Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hope

I should have known not to come home tonight. The droopy sunflowers which I bought at the shuk for 10 shekels was enough of a sign. They were perfectly alive when I bought them, but as soon as I walked into the house, the stems wouldn't stay straight.

To begin with, I offered to babysit a blind cute medium-sized scrawny dog. But one of my kids (the former IDF soldier!) was hysterical about it.

"You're bringing GERMS into the house!! I don't want dirty dogs in the house! You love dogs more than you care about me."

She screamed at me, and shoved a chair. The dog faced the direction of her voice and growled at her loudly. Frightened, she ran into her room and slammed the door shut and refused to come out of the room unless she was accompanied by someone.

Imagine being frightened of a blind dog! What a yutz.

Then Hubby got mad at her for slamming the door and equally mad at me for bringing the dog home and threatened us with no new furniture - ever and other assorted threats. And the caulking I want done around the kitchen, faggedaboutit. I'll have to hire someone to do the handyman work.

See why I run to these interfaith peace activities? Arabs, Jews, Christians sit around for two days, talking formally in circles and informally in smaller circles and laugh together and ask curious questions and compare cultures into the late hours of the night. Why can't my home life be as wonderful?

I had just come back from an overnight retreat in Beit Jala. This was a retreat with the Interfaith Encounter Association together with the Hope Flowers School in Bethlehem. My favorite people were all there - the handsome flirty Palestinian geologist, who now tells everyone (since it came up last time I saw him) that he is descended from one of Bar Kochba's sons, an English guy from Liverpool who impressed me with the fact that he had been at the Cavern Club when the Beatles played there, my other British friend David, whom I hadn't seen in ages, people involved with Rabbis for Human Rights' activities, a woman from Saudi Arabia visiting relatives here, friends from the women's group, etc. All of us were wishing for a kind of happy world, like the kind of place we created here in our encounter.

We spoke about Moses in the formal circles - and it was funny how one person had the Torah on his cell phone and one person had the Koran on his cellphone and the two of them compared notes from their respective phones, checking to find similar stories in our sources. It seems as if the Koran has the same Moses stories as the Torah does except for a section on the Jews' wandering in the desert - the Koran talks about the Jews catching fish whereas the Torah doesn't mention fish at all. You'd figure they'd camp out some of the time by either the Mediterranean or the Red Sea during their 40 year sojourn.

One of the Jewish men in our group spoke about the fact that when Moses lifted his hands during the wars the Israelites fought, the Israelites were victorious, but not when his hands were down. So Aaron and Joshua had to help keep Moses' hands up.

One of the Palestinians mentioned that at an Israeli checkpoint, the soldiers demanded that he keep his hands up and stand on one leg. I told him, now you can tell him about the Moses story, and he won't want to have you raise your hands like that.

I felt that we could all live together in a commune, a kibbutz or something of that kind, and many others thought that as well. A lot voiced a wish for a common Middle Eastern community, with open borders. I've always wanted this type of European Community thing and it is always encouraging when I hear a new voice wish for the same thing. I feel if so many of us want this, it's bound to happen sooner than later.

We took a walk outside of our hotel to the grocery store nearby. I was astounded that the prices of humous, labane and cabbage salads were 1/2 the price of what I pay in West Jerusalem. I wondered whether this was another reason for Israelis not being allowed or being discouraged from entering into Arab neighborhoods. It would certainly make the Israeli side drop their prices if we all went into Arab grocery stores to buy our food and house supplies.

But then the retreat was over, and I had to prepare for Shabbat. My newly-married daughter's wedding album was ready and she was eager to show it to us. I saw my bus coming, and asked the driver if there would be another one after this one. He nodded yes. I still hadn't gotten cigarettes for Hubby and a newspaper for myself. I waited for about an hour. No bus. I called up my son who never leaves his computer and asked him to look up the bus schedule. The last one from the shuk was at 3:15. It was nearly 4:30, and here I was standing at the stop like an idiot. I took another bus to a place where I could get a different bus back home. This ended up being a 2 1/4 hour trip home - all because of cigarettes for a miserable Hubby and a paper and a lying bus driver.

And then I entered the chaos that is my home.

1 comment:

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

well, dont call doggy ladies, bitches!!