Sunday, December 25, 2005

Pesach, too?

This picture was taken at the Hyatt during Succot.

Tonight I caught the news. It's the first night of Chanukah, and they showed the Gush Katif refugees celebrating in the Hyatt Hotel. That's where a number of them have been living since they were thrown out of their homes last summer.

Why the Hyatt? I know that it sounds rather posh and decadent, sort of like Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake." The truth is that the hotel has been pretty empty for quite a few years, and it had been easy to get a bargain there. At least it was before Disengagement. Many of the hotels that had been popular venues for "great group-Shabbat deals" are now occupied by the homeless. We haven't gone on one of those Shabbatot for about a year, and we had been going every few months the past few years. Pretty much every "Tekuma" or "Arutz 7" Shabbat my husband heard about, we signed up for. It's one of the upsides of the empty nest and no school tuition to pay.

Some hotels are more pleasant, more luxurious and friendlier than others, but they are not home. Many of the Disengagement victims still haven't any idea where they will be going next. It's winter now, not the best time to move into caravan sites, even "Carravillas," which look like a movie set. The vast majority are unemployed and rudderless.

I'm sure that the Hyatt owners and investors who designed and built the Jerusalem Hyatt, in an Arab neighborhood between French Hill and Mt. Scopus, never envisioned that their lovely hotel with the waterfall in its large lobby would be the "poster child" refugee camp for displaced Jews.

The TV newsmen interviewed the refugees and asked what their plans are. The bottom line was that they suspected that they'll be celebrating Pesach at the hotel, too.

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