dispatches aperture poste restante etcetera

O'Jerusalem: a play in six acts
By Evelyn - 22 Sep, 1999

Page 9 of 9

FINAL ACT, ACT VI: Shabbat Shalom!

Scene 1 Early morning next day. The Americans notice a space has been vacated where a tent used to be, Helen is gone. Downstairs, Marcos is sitting sleepily on a mattress in the common room where he passed the night. The Slovakians are packed, ready to leave.

Marcos: You leaving?

Slovakian: Yes, we don't stay the night. But can we put our bags here for the day? Will it be safe?

Marcos: Put it there. (gesturing behind them at the base of the stairs to the roof, just as the Americans are coming down to the common room)

Amer Girl: Are you leaving today?

Slovakian: Yes, we think so. We have a picture of the guy...Eddie... some Australian girls took a picture of's quite a clear picture. I am going to bring it to the police, but there is nothing more I can do. We don't want to just wait here for nothing. We've done what we could, we just want to go home now.

Amer Guy: We're really sorry this happened to you. Maybe you can call the hostel back in a few weeks and see if they have found him...

Slovakian: Yeah, well, I think I will never see my money again... Anyway, it was nice to talk with you both.(they exchange email addresses and say goodbye)

Few hours later...

Shalom: Get the dog, Solomon! Mom says get the dogs and bring them back into the room!

Sarah emerges from a room into the common room. She is wearing a long, bright purple Arab-style gown, with gold trim around the neck. She has let her hair down, it reaches past her waist. She looks completely transformed from previous days.

Sarah: Do you guys want to come with me or not? You have to tell me now in case I have to get someone to look after you.

Shalom: No, I want to stay here.

Sarah: What about your brother? Go ask him.

Shalom (yelling): SOLOMON! Mom's leaving! Are you going or not?

Sarah: Thanks. I could have done that.

Shalom: But you didn't, I did! (laughs sheepishly)

Sarah: O.K. Abraham and I are leaving now. We're having Shabbat dinner here tonight, I already talked to Moses. Abraham is going to cook for us. (calls out over her shoulder) Abraham, are you ready?

Abraham (he is Arab, his name probably Ibrahim) comes out shortly from another room. He's been at the Palmira for a few weeks. He has split personality tendencies, from being very friendly to eerily viscious. He and Sarah seem to have established a flirtatious acquaintence. He tells everyone he is a chef at a fancy restaurant in Tel Aviv. He is not fond of the twins. Solomon almost runs into him as he chases one of their twin dogs around the tables.

Abraham/Ibrahim: STOP IT! I don't like you, I'm going to get you, I promise! (holds his hand out like a gun, squints one eye, and points it at Solomon, pulling the pretend trigger)

Shalom sees the American couple coming up the stairs from the kitchen balcony. Shalom: HEY! You guys are famous! You're in the newspaper today. Why are you in the paper? Did you have to pay someone?

Americans (to each other): Oh, cool! Our last full day in Israel, it came just in time! (they enter the common room as others greet them, smiling curiously and wondering why they were in the newspaper)

Shalom: Did you know you would be in the paper?

Amer: Sort of. We didn't know it would be today, and we knew it would be in the Hebrew version...

Shalom: No, it's in English! Here, I'll go get it! (runs into kitchen lounge and comes back with the spread)

Sarah and Abraham leave. Musa walks in.

Musa: Hello! Why you in the paper? You talk about me? (smiling) You talk bad things about Musa?

Americans: (return the greeting) You have nothing to worry about.... We noticed Helen has left. Do you know if she coming back?

Musa: Oh yes! Thank God! I so happy. You see after I tell her about Eddie, she Ohhhhh! (gasps, imitating high-pitched woman's voice) Can't believe! I afraid for her because what happened before. Someone take her $4000 before. I have a story (smiles devilishly)...She work here for money. But she mother send her $1000 dollars a month. She looking for somebody to marry to stay in this country. Anybody, she go around asking, and telling she has $4000! She crazy, she ask Marcos, she ask me, and she ask Eddie. That's why she she so shocked!

Musa: ....She cry to me one time. There was a Jordan man. He said he is Israel. She believe him and give him (turns to Marcos and asks in Hebrew for word an English word)... power...

Amer Girl: Power of Attorney

Musa: ...yes, something like this. She give him her account and he take all the money! She be here 1-1/2 years. She talk with mouth, she get in trouble. She smart up here (taps head), but something is not right. Anyway, I tell her I no want her here anymore. She ask why I blame her for everything? I say, No! That's it. I no want you here anymore. Then she get very serious, she say, "Don't you ever talk to me like that again."

Musa: ...And I yell at her you want me to beat you? And she scared, Ohhhh! (makes a frightened face) and she run away! And I so glad because I wait for this day. She has so much anger, she smoke all the time, what if one day house fire?!

Scene 2 Evening. The kitchen is a buzz with activity. Abraham is almost done cooking, bossing Fifi and Sarah to set the table and bring the dishes.

Sarah: Solomon, Shalom! Go call the others, dinner is ready!

Mauri and John stroll in casually.

Mauri: Mmmm, smells good. This is very nice of you, Sarah.

Sarah: We have a beautiful Shabbat dinner, Abraham is a wonderful chef... he's the expert. I couldn't do this, I don't cook well. (to Abraham) Could you cook every week for 200 people? I'm serious, when I get my apartment, I will have Shabbat dinner every week.

Sarah explains the Jewish tradition of washing before Shabbat meal to Mauri and John.

Sarah: Solomon, show them. Come here and show them.

Solomon leads Mauri and John over to the sink. Fills a glass with water and pours it in three over each of their hands, one after the other. He quickly recites something in Hebrew...his mother tells him slow down and do it phrase by phrase. Mauri and John repeat after him, until it is done. John is wearing a yarmulke for the occasion. Musa comes in, singing.

Musa: Shabbat dinner! (claps) Shabbat Shalom! Shabbat Shalom! Hey!...

A large, fully-bearded Rabbi friend of Musa's walks in. He is wearing a shtreimel - a large furry hat worn by some Hassidic Jews on Shabbat. He is invited to sit down. He asks who is holding the dinner and Sarah answers. There is a lot of activity as as everyone tries to get seated and the last of the food is brought to the table. Candles are lit.

Rabbi (to Sarah): So you're from America?

Sarah: Yes, from North Dakota.

Musa (interjects): Have some food with us!

Rabbi: (in American accent) No, thanks very much. I'm was just passing through and thought I would drop in to say hello. (turns back to Sarah) Where? California?

Sarah: No, North Dakota, we're from North Dakota.

It is noisy at the table. Abraham is trying to ask the Rabbi why he will not eat his food. Rabbi appears not to have heard. He is trying to talk to Sarah, three seats over.

Rabbi: Where in California?

Outside, the Americans are eating their dinner of canned tuna and onions on pita bread. They are amused by the conversation they hear admist the chaos in the kitchen. Musa begins to lead the prayer and after some time, they all burst into song

All: Shaaaa-lom Aleikum...Shaaa-aaa-aaa-Shaaalom Aleikum..."

Amer Girl: This place is really too strange. It's a soap opera and it doesn't end, does it? You've got a Jewish American woman that talks like a Christian and wears Arab gowns; a born-again Christian wearing a yarmulke at Shabbat dinner...

Amer Guy: Arab leading the Shabbat prayer; and a Rabbi who comes in from nowhere speaking with an American accent but doesn't know the difference between North Dakota and California...

Amer Girl: (both amused) I think it's time to move on from this crazy place.

Amer Guy: It's so...Jerusalem.

Amer Girl: ...O'Jerusalem...

(the end!)




O'Jerusalem: a play in six acts
  Living with Terror
  Beholding Jerusalem
  Take a tech trek (and e-mail when you get there)

  New York
    New York City
  West Africa
    The Gambia
Middle East
    Palestinian Territories
    Eastern Anatolia
    Central Anatolia
    Pushkar Fair
    Madhya Pradesh
    Uttar Pradesh
    West Bengal
    Sikkim & the NE
    (Rep. of China - Taiwan)
  USA - San Francisco, CA

"Nothing comes from doing nothing."
-- WIlliam Shakespeare
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