Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Lamed Hey

Today has been an extremely cold and emotional day. Pidgeon and I attended the Azkarah for The Lamed Hey, a group of 35 men who were brutally murdered while on a mission to bring supplies to the isolated Etzion Block during the War for Independence. Pidgeon's Great Uncle was a member of The Lamed Hey, and so each year family members attend the special ceremony graveside at Har Herzl. This year was my first in attendance, and it was extremely moving and very sad. There were many family members and friends of The Lamed Hey, and we listened to emotionally charged speeches by a Former President of Israel, the Army Chazan and family members. I didn't dress appropriately for standing an hour outside on the mountain, and by the time Pidgeon and I trekked back to the parking lot, my toes were numb and icy. We ended up going out for breakfast to try to warm up, as our apartment has been overrun by workmen.

We got a 7:45 a.m. wake up call from our contractor today, who was enroute with the workers coming to solve our mold problems. To say the apartment is a mess would be an understatement. Every room is a mess, and either covered in dust/plaster/dirt or hidden under mounds of clothing. There are 10 dirty footprints in our bathroom, and I'm surprised and there is no reason they should even be in here yet. They aren't supposed to fix the master bathroom until tomorrow. I'm trying to take it all in stride and not freak out too much, but it's difficult for me to live in such disarray. Plus, the clean up process is going to be long and hard, and I will probably have to go at it alone. I'm certainly not looking forward to that either. We were told to expect a few weeks worth of early morning wake up calls.

Last night, pidgeon and I went to a Bar Mitzvah in Rishpon. This is like Israel's version of a podunck town. It's literally in the middle of nothing, and seems that the only store on their Main Street is a flower shop. The party was out at Gan Tapuz, which is apparently a very famour and popular event hall in the area. The place itself was beautiful, and I could imagine some exquisite weddings taking place in the Springtime. They tried to warm the room up with these jumbo heaters that looks like airplane engines and I would have stood directly in front of one if I didn't think it would blow up my skirt. By the end of the evening, Pidgeon and I couldn't feel our feet. I think that explains why I came down with a cold today.

So, I was surprised at this Bar Mitzvah because we were put on a table that 1) didn't have seats for us (we arrived later because it was a long drive with traffic from Jerusalem) and 2) didn't have anyone we knew on it. Now, we only knew 1 other couple and another gentelmen, but still. Why didn't our hostess put us on the table with people we knew? I felt like such an idiot asking everyone at our table if they were at the right table since there weren't enough seats. Meanwhile, my friend saved a place setting and seats for us on her table, assuming that's where we were supposed to be. I didn't say anything to the hostess after Pidgeon and I relocated ourselves, but it appeared she wasn't too thrilled with my move. I will explain to her at a later time that we moved ourselves because it was much easier than trying to jostle the guests at our intended table. And, once we moved and settled in comfortably, we had a great time. I couldn't dance because my kitten heel got caught in the floorboards one too many times, so we basically stayed in our seats and chatted with our friends. It was so much fun, it made the 3 hour car ride (there and back) worth while.

Shabbat was quiet and uneventful. We spent a lot of time just trying to be good to ourselves (i.e. we slept a hell of a lot). You know that promise not to bake anymore? Well, I found this great new recipe a fellow blogger posted for pumpkin muffins and since I have 5 cans of pumpkin puree leftover from Thanksgiving, I'm going to try this new recipe out. I hope it's good - I think Pidgeon needs a sugar fix.

Meanwhile, I heard some disturbing news about a friend, and I wanted to post a bit about it here. She was mugged on the streets of Baka a few weeks ago and it was extremely traumatic. She was walking home alone from an event in Talpiot and a guy started following her, and talking to her, and asking her questions until they got to an empty lot and he grabbed her purse and jumped into a waiting car. Needless to say, she was really shaken up and it's 100% understandable.

People, just because this is Israel, doesn't mean that crime doesn't happen.  I've been preaching this for a while and my husband sometimes thinks I'm being a paranoid New Yorker. I'm not. I'm just being cautious. Do not, if possible, walk alone on an unlike road. Not in Tel Aviv. Not in Timbuktu. Not in Jerusalem. Nowhere. If you're a woman walking alone, use well lit and well trafficed roads if possible. Even if it might be a little out of your way, it's worth the extra few minutes if it means your safety. 

Enough preaching for now. Here's hoping everyone tonight is safe and using their basic street smarts. 

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