After waffling all day yesterday, I finally got up at 5:30a.m. and caught a ride down to Jerusalem. I've been walking around all day, totally enjoying my freedom. It'll be hard to go back to routine.
It was also a lot of fun to go wherever I wanted to go, not have anyone insisting that we drive everywhere (I walked MILES today), and not have to cater my vacation time to anyone else's ideas of a vacation (reminder: when I came here with the kids in late August, we spent 2 out of 3 days of the vacation in the mall)
I also kept meeting people who I knew, which was funny. In 8 hours of walking around, I saw 6 different people who I know from Tzfat.
One of the reasons that I had wanted to come to Jerusalem was to see my friend, who I had originally run into when we were in Jerusalem in August. We had been eating supper in the mall, and she was walking around, collecting tzdekka. She told me at the time that they hadn't bought toilet paper in their house for 3 days, and she would be staying at the mall until closing, at 23:00, to take home leftovers from the Food Court.
I sent her a little money at Rosh Hashana, but the amount that I can send doesn't make much of a dent in her situation -- she told me today that she's thousands of dollars in debt (from special tutoring that she set up for two of her kids who are severly dysletic.) When she took out the loan, she had been receiving more money from the National Insurance, as a single parent, and had been able to make her payments, but when the cuts went into effect, she was, in effect, left penniless. She's been cleaning houses and babysitting for years, but it barely takes care of the household expenses, much less her debts.
I have been racking my brains for ways to fundraise for her. I can send her my own tzdekka money (instead of giving it to the local beggers, which I'd been doing up until now) but that won't help much. It's going to make sleeping difficult.
And Tzfat is no place to fundraise -- I can personally name several families that I know of who are in exactly the same boat there, and the resources to help them just aren't available. Don't know........