Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shabbat in Ramle

I have known Reut since I lived in Haifa during the summer of 2008. She came and picked me up from my Kibbutz and we drove to her house which is situated in the heart of Ramle. Made of Jerusalem stone, her house spacious and lit became my home in Israel. Her family was excited to have me there- and I got to meet her whole family. Mom, Dad, two sisters a brother (who is 12 ½ ) and her grandmother who was visiting. Practicing my Hebrew, I greeted their grandmother. We relaxed for a bit, watched the Hills, which is apparently quite fascinating. My friend asked me, “does everyone in America live like this? I saw an episode when they flew a private jet to Mexico.” Of course immediately, my instinct was to defend Americans in general and promised her that our entire country was not completely comprised of girls like that.
We prepared the different appetizers- so many salads! Reut’s family is half Moroccan, so literally I think her mother had prepared 12 or so dishes (before Shabbat) of tapas for us to eat. The chetziliim was the best I had EVER had. Eggplant, mayo, garlic and spices- I don’t even eat mayonnaise and I could not help myself! We broke the challah and her father led the prayers. Murmuring the responses, the family all followed suit. Passing around the wine (guests sip first) and then by descending age order we all drank the wine. Then her father broke the challah and dipped it in salt. The reason: Our table is considered an altar (Ezekiel 41:22), and in the Holy Temple salt was offered together with every sacrifice (Leviticus 2:13). We dug into the food with her brothers and sisters all relaying the events of the day in quick Hebrew. I understood most of it. Dinner was full of giggling, lost in translation moments, and people unbuttoning the top button of their pants because her mother would not rest until we couldn’t get up from the table! I haven’t been that full since Italy, and honestly hate being that full. But, it was an experience. After dinner we all watched a movie together, her mother brought out MORE food- fresh nuts and strawberries- apparently to cleanse the palate for desert. (WHAT?!! More food??) We later had tea and lemon cake. Yeah, I know. I was invited to her brothers Bar Mitzvah in April and was told I was required to come back often. Her mother was so welcoming, gave me hugs all night and told me even when Reut is not there she expects me to come visit. I am officially obsessed with her family lol.
Her and her sister took us out to this club in Ramle- 24 and up. It was so nice to be surrounded by people who were our own ages, and a bit older. Relaxed in atmosphere, the club was chill, full of interesting people and great music. We danced all night, drank champagne and enjoyed the company of each other. It was definitely a girls night. The vibes in Israeli clubs are definitely different than in the US and Egypt as well. In Israel and Egypt actually, there is no grinding- that is strictly an American phenomenon. People sway, and dance face to face, like out of the movies instead of rubbing on each other which is the custom in the states. Quite refreshing actually. In Egypt, everyone who goes to the clubs are very wealthy, but smoking sheesha, getting VIP tables and talking is more the norm. In Israel, smoking cigarettes (Ew), dancing, talking loudly and shouting the lyrics is more the norm. It’s difficult to explain, but it is less of a pick up scene and more a setting where groups of friends and colleagues congregate and let loose. Came home late, and stayed up tucking the other girls in.

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