Sunday, December 12, 2004

Singles Shabbaton Chronicles Part 3

Friday 2 pm

We’re visiting the grave of the Talmudic sage Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness (Rabbi Meir the master of miracles). We walk through a plaza with Middle Eastern Music blasting and vendors selling souveniers of all sorts, into an Ottoman-era building with the tomb in the middle. I don’t know much about Rabbi Meir, but make my way to the women’s section and pray the afternoon services. I pray to find the right guy and to make the most of the weekend. I figure it can’t hurt to focus on the greatness of Rabbi Meir while I’m davening; regardless of whether he actually performed miracles, “they don’t make up stories like that about you and me,” as the saying goes.

I get bored and go out the other side of the building to look at a view of Lake Kinneret. This lake provides drinking water for most of Israel, and it is beautiful. All around it, hills rise up, and on the few hills adjacent to me I see the city of Tiberias sprawled out. Another woman from the Shabbaton introduces herself; her name is Miriam and she’s 36, divorced, with three kids. She lives in a settlement south of Jerusalem. She’s originally from South Africa but moved to Israel as a child. She tells me that she noticed on the bus that I “look normal” and asked if we could be roommates at the hotel. Sounded good to me. Better an English-speaker in her 30’s than a 57-year-old Moroccan lady.

Inside the building with Rabbi Meir’s tomb, a circle of men start dancing and singing. I wonder whether it’s appropriate to dance and sing at a tomb.

Friday 2:45 pm

We’ve left the tomb and are standing around on the plaza. The Shabbaton organizer, Avi, has brought snacks. I realize that there are new people in the group; we’ve met up with the bus from Tel Aviv, and the people here are the whole Shabbaton, or most of it. Only a handful of men in their 30’s. I look around, feeling more and more beautiful by the minute. I suddenly realize that I may not be a supermodel, but I’m going to be one of the Veela of this event. I feel like cackling with glee.

Friday 3:30 pm

If this is a four-star hotel, I weep for the 3-stars. Seems clean enough, but has that upstate-New York, Tamarack/Homowack feeling to it. Everyone makes coffee in the breakfast room and sits around, waiting for room assignments. It's a pathetic-looking group. Turns out Miriam and I were put together in the same room anyway by the event organizers. It must be bashert! I’m glad, because it's becoming more and more obvious that we are two of the coolest people at the event. I'm a Veela! I'm a Veela!

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