Monthly Archives: January 2007

Worlds Apart

I think I fell in love a little bit with Tel Aviv today. When I left Jerusalem it was cold, windy, and oppressive-feeling. Tel Aviv, on the other hand, was sunny and warm, full of regular non-Jerusalem crazy people. I saw the ocean (sea, I mean – I can’t get used to large bodies of water that are anything besides ocean) for the first time in months, and almost cried. It’s amazing how much you can miss something like that. I had a great lunch with a coworker friend and his sister, delicious seafood and good company, and it had me seriously thinking about the possibility of moving there.

The thing is, Tel Aviv is a big (but actually, it’s not really all that big when you get to know it a little) generic city, that could exist anywhere. I’m not sure there’s anything in particular that makes it special in the international context. But in Israel, it is special – it’s in the center of the country, on the ocean, the most liberal (probably) city, with there always being something to do. It has gotten a lot of criticism for being a kind of bubble, whose residents don’t seem to care when the rest of the country is in crisis (I could say something about the US as the Tel Aviv of the world, but I’m not going to). But as a friend pointed out, they’re like that even when bad things like suicide bombings happen in Tel Aviv itself. Not that that makes it any better.

Jerusalem is difficult, full of tensions and history and religion and hills (Tel Aviv is flat). It isn’t easy for anyone to live here, especially someone like me. But it is all of this that makes it colorful and interesting and a constant learning experience. Seeing all buildings covered in Jerusalem stone might get a bit redundant, but where else does that exist?? And where Tel Aviv is a bubble, Jerusalem forces you to deal with and think about all the difficult issues that can more easily be avoided elsewhere. Succeeding in living in Jerusalem is a challenge and feels more rewarding than living somewhere “easier.” I tend not to pick the easy road…

I don’t know. My life is in Jerusalem, my best friends, and I still think it’s the most interesting city in the world. While there may be many cities in the world like Tel Aviv, there are none like J’lem. I’m going to have plenty of opportunities to live in lovely sunny (and maybe even not humid) cities by the ocean in my life – I don’t know that I need to do it now, if I have reasons to stay where I am. I guess I’ll just have to see where the possibilities take me!

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I love my family.

Even from the other side of the planet, they can make me feel part of the hustle and bustle and craziness that is my family – wanted, loved, accepted, no questions asked. I treasure them.

Speaking of, MY MOM IS COMING TO VISIT!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes indeed, the wonderful magical loving and beloved Ima Lea is finally going to be with me here, in the spring, and I am rediculously excited. As are pretty much all my friends (none of whom have met her yet), the fam here, and everyone who has ever met her. Most important, of course, is that I will get to see her! Here! I am thrilled to show her my Israel, my Jerusalem, and the life I have built here. It will be great, and I can’t wait. Is it March yet?

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the problem with 10 shekel umbrellas

… is that they only give you 10 shekels’ worth of protection from the raging storm you didn’t know was going on outside. And really, that just isn’t quite enough.

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Good Times having Big Talks

I met with a coworker and good friend last night for a drink, and our conversation is part of why I love her and living in this country and knowing the people I know and living as an actively exploratory ideologist.

We started talking about anti-Zionism, post-Zionism and neo-Zionism in the context of modern Israel and of course in relation to the more traditional forms of Zionism. We were just talking about what each one is, and how they relate to each other and ourselves and Israel – and of course, because we work for a Jewish organization, how it relates to Judaism. Then we moved into a discussion (argument, who am I kidding – we’re Israeli!) of whether Israel is a Democracy or a Theocracy. And what that means. Or most likely, where it lies in between the two. And if Israel is going to be a more true Democracy, what does that mean for its identity as a Jewish state? And how does that relate back to the Zionist discussion we were having before? What is Israel without a state identity as a Jewish land? Can it have that Jewish identity without state-enforced religion (or religious laws influencing the lives of non-Jews and those who chose not to practice their Judaism)?

From here we started talking about how the trend is that Jews (especially our generation) are becoming less Jewish – they don’t practice their religion as much, they don’t get involved with their local Jewish communities, they don’t feel connected to the religion or Israel – and they may or may not have any desire to. The question is, what is Judaism to today’s secular youth in the Diaspora? We decided that we need to start a movement, some kind of neo-Judaism, to address this. How do you reach the Jewish people who don’t particularly care about being Jewish? Or who just don’t feel all that connected to it, and aren’t motivated to get off their asses and get involved? How do you connect people with their roots? What is it that they WOULD respond to?

I’m actually a good starting point for this issue, since as an Israeli-American growing up in California, I never felt any connection to the American Jewish community. I felt different from the other kids at Hebrew school, and argued with my mom about why I had to go when she grew up with almost no religion at all on the kibbutz. When people would ask me what I was, I would say Israeli instead of Jewish, because that’s where my identity was. After going to Israel with a youth group when I was 15, I stopped being involved with my local Jewish community alltogether, besides the major holidays (I still was part of the Israeli community I grew up with, but that’s not the same thing at all). I actively avoided all Jewish organizations in college. So – what would have made me get involved? What about friends of mine who were even less “Jewish” than I was – who didn’t even have the connection to Israel? What would get them to feel connected? Is this important? Why?

I do think it’s important, because I think it’s important for everyone to know and understand and appreciate where they come from. My Irish side is equally important for me to appreciate and understand, even though I haven’t spent as much time investing in it (something I do intend to change), for the same reason. Knowing where you come from is an integral part of understanding who you are, I think.

I went off on a bit of a tangent, there… The point is, we had this big long broad discussion/argument/project planning session in a great Jerusalem bar-restaurant over whiskey (her) and red wine (me), and it was great. These are the kinds of things I treasure the most in life.

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an example of how quickly things move in the Jewish world

Tuesday, I had a talk with my new boss about my job – what I do, where I see it going, etc. Turns out she has a bit of a different idea of what she wants. I realized that our views aren’t going to be able to meet anytime soon, so it’s time to look for a new job.

I mentioned this to my old boss on Wednesday around lunchtime, and we both shook our heads because it’s a shame. That evening, I got a call from him to see if I would be interested in a job he knew about. Yes, I could be.

Thursday morning, I emailed him my resume in case he didn’t have it (at about 8:15 or so, maybe). Around 8:45, I was getting a call from the boss at that new job possibility. At 10:30, I was in an interview with him. (Side note – I knew being a runner would pay off! It was totally my in.)

I have an interview with the boss’ boss on Sunday.

 My head is still spinning.

Even if it doesn’t work out (although I hope it does because I think it could be an amazing experience and incredible skill-building), it just makes me feel that maybe it will all be ok. I hate looking for a job, and transitions are hard, and it sucks to be unsure about the whole job situation. So this is kind of just reassurance that I’m not floundering in the same way I kind of was when I first got to Israel. Just say No to telemarketing!

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spam cares

Recently, the junk-mail filters at work were finally fixed so that I no longer get 500 spam emails per day (literally – sometimes I would get even more). It’s an amazing relief when there are only 10-25 emails waiting for me in the morning.

However, there is something that I miss about the spam emails. Amongst the invitations to enlargen appendages I’m not in possession of and solicitations for funds I don’t have, were emails asking how my day was going, telling me that I’m beautiful, and “just checking in.” Now that is great spam! I loved getting those subject lines, as if there was really someone on the sending end who really gave a flying you-know-what about my day or self esteem. Now, there are no emails like that. No random “You’re so beautiful,” “Hope you’re having a great day!” or anything.

I’m not saying that spam is good or nice. But it always made me smile when I saw those cheery buggers waiting in my inbox. I’ll miss you a little, happy spam.

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very casually a big deal

http://www.wiretapmag.org/warandpeace/42914/

(it was THE feature when it first went up. it’s been a while now.)

AND

 http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070122/israeli_army

look at me goooooooooooo!!!!!

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