Fridays are interesting for me. The week speeds by, days of work and travel and teaching. Organizing what needs to be done; marking off items on a check list. I have meetings next week on Sunday, a conference on Monday, onsite work on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thurdsay and a wedding next week one evening as well. In short - the week hasn't even arrived and I'm exhausted from thinking about it.
I have to finalize two agreements, a contract, and at least one project. I have two meetings set up on one of my onsite days. And then, as it happened this week, it will happen next week as well - it will be Friday again, as it is today.
Friday is the day my world slows a bit. I push the business off my brain as much as I can, for as long as I can. Friday is laundry and cleaning and cooking. This past week, I went to a town meeting with the mayor of Maale Adumim. He arrived - with a huge number of people from his various departments and committees. It was a wonderful way to give anyone/everyone, access to him and to those who make decisions about our lives. The meeting lasted for hours and the topics were varied.
The speed bumps in our neighborhood are TOO high - my Honda can attest to that. There's not enough equipment for the children in the parks and for the parks to be usable, we really need shaded areas - and better, tarps over the playground equipment. There aren't enough buses - but more are planned. A few times, the discussion turned to security.
There have been several break-ins in the neighborhood in the last few weeks. Because in the past (and likely in the present), those coming in through the nearby valleys are Arabs, there is a security concern as well. Terror attacks are the responsibility of the army, not the police. Break-ins are the responsibility of the police, not the army - here, both are involved.
The one clear message is that it's getting hotter in the Middle East - yesterday, there were dozens of reports of stoning attacks - one that took place shortly after I traveled Route 443 on my way home. Five people were hurt; vehicles damaged. The rhetoric with Syria is building as several times this week, Syrian armed forces and/or rebels fired at Israel.
But those are external world pressures for the most part and Friday is about lessening the pressure of the week, not intensifying fears of what is to come. Tomorrow and next week will come in its own good time. If I fail to focus on today and what it brings during the week, Friday I work doubly hard.
Last night, Davidi asked me to pick him up on the way home from school for the weekend.
"Where are you?" I asked him, calculated how long it would take me to finish shopping and loading the car with my son-in-law.
"Shaarei Tzedek," he answered.
Shaarei Tzedek is a hospital in Jerusalem - to most parents, hearing that their child is at a hospital is enough to cause a heart attack. For me, it means one of several things...he's volunteering with the ambulance squad (MADA - The Red Star/Shield of David, our version of the Red Cross); or he's visiting children or elderly with class members or...as it turns out, neither of these. The thought that he was hurt (and he wasn't/isn't) didn't cross my mind.
He was visiting someone, just not the children I would have guessed. Instead, he was visiting someone from Maale Adumim who was hospitalized and luckily for everyone, I only got the story slowly as I was driving Davidi home. I thought "a friend" and "he's being released tomorrow" was enough but there was a much longer and more troubling story there.
I'm not sure how Davidi knows him - I think the man also volunteers with MADA. He came out of a building to find an Arab trying to steal his car. The man is large and well trained, spent time in the Border Guards and didn't hesitate for a minute to grab the Arab and throw him to the ground. Once he had the thief on the ground, he called the Moked (the 24-hour hotline to security, the city, etc.) - and that's where he messed up. His attention was diverted as he put his phone away, and, according to Davidi, the Arab accidentally stabbed the man in the stomach.
Davidi explained that he meant accidentally because it wouldn't have happened if the guy knew the Arab had a knife and if he had paid more attention. So what he meant was that the Arab intended to stab the man; but the man could have dealt with it...so it was an accident that the Arab successfully stabbed the man and was able to flee.
After all of that long discussion and several clarifications because I wasn't really calmly letting Davidi explain, we came home. I was exhausted from a week that looked strangely like the upcoming week except in involved 2 days onsite and 3 days of teaching. By Thursday night and the onset of the weekend, I have to tell you - teach 3 days and work 2 days or work 3 days and teach 2 days, you're still exhausted.
So I went to bed last night after putting away the weekly groceries - and woke this morning to a beautiful, hot, sunny Friday in Israel. I'm making meatballs and rice this week, in addition to chicken and whatever. I have two frozen, shaped dough challahs that I made two weeks ago. I just have to let them thaw, rise and then bake them.
I need to wash the floor - hopefully Davidi or someone can help me with that because more than a month after falling...my arm is just not 100%. I can lift it higher - so that is encouraging. But somehow from week to week, I don't find the time to do what I have to do and getting to the doctor, ultrasound and physical therapy isn't happening.
On the bright side, my blood results came back and I'm not Vitamin D deficient anymore...now it's Folic Acid. I just can't win.
But I think what saves my life is Fridays. I love Fridays because it means I can throw the last week away and before I get embroiled in the next one, I have 2 days to write, to read, to sleep, to relax...to be. Friday can be a lot of work some weeks - overwhelmed with guests and preparations. Other weeks, it comes easy. This is an easy week and I'm grateful for it.
And I'm finalizing plans to be in England (and Rome) in 2 weeks. I'm stealing days again. I've booked a ticket to land early and go around London the day before the conference. Beheadings aside, I'm looking forward to a day of touring and I'm relatively confident I speak the language well enough to get around.
Three days in Manchester - and then I'm back in London for another two days I've stolen. One is Shabbat - so I'll sleep and eat and not much more. The second day is a full day of touring - hope London is open on Sundays!
And then early, early Monday morning, I'm flying to Rome for a stolen 10 hour visit. I'm happy to take suggestions of where to go in both London and Rome. As the trip comes closer and closer, I realize how little I have traveled in my life.
This is why I love Fridays - I can dream about this upcoming visit. I can fill my house with amazing smells as the meatballs begin to boil and the chicken is cooking in the oven. Maybe I'll make potato kugel...
Shabbat shalom - may it come in peace.