And what a week it's been. A whirlwind trip to New York to meet my youngest son's kallah and her family, a vort, wedding plans as always like an express train, not enough time with kids and grandchildren, and boom, here we are in Jerusalem, recovering from 2012.
For it's now 2013, Jan 1, New Year's Day, or Sylvester as some older Israelis of European origin say; maybe Russians too. When I first heard the term Sylvester, I was 18 and all I could think of was Sylvester the cat from Loony Tunes. I didn't get it. Since then, I have learned that it is named after St Sylvester, a totally anti-Semitic pope of the Holy Roman Empire who served for 25 years, including at the historic council of Nicaea in 325 CE, where much Christian doctrine was thrashed out between bishops and established. Among other things, he convinced Emperor Constantine to forbid Jews from living in Jerusalem. So, not good for the Jews. He was canonised in the 16th century and given a saint's day of December 31. So happy Sylvester! Actually, this trip I haven't heard the term mentioned, it's all Happy New Year. But I like the irony of being in Jerusalem for Sylvester. Up your Holy Roman A**, Pope Sylvester!
There were fireworks over the Old City, inexplicably at 10pm. Then I heard several more rounds of fireworks, the last actually at midnight. I then managed to get a few hours sleep, being old and no longer so willing to party on NYE, before being woken by the amplified muezzins' calls to prayer, which seemed to go on a lot longer than I would have thought the faithful take to actually say the prayer. After another 30 minutes of snatched sleep, the Christians got into the act and there were bells tolling away. And then not long after, more muezzins. It was a conspiracy against the Jews, I tell you!
City of bells and yells, they say.
Now, to meet my daughter for lunch. City of great coffee and bread, too.