Sunday, November 28, 2004


It's freezing in Jerusalem.  It rained all weekend, and yet I still braved the streets for Thanksgiving dinner at my friend's house.  There were three enormous tables set up in their living room, around which sat forty or fifty (mostly non-American) friends.  They made everyone say something they were thankful for, but I and the rest of the cynics waited on the balcony until that part was over.  It's not that I'm not thankful or anything, it's just that I knew maybe ten of the people there, and I'm not much for public speaking.

So we ate and made merry, and I endured the usual barrage of American jokes (we killed the Indians after Thanksgiving, we have no table manners, no real know the drill), but mostly it was a really good time.  In the end, Luise and I ended up at Dave's in a really silly mood, and sat laughing and talking about nothing until 3:30 in the morning.  A nice Thanksgiving, in spite of the homesickness that comes with the territory.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I am procrastinating

I am working on this instead of my mini-paper that's due tomorrow, which I have been avoiding all week.  It's a critical review of (part of) Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise.  This shouldn't be so difficult, but I'm at a loss as to how to begin.  My solution: type.  Anything.  Thus here I am, hoping the very feel of keys beneath my fingertips will trigger some kind of reaction in my writing faculty.

Soon I leave to go into town with some girls for dinner.  I don't go out to eat very often, unless you count the cafeterias at University, so I'm looking forward to food I don't have to prepare and/or clean up.  I'm also looking forward to the same thing tomorrow night, when I go to my friend Dave's for Thanksgiving dinner, and don't need to cook anything at all.  Apparently there are like forty people coming, much bigger than my little intimate Thanksgiving last year.

Anyway, suddenly I have an idea.  So off to work I go.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Week five

Went to several parties this weekend.  At the first one, the police came three times before one o'clock.  They always come, and they're always nice, but they pretty much broke up the party.  I didn't mind so much though, as it had suddenly turned into one of those predatory parties where Luise and I were practically the only girls left in a sea of men.  I felt like a little bunny, about to be pounced on. 

The next day, Shimon, Luise's exiled ex-roomate, threw a little get-together at his new apartment, right smack next to the emergency room at the hospital.  We ate sushi and drank banana and vodka shakes.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Yesterday I did barely anything at all.  It was shabbat, after all.  I did manage to finish my Arabic and a little reading, and I made pasta for myself and Luise, who has taken to sleeping over every Saturday night.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


So I wrote the first of my mid-term essays and saved it to a disk to print out at school, and somehow the disk was all messed up and I lost all the corrections and the conclusion to the paper, which I (stupidly) forgot to save to my computer.  It took me an hour and a half to write the entire essay, and it has taken me two days to reconstruct a single paragraph.  I find this extremely annoying.  I literally cannot remember how I ended it before, and cannot for the life of me pull it together now.  Am incensed.  (is that how you spell that?)

So now I have to finish it, as well as some critical review of some Spinoza article.  Hooray.  I feel really loaded down with work this semester.  Arabic is 100 times more difficult than last year, and Hebrew moves so fast I can't keep up.  I'm spinning all around!  But overall, I am too busy to be depressed or anxious most of the time.  I almost feel completely back to normal.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Last Thursday I went to my friend Danai's house in Abu Tor, East Jerusalem, to have the evening Ramadan meal with her family.  Their home was really beautiful, and we ate until our sides hurt.  Afterwards we sat in the living room and drank Arab coffee and talked about everything, with Arafat's funeral playing on the TV in the background.  Only the women were left, Danai, her sister, and two other girls from Rothberg; the men left right after dinner.

Danai's sister read our futures in the coffee grounds left over in our cups, which was quite entertaining.  Apparently I will very soon meet a very tall man, who will love me from the first moment that he sees me.  (Why are they always tall in fortune-telling?)  I will never have a lot of money, but I will never care.  I will attain whatever I go after, but it will take hard work.  All sorts of neat stuff like that.  It was quite fun.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Due to the nature of some of the responses that I have received from my post a few days ago, I decided I needed to clarify a few things.  At the time I was much too angry to form a coherent argument, so I instead resorted to satire, a tool that I find to be (generally) quite effective.  However, it may not be so effective at the time because, unfortunately, there are so many people in the world right now who would whole-heartedly agree with the ridiculous stance I took to mock them.

So, a bit of an argument then.  I suppose I should start with why we have laws.  I plan on being simplistic and non-philosophical here, so excuse my lack of true investigation into the matter.  We have laws to maintain order in society, to moderate and standardize behavior, to protect individuals from each other, and to determine right from wrong.  Fine then.

That being said, there are two different types of law.  There are laws that deal with matters of justice, and laws that deal with matters of morality.  In America, a country founded on freedom of thought, opinion, and religion, basically the right to believe whatever one desires, we divide these laws: the state turns matters of justice into universal law, while matters of morality are (supposedly) left to the individual to decide--Christians follow their moral law, Jews follow theirs, Muslims, Atheists, etc.  All are free to decide what is right and what is wrong.

What then separates a Universal Law of Justice, which is regulated by the state, and an Individual Law of Morality, regulated by one's religion, creed, or conscience?  Precisely this: a universal just law is one that draws the line between the rights of the individual and the rights of those he lives with.  Once his right impedes on the rights of others, it is no longer his right.  Thus, it is legal to hate people; it is illegal to hurt them,  It is legal to have sex with whomever you choose, whether married or not, it is not legal to rape or sexually abuse someone.  It is legal to buy pornography, it is not legal to peep into other people's windows.  I could go on and on.  I will stay away from the "grayer" areas, prostitution, drug use, etc, as they can be argued from either side.

Homosexuality, however, cannot.  There is nothing gray about the right of a man or a woman to be gay, as it obviously does not impede on the rights of anyone else.  It hurts no one, disrupts nothing in society, and is simply not a matter of justice. 

It can, of course, be argued by some that it is a violation of morality, but we have already shown that morality is not to be decided by the state.  It seems to me that Christians in the USA, now comfortably accustomed to being in the majority, have forgotten how precarious this situation can be in history.  I live in Jerusalem, which over the course of thousands of years has been through its share of occupiers, all of them exercising the right to legislate their own idea of morality, and all of them indifferent to the suffering it caused to those who disagreed with them.  Christians in America are not bothered by the idea of legislating morality because, at the moment, they are safe in the knowledge that it will be their morality, but they forget that this may not always be the case.

Once you set such a dangerous precedent, you are not far off from destroying the very ideals our country was founded on; in fact you are already beginning to destroy them.  How is it that Christians forget that in certain countries, Christianity itself is "immoral," and that its followers must practice their faith illegally and in secret?  Surely we would call this law an unjust law, as it imposes one group's morality onto another and restricts freedom.  Thus, while Universal Law is truly just law, as it protects rights (by restricting freedoms, yes, but only those freedoms which could harm another), Moral Law, when it no longer is left up to the individual, is unjust.

So how can one possibly argue that the right to marry should be restricted to those whose moral code calls marriage a union between a man and a woman?  Certainly two gay men in love, who desire to make a life-long commitment to each other, should have the right to do so, and have it recognized by the state that claims its citizens have the right to decide their own morality?  I have heard people worry that it would destroy the "sanctity of marriage."  Last I checked, the "sanctity of marriage" was not a person, and therefore doesn't fall under the protection of universal law.  We are free to destroy it at will, as we do every day with our (legal, I remind you) divorces, illicit affairs, and many other things.  I am not arguing whether these things are right or wrong; I believe I have pointed out that this has no bearing on the argument whatsoever.  I am merely pointing out that "marriage" as most Christians view it, is being violated every day, with the protection of the law.  But as long as it is heterosexuals violating marriage as depicted by the Christian Bible, we will tolerate it.  It is only when homosexuals expect the state (THE STATE, mind you, not the church, which I believe does have the right to prohibit gay marriage if it sees that as morally sound) to extend to them the right to marry that Christians start weeping and gnashing their teeth.  They wail and cry--just call it something else, just don't call it marriage, how can you call it marriage?--and their attachment to semantics, to a name, which is not holy at all (it is the act of marriage, I believe, that is holy--it must be, as Adam and Eve are never said to be "married" and somehow I doubt that Christians hold their union to be suspect), blinds them to the suffering they are causing those who disagree with them.  They think they are doing God a favor by "protecting" his morality, when in fact they are hurting him by hurting and alienating those he loves, which includes homosexuals.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

A little hopeless

I finally bought my plane ticket home for Christmas.  It was obscenely expensive.  But I know it will be worth it.  I could use a little connection with my hometown, as usual.

I feel as if my state of mind is constantly balanced  on this precarious little peak, arms outstretched, willing itself to maintain some sort of equillibrium.  This balancing is difficult and time-consuming, and often fails, at which point I suddenly find myself plunging into a state of semi-despair, fighting off the most ridiculous sense of hopelessness. 

I have the most extreme emotional reactions to the most mundane of everyday events.  The other day I was the last to arrive to an over-crowded class, and the only seat that was left was all alone in the corner, and I was suddenly overcome with this enormous feeling of isolation.  I had to leave the class, walk around a little bit, remind myself of things.  Then yesterday I got in an argument with a taxi driver about the fare, and it took me two hours to get over the sense of having fallen from a great distance.  It is so strange, being so tightly coiled all the time.  I want to stretch myself out, relax, but I can't.

It makes me think that I will never be able to be completely happy in the life that I've chosen.  I am twenty-seven, single, living in a strange culture; most of my friends are transitory; most everything is transitory.  I need to be living in some small town, where I know everybody, where they all know me, where I can have a nice routine, a couple kids, and a house with a front porch.  I need to put down feet to feel balanced.  Instead I'm running all over the place, collecting degrees, experiences, and photographs, in a constant state of near-panic.

This is probably better.  This life. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Those gays

I am so proud of my country right now. Finally we are taking a stand for what is decent, Christian, and American. It's bad enough that the gays are actually allowed to remain in God's chosen nation, now they insist on having the same rights as the rest of us--the God-fearing majority. I am appalled by this. Clearly it is the result of liberal-minded history teachers telling our children that America was founded on religious freedom, rather then telling them the truth--America was founded on the freedom to be a Christian. We fled that sinful England to make a haven for the moral majority, and look where we are now. Look what's happening to our values, our foundation, our very identity!

Thus, with the overwhelming passing of Issue One in Ohio and several other states, I have finally begun to see a glimmer of hope. Hope that one day America will be the country that our parents remember. Hope that one day my children will be able to live in a country of innocence and purity, where marriage is sacrosanct and the gays know their place. But folks, we cannot stop here. If we really want to clean up this country for Jesus, then I submit that we make several more amendments to the constitution--(remember the constitution? protecting the rights of Christians to live in a holy nation, ruled by a Christian? how quickly we forget). So here is my rather modest proposal:

Other immoral acts that should be made illegal:

Adultery: The gays like to point out how very few and how very ambiguous are the verses against homosexuality in the Bible. Well, this certainly cannot be said for adultery, a terrible sin that is constantly mentioned in the Good Book--both Old and New Testaments. God hates the adulterer as much as he hates the gays--so how can we live in a country that condones this behaviour by allowing it to be legal? How can this not be prosecutable by law? I submit policemen to work at every seedy hotel, every casino, office place, bar and nightclub, every fleshpot and sin-ridden place that still exists in America, waiting to catch the adulterer when he strikes, waiting to throw him into jail where he belongs.

Pre-marital sex: Fornication is rampant in this country. Nobody knows how it happened, or why it's so "accepted," but I think I do. Because it's legal. We look to our laws to tell us what is and isn't morally acceptable, and here we have no law preventing--nay, protecting--our kids from committing an inexcusable act.

Drunkenness: Now, I'm not old-fashioned. We all know prohibition was a mistake. Even Jesus drank wine! The point is not to make alcohol illegal, but to make drinking in excess illegal. Saint Paul makes it clear what a sin it is to be drunk, makes it clear that it leads to debauchery, whatever that is. So let the people have their wine, just make sure there's a limit. A moral society must have limits, or sin and the devil will undermine and ruin us.

Reading religious books that aren't the Bible: How can we let our children be exposed to other faiths, faiths that we know to be pagan and godless? At the moment, you can walk into any bookstore and find a copy of the Koran, the Satanic Bible, whatever those Buddhists read--all sorts of nefarious and anti-Christian writings--out in the open for anyone to take home and read, out in the open just waiting to lead Americans astray. I propose a ban on all such anti-God books. I also find certain other books suspect--The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huckleberry Finn, anything written by a Jew, basically any fiction that contains objectionable references, which is most fiction written before 1935 and after 1959, as well as a lot of the stuff actually written between those years. In fact, as it is hard to judge, all fiction must be considered a threat. As well as any supposed "non"-fiction that includes the evolutionary theory, references to the big bang, reproduction, or a non-geo-centric view of the universe, as well as anything containing discussions of any religion other than the American Religion.

Television: This barely needs an explanation at all.

Dancing: While not specifically mentioned in the Bible as a sin, I go along with the radical Christian unversities that prohibit this exceptionally dangerous act. Maybe it's not a sin, per se, but we all know what it leads to. Let's not kid ourselves. Again I say: outlaw the deviant act.

Well, there are many, many more that I could list--and plan to!--but unfortunately I have to go do some housework, as I am a Christian woman who knows where her place is. Let that be a lesson to the anti-American masses of women who think it's "okay" to be in the workplace while their children raise themselves. Shame on you! Perhaps one day America will return to its better, purer roots and keep us out of the working world and the ballot box, and back in the kitchen where God intended us to be!

Monday, November 01, 2004


Had a Halloween party the other day, complete with pumpkins (construction paper), s'mores (on the gas stove), and hot spiked apple cider (apple "drink"). It was kind of hastily planned, but it turned out okay. I get this hostess-syndrome, and it's hard for me to enjoy my own parties--I'm running around all nervous trying to make sure people are having fun, eating, drinking, still like me. Stuff like that.

Not much else to share at the moment. I'm trying to get a plane ticket home, and it's awful. It's much more expensive then I'd anticipated, and the dates are filling up fast. Ah well. It'll work itself out, right?