I was horrified to hear of this hate graffiti at The Pyramid restaurant–a place I often eat at. Here are the details–which raise their own questions about responsibility and hate crimes–
In looking at how to respond, I realized I had written a piece at The Pyramid over a year ago. By strange synergy, it is about tolerance (including my own lack of). It is part of a book I’m working on, 100 Cups of Coffee, and is actually Cup #2!
December 9, 2015
4th Day of Hannukah
The Pyramid, Santa Fe
One thing leads into another—irritation at how long it takes to simply file a prescription, the cashier having no idea if the store has Hannukah candles (It does. Although the clerk describes them as “tiny” they are the usual style and not that of imagined birthday cake ones).
A woman in the parking lot comes up behind me—oh, I thought you were my friend. And all I can think is: I don’t want to be your friend. And after a too long pause, I say, with English teacher precision, “I hope you find him or her.”
When I was alone this morning I did not mind the human race, and thought sympathetically about my friend who was hoping to go to Lesbos to work with refugees, and how I might support this.
Now I am at the Pyramid, the north African/Mediterranean place by the pharmacy. And look! How fantastic, everything has appeared at once—falafel, soup, dolmas and…
one small white cup
I was in Israel in the winter of 1974, and although that cannot be described as an idyllic period, people tell me that the Jerusalem I visited has vanished—where a rabbi from Milton, Massachusetts would naturally visit with old acquaintances in east Jerusalem and sit for an hour over tea before buying brass or an antiquity or a rug. Where American college girls could go sleeveless in Mea Sharim and received no more than a glare. They might have called us “whore” in Hebrew (and my fluent friend would have retorted: It’s forbidden to you to look!) but no one would have thrown a stone. Where I could just take off my shoes and enter the Dome of the Rock, or any mosque for that matter, even though I was a non-Muslim woman.
It was a heaven of falafel, the darkness of solstice illuminated by strings of lights hanging over falafel stands and tiny outdoor cafes kept going with space heaters.
Yes, there were soldiers everywhere. And women were corralled at the Wall, but my friend and I could shop in the souk and buy embroidered blouses and earrings dangling with the hand of Fatima. We watched a Bedouin woman choose a dress to buy just by using the expression of her eyes above her veil to communicate with her husband.
I’m down to the grounds of the coffee, and back out to my errands.