Singles Shabbaton Chronicles Part 20: Taking the Red Pill
Saturday, 4 pm
Moshe and Chani have come to sit with me and Miriam. Suddenly, Moshe – the black hat settler with the wife from Brooklyn– says “Sarah, Miriam, is it OK with you if we stop at an Arab village on the way home to wish Mazal Tov to Azzam Azzam? I do not care to go so much but my wife really wants to.” Chani explains that the residents of Azzam’s village are having a “chafla,” which is some sort of party. I envision a 3-day village-wide festival with music and Israelis of all stripes coming to the Galil to celebrate. I am psyched! I've never been in an Arab village before, and the "role" of Israeli Arabs within Israeli society is something I think about relatively often, compared to most of my religious friends. Miriam, however, is beside herself. She has no love of Arabs, not even pro-Israel Arab Israeli Druze people, and wants to get home. But she’s willing to try, since the only other choice is to take the bus home with the other Shabbaton participants.
I tell Chani that I think it’s important for Jewish Israelis to show up at the chafla, because Azzam was either a spy or he wasn’t. If he was, he risked his life to help Israel. If he wasn’t, then he’s an innocent person who spent 8 years in an Egyptian prison because he is Israeli, and his suffering and his Israeliness should be acknowledged. Either way, going to see him is the right thing to do.
I am starting to like Chani and Moshe very much. They clearly are not run-of-the-mill. Black-hat-wearing settlers who are making a point of visiting Azzam Azzam? I am impressed.This is very open-minded of them. I like people who think outside the box.
Saturday, 4:45 pm
Chani and I are talking about prayer and my short attention span. She is sincere about her love of prayer and God and Judaism. Simple and smart and strong. The real deal. I don’t know whether I’ll suddenly start loving to daven, but talking to her inspires me to try a little harder.