Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ramadan Kippur

Ramadan Kippur and the tantalizing smell of baking bread on the wind it too much.  I figured that when in Rome, keep Ramadan.  At least one day.  

Actually, I am a bad Muslim because I drank water.  It was 115 degrees, I figured Allah would forgive this infidel.  My morning walk in the sweltering sun to take pictures of Kurdish history meant there was no I could go without a little agua. Besides, I drink water on Yom Kippur so why should this be any different.

My friend Bashdar said that he liked Ramadan because it gave him perspective.  The banal things like a glass of water or a piece of bread that have little meaning on a daily basis suddenly take on a whole new weight.  We spend our days eating and drinking and thinking little of it, and for him Ramadan is a time to reflect on all things big and small.

Interestingly, in Suli there are still some kebab shops open.  They put up white cloth sheets to shield the contraband and the Ramadan offenders from the evil eye.

It was actually easier to fast and go about my daily business, albeit far slower, than when I am fasting for Yom K and praying in synagogue.  Something about the idleness while hungry makes it harder.

We divvied up money for the shabab who still needed reimbursement from YES Academy then I took a Raskolnikovian nap.  I woke up with an hour and some change left, and my Kurdish-brother-from-another-Jewish-mother Ari and I walked around to kill time.

The minute we heard the muezzin call, we were at the first kebab shop on the street.  After a day of fasting, that first bite is incredible.  I had a lamb kebab in soft french bread, and we split a plate of salads.  Shredded red cabbage, hummus (the Kurds make the worst in the Middle East), mayo potatoes, grilled eggplants and my favorite Russian salad.  I stuffed the salads in the sandwich role, and dined on the divine.

Once my blood-sugar had leveled out and I could think straight, we popped across the street for a Ramadan sweet.  It was like a blintz-meets-baklava, a match made in heaven.  Soft white cheese wrapped in fried filo dough drowning in honey and covered with finely chopped nuts.  Yum.  We took an evening stroll because as it is said in the Middle East: after lunch, you nap; after dinner, you stroll (it rhymes in Arabic).

So I enjoyed my day of Ramadan fasting.  I don't think I will continue but I paid my respect with a day of holy hunger strike.  Hence Ramadan Kippur- one day of atonement.  

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