A clockwork smartness.

“It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.” Anthony Burgess

That’s Answers.com‘s quote for today and, at the moment, pertinent for me. Yesterday we attended a Shabbat meal that spurred a conversation – like most conversations these days – about aliyah, motives, loyalty, self-respect… I didn’t always have the opinion or feeling that it was important to embrace your roots (as it used to be evident here) but I’ve come to accept it – and celebrate it – more and more. The stress of denying where you come from occurs throughout cultures, ages, religions… And I think it can be some of the most destructive stress.

With everything else I have going on, there’s just no time or space for that.

Acceptable for all ages.

I call it: Early Skepticism

I’m wanting to express my religious frustrations but haven’t yet found the words, so this early photo expresses enough… The dual-feeling, the creeping skepticism, the blind acceptance, the sigh that wins over at the end of the day.

Ok, fine, it was just a first-grade siddur party. But I do look a little turned off by that big bearded dude, don’t I?

Deliberate this.

I’m not a particularly nice person. And certainly not always thoughtful, either.

But I guess leaving New York and living in Jerusalem for two years has ingrained in me a greater sense of respect; at least, respect that transfers from words to actions.

So that’s why I was stunned when an old guy got on the semi-packed train and no one got up to let him sit.

I got up after a few minutes of deliberating (Maybe New York elders don’t expect it? Maybe everyone just fends for themsleves?) and then he did indeed sit down.

On an Egged bus, you’d never see that or have to deliberate.

…But money can buy morale.

I’m in New York. I found a two-way ticket for $499. Actually, the ticket found me, and just in time.

No shock that I’ve been feeling jaded and weary lately. I don’t know if it’s aliyah fatigue or general Israeli fatigue. It’s not easy living here, even if you do have food to eat and unpaid cable TV. If the drivers don’t kill you and the bombs don’t kill someone you love, you still experience pain every time you have to endure the news or the people on the news who tell you who you are but won’t let you correct them.

Which is why the ticket to New York was meant to prevent the dangerously-close burnout I was facing. I think most Israelis feel it at some point and I think this is a culture of traveling. I booked to come here for a week and I’m on day 4 and feeling very healthy.

As always, I’m experiencing bouts of culture shock here and there (weather is so cold, people are so cold). But, as my trips to New York usually do, I’m getting a cultural energy-boost. A web-cultural boost having to do with my current employment, that is. On the train to the city last night, this group of people in my age-bracket were standing around chatting about Web 2.0. Wow, I thought, people actually talk about this somewhere. I mean, it is essentially my job’s focus, but in Israel I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone chatting about it on the bus.

The last four days have been peppered with being invigorated by the people around me. I feel revived, respirited. I’m surrounded by the culture I work for, normally from a distance. And I’m remembering how seriously I should be taking it – and how not seriously I should be taking it.

This is definitely some of the best $499 I’ve spent in a while.

Fire power.

Today we had one of those office moments when the whole staff has to join together in the lunchroom for a corporate-sponsored education session. The topic this time was: how to use a fire extinguisher (in case of a smaller fire).

And all I want to note is that it seems Israelis just want to do everything they possibly can to put out the fire before calling the trucks. Use the smaller extinguisher. Use the bigger extinguisher. Use this and that, turn on the sprinklers, look for the hose; after all, chaval al hakesef (a shame about the wasted money).

I just get the feeling that in America, we were always told, AHHHH! FIRE! CALL 911! NOW! RUN! STOP DROP AND ROLL!

A belabored love song.

Are we falling out of love?

Remember in the beginning: it was so lovely; every moment was a gift, a lesson, a pleasure. That’s what it was, you and me, pleasuring each other constantly.

And then we normalized, you and I, our relationship matured and we felt strong in our
solid state.

Something happened, though; maybe I forgot about you, maybe you neglected me, maybe we started slipping from each other’s short-term memory.

Are we falling out of love? Is this

ambivelence-

or pain-

or shrug-

a tearing of seams?

Maybe we were better together when you were my cause, when I was your future, when you were my dream.

Or this could just be what commitment is made of…