Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring cleaning

Playing dominoes in Bat Yam with an abacus to keep score. Normality tinged with illusion.

Pessah, this year, at least in the area surrounding the rooftop, felt more like Yom Kippur. We took a stroll around the neighbourhood yesterday (erev chag) and a bike ride to Kiryat Shalom in south Tel Aviv this morning and were struck by the tranquility . Almost no cars on the roads, datiim (religious people) walking to and from beit knesset in their holiday best alongside chilonim (seculars) just enjoying the spring sunshine. entire families congregating on plastic chairs in courtyards and here and there the whiff of a charcoal grill from a back garden sprouting wild flowers.

In ancient times Pessah, a spring festival, was the start of the year, a much more fitting time than Rosh Hashana.

A family making a Pessah mangal (grill) in the pine wood next to low-income neighbourhood of Kiryat Shalom this morning.

One of the reasons that Tel Aviv seemed to empty out is that so many people have gone or are going abroad. Normally tens of thousands of Israelis (in a reverse exodus) would be in Sinai now but the news that the Eyptians are chasing four separate terrorist gangs there has deterred even the most diehard Sinai lovers.

Sinai, oh Sinai...

Of course you don't have to go as far as Sinai to realise that the Pessah tranquility is tinged with illusion. The Hamas managed to spoil the festive mood with a sophisticated operation at a border crossing and the IDF is in action , knocking out Hamas militants. All this just two hours drive from the rooftop.
In the missile era, in this part of the world, the space that you can safely call your own has diminished to zero. In that knowledge and in the spirit of Pessah cleaning that has gripped the country, our va'ad bayit (house comittee) has declared its determination to finally clear the junk out of the air raid shelter. Just in case.

And when flipping through the free haggadah I picked up unconsciously at the supermarket
my eyes wandered from the command to every succeeding generation to see itself as though it had been led forth out of Egypt and the text on the opposite page which began : "Spy TV :The national centre for installation of security closed-circuit TVs."

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