Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What A Day

Today, for the second day this week, I woke up ill. After coughing all night, sleeping very little, and waking up achey, it was clear that I would not be going to yeshiva, at least for the first half of the day. I continued to lay in bed, sleeping on and off, as the trees beat against my window from the BRUTAL winds outside. On the other side of the apartment, Arab workers pounded away, trying to finish the giant apartment next door before the American owners come for their first, and likely only, visit during Pesach. For those that don't know, my neighborhood, as well as the adjoining neighborhood, are popular places for American and British people to buy apartments, renovate them, and then only come once or twice a year. This has caused the real estate to rise dramatically, evethough a large percentage of the homeowners are only here, at most, 18 days a year.

When I finally did wake up, I went to the kanyonit (small shopping center) at the bottom of the medical plaza across the street. With the wind staying strong, it was difficult to walk straight on the sidewalk leading to the kanyonit. Jerusalem is generally windy, and living on the side of a large hill doesn't help matters. When I finally got inside, I found that the pharmacy, as well as most other stores, had a big sign saying: Closed for election day. The only useful store open was Mr. Zol, and despite the name (meaning Mr. Cheap), the groceries and other items are often several shekels more than at other stores. Finally, with apple juice and tea, I scurried back to my apartment, dodging whatever the wind had whipped up.

Back in my apartment, I checked the computer to see what was going on with the elections. A friend in the yeshiva told me that for businesses, election day is like Shabbos: workers given the day off, no one to answer phones, rare disobedient places open. Apparently the religious world is equally as concerned with going to the voting booth. One of the Gedolei HaDor (great rabbis of the generation) here in Israel said that voting for "Gimmel" (the letter used to indicate the ultra-Orthodox party) outweighs one's obligation to sit shiva! What?!? To sit shiva is one of the most crucial periods of mourning for a lost relative, where they immediate family privately and intensely mourns for their loss. Voting is more important than that? Another rabbi, HaRav Ovadia Yosef, said that voting for his political party is the only appropriate thing to do in honor of the memory of the one who has died. As I cannot vote, this whole show hardly has anything to do with me. However, it is very interesting to see how seriously politics are viewed in Israel, that people are allowed to push off religious obligations in order to vote against the secular, Zionist parties.

In other news, it seems that going to Switzerland has turned my Swiss roommate into the new Martha Stewart. He has decided to re-do the apartment, and the refrigerator is defrosting in the hall (I always wanted a lake in my apartment), and there is spackling material scattered throughout the apartment.


  1. So on a lighter note how are you doing. I have to say this time I did not have tears,but I had joy and laughter. The picture of you walking to the store is a sight I can see so clearly. I know you well and I can hear the thoughts going through your head. I am sick myself, but I had all the medication I needed at home and I didn't have to go get anything. Good to hear from you and hope you are felling better soon. Be safe, get well. Love Ya Mom

  2. I'm so sorry you're sick but I laughed out loud at the martha stewart reference! Miss you real big!