Mediation on the brain.

So my intense last-minute focus on this narrative mediation paper has really got me thinking again; at least, thinking about mediation.

While I don’t necessarily agree with all narrative mediation has to say, I do think looking at the world as a series of stories – lacking any one truth to prove – has its benefits. Every person is living in his own narrative; it’s hard to really put it any other way. We’re living our own stories and not one other person can truly grasp that, no matter how much we tell it. But still, we can tell it to an extent and there enters narrative mediation. It’s a process by which participants reexamine their narratives concerning each other in the context of their conflict and rewrite the story so that it holds a positive common future.

Yeah, it sounds a little much. But as I said, there are elements there that problem-solving and transformative approaches lack. That’s what the paper I’m supposed to be writing is about (can I hand in this post?).

Anyway, my original point was this: Reading all the literature about narrative mediation – which really went into depth when discussing methodology – made me see how possible it is for me, personally, to get to that point. You know, the one of being a mediator. It actually made me want to approach all my friends in fights (yeah, there are quite a few) and start practicing (no, I would never actually do that).

I can see myself sitting at the table, talking to participants, focusing on language, the whole thing. Sure, I used to see myself in a lot of places, but I never really believed it. They were fantasies. This could actually work. Of course, it’ll take a lot of work. Not just career-wise, but personally-wise. A mediator will never be absolutely neutral (see above, about narratives) but a mediator does need to be confident, stable and very, very patient.

I’m not dropping everything and enlisting; I think the climb will be slow, steady and solid. For now I can start with the patience. That’ll keep me busy a while.

Dead for deadlines.

Bar Ilan University is officially out for between-semesters break. That is, unless you have finals. Then you’re screwed.

I don’t have finals, but I have tons of fun in the form of papers. I owe two papers from last year: One on narrative mediation and the other covering the Jewish language war in pre-1948 Palestine. Aside from those two oldies, I ‘m due to hand in an intense outline of my thesis for committee review. Then there is coursework in my etymology class to organize and submit. Next semester I’ll have two more major works to hand in, including philosophy of language (for which I’ll probably study narrative mediation from a different point of view).

So my work is cut out for me and of course, instead of working on outlining my narrative mediation paper due next week, I’m watching T.A.T.U. strut their lesbian stuff on MTV.

Why is this motivation thing so incredibly difficult for me? Why am I the bitch-lover of ever-tasty procrastination?

I love school, I hate formalities.

So long, Stella.

I had been contemplating it for a while and came to the conclusion – not on my own, though – that Stella needed a better living situation (and so did my husband). I realized that there was no way my apartment could feel harmonious with those two animals living on top of each other. I’ve always been one to ignore my gut feelings but I guess in this case I couldn’t take the gnawing and I knew it was time to do what is best for all.

So, as of last week, she is living with a healthy-sized American family from suburban Beit Shemesh. With kids, a yard and a second dog, Stella has everything she needs now. My cohabitant is back to his cheery self again (strumming guitar and doing Green Day impressions in a Yiddish accent as I type this).

Me? I miss her. Sometimes I get home and call, “Stells!” like the old times. Ok, fine, that’s just to annoy my husband.

Here is my humble tribute to Stella, just the way I think she’d like it, minus chewed-up corners:

Free calls to Israel!?

UPDATE: Apparently the site I reviewed below is now defunct. This page gets a lot of traffic so I thought I’d help out by saying that Skype is a decent option and so is Israel’s very own JaJah. I have friends who use Rebtel, which I find a little convoluted. Google Talk is my main source for free phone calls and video calls these days.

Convince your Israel buddies to get a North American VOIP line (now in British and Australian, too). It now comes in reverse, too – you can get an Israeli VOIP line through HOT.

What do I use? Mainly MagicJack and an American-side calling card Have now updated more on that.

Otherwise, grow up and just call us out here. We get homesick, you know.


No more excuses, guys. Free calls to Israel from your American phone from

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Dial 712-858-8094. When connected, dial the number you wish to call in any of the areas of the world listed above. Talk for free!

Don’t know how quality it is but it’s worth a shot…

Thanks, sabraatheart


Answering anonymous.

Anonymous left this comment the other day. It’s a topic I’ve been meaning to address and haven’t had the energy to face.

So do you have any regrets? Do you feel more spiritual as a Jew living there? Does it feel like you are just living in another country, and you are just ‘comfortable?’ Do you see yourself living there permanently, even with all the ups and downs? Just curious…

I don’t have regrets. As a general rule, I just don’t. Everything we do ought to have taught us something, and if it hasn’t, then maybe you need to get your eyes fixed.

I don’t feel more spiritual as a Jew. This is a cause for letdown in my view because I never expected to be a more spiritual Jew living in Israel. For me, spirituality has been a project developing since whenever, and it’s been in a funk for a long time. Israeli society, as is, even with all its historical wonder, was never going to change that for me.

I don’t think it’s like living in another country because so much about my everyday experience is emotional. If I lived in Spain, I don’t think I’d kick myself for not speaking Spanish perfectly; it wouldn’t mean as much to do it. People-watching wouldn’t be the same in any other country. When I lived in England those six months, the feeling was definitely different. I tend to feel like an outsider no matter where I am, but here it’s almost as if everyone is an outsider, so I actually fit in.

Permanently? Who knows. Has anything ever really been permanent, except maybe the scar on my ankle? When I started out here – and even before – I had one rule: take one day at a time. I’ve been sticking to it. It’s all I can do. It’s the same as marriage, I’ve found. You can’t look at the big picture all at once or else you’ll get dizzy. I can’t vouch for five years from now, or two weeks. I just want to make it through tomorrow. That’s probably more of my own personal issue than an aliyah issue, though I’d imagine lots of olim agree.

…I do think about ‘my kids’ growing up here though. For whatever that’s worth.

Untitled, uninspired.

I have this creative energy going on, but I’m feeling stuck. It’s not just here; it’s everywhere. My schoolwork, my job. My friends. My country. I’m feeling incredible amounts of potential and no airflow.

I’m wondering what exactly is stuck; is it one thing, like a pebble in an engine? It is that the whole mechanism is just in a rut? Is it me or is it the world?

It could be the long, hard week I had. It could be the crappy news I read in the paper each morning.

I just wish I had more time to explore. It’s so cliche, but it wouldn’t be a cliche if it wasn’t so true and widespread: everyone is too busy moving to notice where they’re moving to or from or with or without. And I’m getting trapped in that spin cycle.

Time to explore, that’s what I need. And it’s the hardest thing out there to get.

Something everyone can agree on.

There has been a lot of bad news going on around my area of life; too many kids getting sick, especially cancer-sick.

Because this is a bit personal, I’m passing along a message from an old friend:

Want to shave your head for childhood cancer?

No? Well I do…. and I will… but I need your help. Please read my little blurb below and please please make a donation to help this amazing organization. You’re saving lives…

St. Baldrick’s is an organization that raises money to help find a
cure for childhood cancer. Each year around St. Patrick’s Day, hundreds of “shaving centers” are set up all over the country where people have their heads shaved to show their support for the cause.

I lost my older sister, Stacy to cancer in 1991. I was only 5 when Stacy got sick and I didn’t understand the magnitude of her illness. To me, cancer meant hospital stays and hair loss. When I found out about St. Baldrick’s, it felt like the perfect way to honor Stacy’s memory and raise money for a cure. Please donate in support of a very worthy cause. Thank you in advance!

Until there’s a cure,

What I have to say after two years.

M: And after two years, what say you?

E: It’s not an easy endeavor.
And Zionism is not the be all end all. And this country is as f*cked up as any other. But, home is home, and sometimes you can have more than one.

M: What is the be all end all… Health and happiness?

E: No… I just mean that Zionism is not everything it’s cracked up to be.