Weekend with Shiran!
For the past week, I've been up and down. I was sick. I was better. I was sick. I spent Shabbat in Tel Aviv. I even made my way to a meeting that was ALL in Hebrew (the English cheat-sheet and the preliminary meeting helped me follow along). It's been pretty exciting, and I've had some cultural exposure, in the form of mass amounts of TV watching.
This weekend, I experienced...
...The Shuk in Yaffo. Shiran and I went to Yaffo, to walk through the flea market, eat at a famous bakery, and walk along the sea shore. It was BEAUTIFUL out!
...Shabbat with a Yemenite family. Oh. My. Goodness. The food that I was fed at Shiran's was, as usual, fabulous. Except this time, it was a full two days of food food food food. And it was amazing. When they asked if I wanted rice, and I said yes, I loved being passed a green pepper, stuffed with a meat-and-rice combination. There were cakes. There was tea. There was ravioli. There was fried cauliflower, fish-shnitzel, and a million other things to eat. I love going to Shiran's...and the food is only a small part of the fun!
...Kiryat Ono and Bar Ilan University's campus. Shiran and I went for a walk for a little while. We crossed the highway and walked in Kiryat Ono (reminded me of Village Valley, CA), and then we crossed back over to walk on Bar Ilan's campus (which is in Ramat Gan). It was really nice.
...Sherut to Jerusalem. I took a Sherut back to Jerusalem, because I wanted to go to Ben Yehuda / Downtown, as it is still Birthright Season, and the sheruts go RIGHT to the bottom of Ben Yehuda. After getting on the sherut (easy) and paying the fare (approx. 75 cents more than a bus!), our driver took off, then informed us that they were closing down the entrance to Jerusalem. This meant that we switched to a highway that goes through the settlements, and that was really it. Funny how some security breach happens, and that sends us running for the Green Line. I got back with time to spare, and said hi to the latest Birthright Season installment of friends.
...The Painted Veil. Meital (Shiran's sister) and I went to rent a movie and came back with 2.
Meital has the BEST taste in movies!
We watched the Painted Veil before Shabbat dinner, and we watched the commentary afterwards. The short of it is that the author thinks that's how people view the places they visit and the world they live in. Eventually, the veil was lifted in the movie. Much like the Amichai poem "Tourists", I am trying to work against the "painted veils" or "heavy curtains" through which tourists and visitors view Israel. My painted veil fell off pretty soon after I arrived in Israel...and while it's been hard, it's been a learning experience. Just like in the movie.
...GREASE: I watched the latest Grease, a tryout reality show, installment with Shiran and her family. They sang (in Hebrew) and danced to Broadway show tunes. The translations were fabulous, and the dancing? Beautiful. The best translation was for the song "Heaven" by Sinatra:
English: Heaven, I'm in Heaven.
Hebrew: עדן ,זה גן עדן / Eden, this is the Garden of Eden.
We enjoyed watching the show, and I cracked up during תשעה עד חמש / Tesha Ad Chamesh / Working 9 to Five and השיר שלך / HaShir Shelach / Your Song. I was shocked at the outcome, when the family + Sara Beth vote for best dance was VOTED off of the show. Honestly, I am not big on reality tv, but this was great for me. I read the subtitles, and tried to understand the Hebrew. I sang along with the songs, I danced around the house, and I really wanted my favorite contestants to win.
One of the differences between reality tv in Israel and reality tv in the states is that being Jewish "ain't no thing" as my brother Alex would jokingly say. (Alex shout-out. Woo.) In the states, you see people on TV with cross necklaces, with clock necklaces, but it's kind of rare for somebody to wear a Jewish star necklace.
Alex and I audition for Israeli Grease...ORRRRRR, we do some karaoke. (2005)
But one of the competitors, Asaf, who was sick, and didn't dance at all in his performance with his beautiful partner, mesmerized me. It wasn't his eyebrows, which Shiran thinks are distracting. It wasn't his voice, although he has a great voice, and you couldn't tell he was sick (not like me currently, as I sound like a 30-year veteran chain smoker). It was his small, simple necklace. A small Jewish star, surrounded by his ample chest hair, above his one-too-few buttons left opened shirt. It's Israeli Grease. Of COURSE you can be Jewish! And it's not like you can't be Jewish in the States. But you don't usually see a Jewish star just chilling around someone's neck, when they're trying out for (ick) American Idol.