I went to Israel for my first and only time about fifteen years ago. I had an unexamined image in my mind of all the men looking like the one in black, above. I’m not sure what I thought the women would look like, perhaps there would be none, they would be only at home.
While I found it interesting that there were people who prayed on the airplane in a somewhat public space, otherwise, there seemed to be little visual (or cultural) difference between Israelis and Americans. Staying for a while with my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) family, I learned perhaps three words, one of which I still don’t know how to really pronounce, but remember it because it sounds like broke-a-toe. As my now sister-in-law had three sons, I also heard the words for No and Yes a lot.
We were there for a bar mitzvah, which was not at all like any other. The party was outdoors, in the desert, at night. There was a dance floor that was surrounded by palm trees, under a starlit sky. We flailed around, my boyfriend stepping on my toes for the first but not last time, and my now brother-in-law made the most amazing cake that looked like a Torah. It was a night that I never wanted to end.