seasonal message

to any americans (or non-israelis) that are vehemently opposed to the disengagement of gush katif and shomron (including americans who are vehemently opposed or pro a lot of things in israel to the point of constant criticism and verbal attacks and extremism, and there are more than you think, i know many myself and they aren’t even out of college yet):

if you really care about what happens in gush katif, the shomron, yerushalyim, israel in general – if you dont want disengagements from biblically israeli land – if you want mashiach and you want eretz yisroel reinstated – i have two suggestions:

1. move to israel. disengagement is made possible by a terribly low number of jews actually living in israel and taking up land, making it fortifiable. your excuses are boring. the people who stay behind will take care of galut-relations. materialism is boring. get your act together and make disengagement a thing of the past. it wouldn’t be an option if we had enough jews here to hold the forts already built.
2. work at becoming better jews. i dont know how ready we as a nation are for something like the grand “Eretz Yisroel”, the biblical israel concept, when most of us don’t deserve the goodness we’ve been given by God already. the state of moshiach is a pitiful pathetic dream with the way we act as a nation and individually.

that’s a passover/shavuot message. pass it on.

israeli pessach seder madness!!!

i’ve found the crazy sephardi israeli family i’ve been dreaming of.
introduction: my mother’s cousin’s daughter (my second cousin) made aliyah 20 years ago and married a yemenite/turkish sabra and had 4 kids in mitzpe netufah up north.
for pessach, his entire family and their kids came. and me.

overwhelming? yes. comic? yes. patriotic? no choice but yes.

half the family is religious, half secular. half right wing, half left wing. half married, half divorced. all crazy. a gorgeous microcosm of this place, all at the epitomy of israeli jewishness, the ‘passover seder’.

highlights: sitting at the far corner of the table, across from the eternally sephardi grandmother. she came to israel as a girl from turkey and lived in tent camps like most sephardi families did when they came here in the beginning. my aliyah feels like cake and a half. she chatted endlessly in hebrew…
כבר התחתנתי בגילך! סבתא שלך מאיפה בטורקיה? הצלחה בארץ! צריכה לאכל יותר, חמודה
i watched her and i felt family. a dozen kids running around, cousins – playing, fighting, shouting – relating!

favorite part of the seder this year: one of the aunts was handing out prizes for all the kids willing to read from the haggada. one of the kids, a boy around 9, gets up and reads מה נשתנה in Temani, which is Arabic. after he finishes, the awesome prize aunt hands him his gift – a plastic macine gun with realistic bullet shooting sounds. his eyes light up and he immediately begins shooting family members around the table.
i turned to my cousin, the only other american in the room, and asked her – “isnt it somewhat surreal to hear Arabic words chanted and then a machine gun go off?”

which leads me to my next point. it’s true what they say. when u get to israel, u can take the jew out of galut but u cant take the galut out of the jew. i’m more of an אמרקאית now then i ever was, no matter what my teudat zehut says.

but like the country-at-large in which we all now live in regardless of where we came from, dysfunction abounds. as i mentioned, the family is a microcosm of israeli citizenry, and like israeli citizenry the family has it’s share of crazy (and violent) conflicts. the irony kept me smirking:
1. i come from a family in america that deals with its conflicts by not speaking and then pretending all is well, and here i was in the middle of a heated shouting fist fight match feeling totally at ease because it seemed… healthy.
2. there i was, in the middle of a typical israeli family conflict, awaiting the start of my conflict management course to begin next fall. in israel.

the climax of the weekend was an impromtu performance by my youngest little israeli cousin, merav. blonde haired with big brown doe eyes, 7-year-old merav sat on the couch in the living room while yemenite adults were calming down the tension in the other rooms. she opened a book in front of her and began singing israeli folk songs in the sweetest little girl voice i ever heard…
על כל אלה, על כל אלה

and that’s just how i felt the whole time, whatever entertainment i was provided by israeli nature. i felt so aware.
i felt at home. i could taste it. like i tasted a bit of matzah, a bit of freedom, a bit of what pessach is about – going home.

on diversity.

a pesach seder in a room filled with people from all over the world singing the words to ‘oseh shalom’ in the same tune, in the same language.

80 voices asking ‘ma nishtana’ in hebrew.

i’m sitting with one arm wrapped around the shoulders of a russian girl, and one arm wrapped around the shoulders of a south african girl.

and all three of us know the words. all three of us are joyous. all three of us are israeli.

collateral damage.

i’m learning the casualties of living far from everything that has become everything ‘else’ – tragedies, celebrations get left behind, lack of understanding/expression. it’s frustrating. just have to keep looking ahead. i chose to move away from these people, and consequentially, their ‘stuff’. it’s going to get more difficult with time, since i can’t fly a plane and don’t have frequent flier miles. i’ll have jobs and commitments and a husband. i’ll miss things. i won’t be there. distance i don’t embrace.

dealing in Holocaust.

the Holocaust is dealt with differently here. obviously in America jews are very serious about the Holocaust; every year in school there were assemblies and memorials and Holocaust museum visits and survivor talks.
here, it’s a different air. i think people treat it with a very clear and high level of respect, memory, definition, i dunno, i’m having trouble pinpointing what it is like. it is kind of like we wouldn’t be living here in our own Eretz Yisroel with a (functional?) government and a heavy army if the Holocaust hadn’t happened.
i consider that mostly true, at least in an immediate powder keg sense. however, when you think about that, it’s pretty crazy. if you think about our relatively easy lives, able to be as jewish as we want, in our own homeland nonetheless, and you think about what we actually are, it’s embarrassing. not 60 years ago, less than a lifetime, people went through hell because of an alleged ‘flawed national character’ that defines the citizens of Israel today. and today we, the collective citizens of Israel, seem to be doing a crap job of living the lessons of the Holocaust. no, no, i mean as far as military strength and political power we’re doing a decent-to-miraculous job.
but what about the inherently ‘jewish part’? we need to dig deep and realize that without that Israel is just another country with just another agenda of technology, modernitity, international role of bla bla bla. and we can’t again be reduced to something than we aren’t – last time it was being reduced to ‘filthy Jew’ status, which simply is not in our national cards. this time it is being reduced to ‘secular capitalist vs religious extremist nation’ status. or ‘persistant conflict’ status. or ‘modernistic tourist’ attraction.
it isn’t comfortable. it isn’t fitting. we have a lot to offer the world, yes? we have a lot to show for our past. we have a lot to teach for all our heritage, but for now, a lot to learn.
i dont really know where i’m going with this for now.

do what am i gonna do.

so tonight i was doing a lot of figuring out what i’m going to do.

here’s some stuff i came up with:

– come back to the states mid-june
– go back when ulpan starts for bar ilan, which is prob beginning to mid-august
– if i dont want to go through ulpan again, volunteer on kibbutz instead (learn same if not more hebrew)
– sublet an apartment for august/september before school starts from someone who is leasing in august but doesnt need it till school (contracts typically begin in august here) that way i can look for a permanent apartment with a good roomate situation and location for my convenience with a little leisure, unlike i did when i got here because i was flustered and rushed
– bar ilan prob starts after the holidays
– work in technical writing, which has a great starting salary if i land it right (i could totally live on my own, i’d be fine on that salary – 10,000 shekels a month – thats great for a single person, i could even put money into savings)

the problem is what to do over the summer – i want either:
– a job i can just make money doing so i can save
– an internship in tech writing so i can gain experience because i wont find a job if i dont have experience

one more part of a plan is i heard about a mini course in conflict management where afterwards you are qualified to be a practitioner – it’s a month after pesach, perfect timing. it’s a lot of money but i figured might be worth the investment if afterwards i learn more about the degree im planning on doing and have more information to decide.

i gotta call some people this week to research and find out definites.