Warless, crimeless, murderless… trip highlights!

Since a shit-ton of wrong went down this summer – in Israel and across the world – I’m going to dedicate this post to the happy, quirky, tiny moments of the trip I took with the kids to visit family in New York this month.

On my first day in Ameeeerica, I have now seen EVERYTHING. Liz OUT. 

One of my favorite things to visit. Couldn’t keep my hands off.

Ok, sorry, I lied. But I couldn’t help it. I, on the one hand, hate the sensationalist news in New York, and on the other hand, can’t be there without breathing it like a true native.

A pride and a privilege to see this happen for the first time. My brothers and I ate slept breathed the New York Public Library growing up (thanks mom).

Found an old friend. Put on the big cushy headphones and hit play for kicks… and it played… played and played some obscure teenage song… from my old mix tape collection. For the, um, record, I made some pretty good ripped-off-the-radio mixed tapes.

WRONG.

The kids met their cousin. Bebe was quite taken.

We broke the rules a few times.

The city.

It’s not New York without a visit from the FDNY.

‘And did you hear the Rosenbergs are down in Fort Lauderdale this month? Oh can you just imagine?’

Bebe was taken with a lot of new things… and a particular uncle…

We wrote to ‘our’ congressman to try and save the elephants… the 96 Elephants Project at the NY Aquarium.

That guy.

You know you’re getting older when…

The mother ship.

The Big Green Lady.

So when we arrived at Newark, Koala kept asking me who the green man holding a book was. Lucky the border control takes so long because I could not figure out what the eff he was talking about. Then I looked up at one of the monitors and saw the Statue of Liberty imprinted… then I did that dramatic movie turnaround and saw she was everywhere… so I taught him about the Statue of Liberty. Sure enough, as we got to the elevators, there she was, a real statue, and Koala – who happened to be in his, yes, green jumpsuit, stood proudly imitating her.

So we went. She was kind of a theme of the trip.

Including upskirt.

More city.

When you have a Grandpa from Florida.

Nettles update: five months

It would happen eventually, Nettles.

Your first wartime.

So we did that and then picked up when it seemed like the end was close (I think one of the faux cease fires was during our flight?).

The America trip.

You’ve been smiling your way through it all – new family members, passing strangers, my childhood friends. My childhood friends’ babies.

And in following the footsteps of your brother and sister – and let’s face it, your mom, and at least a couple of your uncles – you were pumped at the idea of food.

Also, see ya. You’ve been moving clockwise for a while, but your movement has evolved into probably what the first fish with feet tried doing to get out of the water.

That, and a lot of skydiving…

At five months, you’re one of the gang. It’s no secret there’s plenty you’ll get to do before they did. And in most ways, that’s more about me than it is about you. But based on who you’ve been so far, I’m more than confident that you’re going to do a great job keeping up

The time’s moving so fast. You’re moving so fast. Next month I’m starting to work full time, your siblings will be back in gan, and you’ll be on your own in a surrogate family for the days.

Don’t forget to write, Nettles.

Fifty-Two Frames: Quiet

So did you hear the one about the time a 15-year-old asked me about that pic I posted on instagram, and I told her excitedly how I had found my old Walkman in my childhood bedroom, and she looked at me with a sympathetic smile and asked me, ‘what is that?’

I hit play and miraculously it still had juice enough to pick up where it had last been left… some 90s song… good times.

And so what if that was 20 years ago.

Week 32: Quiet

Remember the old days when you’d put on big ole earphones, press an actual button, and shut yourself out with noise?

Welcome to the wartime TMI challenge

Is there a word for the despair one feels at no longer knowing who or what to believe?

It gets worse with every conflict: social media. A platform initially designed for sharing college memories and life milestones became a place for arresting my sense of truth.

Over the years, I’ve come to follow more and more people with worldviews and backgrounds that drastically differ from mine. I like it; it keeps me centered. It makes me feel just uncomfortable enough to keep on my toes, just insecure enough that I’m constantly sharpening my own truth.

At the beginning of this latest Gaza conflict I ditched traditional news sources, opting for scanning headlines with an occasional click, and instead followed dozens of new people on social media: Gazans, Arabs from around the world, journalists from a spectrum of news sources (mostly based in Gaza), and others. I had already been following extreme right and left wing Israeli voices for years.

Problem #1: It turns out, when you’re reading everything with a grain of salt, you end up absorbing some pretty bad-tasting discomfort.

The discomfort has turned into pain over the last weeks. And its sting gets sharper as I’ve watched a sudden rise in non-political friends fill my Facebook newsfeed with urgent, sensationalist, pleading headline after headline after headline (which I made a policy a couple weeks back to never ever click).

Problem #2: Everyone is sharing the same thing, regurgitating it to the same audience.

And people get fed their own homegrown-grade of bombastic propaganda. There seems to be no place to go to seek facts if you are following remotely. We can’t trust anyone else, so we can only continue to share our own hearsay.

Problem #3: Everything… but everything… sounds like propaganda now.

Every time I open Twitter – which is less often these days – I’m greeted with DEAD CHILDREN and antisemitic cartoons and RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF and NOWHERE TO GO and digit-heavy infographics and HUMAN SHIELDS and so on.

And no matter how much of a basis in truth and experience and fact each piece of content contains, whether you’d tag it ‘pro-Israel’ or ‘pro-Gazan’ or ‘pro-human’, the wrapping and the sharing and the repeating ends up downgrading its meaning.

A lot of talking, less listening.

I can only imagine how all this leads to misunderstandings of other realities for people not actively seeking truths outside their own.

Clearly, I asked for it. Maybe I’m listening too hard. And clearly, I live one of many many angles of truth here. So when seeking understanding of other truths, how far do I go? How sick do I make myself in the process? How morally compromised do I become? How depressed do I let it make me? The actions taken to erase my name, the actions taken in my name to save my name, the danger, the sadness, the collateral damage, the short term strategy, the long term goals…

Problem #4: Because each of our experiences is by definition one-of-a-kind, every person reading this will read it differently, to his/her own tune, to his/her own meaning.

Are we ever really hearing each other then?

All I have left to say is… if being a member of a population at war doesn’t enable me to learn anything new, to think harder, I consider myself a failed human.