Taking a week off to visit Greece was a nice break from life here in Jerusalem but returning home brought a certain level of comfort. It was nice to be in Greece where every meal consisted of various combinations of meat and dairy which we do not have in Israel. It was nice to wake up each morning and not have to check the news to see if "anything happened" the night before. It was nice to see churches everywhere and to not worry about how I would be treated if people knew where I was from or what I believed. My wife would say that it was nice to be able to wear shirts that "showed her shoulders" and shorts. Of course it was also nice to be in Greece for all of the other tourist type reasons but that is for another time.
With all of the great things about Greece, something strange happened when we went to the airport to check into our El Al flight back to Israel. We were greeted in Hebrew and were whisked through the extra screening process that this airline does on all of their flights. As we sat on the flight we spoke Hebrew and ate Kosher food. Upon arriving in Tel Aviv the passport control did not ask one question, they simply gave us a stamp and let us in (they undoubtably have our names cleared in their computers by now).
We then saw an Orthodox man handing out Matzah bread for Pesach (Passover) and when my wife went to receive his gift he turned away and shunned her. The next morning I woke up and checked the news to see "if anything happened" and found out that their was a fist fight between Armenian Priests and Greek Orthodox Priests at the tomb of Jesus (they consistently dispute who has the rights over certain parts of the church where the tomb is located). Next I read about a Yeshiva student who walked naked through a supermarket in protest of a recent ruling that allows stores to sell leavened products during the week of Pesach. Later in the day I was in the park with my boys and began talking with an 11 year old here who told me that "Christians are crazy... they kill Jews and mix their blood with Matzah". I then told him that I was a Christian and was hoping to mix his blood when he left the park. Maybe I didn't say that but I did inform him that I was a Christian and he changed his whole tune and was actually a nice kid (with the exception of his racism).
The rest of the week there are two protests planned by Orthodox Jewish groups against the "leaven laws", there are several restaurants that are choosing to sell leavened bread that are bracing for violence and arson attacks. Meanwhile all Palestinians who live in the West Bank are restricted from crossing the border for the entire week and some are talking about responding next week.
This week in our house we are back to using our meat dishes for meat and dairy dishes for dairy, we are sneaking leavened bread with each meal, we bought some groceries in East Jerusalem on Shabbat, we had dinner with our Palestinian friends in a non-kosher restaurant last night, we are struggling with our kids through home-school, and we are glad to be settling right back into life here. Ahhhh Jerusalem, our home sweet home.