Things have started to get a little crazy here at the center. Midterms
are over and we have a lot of pent up energy. A few nights ago we had
a birthday party for a girl here. It turned into black and white, 80s,
Bedouin theme. The guys have started growing out their "byu approved
facial hair" aka nasty mustaches. so tonight at dinner the girls drew
on mascara mustaches in revolt of the facial hair.
This week has been full of experiences that I wasn't quite expecting.
I came here wanting to learn a lot about the Palestinian Arab culture.
But this week I was plunged into Jewish cultural experience after
Jewish cultural experience. it is the holiday of Sukkot, where the
Jews build small "booths" or forts in the street. It is to remember
the 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Most people eat meals in
their Sukkot to fulfill the commandment. So, in from of every
restaurant there is a Sukkot for the religious. The streets are lined
with forts. My roommates and I made one out of mattresses and sheets.
It was definitely not Kosher, since they are supposed to be made of
two by fours and palm branches for the roof.
On Wednesday we had a field trip to the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust
Museum in Jerusalem. I strongly dislike learning about the Holocaust.
It's a painful subject, and the museum tour was no different. I
learned a lot while going tough the museum, but mostly things that I
didn't want to know. The most heartbreaking thing that I heard was the
welcome that the survivors received once they had been liberated from
concentration camps. A cold greeting from Europeans isn't surprising
to me, but even other Jews were cold to survivors. Our Judaism teacher
explained to us that people thought "If it's really as bad as you said
it was then why are you here? Who's crust of bread did you steal?" So
the survivors would wear long sleeves year round and hide the fact
that they had endured, instead of celebrating their life.
This week in the city I went to Mt. Zion where I saw the Tomb of Mary.
She has a beautiful cathedral to her name. In the crypt she has a
beautiful, empty sarcophagus. Over her there are elaborate mosaics of
women from the bible (Eve, Ruth, Ester, etc.) and in the center you
see her adult son. I loved this because one usually sees Mary in
relation to the baby Jesus, not the savior.
Love from Yisriel