Friday, June 05, 2009

Last Weekend's Excitement

The photos to accompany this post are here and you can also find them on the right.

Last Thursday and Friday (28-29 May) was Shavu'ot. As I had told you earlier, Richard and Tzippy are visiting here from Toronto. The Tuesday before Shavu'ot, they met me at Aroma near campus and I gave Richard a tour of campus then he sat in on two of my classes: Ugaritic, then Canaanite Literature and the Bible. (It's kinda funny: back home, my shofo "CanLit" meant "Canadian Literature." Here it's shofo for "Canaanite Literature." Happily, the two aren't being mixed up in my overworked brain.)

Richard and Tzippy invited me to spend the holyday at Tzippy's home kibbutz of Nir David. We drove up with Tzippy's sister, Nurit and her husband, Dudu. R and T met there in the early '70's: Tzippy was raised on this kibbutz and Richard had gone there to work. A kibbutznik love story! I stayed with Tzippy's aunt and uncle, Jael and Moshe (Moshe is very close in age to Tzippy, so she considers him to be more like a brother). So, Moshe is a photographer and Jael is a naturopath. Jael worked some of her magic natural healing on me and, although I wasn't cured, I did feel a thousand times better - I slept soundly through the night without coughing or nightmares plus it was wonderfully quiet there without late-night partying undergrads. (I sound older than I feel typing that.) (Update: the cold is pretty well gone. I only have a lingering, if expected, irritating cough. Brenda-Vaccaro-voice is gone.)

If there is a Gan Eden (Garden of Eden), I think it just might be at Nir David. The landscape is gorgeous, with Mount Gilboa rising in the south and the Asi river flowing through green lawns with beautiful trees and gardens at every wee house. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly, and everyone spoke at least some English but I found that when they spoke Hebrew I could follow the discussion. Richard put it well: I felt a little embarrassed speaking with my limited knowledge of the language, but we all got along well and our points were made. On Friday night there was the Shavu'ot festival, which was very much a harvest festival - Nir David is not religious. I couldn't help but think about how it was celebrated here: no rabbis, no priests, no prayers, no books, but rather a community expressing their gratitude for the goodness of the earth around them, goodness they had produced with the work of their own hands. I loved the interpretive dances and especially loved the parade of children: Parents with children from each age group, beginning with the recently born, parading their little ones for the whole kibbutz and each group was met with resounding applause. What a true testimony of fertility, hope for the future and pride in family.

On Saturday, Richard, Tzippy and I walked to Sachne and went swimming in the natural spring/river. Gorgeous and warm and lively and filled with Jews and Muslims having a lovely day at the park. This, to me, is a true example of peaceful co-existence in so contentious a geographic arena. After our swim, we visited the little museum and I was enthralled: housed here are artefacts from many eras, unearthed at nearby Bet She'an. There was also an exhibit of Etruscan artefacts, including the coolest warrior's helmet ever:
The whole weekend was wonderful: getting out of Jerusalem and being back in the Galilee area which I love so much, meeting new and amazing people, being looked after, spending time with Richard and Tzippy who have become great friends, hearing their stories and the stories of those I had met, finally seeing a festival from the Jewish calendar, feeling like a part of something greater than myself. I think my sense of thanksgiving matches the spirit in which it was presented at Nir David: pure, simple, not complicated with magic words interpreted from a book but so very evident in the connections among a community of people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful time - so very very happy for you - love, Mom