July 18, 2008

israel #2 + bonus request

Now I'm in this crazy Orthodox mystical artists' community called Tsfat. A couple three quick observations before I let the 15 people behind me get on the computer, and then a plea for you to find information for me.

1. It is actually damned impressive that the Jews are still around. Not so many peoples with thousands of years of more or less recorded history who still have not only their genetic material here, but their culture. And that didn't happen because of secular humanist people like me. The Kabbalah artist who talked to us said, basically accurately, that until a couple generations ago the (or some of the) physical ancestors of the people in the room prayed daily that they or their descendants could someday return to Israel, and here we are, and that's crazy. To him it's the fulfillment of prophecy and prayer. To the Arab inhabitants of this land, it's the Nakba, the catastrophe. To me?

2. Whoa I'm so exhausted. There's much more to digest than I can possibly do before I leave. I'm looking forward (already, less than halfway through my trip) to getting back home where I can drink a cold beer in a hot shower and then sit down for a few hours and write and think.

3. Group dynamics with 40 people for 2 weeks - even when all those people are pretty chill - are still kind of intense.

4. Quick bleg: There's a new warning out for Israelis to not travel to the Sinai and to come back if they're there for fear of kidnappings, and there are tons of rumors going around about Iran. Does anyone know anything about the political situation in the Middle East over the last two weeks and want to send me some articles or a quick digest of what's going on (in comments or by email)? Also, does anyone know if the warnings are confined to Sinai or include Egypt proper? And finally, does anyone know how the status of American tourists with Israeli stamps on their passports fits in to these warnings? And finally finally, how should this affect my chosen mode of transportation (air/bus/service taxi) to Cairo?

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I just emailed #4 to my aunt, who just returned from a visit to Sinai and is in Cairo for the summer. Will let you know ASAP if I get a reply.