Thursday, April 05, 2007
COEXISTENCE - or - PLURALISM - or - WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT
We parked in the designated place - under a sign which read "Parking for pick-up and drop-off of train passengers". There were actual places marked off for parking your car. The sign did not say "Standing for pick-up and drop-off of train passengers". It clearly said PARKING. So we parked the car and walked the twenty or so steps to the front of the train station and waited for Max. When we returned to the car - it wasn't there. It had been towed. Not merely ticketed - towed. Forget the long story - we got into a cab - drove to the Reading Station - and bought back her car. And then on to the museum. Really - only in Israel.
I won't bother to tell you about the exhibit - suffice it to say that I don't "get" Mark Rothko. I didn't understand his paintings when I saw them in the States and I don't understand them now. Who knows - perhaps I am just a philistine - he doesn't talk to me. I wondered - if he were not Mark Rothko would people rush to see his paintings? Or does the emperor have no clothes?
Anyway - after hours at the museum we were feeling peckish - really quite hungry. So we drove up to the Port - which has now become very "in" with all manner of wonderful restaurants - and we decided to eat at Gilly's. As we walked onto the outside deck area we noticed on some of the tables bread baskets - holding rolls - not Pesachdik matza-meal rolls - real honest-to-goodness rolls - and alongside the bread baskets were plates of matzot. Roz and I, of course, do not eat bread and rolls during Pesach - chametz, remember? - and so we sent the rolls back. However - we shared a large platter of the most succulent fish and shrimp and calamari!! Max had cheese burgers - six small cheese burgers served on bread with slices of tomato. He said they were delicious. But I suppose it was OK to eat that because two negatives make one positive - bread during Pesach - a no no - cheese and meat together - also a no no - two no no's equal one yes yes. Right?
So today - my darling funny friends, Yoav and Ernesto, took me to lunch in Abu Gosh. Now - bear in mind that we were in an Arab restaurant in the middle of an Arab village. The patrons? All Israelis. And what do we see on some of the tables? Matzot. What clever businessmen the owners are. We started with "meze" - many small plates of all kinds of salads - including hummus - but as we eat "kitniot" (beans and legumes) during Pesach we were fine. They, very wisely, refrained from serving us "kubbe" ( those deep-fried torpedo-shaped goodies stuffed with meat and "znobarim" (pine nuts) and made with a shell of burghul wheat - and "sigarim" - rolled phyllo pastry also stuffed with meat and znobarim) - because we asked for matza instead of pita. No chametz - remember?
Wine? - we were offered our choice of two kinds of wine - both from among the best Israeli "yekevim" (vineyards) - both absolutely kosher-for-Pesach.
And the main course? - what's not to eat - a mixed grill of lamb chops, kebabs, chicken livers and pargiot (a sort of small, succulent chicken). And, of course, chips (french fries). So what's not kosher-for-Pesach there?
Need I tell you what a wonderful time we had? We didn't stop talking for one minute - we solved all the problems of the world - or, at least, the Middle East.
Now - I put it to you - if we can live in peace and harmony with our Arab neighbors --- viz. the Israelis come to their village and eat in their restaurants - the Arabs respect the fact that - while we don't necessarily eat "kosher" - many of us still aren't willing to eat chametz during Pesach - and they go to the trouble to buy matza for us to eat during Pesach --- why can't we come to terms with a peaceful coexistence on a broader plane?
Very simplistic, I know - but we have to begin somewhere. Maybe matza instead of pita during Pesach is a good beginning.
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