night I had to spend in a hotel in Israel was last night, at least until December. I was back at the Caesar, which, for those keeping track, I found easily this time around, with only one legal u-turn required. I'd forgotten that the Caesar has really dark bathrooms. But this time I did remember to put the "do no disturb" sign on the door. It doesn't mean that students are any quieter during the wee hours of the morning, but it did mean that the maids didn't try and bring me clean towels at 8am either.
Of course, I was awake at 8am, waiting to get the first group of students out and on their way to the Kotel. Then, I stayed up for another hour listening to a conversation with one of our Hillel staff, two tour educators, a guard, and our hostess talk about Jewish identity, the birthright program, why everyone isn't living in Israel, and Zionism. It was actually pretty interesting given the constellation of characters participating, and I understood almost all of it (they were speaking in Hebrew). But after an hour, I went back to sleep.
When I woke up and went back to the lobby, the group had just returned from the Kotel. It occured to me that in my two months here, I haven't been to the Kotel once. I was at the Southern Excavations back in May, which is right there, but I wasn't actually at the wall. I also didn't go down to Kfar HaNokdim to sleep in a Bedouin tent at all this summer. I'm not sure it's fair to equate the two, but there you've got it.
The Friday night staff oneg nickname game was a bit of a let down this week. Read the names and see why. The given names: Hal, Harriet, Carmit, Gilad, Oren, and Naomi. The nicknames: OKZ, Nomers, Giladiator, Harriella, HalAppelbaum and Carmizzle. You don't really need too much imagination to figure any of them out. What was not a let down at the oneg - rugelach from Marzipan (both cinnamon and chocolate).
And tonight was the last time (until December) that I had to go to Campus (the club). And, as I have for the last 5 or 6 times that we were there, I spent the entire night across the street at the bakery with most of the rest of the staff. There were about 8 of us sitting on these tiny little stools around a table just slightly bigger than a quarter eating watermelon and cheese, pita with zatar, and borekas. Everytime we go to this place, they've changed something. This week, they'd added an espresso machine and a fresh juice squeezer (is there a more technical name for one of those?).