This morning we went to Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem with some dear Palestinian Christian friends of ours who live in Beit Jala, the town just west of Bethlehem. Then afterwards we went to an awesome restaurant called The Grotto in Beit Sahour (just east of Bethlehem) that is decorated like a Bedouin tent. Then we stopped off at the Shepherd’s Field church, which is right next door to The Grotto and commemorates the shepherds in the Nativity story. The shepherds were outside of Bethlehem, probably very near here, when they saw the multitude of angels and heard them singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace.” The angel told them, “Do not be afraid. I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today, in the city of David, a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” They went to Bethlehem to praise the Christ child and tell everyone what they had seen, and Mary kept these things, reflecting on them in her heart. (Luke 2:8-20)
Here are the lovely ladies at the restaurant; me, my gorgeous friend Rawan and her adorable baby Lareen!
We also smoked a hookah (water pipe), or as it’s called locally, an argileh (or nargileh), at the restaurant, and instead of using the little ceramic dish they usually use to hold the coal at the top of the pipe, they actually made one out of a fresh apple to give it an apple flavor! I had never seen that before, and it was the best one I have ever had!
So what does one wear to Mass in Bethlehem? I’m glad you asked!
The dress is by Versona (it has really cute embroidery and beading on the chest); the black long-sleeved undershirt is from a local Israeli store called MaxStock, which is kind of like a BigLots; the headband and the super-warm winter tights are from Target; the satin ribbon belt with rhinestones is from Top Drawer, my favorite thrift store in Austin; and the heels are by BCBG. And now on to the jewelry:
These lovely jointed peacock earrings are from Claire’s (a gift from Mom).
The necklace is vintage and one of my absolute favorites. My Aunt Ally’s mom, Ms. Barbara (my very own “adopted” Jewish Bubbe) owned an antique shop in Florida when I was younger, and this treasure came from her shop. I love how some of the paste gems are missing and some have turned yellow with age; it gives it a really interesting patina. I don’t know anything about it, but there is a maker’s mark on the back that either says “Aro” or “Ano” and since, in Spanish, one means “ring” and the other means, um, “rear exit from one’s digestive tract,” we’re going to go with Aro.
And, of course, in keeping with the new tradition around here, I’m linking up with the lovely ladies at What I Wore Sunday, Watch What I’m Wearing, and MoMoMod Style Showcase. Go check out some more lovely church outfits!
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have found Rodolfo’s doppelgänger. Earlier this week, in the grocery store, a random stranger mistook Rodolfo for Tom Franz, a German Jewish convert from Tel Aviv who recently won the title of Israel’s Master Chef in the grand finale of the reality show by the same name. The show’s finale was the most-watched single TV episode in the history of Israel, but, in fact, we had never even heard of it, so we did what we always do; ran home and Googled it. Here he is:
If you squint and picture the face just a few years younger and the hair just a little darker and just a little less curly, you can see it. (He actually has a little ponytail like Rodolfo, but you can’t see it in this picture.) So, for those of you who know Rodolfo, what do you think? Separated at birth, or are we all just nuts?
Would it help to know that Franz, in addition to being described as “lanky” in the press, is described as a precise, meticulous cook, the only one using a timer and aware of the temperature of his water? “Tom quickly stood out in the competition for his impeccable technique, perfectly chopping his vegetables and arranging them meticulously on a plate,” Public Radio International’s The World reports. So for those of you that know Rodolfo well, you know that they would get along very well in the kitchen in addition to their physical similarities.
The show’s finale was apparently quite interesting, as it pitted Franz against two other unlikely finalists, an Israeli Arab woman in a hijab and an Orthodox Jewish woman in a long blonde sheitel who admitted to never meeting an Arab before participating in this show. Over half of the Jewish population of Israel tuned in to view the show, and I hope seeing this odd cross-section of Israeli society will open a few Israeli minds to the world outside each of their own insular communities.
If you’re still not quite convinced about Franz’s resemblance to Rodolfo, check on Google Images for more photos.
The new Get Happy challenge over at the Frugalette was to spend some time alone this week. So I put on my running shoes and took a few turns around the block by myself a couple different times.
Rodolfo sometimes asks me to go running with him, but he is much taller and faster than me, so I never want to even try. This is a first step; a baby step, but now maybe next time he asks me I’ll say yes. My inspiration was our dear friend and neighbor, Norita, and all the other brave souls who are currently training for the Jerusalem Marathon at the beginning of March. Godspeed to all the runners out there!
If you run in Catholic blogging circles, you probably heard about the recent occurrence of the first-ever Sheenazing Awards at A Knotted Life. You should really go check out the winners and the nominees; the winners include such Catholic blogging behemoths as Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary, Simcha Fisher at I Have to Sit Down, Hallie Lord at Moxie Wife, Grace at Camp Patton and Marc at Bad Catholic. Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum won Best Underappreciated Blog; check out that particular list of nominees if you are looking for something fresh and smart to read! And Like Mother, Like Daughter really cleaned up with three awards: Most Inspiring, Best Lifestyle and Smartest Blog. Some of my absolute favorites, like Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas and Jessica at Shower of Roses were also nominated, and I found a few really great new blogs to follow among the nominees: Lauren at Aspiring Kennedy, Cate at Dainty Cate and Kinsi at Anima Kinsi are a few really good ones. Go check out the full list for more inspired reading material!
A few weeks ago, Rodolfo snapped this photo of a hoopoe, the gorgeous national bird of Israel, in an olive tree on the university campus.
I actually have yet to see a hoopoe in real life, but there are some really amazing birds to be seen in Israel. There are colorful bee-eaters, quirky Syrian woodpeckers, gorgeous ring-necked parakeets and huge hooded crows, just to name a few. In fact, since we are right on the migration path from Africa to Europe, Israel is known as one of the absolute best places for birdwatching in the whole world! Read more in this BBC article on birdwatching in the Holy Land.
This is the 25th and last installment of the Sunday Seven. Don’t worry; the blog is not going anywhere! I’m just adjusting the posting format a little bit. See, the Sunday Seven is actually a two-day-late response to something called 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary. So since we’re on a nice round number this week, I’ve decided to retire the Sunday Seven and try a few new things. I will probably still regularly post Quick Takes posts, just on Fridays instead to keep up with the gang. And, as always, if you have any specific questions about the Holy Land or anything in particular you want to read about, please drop me a line or leave me a comment!