To celebrate my 53rd birthday we went to the Old City after the kids got home from school for my favorite Arab sweet--kanaffeh. It is in the big round pan and is made with a bottom layer of sweet cheese and a top layer of shredded wheat (I think it is soaked in butter) topped with a sugar syrup and crumbled pistachios (it is probably not good for my cholesterol). Since it was still fasting time the sweet shop was only selling things to go--no sitting down as usual to eat it warm. Back at our apartment the kids all tried a small portion and I got positive responses all the way around with Joel and Will even wanting more. Hurrah! We then wandered the old city streets where we bought envelopes and some plain white paper and water colors for Will's mommy school. We ran into Ali a merchant I met back in 1982--we had great political discussions back then and we plan to continue the practice sometime soon. We stopped in at our favorite Armenian pottery shop and Sarah added some more items to her souvenir to buy list. This pottery shop makes great tiles of Bible stories. These tiles were all featured in the Friend magazine a few years back and have decorated the kid's bathroom since Marie and I bought some in 1997 when we spent a few weeks in Jerusalem. We also bought the blue tiles in our kitchen from this shop. Marie sent out the word that it was my birthday so my inbox was flooded with fun e-mails from Emmetts, Tuellers and Spring Creek 18th warders. Many thanks for all the well wishes. It was fun to hear from so many people I care about.
Special Ramadan pancakes for sell.
The kids have enjoyed going out on our balcony each evening around 7:00 pm to wait for the cannon shot that sounds the end of the day's fast. It is good enticement for Will to get bathed so he can go out to listen.
Here is the view just as the sun has set and our Muslim neighbors are breaking their fasts. Notice the Christmas type strands of lights. Most of the workers at the Center are Muslim and fasting, so too were the bus drivers on our hot long field trip on Monday. I am amazed at their devotion. One whole month of daylight fasting is quite an endeavor. Tonight is the big night where Muslims all come to the Haram al-Sharif to spent the night in prayer and Quran reading. When Marie drove to pick up Sarah from her class swimming party at Ramat Rachel at 6:00 pm, the drive to and from the school took twice as long because the city was so packed. Ramadan ends this weekend to be followed by two days of feasting, gifts, and visiting friends and family. Kids all get gifts of toys and new clothing. We took advantage of all the toys for sell and bought a big ball for the kids to play with.
The skyline of Jerusalem from our balcony.
Another view from our balcony to the yard of the Pope's representative in the Holy Land. When Pope Benedict came to Jerusalem earlier this year he stayed here. There was not enough room for all of his entourage next door so some of them stayed at the Jerusalem Center.
Tomorrow morning I leave for a week long field trip in Egypt and the Sinai. Marie will stay in the center with the kids and a few other members of the staff.