Monthly Archives: May 2008

smart

What does it say when I was reading about spas (for work, natch) and seeing the word “yogalates,” wondered how they could combine yogurt and yoga (same as pilates, right? I know, I know, not quite, but still)…….

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To mourn and to celebrate

Today is Yom Hazikaron (Remembrance Day), when Israel mourns for those who have died in the wars we have been in throughout the existence of this country – at least one every decade. Tomorrow is Yom Haazmaut (Independence Day), but today is a day of sadness and reflection.

It’s a strange day for an Israeli left winger. On one hand, I can appreciate the great losses that the people of Israel have sustained in order to get and maintain its existence. Every single one of my adult relatives, including my mother, has been in a war – and they could have been among the ones we are mourning today. And there have been times over the last 60 years that without the lives sacrificed in war, there would be no Israel.

On the other hand, I don’t believe in war, in principle. And perhaps more (personally) disturbing, I don’t find myself proud of this country very often, making it hard to engage in any national holiday. There are so many things wrong with Israel today, from corruption everywhere you look to a nationwide obsession with consumerism to human rights violations and absolute hypocrisy on a number of levels, in particular the prevention of a marginalized population’s pursuit of independence.

The truth is, none of the above reasons are reasons not to respect Remembrance Day. And really, I do. There are two sirens that blare throughout the country – one the night before, and one in the morning. And in that time, I thought about the fact that no matter what, lives were lost and today is a day respect those lives, and the families who lost loved ones. Israel being as small as it is, every single person has a connection to some kind of tragedy, or has a loved one who might have been lost. The effect is that this day is much more personal for all of us.

I guess the ‘other hand’ argument applies more to tomorrow’s holiday, Independence Day. Of course I appreciate Israel, I wouldn’t be living here if I didn’t. But that doesn’t make up for the fact that for the most part, I am not – and, for the record, this is painful to admit – for the most part, I am not proud of Israel, of being Israeli. The government is transparently corrupt, hypocritical religious and right-wing people are trying to rule the country, the army is taking advantage of its power and its ability to exploit Palestinians in Israel and the territories as well as to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, even when Israel was founded on the ideal that a group should have the right to their own country. I don’t like to be associated with corrupt, consumerist, uncaring and exploitative governments, and unfortunately that’s what we have these days.

The Israel I was raised on isn’t the Israel I live in today. Sometimes I think that if I lived somewhere else (read: not the most controversial city in the country and possibly the world), it would be more like that place I thought I was moving to. But maybe the Israel I was raised on, the country that my mom left when she married my dad almost 30 years ago, just doesn’t exist anymore. That’s a more depressing thought than anything else. Can it go back to what it was? I still see parts of it, here and there. And there are wonderful things about the land and culture. That’s what I focus on.

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Spring specials

My mom just left after two and a half weeks here, and it was wonderful and sad and filled with adventures. I loved having her here. Among the highlights:

Passover weekend at the bf’s parents – wine, wine, wine, TONS of food and we even got to drive around some of the area, including this lake/former waterfall that you have to hike down into. I did it in flip flops, thankyouverymuch.

Kibbutz bonanza – memorial for my grandfather, who passed away four years ago, beach with my cousin, more yummy food. Came back to Jerusalem with a nasty sunburn and a full belly!

Bread-making during Passover (but don’t tell the religious folks, it’s kind of totally against the rules) – and it was damn good, if I may say so myself!

Quality time with my mom and my friends – they love her almost as much as I do!

American Colony Hotel – beautiful, and great to sit with my former roomie and her mom

Terrible sushi experience – never go to Japanica in Jerusalem: the service brings a whole new level to suckiness and the food isn’t even all that good.

Wonderful tapas – mom, bf and I had an amazing dinner at Sol, and it makes me glad that they like each other :). I think this visit gave him a first glimpse into where I come from, and that I didn’t just drop out of the sky with no family or history, so that was a good thing.

I made jam! and it’s yummy! I’m turning so domestic….

Old City – with mom and my bestest, including the best hummus in the world, of course! I really like the Old City, I should go more often.

And everything in between. It was a much-needed visit. Her leaving was hard though. Really hard. On a day-to-day basis, I am able to live alone (without my family), and not miss them too much. It’s never easy, and thank goodness I have my friends and the bf, who make up my surrogate family here, but you find a way to cope with the life you’ve built for yourself. With my mom here, I actually had the real thing, so her leaving was even more painful because in the separation I understood that as amazing as my surrogate family is, there is nothing like the people who are actually my blood, and who have known me for all the years I’ve been alive. I’ve brought this life upon myself, however, and there’s no turning back. And I wouldn’t exchange my moms visits for anything in the world.

So back to the grind of regular life. This week includes Israeli independence day, which should be interesting. Bush is coming to my city. Great. The whole place gets shut down – when he came in January, all the streets in the center of the city were completely closed down, and I don’t suppose this time will be any different. I can’t believe I moved across the planet and he STILL finds ways to mess up my daily life. Anyhow if anything interesting happens, I shall report.

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