Monday, June 28, 2010

Checking in

It’s been too long- in terms of communicating with you and also with myself. The decadently long expanses of solitary reflective time that characterized my time in Bangladesh are distant memories. From a single “single friend” I’ve landed spat into a beautiful, inviting community of single friends with lots of time and energy. From being a teacher and managing my own time I’ve become an overloaded student- Hebrew classes, Torah classes, grammar classes, teacher recertification classes, Jewish thought classes- and neglected homework. I’ve fallen into a long forgotten habit of over committing myself, above and beyond the coursework. I’ve discovered volunteering and dove in- reading to the elderly, helping lone soldiers, doing morale boosting for members of the Israeli Defense Forces and helping to coordinate large Shabbat meals to bring various members of our diverse community together. The hours of silence- without work, to do lists, roommate, phone calls, rushing errands- are gone. So too, it seems, are the blog entries and all the wonderful reflection and repackaging they required.

But I finally, regardless of my own critical judgment about creating a quality, readable, reflective piece starting with a clear direction, I’m letting go of my own expectations and just writting. Letting go of my need to express my anger and defensiveness about the flotilla escapades and journalistic creative fiction and spin that followed. Letting go of my need to provide a documentation of daily events. Writing to reconnect- with you- and with myself.

Shifting through the layers of commitments and conversations, studies and bureaucracy, errands and endless bus rides- searching back to the source, the central experience of my time here- and I find- settled contentment. It’s been the biggest life shift of all. A lifetime of running after new adventures, pushing my boundaries, exploring my ever shifting paradigm, immerging myself in languages and cultures as I bounced and bopped around the globe- the great trips and fanciful adventures have lost their hold on my heart. What started to root in my heart as a traveled around Asia and saw such amazing sites remains- yes the world is an amazing and diverse place, yes I feel very privileged to have seen and experienced so much of it in such a personal way, and I’d rather be in Israel.

And true to my inner voice, everyday as I walk around Jerusalem, watching grapes, olives, figs and pomegranates form in my neighbors’ yards, I give thanks for being able to be here. I marvel daily at the very communal, non city feel cultivated in such a walkable, beautiful city where strangers help each other without question and I always run into people I know. I cringe at the intolerance of the inhabitants of neighborhoods like Mea Sharim who I perceive as perverting Judaism in the conquest to save and preserve it. I flair up at the disproportionately large amount of spinning incorrect journalism about my home. I revel in the glorious walls of the old city and the multitude of invitations I receive into the homes of my fellow Israelis. What are my challenges in adapting? Too many welcoming people creating an outpouring of invitations? Friends always finding new adventures from climbing Masada, eating at Black Out, hiking near Tzfat, listening to the Israeli Philharmonic or simply enjoying the sights and events of Jerusalem? People always trying to figure out how they can help me? Should all people be so lucky to face similar challenges.

And since it’s been a while, I’ll also let you know. Next school year I’ll be gainfully employed teaching English to Hebrew speakers in grades 7 through 9 and also English literature to native English speakers in grade 10.

And since my silence has been echoed back for so long, I hope that my voice can also be echoed back with a small insight into your lives as well.

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