Boy does our neighborhood rock on Shabbat eve! The party, um I mean “Shabbas dinner,” across the way went until 1am. (Apparently across town things were hopping as well. The last Friday night of Ramadan, celebrating the revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad, brought out the crowds in East Jerusalem.) Then everyone, and I mean everyone, was in the park this afternoon. It looked like it ran the gamut from highly observant to totally secular, with perhaps a few of us goy mixed in for good measure.
Meanwhile, of course, the streets of West Jerusalem are dead – very little traffic and all shops closed, no buses running. But East Jerusalem on Saturday is the place to be. On our way there we got one of the few non-English speaking cabbies. I pulled out my iPhone and figured out that the name for the Damascus Gate in Hebrew is the Shechem Gate – Sha’ar Sckhem. I was proud of myself, though later I discovered that he charged us 50 NIS for the privilege of a ride that should have cost c. 35. I’ve got to keep remembering to ask for the “moneh” – the meter to be turned on. The Old City was even dirtier than usual, since it was recovering from last night’s revels. Hannah was a total disaster in the Old City and the market. Walking = whining and crying. I’ve got to figure out ways to help her adapt. Fortunately we visited the Rockefeller Museum, which she really enjoyed. She liked seeing the “old” (that’s an understatement!) jewelry and the model of the museum, and the view of Mt. Scopus led to more conversations about the recent history of who controlled what pre- and post-1967. She also loved playing in the olive grove – olive trees are easy to climb.
The Rockefeller Museum was almost empty, and had few guards. It seems to have frozen in time perhaps 40 years ago – the antiquities are not behind any sort of rails or glass, there is no special lighting or backings, and the labels are perfectly informative but give that “1960s” feeling. The central courtyard has parts covered with tarps. Most oddly, there appear to be sculptures just tossed in the olive grove pell-mell. Is this disuse somehow political? The museum is run by the Israel Museum, whose main buildings are incredibly modern. That said, the collection itself is remarkable, and I want to go back when I have more time.