Saturday, June 19, 2010


"He's not just an asshole.  He's a FUCKING asshole".  I was deep in conversation with my daughter on lessons in life, describing to her exactly who is a good performer and who isn't, which depended on whether they cancelled their performances in Israel or not.  The asshole is question was Elvis Costello. 

Boycotting Israel won't do anything for the Palestinian cause. I'm thinking what did Elvis Costello or the Pixies doing to help the Palestinians. Did they help them by cancelling? I'm of the mindset that if you want Israel to suffer economic or cultural hardship, as a result of various boycotts, just remember that we and the Palestinians are intertwined.  Like it or not, we are bound together. If we suffer hardships, so do they. If our economy is good, theirs is better too. Things are far from perfect for them, but this is how it is generally.

We were on our way to the Elton John concert in Tel Aviv, travelling by train to avoid traffic and wanting to get there early, without hassle.  It seems that anything that was more "hassle-free" would be the direction I would be taking. 

In Jerusalem 10,000 police or so were gearing up for Ultra-Orthodox demonstrations.  They expected tens of thousands of demonstrators.  What was all this shit about?  Again?  How long will I have to smell burning trash each time my bus passes by their neighborhoods.  Fuck.

The State of Israel had wanted to desegregate Ashkenazi kids from Sephardic kids in a school up in a small  place in the West Bank called Emmanuel.  Seems the school had the kids in separate classrooms, and those that didn't want to desegregate their kids, kept their kids at home.  In turn, the parents were about to go to jail for two weeks for disobeying the order.  Assholes.  Is this what will bring the Messiah?  Yeah, yeah, we know about the different customs between the two strains of Jews but so what?  Can't they just have just a tiny bit of unity.  Just once?  I commented to a friend how my daughter had married into quite a religious Sephardic family, who didn't care that we weren't Orthodox.  That would never have happened had it been an Ashkenazi family, who would have looked at us like Pariahs - as they look at everyone who isn't like them.

So together with Elvis Costello, and the Pixies, the Ashkenazi Ultra-Orthodox Jews pissed me off this past week too. 

I needed a break, and Hubby was getting on my nerves with his complaining about the army of ants invading our kitchen, blaming it on my housekeeping or whatever semblance of housekeeping I do have, and also complaining to me about my youngest daughter who uses an entire tube of toothpaste when she brushes her teeth, leaving sloppy remnants of overflow toothpaste all over the bathroom sink.  I was going to go to Elton with Hubby, but since he was like "I'm never going to go with you to anything" I reined in my Complainer daughter (who complains a lot less lately), telling her to take a day off work.

I was feeling rather queasy that day.   My daughter met me at work and decided to treat me to lunch.  Fair deal, since I treated her to the concert.  The won ton soup and sushi seemed to do well for me.  In a matter of an hour I felt back to normal and was so grateful.  Sushi heals!  So does leaving work two hours early.

So we hopped on the bus, which we waited for quite a while, since the the demonstrations were underway at the time.  We made it to the train just in time.   Bnei Brak was the station closest to the stadium, and we were both a bit nervous since it was an ultra-orthodox neighborhood in Tel Aviv, and we weren't dressed for that 'hood with our sleeveless tops and all.

"If they try to start up with me, I'll fucking kill them.  I'll spray them with deodorant." my daughter exclaimed to me.  A police officer sat with us.

"There" I said.  "See?  We have police protection already." 

We got out at the station, which wasn't exactly inside the neighborhood and there were large signs pointing outdirections to the Stadium.  We got there 2 1/2 hours too early.  Once inside the stadium, we couldn't leave.  It was steamy hot in Tel Aviv.  We're not used to humidity, us Jerusalemites.  So even though the train seems to be the way to go, taking a later train would have meant getting there too late.  The best thing would have been to stick around the local mall for an hour and a half.  We quenched our thirst with expensive cups of water (yes, cups) which cost 10 NIS (around $3).  And we waited for Elton, while the sound guys did their checks, over and over with a loud "ONE......TWO" getting the sound just right.

And then the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered and  Elton began with Funeral for a friend/Love lies bleeding.  After a couple of songs, he said to the audience "Shalom, we are so happy to be back here! Ain't nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby,"  "Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That's what we do. We don't cherry-pick our conscience."   At that moment, there was this sense of overwhelming love for this guy - he touched 50,000 souls.  I screamed out "I LOVE YOU ELTON" hoping my voice will reverberate down to the stage, while my amused daughter looked on.  And I clapped and cheered like a crazy.  He is definitely not on my Wuss list.

When he sang Yellow Brick Road the audience went wild.  Everyone stood up and began singing along with him and dancing.  Behind me, people stood and danced in the aisles, while the French woman next to me yelled at a couple of people behind her to shut up as they were talking (not singing) and it was disturbing her.  I found the sound to be good, in general, though the first two to three seconds of many of the songs, Elton's voice seemed to be down in the mix, but the sound people corrected it and we then heard him clearly.  As I don't remember set lists, my friend sent me her recollection of the list.  It was:

Funeral for a friend
Philadelphia Freedom
I guess that's why they call it the blues
Madman across the water
tiny Dancer
candle in the wind
sat nights all right for fighting
lover song (didn't know it)
I'm still standing
benny and the jets
Rocket man
Don't let the sun go down on me
Crocodile rock
sorry seems to be the hardest word
encore -Circle of Life
Your song
And, again, thank you Elton for not cowtowing to pressure to cancel your concert.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I have to remember never to say that Hubby is a pain in my ass because perhaps God is punishing me and has smitten me with hemorroids so painful, I couldn't sleep a wink last night until I talked myself into sleep by saying "You feel no pain.  You feel no pain."  And I think I slept three hours. 

The past couple of weeks have been stressful no doubt, with the flotilla incident - and a day later I had to speak to a group of interfaith people from the US in East Jerusalem, who yelled at me after my talk for living on stolen land. Doesn't good action count for anything anymore?  I almost yelled at the Asian woman that she was living on stolen land too - Native American land.  But who needed more aggravation.

Two days later I hosted a group of 24 Compassionate Listeners for Shabbat.  I cooked up a meal for 30 because part of my family would be there too.  Hubby was hysterical as if he were the cook, yelling at me - "what the fuck did I get myself into cooking for such a crowd."  I told him plainly - we have to be a light unto the nations, don't we?  After all, we definitely need a whole lotta light,because not much is emanating from this place, unfortunately.

The "service" began.  For the multi-religion crowd, I played a cd from my community, of Psalms that Nava Tehilla, the Jewish Renewal community, sing on the Sabbath - really beautiful stuff and original music.  I transliterated the words into English letters so that even the non-Jews could sing along.  I strummed a guitar to Shalom Aleichem, the first time I've strummed a guitar in 37 years.  Pretty good for someone who's forgotten the B and F chords, but thanks to YouTube, regained that knowledge.  The food turned out excellent and the company was wonderful.  I brought in someone from Nablus who is part of our interfaith group so that they could get his perspective too.  And they left me small trinkets like organic soaps, which I love and a folding nylon bag that I can put into my purse effortlessly so that I won't need to mess with those plastic bags when I go shopping.