I to know?
But my son of course was like "How should I know?" when I came home furious that I wasted time, effort and cab fare for this. He kind-of-knew that there was something going on on Sunday but wasn't sure it was for his class.
Then he told me his teacher tried to call us all day.
"But darling, I had my phone with me the entire day. I would have known if she was calling. She didn't call."
"Yes. She tried all day on our house phone."
"WHAT HOUSE PHONE?" said Hubby and I in unison (for a change)
We hadn't had a house phone since June 2007.
"I gave her your cell phone. I told her we don't have a house phone."
Yup, the house phone she was trying to call us on, which is still listed in the phone book. I'm not gonna even bother trying to tell the phone company to unlist that ghost number.
This afternoon my daughter calls me.
"Someone called from Maariv L'noar (a teen magazine) and said they had been sending us a gift subscription for a year and would we be interested in renewing. I told them 'What gift subscription?' We never got any magazine. And then they told me where they sent it to. I told them 'we haven't lived there for 10 years already.'"
I vaguely recall filling out a form - with my correct address - a year ago when my son began his orthodontic treatment. But somehow, these fools managed to dig up my very old address. I once called them to tell them we weren't receiving it and then they said 'ok, ok' and I never heard from them again, and never had the patience to pursue a free gift.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I spent a good few moments in the morning on the McCartney website trying to convince the Israelis posting about next week's concert not to voice their fears about that Bakri guy up in Lebanon trying to scare the wits out of his fans.
I wrote furiously to one -
"What if Paul's management reads these posts telling him to cancel the concert next week? If he gives in to these terrorists, it's a sign of weakness. It's great that so far, he's sticking to his word and isn't showing any fear about these threats. And, the security here is the best in the world, blah, blah, blah"
Thankfully,they listened and pulled those wimpy posts off the site.
And as for Bakri trying to fuck up my fun next week, all I have to say to him is
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It's been nuts around here, so much so, that I woke up this morning already really physically dizzy and nauseous. I need another vacation but this time a real vacation from my To Do lists and family and work.
My blue book is filled with things to do and places to go to and people to see from now until mid-October. My home computer zonked out on me last week, and I just had it fixed and brought to my work. I can't lug the heavy thing, so my daughter said she would pick me up from work and take the computer in her car, as long as Hubby can pick up the grandkid at 4:30. Turns out my boss wanted me to work overtime for 1/2 hour, which had this whole chain reaction. My daughter, before coming to get me, bashed into another car's tail end and she nearly destroyed the front of their new used car. She came to my work a bit shaken with her hand sprained and I had to tell her we need to leave in 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, Hubby was 10 minutes late picking up the kid, my daughter's hand was hurting, my neck was aching, my son is calling to tell me his teacher wants to make a house visit next week, my other daughter is telling me about looking for wedding halls, my daughter who is in the army is telling me about the deodorant she needs me to buy for her immediately - today, and Hubby calls me urgently and I thought 'hope everything is alright with the kid.' He tells me...
"I want you to stop at a gas station on your way home. Remember. Stop at any gas station. You must do this. And buy me a pack of cigarettes."
As we were driving home, I was worried about his cigarettes. There was no gas station on the way. But my daughter's hand was hurting and she decided to wait for her husband, who had just finished work, to meet us on a side street and take over the driving. God loves me. Because of this delay, I finally found 10 minutes until daughter's hubby arrives, to run to the nearest gas station 2 blocks away and buy the Old Man his ciggies. Because if I don't, he'll never forgive me. Last time I forgot, it was as if his entire world had caved in. I really think he measures how much I love him on whether I remember to buy him cigarettes or not. And when I do remember, he is over the moon.
Monday, September 08, 2008
My daughter's boyfriend's parents went to Morocco during the summer and brought back what she said were "tons of leather bags" and necklaces, from which they asked her to pick. She picked a brown beaded and silver necklace and orange bag with a lovely Moroccan-style stitching design. For me. I promptly felt I "had" to wear the necklace the next day at work. It was lovely, even if I have 100 brown stone necklaces. The bag is beautiful, and large enough for me to fit in all my junk. The only problem is that it stinks like camel urine or something similar - some leather smells great, and some stinks horribly. This has a stench. Enough to put me off leather goods for a while. But I put all my stuff in it and took it to work. I met my daughter yesterday and she remarked, "Oh you're wearing it?" which I'm sure made her feel grateful that I don't shun her gifts.
I don't shun any gifts. Gifts are gifts.
Hubby, on the other hand, doesn't think like I do. If he doesn't like a gift, even from a loved one, he will discard it like a two-bit whore.
Same daughter brought us a house plant for inside our home. The wooden strangely-shaped thing it was in, wasn't my style or color, but it was a gift, and I proudly displayed it in the living room. On Friday my daughter's future in-laws were meeting us for the first time. Hubby put the plant in the bathroom, well out of view of guests.
This produced an argument.
"Why is this in the bathroom?" I asked
"Because it's a piece of shit."
That makes sense. Pieces of shit certainly belong in the bathroom, but this "piece" was from my daughter. It didn't.
After some loud words were exchanged, I won (YAY!) and the plant remained in the livingroom but on the other side, on the side of the couch, where it wouldn't show so prominently.
He did the same thing with this hideous brown metal clock my son-in-law got for us before he became our son-in-law. After a few months Hubby took it out of our living room and placed it in the storage room. I argued with him about it, but not as vehemently as I would had he been my own son.
When my daughter's future in-laws arrived at our home Friday night, we felt like royalty as each one beared some sort of gift in their hands - the father held a bottle of champagne, the mother - a dozen long-stemmed roses, the husband-to-be - a giant caramel cake and the brother - a giant basket filled to the brim with assorted high-quality chocolates and wine.
I snickered to Hubby - "Bet you're not taking THAT into the storage room.."
Sunday, September 07, 2008
It's been driving me up a wall - the news with "our" crazy rabbinate putting "kosher labels" now on music which I read about here to the modesty patrols beating up women in their own apartments!
Bach and Beethoven are "ok" but the "goyishe" African beats aren't? Smacks of simple racism to me. Handel's Messiah is tolerated but not Reggae? Do they not listen to the lyrics in Matisyahu's songs and hear his love of God and of Judaism there?
It is scary in the religious sector, folks. Is this really where religion is supposed to be? Is this the religion that God gave to the Jews in Sinai? What is frightening is these people totally believe they are right! Fuck! These people are far from the Source.
These are Taliban Jews and they have no place in the Holy Land! Ship 'em to Afghanistan I say.
But - I had a good laugh the other day on the bus. An Orthodox man asked an older Morroccan woman sitting to the side of me but across the aisle to get up and move (!). She looked at him disbelievingly and then moved to sit next to me. She shook her head at me, her long earrings dangling, and then proceeded to pinch me near my rear end - twice.
She laughed and told me,
"THIS is what I would have done to him, if I sat next to him."
Did we both have a good and loud laugh.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I basically don't know where my mind went. It's scaring me. Yesterday, while writing to some long-lost Beatle-fan-friends of mine, I hadn't written to in years, they replied back to me with the following:
1. "remember when we went to Beatlemania on the day Elvis died and you told me 'hey, Elvis died', and I laughed hysterically?".
No. I vaguely remember going to Beatlemania. I don't remember anything on the day Elvis died, no hysterical laughing, nothing. I mean, I didn't sit shiva for him or anything - this I do remember - but not this.
2. "I recall going with you to see John Lennon on the Mike Douglas Show in the seventies"
I don't remember a thing. I do remember who John Lennon was, and I do remember watching the Mike Douglas show, but not particularly going to see John Lennon there. I very well might have, as in 1972 (I googled when it was) I was in the midst of my New York former-Beatle days and camped out during the summers with my friends following the various ex-Beatles around New York City from 1970-1972. I was 14-16 and my friends were, like, 18-20, so I had to act all grown-up around them and not ask for autographs, take photos, etc. This I do remember.
3. Today my boss asks me if I worked with so-and-so this morning on a document. I stopped to think for a moment. I don't recall but began to worry that perhaps I did. I asked my co-workers who assured me I wasn't asked to work on that particular document, which set my mind, or whatever is left of it, at ease.
So this confirms why I am blogging. This is a diary for me. Not you. For me. Because when I'm 64 and I haven't got a clue what I had done for the past 14 years, this will tell me what I did do, wanted to do, never got to do, etc. If someone will ask me in the old age home when I'm 98 whether I had seen Paul McCartney in Israel way back in 2008, and I don't remember, I can look it up on my blog. There. No better reason than that. And that's would be only if I would be able to remember my website address.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
They're here. In my hand. I put them on the table so I could photograph them in case I'm 95 years old and I want to remember what concerts I went to in my lifetime. I just pray that I don't forget to take them out of the pile of papers I put on my desk for the shredder. That would be quite the tragedy.
And not only does my boss stress me out with her not granting me the concert day off immediately (although it does look hopefull, as she glanced at me yesterday and said she doesn't see a problem with it, but I should check with her next week), but today the PACBI (Palestine Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel) aggravated me to no end when I read in the paper today that they had asked Paul to cancel his September concert.
PACBI people - I work for peace. I put my soul into peace. To quote the wonderful Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al Quds University - "Our position is based upon the belief that it is through cooperation based on mutual respect, rather than through boycotts or discrimination, then our common goals can be achieved". Yay for him.
Let's think of things Paul can do for the sake of peace:
1. He could take 10-20% of the concert profits and hand them over to Palestinian/Israeli dialogue groups. There are tons of them, which goes to show that this is what the people really want. There's the Interfaith Encounter Association, Rabbis for Human Rights, International Committee for House Demolitions, Bereaved Parents, Combatants for Peace, Jerusalem Peacemakers, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, All Nations Cafe, Emun-Trust...and I can't think of more offhand, but this post would be too long if I list them all.
And this doesn't count all the political peace groups there are. So to "punish" the good people of this country by wishing Paul would cancel, pisses me off. No need to do that. It gets my goat. I get hearburn and palpatations.
2. He could play a smaller "unplugged"-like gig in Ramallah, where the audience will be smaller and the stage doesn't have to be so elaborate, but he'll be going to the Palestinian people. If not Ramallah, then Abu-Dis with its Al-Quds University campus might be an idea. But Ramallah is the Palestinian Tel Aviv so why not there.
3. Invite Palestinians from the West Bank to the concert. Two weeks before the concert special permits can be offered to Palestinians - for those who can afford to buy these tickets (if they're difficult to pay for on the Israeli side, it is doubley difficult on the Palestinian side).
On Paul's site there was a plea from an Israeli, on this subject, who let me quote here:
Please don't judge us from outside, it's a very easy thing to do.
No one can have an idea regarding who's right/wrong based on google ! and CNN.
Only the one who lives here (both Israelis and Arabs) know what it's like, and know all the historical events that led to this current situation.
It's a very complicated situation, and which both sides are right and at the same time wrong, and all the people suffer.
The Israel side sure has its reason for behaving like it does; we're constantly under attack, ever since 1948! Most of the wars since were arab countries attacking Israel (since the first war).
We did the best we could in order to offer peace to the Arabs, but it didn't work. When Arafat in 1999 had the chance to change history, he became afraid that he'd be murdered and backed off.
The huge difference here, from apartheid is that we merely try to protect ourselves. We don't get any pleasure from arab suffering, it's painful for us as well.
So, we should also be punished and not having the biggest rock star in the world come and visit us? why? what did the people do wrong? Every time there was a chance for peace, the Israeli people voted for it, They voted to give up our lands, now we're willing to give up the "ramat hagolan", we're always pro peace, why don't we deserve this concert? I think that we all deserve it, the Arabs deserve it as well and I wouldn't say anything if Paul has chosen to perform in gaza.
So, Paul doesn't have to boycott the concert. There are other, better options that will make everyone happier, especially me.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Only 24 days to go until the Paul McCartney concert in Israel finally happens. I'm nervous. My boss tends not to answer emails about my vacation days promptly causing me endless aggravation until she finally does answer. She was supposed to be away during the concert, which would have entitled me to a "yes" answer. But she's changed her mind about her own plans, as I overheard her talking to the receptionist and office manager about it. She usually doesn't like it when I take off when she's around. What's a crazy like me to do? I kvetched to my co-workers.
"Wouldn't she understand that I have to be at Park Hayarkon really early in the morning, like 7:00 am - maybe even sleeping over the night before?"
"I mean, doesn't she like music?"
"I mean, how would she like it if Mozart were alive or came back from the dead for one concert only - a once-in-a-lifetime-chance. Would she miss it because of an important meeting or an email??? She'd do anything to see that, WOULDN'T SHE???" I said, raising my voice.
A laugh from the co-worker.
"Well, this is the exact same thing."