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When in Rome….I mean, Israel

When in Rome….I mean, Israel

By the time I got to the wine tasting in the Jerusalem Botanic Garden, it was way past dinner time and I was one cranky ladybug – which I didn’t even try to hide from my new friends, a Canadian woman and a British man. "I’m going to check out the offerings," I grumbled over my shoulder, leaving them in the dust as they poured over the map to see which booths carried kosher wine. Pushing through the crowd of the young and attractive, carrying my enormous wine glass before me like a saber, I stopped at any booth that caught my eye, not caring in the least whether it was kosher or not. Fortunately, since my objective was to partake and not to glean any grapely wisdom, very few of the wine sellers tried to tell me much about their vineyards. They just filled up my glass a little and I happily gulped it all down, keeping an eagle eye out for treats. I’m Jewish, after all. In other words: The wine was just an accessory.

Sadly, even the complimentary pretzels were gone.

Just then I noticed a very attractive plate of food. Hummous, fatoush salad, olives, Bulgarian cheese. The works.

And then I noticed the gentleman behind the food, a fellow who has probably walked this earth for a good seven decades.

"Where did you get the food?" I asked him.

"Over there," he said. And then because we were both Jews, and he was Israeli, he told me how much it cost. "Very reasonable!" I said, which pleased him.

"Have some!" he insisted.

But despite my hunger, my sense of propriety took over. I’m American, after all. I don’t share food with strangers, especially strange men. And how, exactly, do you share hummous?

"Here!" he said, handing me some flatbread spread with hummous. I have to say, it was quite good.

But before I could say my goodbye’s, he was ordering me to "Open up!" An olive perched mid-air, in front of my mouth.

Now this is when the old Me would have pursed her lips and turned on her heels. The Me of yesterday. The Me from a lifetime of saying No.

The new Me opened wide.

"Very delicious!" I said, smacking my lips.

Taking food from strange men isn’t so bad after all.

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