Saturday, November 08, 2003


Last night I had a few friends over for Shabbat dinner, and we ended up talking politics until two in the morning. The major consensus: Labor good, Likud bad. Well, that pleases me anyway, even though I wouldn't be inclined to describe any party here as actually good. But I've already admitted to not knowing very much, so my opinion doesn't carry that much weight at the moment. I'm still learning, still trying to sift through the myriad of very strong, very opposing opinions I hear everywhere I go.

Today I wandered through the Old City again, winding my way through the Arab market, buying a few things here and there, touching everything. At one point a picked up a copy of the Koran at a shop in order to impress Ksenia with my knowledge of Arabic, and the shopkeeper came over and asked us if we were Muslims. We said no, and he took the book from me and said "No Muslim, no touch Koran." He wasn't rude or anything, but I felt pretty dumb. Here is a rule I did not know. Oops.

Eventually we ended up on the Via Dolorosa. I didn't stop at all the stations, didn't sit and ponder what had transpired on that same street two thousand years ago. I surprise myself with my current detachment from all the religious themes that have been the center of my life. Now, here I am, in the center of it all, and I can't tear my eyes from the scenery long enough to contemplate where I really am. I'm cutting myself a little slack--there's a lot to take in. I just hope one day these two strands of my life will fuse here: the beliefs I've held forever, and the city I live in now.

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