Monday, December 08, 2008

Happy New Week

Shabbat was nice. Friday night, Liza and I co-hosted a Shabbat meal, and Chava came over with her husband and little daughter. Liz was there too.

I love Liz. She is so "in tune" with the needs of Orthodox Jews it's rather frightening (and heartening). At dinner, she was the only one who wanted some wine with her meal ...and she asked Chava to please pour it for her. She's just so great.

Lunch was "interesting." I went with Liza to the home of her friends, MS and D, who are really great people and I like them a lot ...but... I was seated between two other guests, a painter and an Art History expert, who spent the ENTIRE meal arguing vociferously about the nature of Truth and Beauty, and what is Art, and whether Israel has developed its own aesthetic, and whether various artists I've never heard of were better at narrative or at form.

They were not affecting a hoity-toity interest. They were actually really into it, and actually really knowledgable.

I love art, and I love intellectual discussions, but I did not love being trapped between these two guys for 3 hours.

Anyhow, yesterday Beth S. and I went together to the Ein Gedi spa, where I gained free entrance because I'm writing on assignment about the Dead Sea (more about that later). I must admit that when I got in for free, even though I truly am a reporter on assignment and had organized it with the manager in advance, I still felt like I'd gotten away with something.

My job doesn't pay much, but the occasional perks are truly fantastic.

I'd been in sulfur pools before and had slathered myself with Dead Sea mud before, but this was my first time actually floating in the Dead Sea. Unfortunately, at first I leaned back too fast and ended up splashing around in a panic and getting heavily-salted water in my eye. Thank God, the good people at the Dead Sea have arranged for spigots to be available out in the water, from which people in my situation could wash their faces with fresh water.

What with the gentle rays of sun (extra-filtered of harmful UV rays by the extra several hundred meters of atmosphere), the sulfur pools, and the mud, my skin looks clear and peachy right now.

Later this week I'm going back to the Dead Sea, and to Masada. Also on the schedule: Write lesson plans, do a lot of laundry, try to get some exercise.

Another normal week. Let's hope it is free of stressful Middle East news.

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