Celebrating Thanksgiving in Israel was funny. First, I worked the Thanksgiving party at the Arab Jewish Community Center, where I work. The center has an American Corner, which is funded by the US Embassy, and celebrates American holidays. There was a Halloween party last month, and now a Thanksgiving party. It was weird enough just writing “The Thanksgiving Story” for one of the English classes last week; it was all “happy pilgrims, friendly Native Americans, sharing and turkey” like you learn in elementary school. I was really torn about sharing that version of history that completely undoes centuries of genocide and displacement with these kids, who are also suppressing a history of forced displacement and racial violence. It was not my place to say anything, or add any kind of other narrative, but I did feel uncomfortable the whole time. At the party, I was making “Indian headdresses” with kids for two hours, which was (1) the most frantic arts and crafts experience I have ever had, and (2) the most openly racist thing I have done in a long time. ☹ But the kids were really cute, and I like them a lot. So that was good?
On Friday morning I woke up early to go to North Tel Aviv for the ingredients I needed to make the famous Naomi Naliboff broccoli-corn-ritz cracker casserole. I needed creamed corn, frozen broccoli, and ritz crackers. I hadn’t seen any of those ingredients in Yafo, so I knew I had to go to where the rich people lived to have any chance of getting them. Luckily, I got real ritz (!!!) and frozen broccoli, and I creamed the corn myself. It turned out deliciously! Everyone was impressed and, may I say, it was one of the first dishes to be finished. Super tov.
Almost everyone from the program came to the Tel Aviv apartment for our rooftop dinner. The food was incredible, and there was more than we could have possibly eaten. Hello American gluttony, welcome to Israel. The funniest part was that we had to take a cab over, and Dante went to hail it on the big street next to our house while Amy, Hannah and I waited. I was wearing my jacket and Dante’s, holding a big disposable pan and a real pot with a lid, sitting on park bench. When all three of us were sitting there, holding tons and tons of food, we got, as you can imagine, some real weird looks from the Yafo residents walking past. Amy was like “…we are so American right now.” But hey, I came home with a tupperware full of food, so what do I care. We all got incredibly sleepy (that’s what happens when you start drinking wine at 3pm and then completely stuff yourself, I suppose) and ended the night curled up together watching “The Hangover” before heading back to Yafo. It was a really fun night, and I was so glad to be there with my Tikkun Olam famfam. Even Benji came!
Also, now we are all fat. But hey, that’s the point, right? Happy Thanksgiving!