Look To The Rainbow


It was date-night Saturday night and we were set to spend a rockin’ evening in Rosh Pina.

We even had a car.

Which is another way of saying, when one is visiting relatives in the Galilee, which, however beautiful and verdant, is nonetheless no Tel Aviv, why not hop, skip and jump it over to what was once one of Israel’s oldest Zionist agricultural communities and hang with one’s fellow senior citizens at the Cinematheque?

And so it was that my sister and I wound our way through the mountains, in a rainstorm no less, making sure not to end up in Safed (a very real possibility with yours truly behind the wheel), and just when we despaired that we had come to the end of the earth, my sister’s eagle eye caught a handwritten sign stuck to a traffic light: “Waffles, crepes, ice cream! Rosh Pina.”

Which is another way of saying — and you might want to write this down — where there are waffles, there’s Rosh Pina.

What can I tell you?

The Cinematheque was charmant! Or is it charmante? All I know is that even when we settled into our seats and discovered that the English subtitles so magnanimously promised were but a figment of our imagination and we had to traipse back into the lobby to get our money back, the women behind the counter were not only accommodating, they validated our having been wronged.

“You are right!” one of the woman kept staying, adding something about how the website had made a mistake.

I so love to be right! Or more than right, I love to be championed. All I want is a community of supporters who, just when I hit a snag, appear to offer words of praise and love. “Hail to Ms. Avigail who is justified and absolutely correct and who looks great in red!”

We liked Rosh Pina so much that we came back the very next day. Or maybe we just knew how to get there. We shuffled up the cobblestone street to check out the gardens of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, supposedly modeled on the gardens of Versailles. But if you ask my little niece, the real garden of splendor and delight is located in our aunt and uncle’s backyard on Moshav Shorashim.

We also visited the house of a certain Dr. Mer who devoted his life to researching malaria in the Hula Valley in the 1930s. If you take nothing from this little history lesson, remember this: that in his eagerness to find a cure for malaria, Dr. Mer not only infected his family and friends with the dreaded disease, but he also “infected them with his boundless enthusiasm.”

My mother would have loved him. She loves enthusiastic people, perhaps because she is so often surrounded by all of us Eeyores, most of whom she either married or gave birth to, but why cast the “hoary finger of blame” as my ex so cogently put it?

I mean, wasn’t I, the biggest Eeyore of them all, not moved to tears upon seeing the most exquisite rainbow that suddenly appeared on the horizon outside the restaurant in our beloved Rosh Pina? And what a perfect specimen of rainbowosity it was, so much so that if I hadn’t seen it with my own four eyes, I would have sworn it was manufactured by Disney.

So if this rainbow was real, complete with that elusive and mysterious indigo, I began to wonder whether miracles can also happen in my lifetime – a lifetime, I am shocked to admit, that now comprises 40 years.

Forty years!

That’s how long the Israelites wandered in the desert.

That’s so old that I’m no longer that much younger than my fellow cohorts who also flock to matinees on dead Yiddish poets.

When my father was my age, my mother threw him a surprise birthday party and my brother, sister and I all wore matching striped shirts and overalls, since this was the ’70s, and that was considered the cutting edge of fashion.

My father had already been married 15 years and had three children by the time he was 40.

So if marriage and children are not necessarily a measure of success, what is?

In my four decades on this earth, had I infected myself and those I love with a terrible disease all in the name of science and Zionism?

Had I followed my friend’s mother’s advice to always get a good haircut and never, ever forget to moisturize?

Alas. The only thing I have down is the moisturizing. I can’t even claim to always get good haircuts.

“2012 is going to be your year, Abigail!” my cousin told me when she called to say happy birthday.

Her enthusiasm was so contagious, Dr. Mer would have been proud.

Abigail Pickus’ column appears the first week of the month.