August 7, 2004
It was last night, at “The Queen’s Court” about 40 km south of Tel Aviv, on the way to the Negev desert and Beersheba. Admittedly, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so I am sure that many were immediately impressed with the place and its welcome. Lots of greenery, multiple expanses of blossoms, an overwhelming waft of jasmine (real or sprayed?) and a leather kippa (yarmulke) with the names of the bride and groom.
The groom is the grandson of a cousin. They’re the section of the family who live in New York.
[There’s a warm separate story about the grandfather cousin: much to the surprise but eventual warm acceptance of the close family, about 5 years ago, he married the Philippino helper of his late wife, who had slowly died from cancer. He was about 70, with grown-up grandchildren. A young 70. She was about 30. I remember calling her the Queen of the Court; she managed so well to take the place of a special lady who had been the family’s focal point. A Philippino in a traditional Israeli family. A fish out of water. She grew wonderful legs.
And the next hurdle: she wanted a child. He understandably didn’t. She became pregnant; he wanted an abortion. It was his late wife’s brother who brought sense to the situation. Dorin is the result. A gorgeous little 4 year-old in a long white dress. She stole the show.]
Are they trying to make a material point, or can they really afford this (kitschy) magnificence for over 400? Terrific hors d’oevres, plenty of cocktails and other refreshments. Music in the background. That was enough for us.
Oh yes, the ceremony. Can’t have a wedding without one. One by one, the attendees under the chuppa (canopy) were introduced over the loudspeakers, with fanfare and pomp that begged an appearance from Freddie Mercury. Perhaps 20 persons were ushered along the white-covered path, up the white-covered steps to the white-covered chuppa. I bet it was hot in there.
Then the mamas and the papas escorted their victims – er, son and daughter – along the path to happiness.
The ceremony….much applause, many ‘amens’, the crunch of a white-covered glass being crushed beneath the groom’s foot. An explosion of cheers, some ululating, a flock of white-covered pigeons – er, doves – were released. We ducked, thankful of our kippas. Who needs to be white-covered?
Now we go home? Oh no! Now the 400 of us sit down to THE meal, while behind us, the band re-invents cacophony, and we stick white-covered tissues in our ears.
Enough said. We get out of there. May they be forever happy.
Our friend’s mother died last weekend. She was 85; had been ill for a while. Prior to the burial, the oldest son (or whoever is next in line) is required to identify the body. “That’s not my mother”, says our friend. “Mother’s disappeared”, spreads the rumour. Can only mean one thing. Someone’s buried the wrong woman. They check the previous funeral. They insist on un-covering the poor unsuspecting soul. “Wow! You’re right. That’s not my aunt”. “But she sure does look like my aunt”.
So they take her out, dust her off, do a bit of a swap, and re-bury them. ‘Guests’ from the first funeral had already gone home. But why bother them. What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you, and all that.
End of story.
Except, wouldn’t it have been funny if the 2 old ladies not only looked alike, but were related. What a great story for Ephraim Kishon.
Naomi Shemer died a month ago. I wrote already about that; what she meant to the country. The goddess of Israeli song.
Last weekend, the Israeli Philharmonic was the support to this country’s best singers and entertainers who, just 3 weeks after the sad event, gathered in the park in front of about 100,000. It was very special. Wonderful versions of this great lady’s music and words. And as it rose to the climax, the audience took over (responding as if to the same Freddy); candles held in swaying unison.
Tears, maybe. But they were tears of thanks for the pleasure this special person has given.
My brother in law, Dani, is a known and successful Israeli artist and art teacher. He is also one who feels the land, knows the history (from now and way back when) and understands how to entertain the soul. He and his circle of friends have the best parties in and around the north.
A good friend of his has lived in moshav Kfar Yedidia for 27 years. Zuri is his name; used to grow flowers. A fun and decent guy.
He’s had a neighbour for 25 years. Their houses adjoin, as do their fields. Not best friends, but OK neighbours.
2 years ago, the neighbour does some kind of land check and accuses Zuri of stealing 1 dunam. Zuri knows it’s not the case, but to save argument, offers a dunam to the neighbour. The latter accepts, but demands a particular plot. Zuri refuses; there’s a small building on that land, plus decent crops.
So the argument continues.
The neighbour starts to build a fence between their houses. With no clear border agreed, Zuri pulls them out again. Next day, Zuri’s away and his wife Malka is alone at home. They’d had a party the previous day. She was cutting down decorations from the trees. She sees the neighbour re-insert the fencing. She approaches him. He sees the scissors in her hand.
He grabs her – and head-butts her. When Zuri comes home, he calls the police. It goes to court. Zuri & Malka are awarded about $2,000 in damages – and the 2 men are ordered to build a wall, dividing the costs equally. 1.70 is the designated height. Zuri agrees to add a few Shekel to raise the wall to 1.80. He’s had enough of the neighbour’s face.
So there it is: a 70-meter long white-covered wall. A visual bore.
In comes Dani. He arranges a happening. One Saturday, about 50 of us gather, each bringing food and drink (although Malka is a wonderful hostess). 2 tables are covered – not with white, but with pots and pots of every acrylic colour.
Many of us are ex-students of Dani. We are given 1 or 2-meter stretches of wall and each is left to his/her own. In the evening, a mural for all seasons.
I made my contribution; I’m happy. But it ain’t gonna win any prizes. Aviva helped Dani organize. Shame, for she has artistic talent. Eliana created something special. 3 weeks later, Shira came with me, and we helped Dani ‘finish up’ – giving the wall some overall style. And Shira added her own artistic part. Lovely. Proud Daddy.
A 70-meter mural that will one day has to become a tourist attraction.
A letter to this morning’s Jerusalem Post wonders why there’s no outrage at the construction of a special protective fence around the Israeli Olympic team’s quarters in Athens. Perhaps the International Court could not convene quick enough to demand it is pulled down – to allow Palestinians in to ….request autographs?
Do have a peaceful weekend.