You would think the word “lovers” in the bed and breakfast’s name would have given it away, but no.
Which explains why I was nothing but surprised when my friend, G, and I pulled up into the lovely little zimmer in the vegetarian community nestled in the lush green splendor of the Galilee and discovered that we had stepped into lover’s lane.
The only problem is G is a female friend. And while we do love each other – enough for her to fly across the Atlantic to visit me in Israel – and enough for us to spend ten days happily laughing, touring and dipping into her special quinoa with gusto – this does not mean we love each other enough to entwine our arms as we sip from each other’s glasses of Champagne or to feed each other chocolate hearts, which the owners of the little cabin took pains to provide. No detail was too small for them, it seemed. Another surprising face considering once we actually met them we discovered that they were a religious family, Lubavitcher, to be exact, which I deduced from the photos of Schneerson in their home.
So how is it that this lovely couple, youngish and covered up in modest clothing and head coverings, know from American-style Valentine’s day, with the Jacuzzi tub, scented candles and even the gold candies dropped into the Champagne glasses? And what do they make of the fact that most of the couples who will partake of their little cabin in the woods are not necessarily married and unlike G and me, will while away the hours doing the Song of Songs, if you know what I mean, even though the commentary in the little Shir HaShirim packets we used on Shabbat evenings at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin very explicitly told us that the whole “let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” was actually an allegory for the love affair between G-d and the People of Israel?
But back to my romantic evening with G. Because even if it wasn’t an endless night of love, we really did have the best time, EVER.
Including and not excluding watching Thirty Something, since I had bought the set once it finally came out on dvd, and this time around, as opposed to the first time I watched it in the 80s as an earnest high school student, found it totally and completely ridiculous. A fact I made clear many times from the Jacuzzi where I relaxed, happily, in my red polka dot bathing suit, calling out things like, “Nancy is the worst!” And also, “Why did I ever like Gary? He’s insufferable!” And from the big, fluffy bed, where G sat, all tucked in and lotioned up, she agreed. Because we’re friends. And that’s what friends do: Validate each other.
Particularly while staying at the house of lovers in what the guidebooks tell us is the “Tuscany of Israel.”