Monday, October 09, 2006
TEN REASONS WHY I WILL (PROBABLY) NEVER LEAVE ISRAEL
We are now celebrating Chol Ha Moed Succot - the intervening days of Succot. Wherever you go in Jerusalem - well, in the rest of the country, too, but I'm speaking particularly about Jerusalem - people are eating all their meals in succot (the temporary booths built with the roof open to the sky) - some people sleep in succot - and those of us who do not build succot (they're called sukkas in the States) are often lucky enough to be invited to someone's home who does build a succah.
Today I was invited to my friend Joey's house. Whatever Joey does he does with class - and his succah reflects that. What a gorgeous setting - overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. But I'm not writing to tell you about his gorgeous succah and the delicious food and the icy-cold white Yarden wine and the perfect fruits - fresh figs and grapes, rimonim (pomegranates), passiflora (passion fruits), dates --- I'm thinking about the guests who were there. Now, it's not as if we were invited for a specific time. He holds open house for two days and you show up any time it suits. So we showed up at about a quarter to one and who was there? A curator from the Israel Museum whom I studied with about twenty eight years ago - and whom I run into periodically, and the man who takes care of my flat when I am abroad - among other people. And the usual comments - I didn't know you knew so-and so - why didn't you tell me you were going to be here? A whole cross section of people - who in another world wouldn't even know each other. But here in Israel - every one knows everyone else.
I tell you - if I were going to have an affair with someone in Jerusalem, I wouldn't have an affair with someone in Jerusalem - if you get my meaning. It is impossible to be anonymous here.
And that's one of the reasons why I love living here - despite the fact that not only does everyone know you - or if not you personally, then your best friend or your mother or your ex, or has heard about you from someone else. For instance - I ran into someone a few weeks ago who also does volunteer work for MELABEV and she said to me, "You're just the person I'm looking for - I was gloing to call you". Why? She wants to put together a cookbook for our organization and whomever she spoke to said, "You must call Rena Isaacson". And I don't even know these people she spoke to!!!
Someone once said, "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet" - I'm lucky to be able to live among so many friends and strangers.
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