Thursday, July 30, 2009


Literally. I can't believe the lab called me this morning - on a fast day of all days - to tell me that I didn't give in the stool sample required. I was supposed to hand in both a white and a blue bottle. How patriotic and appropriate, considering the shitty bureaucracy here.

Me - "I put the two samples side by side and handed them in on Wednesday".

Lab - "Are you sure? Because they said the blue one was missing".

Me - "Look it's not easy running from work in the middle of the day to give you fresh stool samples. So of course I did both of them at the same time."

What on earth did these people do with my blue bottled shit? If I were famous I'd surmise they copped it for a sale on e-Bay, but who on earth wants my shit? I think the container dropped, splattered all over their floor and they just don't want to fess up to it.

So how does one know lab results are 100% - if they can't get my shit together?

They made me terribly angry earlier in the week when they closed at 11:30 am, and I walked in at 11:31 and the receptionist is telling me that numbers aren't being given out because the lab is now closed.

"Look, I just need to give in a sample"

"Can I see it?" said the receptionist.

I look around. Many other people are standing around watching. I'm totally embarrassed. Not that anyone knows me here, but it's not pleasant taking out a vial of shit in front of a dozen or so people.

"Can't I just get the stickers from you and put in on the sample myself in the bathroom?" I asked.

"No, I need to see it."

Fine, lady. Here. Take my shit.

Sure enough the friggin' sample falls from my hand onto her desk, but didn't break open.

She glared at me, when she saw what the sample was. I mean, what the fuck did she think my sample was? Hair?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jewish Nakba

I hate fasting. And tonight is the start of our 2nd most important 25-hour fast day Tisha B'av. There are years when I do fast and there are those when I don't - but for most of the years I've been on this planet, I think I have fasted more than I haven't. I think.

This particular fast was declared by rabbis because of the many calamities that happened on this day, the most important being the destruction of the Temple (both the first and second) in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews from their land as a result - around 2,000 years ago. In that vein, I do sympathize with Arabs who lost their homes in 1948 in this country - yes, I know "they" fought us in 1948, but many were not fighters and were told to leave by either their own or the Israeli army and hundreds of villages/homes were destroyed afterwards. If any of these people had Jewish ancestry, which I suspect they do have because I see the love and hold they have on this particular piece of property in this part of the world, and the anger they have to this day at losing it. I know I certainly don't mourn my father's "land" in Austria nor my mother's "land" in Poland, but Jews remember for millenia our exile from the Holy Land. and so I believe the soul hurt more when it's exiled from the Holy Land. If that's the case, then they had to face yet a third exile from this land in modern times. So we have our sad commonalities in that way.

But getting to a lighter side of things, which I always do - I'm like the dude on the cross singing "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" - there is this strange concoction I bought at the health food store, which is labeled as Chinese medicine, and is called Tzom Kal (Easy Fast) to help one get through the fast easier. I've already been off coffee since Monday - had my withdrawal headache on that day, and have since felt a bit better. This morning I had to take this concoction, which tastes like maple syrup and I'll have to take it again 10 minutes before the fast begins. I wonder if this type of thing gets sold to Moslems for their month-long Ramadan fasting season. If it works for me, I'll let them in on this little secret.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a, ah, ahh, Aroma

New breakfast dish at Aroma

Aroma cafe is a chain of coffee shops across Israel - they've been very successful. Even Starbucks couldn't make it here, but this chain seems to be thriving. They even have one branch in New York City.

I was pleased to see that they've added to their menu quite a few dishes. Instead of the usual Israeli breakfast fare of eggs and a huge salad with tons of cream cheese I won't eat plus sliced cheese and a few olives, they now have pancakes with fresh fruits and mascarpone cheese on the side. The sauce over the pancakes isn't maple syrup. It's Silan - which is the Israeli/Middle Eastern version of maple syrup. The taste is quite similar.

Thankfully this is Israel, where you don't have to be as polite as I had to be in Canada and you can ask people what is that on their plate. I did that twice this morning because of salads I'd never seen before there. One was a bowl of chickpeas, hard boiled eggs, veggies with techina - their new Jerusalem salad and the other was called the Garden Salad - a roasted veggies salad - both of which looked great.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer halfway over!

Hard to believe, eh? I'm like - when did it start? Even if I had the money, I don't know whether I'd spend it on local hotels which seem to double in price, especially during August. But God found ways for me to be entertained that I find myself amazed that the summer is already halfway gone.

It's fabulous that I live in the center of the universe. People will always want to come here at some point in their lives. So if I lived in Bangladesh, that wouldn't be much of a pitstop on people's world tours.

A few of my friends' daughters came to Jerusalem from overseas. One was from Los Angeles. I hadn't seen her mother since 1977 when I traveled to LA, but we had been friends since our pre-teen years. We then went to the same high school and had a coming-of-age experience together when we decided to cut school one day in November 1970 to see Paul McCartney who was in New York recording his RAM album. We had an off-again on-again vigil at the studio, and never got caught by the school. They were probably relieved that we didn't show up. This much the daughter who visited with me already knew. Her mother and I would often get hysterical over nothing and among fits of laughter, people on the street or subways would think we were laughing at them and berated us. "You shouldn't laugh because YOU look like a frog, and YOU look like an elephant" I remember one saying to us, making us laugh even harder. Then what the daughter didn't know was that her mom and I used to sneak into mom's brother's room to look at his stash of filthy magazines when we were about 14.

The other daughter came from New York and was my eldest daughter's best friend since they were under two years old. They hadn't seen each other in 10 years.

My other friend from Toronto came in and filled me up on juicy Toronto gossip, the kind that even makes Hubby come out of his cave. It puts him in a good mood to hear how he's not the only one in the world suffering and loves it when others do or when others fall from grace.

On the bus the other day I bumped into a high school friend of mine who now lives in Jerusalem in an Ultra Orthodox neighborhood. We both went our separate ways but we were Best Friends during high school. I had a terrible crush on her brother, and I never told her. To this day. Because I valued her friendship more than I valued her brother, who went out with all these Farrah Fawcett (RIP) look-alike bimbos in the very early 70s and broke my heart because I didn't look Farrah-ish enough. I didn't want her to think for even one second that I was friends with her because of him and lose our friendship. I'm a true loyal blue Aquarius.

Another time on the bus I bumped into an old friend from Toronto, with whom I'm not in touch any longer, who always used to entertain me. Still does. I asked her where she worked and she told me where - iin a place for Alzheimer's patients "because whenever I make mistakes, they always forget that I did."

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Nothing like a retreat. For someone that can not fly to a European spa or can not yet afford local ones, the word "retreat" conjures up an image of something akin to a trip to an Indian Ashram. Except that our interfaith retreats aren't about silent meditations. We go deep into conversations about commonalities in our respective religions. And I feel like I'm entering some kind of magic kingdom each time I go to the Austrian Hospice on Via Dolorosa. From the outside, the building looks forlorn and is situated at the corner of a very busy street on the main drag from Damascus Gate. But once inside, the hubub from the outside is gone, and so is the dust and dirt. The steps leading up to the building are adorned on each side with terraces and tables and chairs where quiet European guests are having a drink or conversation. The cafeteria serves amazing Apple Strudel and Viennese Coffee and even the nuns inside smile.

This time we met with Moslems from the Hebron area, plus there were a lot of Christian visitors from the U.S.

We tried to keep politics to a minimum, but with a subject like "Abraham" it can go either way. Like..."Abraham is buried in Hebron it's such a holy city for Jews because of it." "Yes, but the settlers and the occupation....." and the conversation then goes in that direction, until it's time for a coffee break or lunch or dinner.

This time I bonded with a young Serbian-American woman. Turns out we had the same parents growing up, or so it seemed. My family was Jewish Orthodox, while hers was Eastern Orthodox. While my dad was bent over reciting Psalms when he found out I had violated the Sabbath when I was 19 years old to go to Queens to visit a friend, her mother was lighting candles over saints for her wayward daughter's soul albeit quite a number of years later...

We compared notes and parental restrictions over dress codes, boyfriends (me: they had to be kippa-wearing and white; her: they had to be white (but they usually were black - which obviously didn't go down too well in her home); the fright at being caught; me with trousers on (instead of just being a good just-skirt-wearing orthodox Jewish girl), her coming in 3:00 am after a night at the pub with friends). We laughed hysterically and I told her my dad and mum were the Jewish version of All in the Family, though I doubt she saw those episodes. She is young enough to be my daughter. But it was nice to discover more commonalities during that retreat.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Internet evils

There were these posters put up on the border of an Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem - telling everyone that according to numerology the "internet" has the same numerical value as "cancer" - therefore, if you use the internet, you will get cancer.

Don't you love the Middle Ages?

Maybe they're preaching to their own who secretly peruse the porn websites?

But I know that the internet is also used for religious purposes too - you can study religion through the internet. Is that bad for one's health?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jerusalem Film Festival

I don't know how many years I've been doing this, but it's been years. The same friend and I start off by seeing the open-air opening flick on Thursday night at Sultan's Pool and then spend the weekend together - all Friday/Saturday together, then we see separate movies during the week, and compare notes.

Thursday's opening movie was called "A Matter of Size", an Israeli movie about overweight men who are frustrated with their weight loss groups and find themselves happily reinvented as Sumo Wrestlers, getting the respect they want, instead of the scorn and ridicule they experienced before. It was a comedy-drama, which we both enjoyed.

We could have done without the speeches before the film was screened. It seems that the speeches are getting longer each year. I think we suffered through 1 1/2 hours of speeches, but never mind. Also, every year there were fireworks, and this year there wasn't. Looks like the Cinemateque in toning down on expenses this year.

Friday I saw a Yiddish film called Bar Mitzvah, with Boris Thomashefsky. I vaguely remember my folks talking about his films. It was nostalgic - a world no longer, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Yiddish. I even learned a few new words, like "he's talking gibberish" - "gibberish" was "katchke loshon" (duck talk). I thought the wicked second wife resembled Madonna and Boris resembled a bearded Robert DeNiro.

Kanchivaram was the other film I saw about Indian silk weavers in the 1940s. Interesting to learn about the culture between the feudal system - the wealthy "lord" and his poor workers, and touching story about how a man stole silk threads over years in order to make his daughter a silk wedding dress, as he promised at her birth.

Saturday I saw Paraiso Travel, a Colombian movie about two illegal immigrants in New York City. Also very good. The director, Simon Brand was there and spoke a bit at the beginning (and end?), and I thought he looks young enough to be my son. How depressing.

After we saw a Thai movie called Nymph - very slow moving, and it reminded me a bit of the Blair Witch project. Same feel.

The last movie I saw that day was Young at Heart - one of my favorites at the festival - about seniors in their 70s-90s singing punk rock, hard rock, pop and doing it so well. I laughed at the scenes of the videos they did - Staying Alive, I Wanna Be Sedated, Road to Nowhere. Moving film. I wish the chorus would come to Israel. I'd definitely go see them.

Sunday I saw Dancing with Tears in Our Eyes about the history of the nighclub scene in Israel. When you're tired and there are no English subtitles and it's a late was a bit of a strain, as I kept falling asleep in my chair. Not that the chair was so comfortable, but I had hoped for more footage instead of all the interviews.

Tuesday, I saw Abu Ali about a Sufi director of the Acre Theater company who attempts to direct a play about the Third Temple.

Then a documentary on Sayed Kashua, which was also one of my favorites at the festival. He is also one of my favorite writers. Fortunately, one of my co-workers was able to introduce us because he lives in her building, and when I found that out, I asked for an intro. She introduced us before the film began and I was all like "isn't it worth being so aggravated for all the fame it's bringing you?" He smiled, shook my hand and then I told him after the show that - we're kindred spirits, we fit in nowhere, just like the Arabs believe he's a collaborator with Jews and Jews view him with suspicion, I often feel I'm in the same boat because I live in Maaleh Adumim and hold interfaith meetings. It's hard not fitting in, not being made of the same mold as the rest of your people. He told me that he feels sorry for me. My favorite writer feels sorry for me. I was so flattered getting sympathy from him.

I spoke to the director of his film at the after-party plus some of the actors/people involved with his show Arab Labor and the atmosphere was happy, easy-going, none of this kind of snobbishness one sometimes feels at these festivals.

Friday - the last two films I saw was a French Lebanese film - Melodrama Habibi, a pretty good film about a man who had one hit song many years back in Lebanon who came back from France to sing his song. The Khamsa - a very good French movie about a gypsy boy who is half gypsy, half Algerian and who wears his Khamsa necklace for good luck.

Until next year....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Were Palestinians once Jewish?

Someone sent me this video. I think it's kind of wild, especially since there were times when I've met certain Arabs I thought - "Oh my God, he looks so Jewish holding that prayer book" or "She looks just like my aunt" - and even at times felt as if we were closer than sisters or brothers. There was no explanation for this.

And then this video (mostly in Hebrew but with some English subtitles).

So at a retreat last week at the Austrian Hospice, I ask one of my Palestinian friends who lives in the Hebron area if he believes this theory that they come from Jewish stock. He tells me 'Oh yes, my grandfather told me we are descended from Bar Kochba .'

People were like - ok, now they have Right of Return, since they're all Jewish, together with, it's harder getting along with your own, never mind getting along with the Arab world. Maybe it's better that they stay where they are?

Then I think one could understand more - with this theory in mind - why their explusion/fleeing from their villages in 1948 was so painful that they commemorate it each year, as we have done for 2,000 years our exile. If they were originally Jews, then they've been exiled for the third time, and don't like it much one bit.

Monday, July 20, 2009

misfits in my neighborhoods

I've always considered myself, my husband, my children to be misfits of society. It was definitely more noticeable when we lived in Toronto amongst seemingly normal people. We have had a couple of "there you go" moments when we've heard the gossip from the Old Country - people divorcing, affair scandals, kids on drugs - all from what seemed like your run-of-the-mill normal families. And of course, I felt much better afterwards.

And here, of course, I continue on with the misfit trend, having befriended tons of Arabs - both Moslem and Christian, messianic Jews and whoever else I could find who would be unpopular with the rest of the local populace. And of course, I think I have a monopoly on my "misfit" label. Until last Saturday.

I had to get to the Cinemateque in Jerusalem for the yearly International Jerusalem Film Festival. My friend and I have a standing date at the Cinemateque every year for this. It's difficult getting into Jerusalem on the Sabbath without a car and without buses running. Us seculars have to rely on expensive taxis or be at the mercy of strangers who will happily give us non-car-owners a lift into town.

It's hot around 11:00 am, and I found a spot in the shade where I tried to flag down cars. One car stopped, and said he'd drive me to the entrance of Maaleh Adumim where I'd find more cars traveling to Jerusalem. Fine.

He stops off at the entrance, by the police station, and there's this guy standing in the shade.

"Are there taxis coming through here?"

I thought - that's a strange pick-up line. He knows damn well there are taxis riding through here.

"If you want to pay 120 shekels, go right ahead" I told him.

In typical Israeli-he-man fashion he tells me "I never pay more than 50 shekels."

"Even on weekends?"

"Even on weekends. And do you know that taxis in Azariyah (an Arab town near us) charge only 6 shekels for a ride?" He doesn't know me from Adam, but I'm sure he wanted to get a reaction, but my reaction was far from what he expected.

"Oh really? So why don't we go?"

Then he began to tell me his experiences when taking these taxis.

"I'd be traveling until the checkpoint, and the soldiers would stop the taxi and ask the passengers to show their ID. So I'd show them my ID and they'd scream at me, 'you're Jewish? Why are you taking this taxi?' and I'd say to them 'ma zeh meshaneh?' (what does it matter?). I hear them asking for ID's by yelling at the passengers. I'd tell the soldiers, 'why can't you just ask for their ID's nicely. Like - 'please, can I see your ID?' Why must you yell and scream? Just one person can change the way they think of you, as a Jew, as a soldier. Why all the hate? Why all the racism?"

I looked at this man and thought - Oh My God. My twin brother is living right here in the same city as me.

I was so excited, and told him about my interfaith groups and gave him my number thinking he'd be interested in attending. I knew nothing about him personally, other than he was quite good looking, about my age, renting an apartment and doesn't have a car, which led me to believe he was divorced and paying child support because he couldn't afford a house/car. But my hunch wasn't confirmed. I never bothered to ask.

He flagged down a taxi, paid the guy 50 shekels, said the ride was on him, and we spoke about our intercultural experiences together. He was on his way to the Old City just to walk around and invited me for knafe and coffee. But I had other plans. He got out of the cab, and I got out somewhere where it was walking distance to the Cinemateque.

Next day at work, I get a call from this guy. I tell him, "it's so rare for me to find a person who is so tolerant and open-minded, especially where we live. It was so nice to meet you yesterday."

"Same here. Look, the Dead Sea is hot during the day, but they have night swimming until 1 in the morning. Would you want to come swimming with me tonight?"

I almost blurted out - "Of course I want to go swimming with you at the Dead Sea tonight" - but didn't.

Instead, after a few moments of silence at the shock of being asked out on a date, I told him that I was married, and that I couldn't go with him. But if he was still interested in coming to my interfaith meeting next week, I'd love to see him there.

He muttered something like "Have a good life with your husband. If I'm interested, I'll call you." Then - click.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Best Hoax Award

This morning I got a frantic email from a Palestinian friend of mine - using her regular email address - her email said she is stuck in the UK, was robbed in her hotel, they took her computer, cellphone, money and she needs people to wire money to her immediately so she can get back home. The email was written pretty much the way she speaks in broken English. I "thought" it was legit. I forwarded this to a friend in London and asked the frantic friend of mine to contact a certain mosque, person, embassy, etc. I get a note back - "I'm so embarrassed. Please don't tell anyone about this. Please wire $1800 to (a certain) address in London, and I'll pay you back as soon as I get home."

Well, they almost had me. I called up this woman to see if in fact she really is in London. She answered. She knows about the email and someone apparently stole her email address and contacted everyone in her address book. She can't get into her email to alert her contacts. They also apparently studied her style of writing because the emails did sound quite like the way she speaks English. But when they said to "keep it quiet" after sending an SOS to everyone she knows....well.... I smelled some rotten fish 'n chips in Jolly Ol England. I do hope the police are onto them. I've alerted my London friend that this is a hoax and a pretty damn not-too-jolly good one at that. They get the most original hoax award but I certainly hope the fuzz get onto them before her distraught friends start wiring her money.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


My oldest daughter and I are bonding through Egged bus lines. Every morning we meet on the bus on our way to work, taking the same bus. We catch up on the day before talk about our summer plans, complain about family, and talk about the passengers on the bus. They haven't yet caught on. Our conversations are low and in English, interspersed with an occasional burst of laughter at some of them - like the good looking Arab man who gets on at the last stop and wore the same pink shirt for three days in a row. She cackles...

"Maybe his wife left him and he doesn't know how to do the laundry?"

No one is safe on that bus with us. We look at older Ethiopian women who wear plaid tops with checkered skirts and totally mismatched head coverings, and note how Arab women know how to match their clothing right up to their head coverings - sometimes even better than we do.

There's the fat Russian man with his adorable young blond daughter and the deaf and mute man who has a crush on me. This man and I get off at the same stop and he sounds out something I don't understand and then kisses my hand. This happens nearly every day. I understand when he tells me it's hot outside or when he asked me if I'm married, by motioning with his hands a ring on the finger. I showed him my ring, but that still didn't stop his hand-kissing me. Then we part ways at the traffic light. My daughter sometimes says rude things about him to me, right in front of him, in English and I hope he can't lip read in English. I don't think he can. This morning he snatched my shopping cart from me before our stop, ran down the bus steps with it, and I just shrugged my shoulders at my daughter and said 'I guess I HAVE to get off here, don't I!" We blew kisses to each other and laughed.

She puts on her makeup as soon as we get on the bus and I put mine on when the bus is on the highway so I don't mascara my nose when the bus swerves and turns along its local Maaleh Adumim route.

She lets me know when there are changes in my babysitting schedule and I look at my schedule and tell her if I can or cannot babysit that evening. I told her how I really enjoyed babysitting this past Monday because her kid wasn't cranky at all. In fact, he imitated me when I called him a "nudnik". He pushed the plastic chair around the livingroom repeating "nud nik, nud nik", which is what he is, of course, albeit a very cute one.

We planned an evening at Cinema City in Herzliya with our hubbies - for an evening at the movies in the VIP section of the theater - "where you sit on lazy-boys, put your feet up and watch the movie, and go and get pop and popcorn for free. They serve you bourekas, pastries, and you can eat all the Ben and Jerry ice cream you want. All the Ben and Jerry's you want!!!" my daughter repeated this as if this will send her (together with me, of course) into a state of ecstasy.

Now that our travel route has bonded us, she invites me on Tuesday evenings to her home where her chef husband cooks up a splendid meal. Yesterday there was tri-colored pasta salad and Greek salad with real feta cheese. I find that this tradeoff of me babysitting on Monday nights and dinners at their house on Tuesdays is a nice exchange.

We have two bus drivers that take us to our destinations - one we call the "Turtle" because he drives like one, and the other is an Ethopian whom she calls "Samuel Jackson" because she thinks he resembles a younger version of Samuel. When she calls me in the morning to see what driver we have, the drivers must think I'm a CIA agent or something. I talk in code. "Good morning sweetie, it's the Turtle today." That's a sign that she either has to rush to her bus stop or walk at a slower pace. Samuel's her favorite driver. Once, when I wasn't on the bus, he asked her "Where's your 'friend' that always calls you each morning when she gets on the bus, and you sit together?" "Friend? That's my mother!" "Really? I would never have guessed, she looks so young." And now he's my favorite bus driver too.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Well, if I can't travel anywhere, I thank God for YouTube where I can spend some time listening to some of my favorite bands/singers from this part of the world, and some of the stuff my kids are listening too. Many I find very uplifting.

Why don't you give a listen and tell me what you think?

Avishai Cohen

Avishai Cohen with Din Din Aviv

Uri Banai

Moosh Ben Ari

Ehud Banai

Ehud Banai

Ron Danker

Kobi Peretz

Alon de Loco

Dana International and Idan Yaniv

Amir Dadon

Monday, July 06, 2009

Here, there and everywhere

What is this? I simply cannot focus. I'm 53 years old and still don't know what I want to be or do when I grow up. It hasn't happened yet. But I want to be discovered.

On Saturday I was restless, as I usually am. I had this terrible yearning to be anywhere but in my apartment. I suddenly wanted to go to these obscure music festivals in Morocco, or wanting to see the midnight sun either in Sweden or Iceland and if that didn't pan out, then I would go to Finland in the wintertime and do some dog-sledding (but with whom?).

Besides that, there's the career I never had. I thought perhaps I should write an award-winning movie script, become a renowned photographer, invent something, steal something not patented but that I think is a wonderful idea, import things I want to see in Israel, build a touristy website of special interest. See? I can do a lot of these things, but I don't do them to the point where I excel in them. It's all mediocre. To be more than mediocre, I'd have to put my heart and soul into whatever it is I want to do - but there's no money or time for learning these crafts/skills. Plus I thought about getting a degree. Just a simple BA degree in anything because I can't decide in what I should get a degree. It could be anything from comparative religion, communication, journalism, history, education,anything interfaith, intercultural. I looked over a few options and found that unless I dole out a shitload of money, I can't study in English. It would have to be in Hebrew. That would be totally tough for me as my Hebrew reading is limited to advertisements, street signs and restaurant menus, and my Hebrew grammar is horrid. And I almost said to Hubby "yes, because then I would be able to study in English" when my husband had his weekly - Let's Go Back To Canada - moment.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


God always has a way of pacifying me in one way or another when I'm upset, grumpy, nervous... And yesterday was one of those days. So I managed to get myself a free introductory hot stone massage in Neve Daniel - a settlement south of Jerusalem.

My kids and friends laughed at me - knowing the lengths I'd go to get the finer things in life. Yes, I told them, I'd even go into an Arab village to get that free massage too.

I waited for the hourly bus at Malcha Mall and got on the bullet-stone proof bus that would take me to this place. While I sat down and made boogie-eyes at a cute blonde baby girl next to me, to make her laugh (she did), I got a text message from Rabbis from Human Rights about plowing in the Arab village of Jitt, a call from a friend who has a financial dilemma (which was easy for me to figure out - I have a clear head for others, but not myself), and before I knew it, I found myself through the entrance to Neve Daniel. The homes were big and beautiful in this new section and filled with Americans from what I hear. The sunset was magnificent, and I saw the neighboring hill of the Tent of Nations where I had spent one lovely evening, and wished the two communities could get to know one another.

But getting back to this hot stone massage. I was in absolute heaven for 1 1/4 hours. With hot stones and hot oil professionally applied to every place that hurt -and that was most places on me - I felt so relaxed. I didn't even think about what had bothered/worried me all week. I relaxed so much so that when I got home I went straight to sleep at 9:30 pm - early for someone who doesn't hit the sack until at least 11:00 pm.

The woman who gave the treatment was a recent arrival to Israel from California (are all healers from California?), and we laughed together when we compared our adult-children stories. I was pleased because I need to have good energy coming from the healer. A masseuse can be good, even excellent, but if there's no energy or just bland energy coming from that person, it doesn't add to the treatment. Here, I felt a kinship, a bond, so it was really lovely. And to top it off, she served melon and various kinds of nuts with a tall glass of water after the treatment which was a lovely surprise and quite a nice touch, I must say.

So, here's another thing I would like for my wish list. Weekly hot stone massages. God, are you listening?