On rocks, Arabs, talking it out, conflict, and more rocks.

This, an hour after listening to the recent This American Life podcast on the way home from work; the one titled, #570: The Night in Question, the one about the Rabin assassination and associated conspiracy theories.

“Listen, I want to talk to you about some stuff. Do your friends talk about Arabs in school?”

“[My teacher] does.”

“Really? When?”

“When we do [prayers] for the soldiers or people that are sick.”

“What does she say?”

“They throw rocks on us.”

“Do your friends ever call each other Arabs when playing, or say anything?”

“No, but today [friend] asked his ima if he is Arab.”

“He is not Arab… do you know that where I work sometimes Arabs come in to help fix things? And Abba used to work with an Arab guy. And lots of Arabs work around us. And they don’t throw rocks. Most Arabs don’t throw rocks.”

“More throw rocks or less throw rocks?”

“Way less throw rocks.”

“But why do some throw rocks?”

“Because they are angry.”

“But why are they angry?”

“Because sometimes Israelis or Jews make mistakes and do not-nice things to them, and sometimes they do mistakes or not-nice things to Israelis. But you know how we always say that when someone hits you, you should first try talking to them and not hit back? So here people aren’t talking, they are just hitting back.”

“Why aren’t they talking?”

“Sometimes it’s hard to know who to talk to.”

“How do they throw it? The rocks?”

“I guess regular…”

“Like this?” (pitches)

“Sure. I guess.”

“…what kind of rocks?”

“Uh, regular rocks I guess.”

“From the ground?”

“Sure.”

“Where does it happen?”

“Where Arabs and Jews live close to each other.”

“Are the rocks big or small?”

“I dunno. Honestly, I’ve never seen it happen. I haven’t ever been there when it happens… yet…”

He looked at me, kind of surprised. It was too late to take it back but it registered I could have been anywhere near involved with an Arab throwing a rock.

“…but that’s a good thing.”

He turned six and a half today.

So I knew it was time for bed when he next asked,

“…but so Ima, why is your shirt inside-out?”

 

 

Nettles update: nineteen months

A couple months in maon daycare, and you’re becoming a tiny version of a kid.

Making ‘friends’ (well, maybe ‘petting’ potential friends/younger babies in your vicinity? Whether they like it or not?).

Adding new words to your vocabulary (as well as using a million words for the same thing, like tzetzi and geegee for pacifier? Or the same words for everything else – eemee is Ima? Me? Give me? Give me Ima?! Or what about mai, which is both water and milk, which is very inconvenient?).

Being Shabbat Ima, after plenty of practice swaying to shalom aleichem at home on Friday nights.

 

Who’s on first?!

“it’s very exciting! it means they won all the games they had to win so they get to the World Series.”

“what’s world series?”

“when they play the last seven games against the other team and the team that wins the most, which is four, wins the whole thing.”

“why seven?”

“I dunno. it’s best out of seven. the most games out of seven, which is four games.”

“why four?”

“because four is more than three which make seven.”

“but why don’t they just play all seven?”

“because they don’t need to once they’ve won four.”

“but why not just play seven?”

“because they don’t HAVE to, they know they’ve won…”

“but I don’t understand, why just four?”

“because four is more than half of seven!!”

“but why not play all of them?”

“BECAUSE IT COSTS TOO MUCH MONEY. IT’S TOO MUCH MONEY. TO PLAY MORE GAMES THAN YOU NEED TO JUST DOESN’T MAKE FINANCIAL SENSE.”

It takes people to conflict.

In a total understatement, there’s been a lot going on in Israel lately. People say it’s the start of the third intifada (again), while other people call for the third intifada.

Stabbings, shootings, stonings, molotov cocktails. Lynch mobs.

And the beat plays on: the same media headlines, the same talkbacks, the same Facebook statuses. The same quotes from the same politicians. The same calls to action from the same leaders. The same nonaction after the same calls to action from the same leaders.

This, after coming off a week of ranting and raving that everything in America stays the same, that gun rage carries on, that no one cares. Obama’s post-Oregon shooting speech could be translated into Hebrew.

In dealing with frustration and anger that we find ourselves yet again in the midst of the ‘beginning of the third intifada, question mark’, I wonder aloud at this thought: why do people – people on the Jewish/Israeli side of the spectrum – continue to refer to the Palestinian and Israeli-Arab men and women and teenagers (if we call our 18 year old victims teens, then so are some of these) who commit acts of knife-wielding terror, animals?

What’s animalistic about making a conscious decision to make a fatal political statement about your life place/politics/anger/zeal? Animals don’t make those kinds of choices – people do. That’s what makes us people. The committers of these acts are people. Men and women. People who live a different reality to you, to us, to whoever. That doesn’t make them animals. It makes them people, in a very true way.

People shot point blank at mother and father driving with their children in the backseat. People stab other people in the middle of busy roads and outside office buildings. People throw stones – when did you last see an animal throwing stones?

People find guns and shoot them at other people who are not living the same reality as they are. People of all stripes – some of them share our reality and some don’t.

And so we are people too, even if we think other people don’t agree. We are people who make choices about how to handle and interpret and act on our reality. Everyone involved in this conflict is a person.

It takes people to choose to conflict. It takes people to choose to not conflict.

Bebe update: four and a half years

Six months and you seem way more than four and a half. well, most of the time.

On our trip in Australia, you faced some fears head on and opened yourself to learning more.

For example, after a few years of being freaked out by the beach, and a summer of going (on two different continents), you’ve embraced it.

This isn’t new, but still wonderful to watch: the way you care about your friends.

You’re sense of pretending and role play has gone up a few notches. Your play indicates all kinds of roles and your hand motions indicate, always, ‘ganenet’.

You’re willing to get in there. For the joke.

What I said about beaches…

And your desire to be a ganenet…

You’re always thinking, always coming up with something, always have some emotion to express, even if you don’t always say it. I know it.

Just don’t forget to let it out. However you want. The world wants to know.