June 1st, 8 AM Tel Aviv
Breakfast at Isrotel tower is no joke. There are dozens of options, but I opt for the shakshuka, as all right-minded people must. Jen tries one of the only-in-Israel breakfast options, the breakfast lasagna. She literally weeps a silent tear over how good it is.
After breakfast, we walk the half-mile or so to the LGBT Center in Gan Meir. It serves as the headquarters to most of the LGBT organizations in Israel, and we meet and hear from the following:
The Aguda, the main LGBT Task Force in Israel
IGY (“iggy’) – Israel Gay Youth
Tehila – Think “PFlag”
Hoshen – Their mission is LGBT trainings and education
Ma’avarim – Transgender support and advocacy
Bet D’ror – LGBTQ-youth homeless shelter
The Israel HIV/AIDS task force
Beshela – organization for older (45+) lesbians
I discover that the LGBT struggles in Israel are very much like the ones in the States, but they seem to have more government support than we do back home, whether at the municipal, state, or federal level.
June 1st, 1 PM
A walking tour of the ancient port of Jaffa. Finally, the most beautiful parts of Tel Aviv. Jaffa FEELS old, with it’s narrow, limestone streets, and I came to Israel looking for this. We have some free time, and go into the many galleries and shops, all built into tiny spaces along the crowded streets. I imagine that, except for the lighting and air-conditioning, shops here have looked similar for over a thousand years. We also find something that looks a lot like a local flea market. Jen and I are both a little intimidated by the need to haggle. I think I can handle it, but I never have before. SUCH an American.
June 1st 6PM
After a stop at the hotel to refresh, we go to a cocktail reception on the rooftop of a nearby boutique hotel. It’s nice, if you like the cocktail party scene. I don’t particularly, but I appreciate the view, and getting the chance to talk to a few Israelis one-on-one. I also get a better look at something that fills the skies of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem the whole time we’re there; hundreds of swifts, looping and dogfighting.
June 1st, 10PM, Tel Aviv LGBT Community Center
Beshela is throwing a party for older lesbians, and we were invited. The room is filled with Music and people dancing. I’m impressed with how many women came out for this event – I doubt we’d get even a fraction of this attendance in South Florida. I also learn today that my wife is apparently a prize catch among older lesbians. She gets hit on left and right, openly and brazenly. If she ever decides to leave me, she has options.