On Saturday last week I moved to my sublet in Jaffa, I was really lucky to find this place on a relatively cheap deal. The apartment is somewhere deep in the sphere: southern to Old Jaffa and the port, and most voices around us speak Arabic. I will be living here for a month. My roommates are both older and more experienced in life. But it’s probably only my low self-esteemed first impression. I have done things in my life, I am just having this unusual order of them.
On my first night here a shabby guy followed me down the street and scared the shit out of me. I must learn how to inform creeps to go the hell away. A qualification I should obtain before I become a valid woman.
Anyhow, a day later my aunt came to visit the area and critically wondered in my ears about how could I move somewhere on the Shabbat. Because on Shabbat you definitely not suppose to do anything but sitting down and smiling to yourself. Which sounds great, maybe I should try it sometimes.
My aunt, how do you say this in english, found god and all the answers few years back. Somewhere around the birth of her only child, Noa. Since then most of the family sees her as a crazy sheep. But she has always been this distinctive individual , creative artist, a bit different in any possible way. As a kid I admired her style. I still do.
She makes everything herself, the furniture in her house, her clothing. Everything around her is always very beautiful, yet simple.
Therefore, even though she now lives under many strict laws of Hashem, the Rabbis, and the books, I still appreciate her and the lifestyle she has chosen for herself. Though since I am part of the Chosen (ugh) as well , she does feel like I should be more into that myself, but I have my own ways to be Jewish. Sorry to disappoint. I do believe we can still love each other and that is what most important.!
Hence, I was invited to come visit her home in the Golan Heights, which by the way took me some time overseas to realize that only the maps at my school showed it as Israel. It doesn’t change the fact that it is a very beautiful place. I was happy to go on a family bonding trip as well as get out of the city, and the unfamiliar apartment I just arrived at…
Before we arrived at the Golan we stopped at this wonderful vegan restaurant in Pardes Hanna. They had a supper religious wall covered with charming works by a local artist. So from there we went to visit her in her studio, you can find other works here. I bought this one:
It says “Time to Love”.
I have a thing for mandalas.
So yeah, my aunt and Noa are pretty much vegans(and very much Kosher). I had three days of veggies, fruits, beans, almond milk, lots and LOTS of tahini (which I eat ALL the time anyway) , hummus and everything else that grows from the earth when you water it. It was good. I felt light and fabulous about it.
My Aunt is very continuous of Shemita (no idea what’s the english), which means that after we done eating a veggie or a fruit there is a special place to “throw” each thing because you do something with it afterwards. There is no jiffa, no waste. So I had to carefully consider where to put the lemon’s peel or the apple’s seeds.
As far as Kosher goes, you should keep in mind which utensils and tools are for meat, dairy or pareve because each has their own. But we ate mostly pareve so it wasn’t a big deal for me.
a cute corner of the kitchen
My aunt lives in a small settlement very close to the border with Syria. People there are mostly young with many children and a strong belief that God will take care of everything.
While my aunt told me how in this place the air is exclusively fresher, the sky is close and so is he, I was thinking about Syria. The smell of blood, the crying earth from nearby.
People in the settlement don’t read or listen to the news, ever. And so they don’t talk about Syria. Nobody mentions the close danger, or what might happen here one day.
At some point I had to confront my aunt about it. She said: “It is better to light a candle than to cry over darkness.” I let this phrase sink in me for a moment. I like it a lot. It sounds so comforting, so warm and right. Yet, I couldn’t find peace with it. Syria is still bleeding right next to us. Denying the horrors won’t hold the candle for long.
Around me I could see mostly children. Living their very young lives in their strict, closed Jewish community. I would never raise my kids here, I couldn’t help thinking, I would be too worried to even look at them in the morning.
Sushi and Tahini that I made
(not a big fan of sushi with no raw fish
in it )
Me trying to fit in with modesty
(way too hot for summer)
the Studio, a really fascinating room
and one of the many things I’ve found there: a childhood photo of my aunt and my mom
One of the days we drove down to Tzfat( Safad in Arabic). Tzfat is considered a major city in Judaism, maybe the most important after Jerusalem.
Reading about it a bit before going, to refresh my memory, I can tell you many Jews died in this damn place wow. Massacres, earthquakes, plagues, persecutions, what not. Why is this place still considered Holy ??!
Still pretty though