Our bus is unintentionally tracing the route of Avraham when he went from Beer Sheva to Kiryat Arba, that is Hevron, to bury Sarah and to weep for her, except for the detour to the checkpoint. I’m not that old, I’m old enough that right now Sarah’s story, sparely told in contrast to when God tested Abraham, suddenly takes on personal meaning- will I ever have children? No reason feminists can’t admit these things. The moment passes.
If I have a daughter I will name her Hagar, that she may wander but find water, and blessings.
If I have a son, I will name him Yitzhak, that he may laugh, because we aren’t laughing enough here.
[Mom and Dad, don’t take this too literally if you read it.]
The settlers in Hevron were heroes to a few of my teachers in high school. The settlers’ presence there meant that Israel kept soldiers there, the soldiers meant that Jews could pray at ma’arat ha-makhpela, the double cave, the tomb of the patriarchs. Does the divided cave below mirror the divisions above ground?
Last time, the soldiers let me enter the synagogue but I had no words, I couldn’t pray.
My brother and sister once went to Hevron on the Shabbat of parshat chayei sarah, the week that we read in synagogue the section of the torah about Sarah’s death. Jewish families in the settlement host hundreds of guests in their homes that Shabbat each year.
My sister told me that on the way home from services, she
saw someone, a Jew, push an old Palestinian woman off the sidewalk saw some young Jewish men shove around an old Palestinian woman who was walking with a child. She asked them why they did that. They said that she was probably raising her children to be terrorists. My sister suggested that they had just increased the odds of that.
I don’t think that was the reason she spoke up. Sometimes we make utilitarian arguments, but they aren’t what we really mean. You don’t push old women of the sidewalk because you don’t push old women off the sidewalk. [Nb. from my sister: “yeah, you’re probably right.”]
This time the soldiers wanted to divide our group into Jews and gentiles, and only allow the Jews in to pray. I couldn’t go in with any decency under those terms. I didn’t go in.