26 February 2015

A Lesbian Union & the Gefilte Fish

I am back in Singapore after 2 weeks on the road.

I am battered.

I only went to India and Nepal but travel wearies me more now as I age.

Airports and planes annoy and bore me.

As I sorted through my accumulated mail I was surprised to see an envelope from Israel.

Inside was a hand-written letter and a wedding invitation from an Israeli lesbian couple I met some years ago.

Their names are Maya and Liat.

They were getting married and I was invited to the celebration.

Fancy that.

I know many Jewish people and have Jewish blood in my veins. From my mother’s mother side – which apparently qualifies me as Jewish.

My children though have much diluted blood and are not qualified as Jewish.

Suck ‘em Thomas and Charlotte.

I met the Jewish Israelis lesbians Maya and Liat only once – in the Club street district of Singapore at a friend’s farewell.

He was returning to the Untied Kingdom.

To the city of Bath in fact.

Ironically he has since returned.

There was no party for his return.

Maya and Liat were amongst half a dozen Israelis in who happened to be at the same venue as our farewell group.

They were all women and of various ages.

I was quite surprised when they collectively announced to me when I said hello that they were all lesbians.

I recall being a little taken aback at this unexpected declaration and I didn't really know how to respond.

I think that I simply congratulated them.

I then told them that I was a heterosexual.

It was a bit strange.

Of the group I mostly chatted to Liat and Maya.

They were then a couple.

When I asked them why they thought that it was necessary to tell me that they were all lesbians they looked at me in a fairly blank fashion and said, "Because ve are"

They were also initially quite aggressive and informed me that, "All men are peegs".

I told them that simply didn't make any sense and they got a bit arrogant and petulant.

Israelis are a bit like this.

I quite like it.

When I enquired "Israeli men are all pigs?'

"Beeg peegs" Maya replied.

"You think this too" I asked Liat.

She shrugged in a non-committal manner.

"I assume that you both have fathers? Are they pigs"

"You are calling my father a peeg?" Maya demanded. 

Her aggression was delighting me.

"No I am just asking. You said all men are pigs"

"He ees not a peeg"

I chatted for ages with Liat and Maya.

They chilled out after a while when they realized that I was neither drunk nor being sleazy.

I meant no harm.

They had then just completed their national service and were doing a whirlwind tour of Asia before going back to serve in the Israeli army.

I think they also warmed to me when I told them of my Hungarian Jewish heritage

My Hungarian grandmother was a mad woman.

She lived until her late nineties and was as mad as a cut snake my whole life.

Perhaps her whole life.

She was certifiable.

I am very curious about people who live in places where bombs are dropped and guns are shot at people so I asked the lesbian Israelis what it was like living in a country that was surrounded by Arab people who wanted to exterminate them. I have asked other Israelis and Palestinians I have encountered the same question.

I am not sure of their sexual preference - nor am I particularly interested.

Why the hell would I?

We are not morally defined - in any way - by our sexual preferences.

Grow up if you think otherwise.

Bigotry is ignorance.

Maya and Liat told me that living in a place where bombs regularly blow up was very difficult and stressful.

I thought it might be.

I have already made reference to the fact that I have talked about such matters to both Israelis and Palestinians before and can only imagine what it would be like.

I often repeat myself.

I often repeat myself.

Living amongst such constant violent conflict must be a real bitch.

It must be terrifying.

I was surprised when they informed me that they had many Palestinian friends and that they thought that Israel should remain out of Gaza.

I told them that I agreed that Palestine should be allowed to rule it's own destiny.

In the letter that came with the wedding invitation from Maya and Liat - they informed me that there would be lots of good Jewish food at the wedding celebration including Borsch. They signed both the letter and the wedding invitation with their names and, "See you later Alligator".

I taught the Israeli lesbians this when I last saw them.

We talked a lot about Australian and Israeli sayings and slang and language in the Club Street pub and I told them that an Australian farewell tradition was when someone would declare, "See you later Alligator" the correct and polite response would be to say, In a while crocodile"

They Israelied it "In a vile croocodile"

The reference to the “lots of good Jewish food” in the letter was that much of our last (and only) in-person conversation was about Australian and Israeli food.

Mostly about Jewish food though.

I like Jewish food

Most people know that we Jews are forbidden to eat pig however few outside the faith know that we are also prohibited to also eat hare or camel as well.

We are only able to eat meat from beasts that are hoven.

That has hoofs.

Or is it hooves?

Curiously the spell-check function on my Mac rejects neither of them.

Hooves and hoofs.

I eat a lot of bacon and ham.

I love it.

I am a non-practicing Jew.

I attribute my love of Jewish food to the Jewishness that flows through my blood from my mother’s mother’s side.

My grandmother - the Hungarian mad woman.

I attribute my love of bacon and ham to my Dad and his Dad before him.

My relatives on my dad side were fishermen and priests who came to Australia in the mid eighteen hundreds from Ireland.

They were meat eaters.

They were fish eaters too.

The Israeli lesbians Maya and Liat seemed to like the fact that I like Jewish food.

They were proud and patriotic.

“Ess Gesunt” – is the Yiddish for eat in good health

I like challah and babka and matzoh ball soup.

I like Gefilte fish.

I like borekas and kugal and shakshuka.

I have trouble with borsch though.

It is an abomination.

Beetroots in soup seems like a cannot.

“Cannot” in the context that I have used it is Singaporean for I-don’t-really-like-it.

I like Jewish latkes and sufganiyot though.

I like Rugelach.

I like a lot of Jewish food.

I like the sound of it as well and I enjoy saying it.

It requires throaty enunciation.

The lesbians Maya and Liat left an RSVP with their email address.

I have already emailed congratulating them on their engagement and telling them I am honoured and delighted to attend the wedding.

I quite like weddings.

They are celebrations of the union of love.

They are joyous occasions.

The opportunity to share in the celebration in love and joy don’t come along every day.

We should snatch such moments when we can.

It will be great.

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