Daily Archives: January 17, 2013


As logically expected, last night was fine. I had a good time out, the taxi driver was fabulously friendly like every other local taxiperson I’ve ever ridden with, and I was able to take pleasure in knowing that my husband was actually getting quiet time in our home for once. That… doesn’t happen, so it’s always worth celebrating to my reckoning.

Of course, because my brain wanted to be worked up, it means I’m incredibly on edge today. The childling is feeling poorly and spent most of the morning crying, which didn’t pair well with me feeling a bit flu-ish. I snapped at an overly chatty kinnie in LotRO because he never.stops.messaging me. My father-in-law seems to be carrying an especially foul odor the last couple of days, so after getting another dose of it in my workspace this morning, I’m sitting here nervously listening for him to come downstairs so I can run and hide in the bathroom. My guts feel irritable enough to make me think about the fact that the norovirus//winter vomiting bug thingie here is better known as stomach flu or food poisoning in the States…

*hides in the bathroom* My kingdom for a stuffed nose, for reals.

On that tangent, I will say that I continue to find great relief in knowing that it is a very common thing for bipolar folks to have senses that are waaaaaaaaaaaaay too sensitive. That’s been one of the best parts of diagnosis for me — I know have a much better understanding of my assorted tics that people tend to look at me funny for (or even better, accuse me of making up!). I can acknowledge to the moon and back how uncomfortable that is for other people to be around, but I still have to point out that those people aren’t in my shoes, and cannot possibly understand the depth of my suffering. I think my mother-in-law and husband sort of understand, because they have to hear with some frequency how triggering my father-in-law is for me. I do my best to make it clear to them that I don’t expect them to do anything, nor do I necessarily fault him for his smells and sounds and space invading and… well, you guys have all seen the list over the lifetime of this blog. I do my best to cope with him as he comes, but I do wish I didn’t have to be quite so avoidant. It makes me feel mildly guilty for things that aren’t either of our faults. Still, a bath and a hearing aid would do him a lot of good right now… *cough*

Anyways, I guess today is just going to be a thin-skin day. Here’s hoping I can hunker down and not let it get to me.


If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem

Forget, then, the power of my right hand

Make my tongue cleave to my palate

If I fail to recall you.

–King David, Psalm 137

I had intended to write a completely different post tonight, but while I was cooking dinner I was overcome by longing for Jerusalem.  This usually brings on floods of tears and heart-rending grief, and tonight is no exception.

January 11th marked two years since I returned to the States to help my elderly parents. Before that, I had four glorious years in Jerusalem, the only place on earth that feels like home to me.  I will return, God willing, as soon as circumstances allow.  I hope to die and be buried there.

Jerusalem is a city of riotous variety of peoples and ways of life.  You can go to the Old City and bask in the awe of its ancient arches.

Portal into another world: Rehov Habad, Jerusalem, Ir ha'Atiqa

Portal into another world: Rehov Habad, Jerusalem, Ir ha’Atiqa


Or you can go to the Shuk, the open marketplace rioting with color and jumbles of cultures, Jew and Arab and Christian all jostling for the best fresh pita, halva, olives, fish, meat, vegetables, cookies, bourekas (the local filled puff pastries), pots and pans, headscarves, seasonal delicacies, etc., etc., etc.

Machane Yehuda Shuk 1

Machane Yehuda Shuk 1

During festivals things get even crazier.  The wonderfully colorful and deeply mystical festival of Purim has many traditions associated with it, one of which is dressing up.

Women's Purim Party at SY's

Women’s Purim Party at SY’s

That’s me on the left, at an all-women’s Purim party that happens every year at Sarah Yehudit Schneider’s place in the Old City.  She’s a Mekubelet, a deeply learned teacher of Kabbalah, and one of my principle teachers.  She’s highly respected among the Mekubalim, the male Kabbalists who take a lot of impressing to be impressed by a woman.  That’s one of the aggravating parts of Jerusalem is the deep rift between male and female.  There are reasons for it, but it still gets to me.

I miss my religious community there…there is nothing like it here in the States, and certainly not here in Grinder’s Switch (any Minnie Pearl fans out there?)

The Men's Side

The Men’s Side


The Women's Side

The Women’s Side

I miss walking down the street and seeing Armenian priests in their black robes and tall hats, the nuns in black habits and impossibly uncomfortable-looking headgear, Muslim women cloaked from head to toe walking arm in arm with their tee-shirted, cut-off-jeaned, mulleted husbands.  I miss my own community, the married women seeming to compete for the most elaborate hair coverings, and of course the weddings

Bride Praying

Bride Praying

This is my friend’s new daughter-in-law praying before her husband-to-be comes, escorted by his father and her father, to lift her veil and look into her eyes deeply.  Then he will lower her veil back into place and go away.  I honestly don’t know what the men do between that time and the next part of the wedding ritual, when the friends of the groom come and escort the bride and all the women, singing special songs, to the chuppah, or wedding canopy.  The groom and the fathers will already be there, and the bride and the mothers, who are holding candles as you can see in the picture above, circle the groom seven times clockwise, and the bride then stands on the groom’s right.DSC00042

I got this shot from behind the chuppah because there were so many people packed into the wedding hall that I had no hope of getting a shot from in front.  Orthodox Jews in Israel mostly get married in wedding halls and not synogogues.  The chuppah, or canopy, that you see here is made up of the prayer shawls of the two fathers and the new one that the bride gifts the groom as part of the ceremony.  It’s very beautiful.  After the ceremony there is a huge feast.  The bride’s family traditionally provides the food.  This bride is from Uzbekestan, and we had Uzbekistani food which is honestly the best food I have ever had.

After the food comes the dancing.  There is a partition between the men’s section and the women’s section, for modesty.  The dancing on the women’s side is just crazy.  They will set off fireworks indoors, explode confetti cannons, put the bride on a tablecloth and throw her into the air, and put the bride and the groom on chairs and hold them up above the partition so they can have a little air dance together.

Why nobody gets killed at Jewish weddings, I don’t know.  They do sometimes get killed at Arab weddings, because they have a tradition of shooting off guns and sometimes somebody gets killed by mistake.

Oh right, I wanted to say that the dancing on the men’s side is mostly boring except when they have acrobatics done by young men in suits.  I have watched these things and all I can say is that Jewish weddings encourage me to believe there is a God because everyone seems to walk out able-bodied.

But most of all I miss being part of my huge Jewish family, over six million in little tiny Israel, six million to replace the six million.


One of my rabbi’s sons, showing us his very long tongue.  The hole-y tights with the star belong to one of his sisters.