Thursday, September 23, 2010

Looking at the other

Yom Kippur has come and gone. Thank God. I've heard everyone wishing me an easy fast. What's so easy about fasting, pray tell me? There is nothing easy about not eating and drinking for 25 hours. And anyways, I hate fasting. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But I do it anyway, because it will clean out my body as well as my soul from sins. I also don't sit in the synagogue all day and read from the prayerbook, because the synagogues in my areas have dry services for the most part, and reading from a prayerbook makes me nauseous and dizzy so I'd rather stay home, only venturing out in the evenings, when the weather is cooler.

My family has this perverse custom on Yom Kippur. They like to check out the neighbors. If someone's eating or drinking, they'll do it indoors and no one but God will see them. And most people, if they watch TV, will close their blinds, so that again, only God sees them. My 18 year old son is on the terrace after the fast started and yells for me to come look. He points to a building, two buildings away, where the blinds are not closed and the people are clearly watching television. The TV stations are closed for the day, so obviously it's a DVD they're watching. But this was the first time he had seen someone so blatantly violating the Day so he was really excited. Hubby and I used to take walks during the cool evenings around the neighborhood so see which lights are flickering, a tell-tale sign that the TV is on.

Last night,while sitting in the traffic circle with my daughter and her son, watching all the kiddie cyclists (no cars run on the holiday, except for ambulances,police and security), I looked up at a friend's home to see their lights flickering in their livingroom, and pointed out to my daughter that they're also watching videos. I guess watching other people sin more than us makes us feel more self-righteous.

This is the only day of the year when we leave lights on, don't use electricity, travel, eat, drink, etc. So what does one do, if one is not a synagogue go-er? I bought a 1500 piece puzzle and two Vanity Fair magazines (used, of course. since the price of a new magazine is around $15) for us to pass the time away.

My other daughter called me after the fast was over. They played Monopoly and when the mother-in-law went to the toilet, her and her brother-in-law took advantage of the break and helped themselves to money from the bank. Her Hubby saw this and was livid. "You're cheating during Yom Kippur?? How could you?!" "It's only a game" wasn't good enough for him. Yom Kippur is a day of no cheating. And that's final.

Friday, September 03, 2010


I celebrated a friend's 50th birthday on the rooftop of the new, posh Mamilla Hotel in Jerusalem. I walked into the lobby and everything was quiet, lights were muted, candles were lit and the air was perfumed. Not a convention center atmosphere at all. I felt like I stumbled onto or into a spa. I also felt that I don't belong - kinda like Ellie May Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies. The place was so exquisitely beautiful, that the toilets had soft ecologic (?) paper towels and L'Occitane hand soap. MK Tzipi Livni was there too but not for my friend's celebration; she was out having dinner on the rooftop restaurant, which didn't appear to be overly expensive. The view of old and new Jerusalem is magnificent from the rooftop bar. While the sun was setting, around 15 of our friend's closest girlfriends toasted her over a nice (few) bottles of champagne. I was buzzed after just one glass.

But speaking of age, I'm growing out my hair and it's a grey blonde. In fact, I was highly insulted recently when a stupid, tactless, asshole Egged bus driver asked me if I wanted to buy the senior citizen's monthly bus pass. This is the first time anyone implied that I look like a senior citizen. Not that that's awful, but it's just not fair that when I'm blonde, people don't take me for being a grandmother and now bus drivers are trying to sell me passes for people who are at least 11 years older than I am.

Then when I got home I see that one can join the local Golden Age club in my town when you're just 55 years old. I'll be 55 in February. Maybe it won't be too shabby to be a golden ager after all. They advertised for their members quite a number of trips to spas and hotels for quite cheap. I asked a couple of my girlfriends who are over 55 if they'd join up, but they complained the club is full of Russians. "So what. If we join, we'll turn it into a half-Russian, half-English club." There is strength in numbers.