how wonder-full… it has been Said!

I spend so much time in life thinking of about roles. What role to play? How to use this body this mind this heart? oh, and who/whom is it that decides this? Yet, at the same time there is always this odd shadow that lives with me. It gets me lost and it laughs
. Slowly slowly i have learned to laugh with it. I will trip and turn around and its gone but in front of me is persyn sitting who greets me. We chat and it turns out they are a medical student from Holland who set up an internship program 2 years ago. The program takes med students and brings them to palestine to work in refugee camps, both as doctors and as art teachers.
Or sometimes the shadow sits with me when i am lost in my head instead, sitting sitting sitting i do nothing for hours, and again i end up laughing. Stand up it says, so i do (although the language is never so clear), and on the steps into the outside again i bump into someone i hardly know, but who i have seen at a 2 demonstrations in Hebron. We begin chatting and end up walking into the old city to visit the palestinian family that was kicked out of their home just 2 weeks ago. The family was out at a wedding and when they returned their house had been taken over by israeli soldiers and settlers. (a continuing process all over the old city…)
These stories are two recent examples of how the concept of a planned-out/theorized/strategized role/direction in life just seems to be a mystery to me. I seem to do best when i am lost or confused, when my fear of being a sloth, or my fear of being lost both become true and untrue at the same time, and we just laugh. I must say though, that a laugh is not so tightly tied to happiness or carefree as some like to assume. No, rather laughing is just the noise, and movement, i could just as well call it crying, but i really rather enjoy the power to turn a gh into a F, this is all, so i use laugh and not cry. Though-still i make lists after lists of “to-do” and write out goals and dreams and draw it all into a web of pictures, while the shadow in my veins just lauggghhhs.

on a relatively unrelated note- how wonder-full, it has been said!
I have been bouncing around in my head a lot of thoughts about how to talk with sharon MA, and with campers from the camp i used to go to about Israel, about Judaism, about privilege, etc. What i am finding now is so much, SO much has been said. I do have words and thoughts that other people may call MY own, but this is not how i see them.
Anyways, i am still not sure how to begin any such talk with Ashkenazi jews children of the white flight generation(or perhaps the second generation). One thing is sure, fear will have to be discussed. But id rather not turn the discussion into a philosophical/spiritual/religious one and instead keep it grounded to the who, whys, hows and whats of the material world. The who profits/is oppressed, the why zionism is racism, why jewish organizations in the US don’t discuss this, the how Jewish history is being destroyed as well as Palestinian due to zionism, the how Palestinians resist occupation, the how the media in the US distorts the material goings on, and the what can be gained from taking a stand, the what we can do. But i know these people may take issue that i go into it so bent on explaining the poltics i hold. Maybe ill lead the talk with my own experience here for the past few weeks, hmm, either way i like to up-front with my politics and intent. Yes i want people to make up their owns minds, but really is it their own in the first place? Also cant people still make up their mind for them selves if some one is saying, “hey this is not about showing all the fucking facts, or describing “both-sides”, this is about confusing you, blurring the sides, and all with the intention of hopefully making you uncomfortable at times, and shaking your reality, but afterwards there will be tea and cake and light music for you to digest it all” hmmm ill still think about it.

here is a longer piece to read-> Answer to Rosenfeld: Jewish History, Anti-Semitism, and the Challenge of Zionism by Mark Braverman, Ph.D. Mark writes a response to an essay entitled a “’Progressive’ Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism,” an essay by Alvin Rosenfeld, Professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University. Oh academics word battling… but it has some important pieces of fact and opinion. I will also say in my point-of-view it seems to still essentials the Ashkenazi Jewish voice as the voice for the Jewish people.
quick notewomen in black!!!! 🙂

Mark reminds me in his writing of a lovely elder women i met here yesterday at a demonstration. Her name is alyah (she was raised by serious zionists, during the 1940s in the US). She grew up with the Habonim Dror movement, which was lefty socialist zionists, who dreamed of a socialist nation in Palestine. She moved to Israel some time before 1967 and lived the kibbutz life. She was talking to me now as i asked her how she came to the politics she has today, which are of the more radical left. Alyah begin with the story of her experience after the ’67 war. She explained that in Israel after this war there was this sense of euphoria, they had huge marches through the old city and there was just a general excitement she says. When i asked her about the Moroccan quarter which used to be where the large plaza in by the western wall is now, she said nope it was demolished with-in days after the war, and not a thing was said about it. Mostly what i took away from this conversation was that there was this group of socialist zionists who for better or worse truly believed their dream would come true here, and for some years they felt like they had it, with their kibbutzim (although during this time many of them were still ignorant to the fact that many kibbutzim were just a few years ago palestinian villages…). None-the-less they went on living in this dream they had created and slowly slowly the veils began to drop, and as Alyah said more and more you had no choice but to acknowledge what Israel had become, which is yet another western state financed by military capitalism. And so Alyah was one of the israeli gals who started

I have no conclusion for this post, i will leave it frayed for today.

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One Response to how wonder-full… it has been Said!

  1. Janice Halpern says:

    I’m eager to hear more of your experiences. And I have suggestions on how to talk about what you’ve seen, and what you’ve come to believe, with Sharon people. How to 1st open their ears, which may lead them to open their eyes.

    Avoid the politics, the large-scale issues – people shut their ears to that. focus instead on individual stories. A six-year-old whose parents’ farm/home has been bulldozed for the 3rd time. What did the 6-yr-old do to deserve that? How will that experience affect him as he grows? Which Israeli is now safe and protected because of that bulldozer? Anyone? And for how long? What did the parents do to deserve the bulldozer? Not the parents? Then their elected leaders? Did the parents vote for those leaders? Do they control the decisions of the leaders?

    The bottom line is that government actions affect individuals, who are often powerless to control any of the entities taking action for or against them.

    And we, as Jews, have a Torah that talks at length about justice. The most repeated commandment in the Torah is the one requiring that we care for the widow and the orphan, those least able to care for themselves. We are also to have one law, for both the Hebrew and the “stranger among you.” And, we are to follow the example of Abraham, the father of all 3 major religions, who argued with God to spare S’dom & G’morrah if their were 100, 50, or even only 10 righteous people among them. Surely, Alex, you have met ten righteous residents of the West Bank or Gaza. Tell THEIR stories.

    The argument I see is the one I have with the US – do we betray our values to possibly protect our country. Must the US and/or Israel be destroyed in spirit, in their souls, in order to preserve the physical nation? If they must, don’t those nations then lose the character which made them worth saving in the first place?

    So, there’s my approach. Talk about individuals. Talk about values. and talk about ways to find common ground to preserve the integrity of both. Be positive, despite your anger. Be the peace you want to see. Spread the peace and your hope for a positive future. Spreading your anger, arguing, attacking someone’s point of view, only makes the listener angry and closes his ears.

    Help them see the stories of individuals, and you help them see themselves in the same situation. You help them empathize, and that at least makes them see the human and moral cost of political decisions.

    Welcome home.

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