Sunday, January 15, 2006

Jim Crow is Alive and Well in Beitar

Apologies to Megama, who put out the album God is Alive and Well in Jerusalem.
This Shabbat, I was in Beitar Illit (or Elite, or something), a Charedi community in the Gush Etzion area.

Yaakov has family (distant cousins) and friends (closer friends) in Beitar, and we went together.

Before we left Jerusalem, we stopped off to get Rugalach to take to the families we were staying with (& eating with) We also picked up bagels, lox, and cream cheese for Sam & Ofi (& family)

On the way to Beitar, we stopped in at my brother Sam's house, and we saw his kids. They're so cute. Yaakov was really great with them, especially with Menachem and Yonatan, but it was really nice to see him interacting so well with all of the kids. We also saw Ofi, Sam's wife, and their Shabbat guests, who turned up without Sam expecting them. Sam was pretty good about it, making it clear that just because he hadn't known they were coming wasn't any reason why there should be a problem.

Then Sam drove us to Beitar, and we went to Yaakov's cousins' house, which is where I stayed. As soon as we arrived in their house, we realized we had forgotten the rugalach at Sam & Ofi's but it was too late to get them, so our hosts had to survive without them. I had brought wine for both hosts, so at least we didn't come empty-handed.

We went to shul (synagogue) a little too late, and we missed Kabbalat Shabbbat, my favorite part of the service :(

At dinner, we ate at a house where they split the men and women into two different tables. Very considerately, they put me next to Yaakov, on the seam between the two tables.

The women's table was also sort of in the kitchen, which made the whole experience less pleasant. I was also sort of expected to make conversation only with the women, which I'm just not capable of. I hope I didn't make too bad an impression, because I was talking to the men (gasp), especially Yaakov and the youngest of the kids at the house Yaakov stayed at.
The kid is very cute and very cuddly, and was climbing on my lap and on Yaakov's lap. It was nice. Then they sang zmirot, special Sabbath songs, and I had to not sing, because women aren't allowed to sing in front of men in the Charedi world. Among the "modern orthodox," the general rule is that women aren't allowed to sing alone in front of men, but if everyone's singing and you can't pick out the individual voice, it's not a problem, meaning that if a few people are singing, then I can sing and no one will think about it at all. It was really depressing not to be allowed to sing.

After dinner, Yaakov walked me back to his cousins' house (where I was staying.) We stayed in their living room and talked until we got to the full-babble point at which the conversation keeps itself going and neither of us is alert enough to be aware of what we're saying. :) It was nice.

Shabbat morning, Yaakov woke me up and we went to shul together. It was weird. They sing different melodies from what I'm used to, and again, I'm not allowed to sing, even when I do know the melodies.

Then we went back to Yaakov's cousins, and Yaakov made Kiddush (the blessing on the wine) for me. That was really special, because that's something a husband does for his wife...

We ate lunch and I was going to go for a nap, but the 17 year old (girl) and I stayed downstairs to keep the 5 year old (boy) company so her mom could take a nap. We talked for a while. She's a really incredible girl. I don't remember everything we talked about, but she said a lot of positive things about Yaakov, which is never a bad thing :).

Then I went for a (way too short) nap.

Then we went to Yaakov's friends for Seudah Shlishit (3rd meal). The meal took forever, & I was dying to get out of there.

After Shabbat, we took the bus back to Jerusalem, and there... they have Jim Crow laws. Yaakov and I sat in the middle of the bus, across the aisle from each other (heaven forbid we sit next to each other!) and then a woman came and yelled at me to head for the back of the bus. I was steaming angry. I did move, but I was seething inside, especially since the 'empty seat' she had waiting for me was next to someone who had completely overflowed to the next seat. I was seething most of the ride to Jerusalem.

When I got home... I had another disaster waiting for me.

O, my roommate, had brought home a golden retriever (dog) Thursday night, claiming it followed her home. I was very displeased because Poofy did not like him.

On Friday morning, she took him to a vet to be scanned, but he didn't have a chip. I made her take him to work with her and tie him outside of her work, rather than leave him at home with Poofy. Since I was going away, I made her promise to keep the dogs away from each other, which she did.

Saturday morning, she took the retriever out, and let him go in the hopes that he would find his way home. He stayed near her in the park and played with other dogs. Then a Yorkie (she thinks) came up and sniffed the dog, who responded by grabbing it by the neck and shaking it until it died. O tried to get the dog to let go, but it was too late.

So O took the dog to the police station, and now she (& probably me too) is under investigation).

I hope she won't be sued.
I don't think I can be blamed in any way, but it's really scary to think that Poofy was alone in the house with this animal.

So this was pretty awful.

This morning, really early, Yaakov came to my house because his plumbing is messed up and his apartment smells awful and he's sick so he's not going to work.
so I let him have my bed, and I bunked out on the couch and listened to him cough. I gave him cough medicine and tea, & I left my messenger signed in there so I can send him messages if he's awake.

I really didn't want to go to work with everything falling apart, but I really had no choice (ie I called in and my boss said that I have to come or he'll fire me.)

that's the triLcat world today
bye all.

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