Saturday, July 28, 2007

Busy Shabbat

  • Slept as late as possible, around 10am.
  • Put on the same outfit as the night before.
  • Was grateful for borrowed pajamas--a very long short-sleeved nightgown.
  • Made some instant coffee.
  • Ran an errand with little boy, Yanky. He'd left the jacket for his child-sized suit in the Hall. I went to help him retrieve it. On the way back, he lead me through a shortcut. I motioned to my sandals as it to say, "I can't climb that hill of dirt and rocks." He encouraged me to try. I tried and when I succeeded, he clapped. Adorable! He might be the most responsible kid I've ever met--in the sense of trying to take care of other people.
  • When I got back, my coffee was gone.
  • Very soon, it was time to go back to the Hall for another meal.
  • More toasts, more blessings. More men singing and dancing.
  • Men are not allowed to hear women sing or see them dance. You can guess at the rational.
  • Back to the house. Dad, Susan and Sam left.
  • I stayed, lay down, read and became too tired to continue.
  • Eventually I was joined in napping by two nieces. The AC was on, the blinds closed and we slept.
  • I roused myself around 5:30 hoping to avoid that "groggy from napping too long" feeling. I was partially successful.
  • Sat around with a bunch of Hebrew speakers and got more reading done.
  • Snacked--crackers, cottage cheese.
  • We were due back at the Hall at 7:30pm for another meal.
  • This meal was provided by the families of the men in my brother's "Kollel."
  • The food was good, but not as good as when my sister-in-law does the cooking.
  • It was relatively light because the mid-day meal was huge.
  • Also, our hosts decided it was necessary to put dividers between the men's side and the women's side of the room. Before, we just sat at different tables, this time we were at separate tables and had physical dividers. Charming.
  • In conversation with one woman, I was complimented for coming so far for the wedding. I mentioned that I didn't go to my brother's (B2) wedding. I said I probably could have, that Dad would have paid for it if I'd wanted to go (I vaguely remember him offering). I was too young to afford it on my own then. But I didn't want to go--because of the division of the men and the women. I don't agree with it and I didn't want to be there. Talking to this woman, I said I wasn't sure if I would make the same decision again. But, writing now, I'm pretty sure I would. How awful it would have been for me, at age 13 or so to be at a wedding with no one I knew, forced to spend time with women who only (or mostly) spoke Hebrew? If the wedding happened after Dad and Susan were together, say when I was 14, I would have liked being forced to spend time with her even less than I do now. (I can't remember exactly how long ago B2 was married.) I know B1 went. But, B1 wouldn't go to B2's wedding because it was a "mixed-marriage"--a Jew (B1's wife) marrying a non-Jew (B1).
  • I've asked a lot of questions about weddings this trip, but not to B2, rather to Dad and Susan and B1. They said, "Is there something you're not telling us?" Not at all, but the whole wedding frenzy raises these questions for me. If I marry a non-Jew, it will be a "mixed-marriage" and none of the Israeli family will come (even if they could afford the trip). I wonder, though, if I had a civil ceremony, could they come to that? But what if men and women dance together (the horror!), would they have to leave before it started? What if I played music that had a woman singing? This is what I think--assume, no matter what kind of wedding I have (if I ever get married), they won't come. The end.
  • At the end of the final meal on Saturday, I made a point to say goodbye to the wife of the big deal Rabbi who is my brother's mentor. She said, "And, maybe next year, we can dance at your wedding!"

    I said, "Hashem willing!"

    Three wedding blessings in as many days. Maybe that'll do the trick.
Grateful for: blessings.

Tel Aviv: 7/31/07

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