Random ramblings

I have had a very strange two days. Yesterday was my one year anniversary of moving to Israel. I don't know what I expected. Enlightenment. Excitement. And strangely I didn't feel much. It is really strange. Just like I kind of expected to have these really deep meaningful conversations with everyone, I expected to have this amazing feeling yesterday. And I have not spent every moment of everyday to talk about all my dark secrets and thoughts with my family and friends. And yet I have still had a wonderful and meaningful time with my family. And I still am happy and proud with my lifestyle choice of living in Israel.

Yesterday Ben, Jon, and Diane left. Ben had been here a while. But Jon and Diane were only here for 3 days, but somehow if felt a lot longer than that, but not in a bad way. As usual, we are all in this weird transition. We are all starting a new chapter. And we are all edging towards the water, a bit frightened to get our feet wet. Ben is looking at moving out of Philly. Continuing with a similar program of helping people, all while earning money for school. And Jonathan is flirting with the idea of the best and most worth-it way to move into a new stage of his life. Continue in TJ's or go back to school?

I am not worried though...for any of us. We are all three smart, weird, driven individuals. We are very different. But we have come from a strong stock and I am sure we will do fine.

But honest, I am getting butterflies about returning home. I am going to enter a country that has been in war for 16 days. And in those 16 days I have been in the US. I don't know what it is like to live in a country that is in war. And I have a feeling there is a lot of me to learn and quick. I also have a big task of finding where I will live. Before I left to come here, I put a request to man who helps people like me get onto kibbutzim while in the army. I requested to be in the north on the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) Now what. That is the area that is being evacuated. Also I am supposed to have my Army Ulpan in the north. Is that going to be moved to a safer location?

So I have some research to do.

Today I did have a lovely time with Nancy and my mom. We went and got a pedicure. It was so crazy! First I have not painted my nails for at least 5 years. And second, I have not taken care of my feet and have grown rather proud of my rough and more rugged piggy-. So now that are a rusty orange and a bit smoother (it is hard to take off all the rough in 20 minutes) It was surprisingly very fun and I kind of can't stop looking at my feet:)

After this we went and saw "The Lady In The Water" It was wonderful. But I am sure not for everyone. It is a modern day fairytale with so many amazing and inspirational messages. It is really hard to describe and I really think many people will not like it at all. You have to give it a try to find out.

I will try to find a review that explains it a bit and post that. It is very special.

OK guys, it is 12:30 in the morning. And I should sleep....lila tov

fAmiLy anD friEnDs

Well dear people, my friend Lerone warned me that a month would be a long time to be back. And I think it is. Its not that I am not having a great time, because I am. It is so nice to catch up with everyone. But somehow I feel a longing to be back to my life. My older brother and his girlfriend are here and Nancy, my best friend just flew in this morning. We have a full house! My parents actually had to rent a car!!

Last night we went to a really nice resturant here. I got to see a bigger view of the actually downtown. It is a neat city. there is a big mixture of old and new. The dinner was outragous. They cooked with really strange mixtures of food and flavors, but everything I tasted was amazing. A lot of the food was grown localy. The waiter even said that the coffee is biked in when needed.

And last night we rented a movie that I just thought Jon would love. it is called Imaginary Heros. i saw it in Israel with Iris and she and I loved it. We turned out that no one liked it. NO ONE. But we did end up having an interesting conversation on, 'what is art?' 'what draws one person to something?' That kind of thing.

Oh, we also went to the Mall Of America. That was crazy! It is so big and too overwhelming for me. I was ready to go when we walked in!

Today we are going to do more nature things. So that should be really nice and relaxing.

A Trivia Question....

So its my second day here with my mom and Hugh. I have a great time. Mom says I need some coffee, lets go to my favorite new coffee place. It is called Caribou Coffee.

Walk in. Study the drink board. A chalk board in the middle of the drinks catches my eye. Daliy Trivia,. OK. Question: What are the names of the two terrorist groups fighting against Israel?

I start to laugh. This is so sick. How can that be a trivia question? Lets think. 300 humans in Lebanon killed. Over 30 killed in Israel. 1000s of tons of explosives. Danger, blood, horror, lives, boys, bomb shelters, sad songs on the radio, mother's worrying, fear, cries.

And yet here I am in this cute little coffee shop in this cute little town. So safe. So friendly. It (the war there) must be so small to most of these people. Well those are just the crazy people in the middle east. This has been going on since the beginning of time. It not new.

I must have said it too loud, "That question is sick!"

And the guy behind the counter pipes in, "well do you know the names?"

"Ya, Hazbollah and Hamas. I live in Israel."

"You do? Its so sick what is going on there. I have friends who live there and you never here of all the daily rocketing and shooting that goes on that the Israeli's live with, only this."

"Wow, thank you. Thank you because no one knows about that stuff", I reply.

Before I left I gave him the link to my blog.

So never mind. I should judge a book by its cover. Maybe there are people who do care. People who do think Israel has a right. Who think that Israel stands for a lot of shit and just stands. Just takes the hits and casulties. And is silent. Now they have "started" a horrible war.

Yes. you read correctly I wrote that Israel started. because that is what critics are saying.

So in the Star Tribune today there was an article written about what s going on in Gaza along Lebanon. A Palestinian legislator, Saeb Erekat was quoted saying "We have a forgotten war in Gaza and the West Bank. We urge the international community to offer direct intervention to stop this Israeli military escalation."

And what did they say in the paper about how the war down there was started? ....Hamas-linked militants captured an Israeli soldier. Captured is an interesting world to use. That gives the idea that there was a war to begin with.

But there was no war. Less than a year after Israel pulled out of Gaza, Hamas tunneled over 900 feet under ground to a military base on Israeli soil. They killed 2 soldiers. Injured others and took another soldier. Kidnapped him. They have been holding him for 3 weeks now. All this after months of daily rocketing into Israel.

So who started it. Who provides the Gaza stip with power? food? water? You have to be pretty dumb to attack your only source of resources. Although they do get rockets from Egypt. But maybe they will realize they can't eat rockets.

My heart goes out to the two soldiers who just died in Lebanon. They could have been one of my friends (I know they are not because I checked the names).

But they are aCHem shelEE (my brothers)
I have so much to talk about, that I don't know where I should start. Well first off I arrived at my parents house in Minnesoda last night. It is very beautiful. It reminds me something of our old home in LA, but of course it is differnt. It is so big and open.

Now I woke up early and found galgalatz radio after some bad tries. I finall found it. This is the radio that i listen to everyday in Israel. They play a mix of Israeli and Engliah music. But most important they play the news on the hour. So for the first time in over ten days I got to hear the news!! I am happy. If you are interested the link I found is: http://www.surfmusic.de/radio-station/galgalatz-91-8fm,6566.html It sounds a bit like it is coming from underwater, but it is great.

So with great music playing I write.

I will talk about being at grandpa's first. It was such a wonderful visit. And in all honesty I feel my last. He has changed a lot. And stopped hiding his oldness. But what the hell he is 86 and a half. He is old and tired. I did have a great visit. It was very relaxed. Mostly just time around the table listen to stories. I didn't call any family or friends till about 5 days in, because I didn't want my schedule to fill up with that, and not be with grandpa. As grandpa is the reason I came.

But I honestly got to see everyone. I saw a few family members and a few friends and all the visits were very nice. And two days ago I boarded a train for the next leg of my tour.

It was really hard to leave grandpa. I cried so hard and he was the most candid I have heard him be. "Well till we meet again" he said. "I don't know where that will be."

He kept stressing that I came out of my way, and I keep stressing that I wouldn't have come to the country and not seen him.

Now it is time to talk about Israel.

How queer that I come to the US and all this balagan (mess) starts. I have had to defend Israel in a way that I never had before. And also defend myself and my choices. And now I know people who are in this. And people who are going to be called from the reserves to serve.

Interestingly, I had bought a book the first time I was in Israel about a young woman who goes to Israel in 1947 as a student, not knowing of course that the War of Independence is going to break out. She joins the ubderground army and is the heart of the firghting. I never read the book when i got it. I left this book at the farm and found it in the closet. I devoured it is a day and a half. It is told in letters that she wrote almost on a daily basis to her family. Almost forty years later they were found and her kids urged her to get them published.

Letters From Jerusalem 1947-1948 by Zippoah Porath

They are funny and sad. Some of the things she write are still the same today. And this totally ties into me and my situation because like me she is from the US and gives up a lot to stay and fight.

Here is an excerpt:

I look at it this way. I am not a better or worse person, a braver or weaker person than anyone else. As long as they can take it (terror attaks), I should beable to and perhaps, then some. I like living in Palestine. I love Jerusalem. It is my home for now. I don't see why a person should pick up and leave his home because a dangerous madman has gone berserk next door. There is no running away. A couple of miles isn't going to make a differnce. You'd have to run thousands of miles and keep running the rest of your life.

That is really the way I feel. And on top of it, when I signed up for the army I knew I could be in a war. When I moved there I knew bad things could happen. And to leave is not an option for almost every Israeli. There is no where they can go. I have a special pass that does mean i can go. But maybe that makes me want to be in Israel stronger. I CHOOSE to stay.

America, America

Hey all. I don't have a ton of time to write. I just want to let you know that I am in the US of A. If you would like to call my number is 315-626-6534. I will be at this number until the night of the 17th. From there I will travel to the Twin Cities. I will give my number there too. The culture shock is not as bad a s I thought, but I miss Israel so much!
I was on the bus the other day going to Haifa and I was overhearing a conversation. They were American and Britiah and they exited onto a kibbutz so my instict says they are volunteers for the summer. Anyway they were talking about the conflicts going on here and friends that they know who have moved here.

One guy said, "yeah, my friend is so sick of all the politacal drama he wants to go back to the states. But I think, what an amazing place Israel is. There is a lot of drama, but you will never find this anywhere else in the world."

It is true, what has been going on now for a week (but in truth for a lot longer)sucks. It is horrible. Lives are being lost. Places distroyed. Young mens lives are being put at risk. But if they were not being put at risk, there would be no more Israel.

It is crazy because I am trying daily to read what is going on in the news. I read Haaretz.com (israeli paper) and latimes.com and aljezerra, an arabic paper. I am trying to pull out the true in all of this. Every side is slanted to their own benifit. I also hear the Hebrew news every hour on the hour. That is how they do it here.

But life goes on here everyday. And if you want to know something, in two weeks our Kibbutz is showing a Palestinian movie in the cinema. It is called "The Garden Of Eden" I will try to rent it when I am in the US as I am missing it. So as you can see not all Israel is against Palistine.