Childhood is a strange thing.
The things that happen to us when we are a child, the things we do, the things others do to us… it defines the rest of your life. Or doesn’t it?
My childhood was far from ideal and I needed two years of intensive therapy to go from ‘surviving life’ to ‘ learning how to live life’. I’m still figuring it out as I go. Pieces of my puzzle are still scattered and as I go along my path of life, sometimes I find a piece and manage to get it in place.
I’ve said it before: “once you leave home, you can never go back”. And yet, here I am in my parents house tonight, the bedroom that I once used to call mine.
I’m not affraid or ashamed to open up about my past. It’s not my shame, I was not a participater, but I endured life. I didn’t have a say in it. I’m sorry my English is so lacking to describe what I mean to say now…
The walls of my room have new wallpaper, there’s different furniture in here. Nothing that reminds anyone of the fact that I once ‘lived’ here. Oh no wait, there’s the damage on the door that I made out of anger and frustration by hitting it with something. But there’s a poster over it, covering it up. That in itself is… powerful.
I used to glue photo’s and pictures from magazines on the walls. They used to be blue. When we grew up, my sis and me, there wasn’t a lot of money for things like nice furniture or even expensive clothes. I’m glad I grew up this way. It makes me appreciate what I have now, and it keeps my feet firm on the ground. I understand what the things are that makes a child happy in life.
Today I shopped with cheeky girl. After living in a school uniform for the past four years, finally life is going to start and she can begin to develop her own taste.
We bought a ton of skirts, (like 8 or 9!), thankfully fashion is tznius this year, three pairs of shoes, some t-shirts…
I told her a beautiful story today, from a book that I read. About how a shtettle in Poland was destroyed, but the most valuable was carried away by the wind. Not the houses or the posessions from the Jews, but their lives, the cries of the babies that stopped when their mother looked at them, the sigh of the matchmaker, the fart of the waterbearer… The history of the shtettle. All that, the wind carried away, hiding it, carrying it away and away.
Once you leave home, you can never go back again…
We will leave Antwerp, with it’s shtettle mentality… which isn’t like what the real thing must have been, because that history got carried away by the wind, hidden for mankind forever, and all we can one some rare occasions catch from it are whispers.
Antwerp has these whispers of a shtettle… A glimpse of what it must have once been. But people are lost, they struggle to find a balance between the modern world and the one that has been stolen from them. That makes it extremely difficult to live there.
And it makes me want to leave. I thought it was what I wanted, but it just isn’t for me and definately not for Rachel.
But I know that when I’ll look back on it, it will look more beautiful than it was. And I will miss it. Even the parts that I hate now.
Like how I miss being at home with my parents sometimes. And then when you get home, a lot of things have changed but the stupid things are still there, (like curfew at 10 pm on weekdays and the neurotic behaviour and habits of certain people…)
It’s good to dream and to remember the good bits. I like to fool myself and occasionally bump my nose on the bad bits. That’s ok, I guess. Just don’t let the bad bits define you. Keep trying to solve that puzzle…
… having said this. I don’t think this makes much sense to anyone reading this. :-\
We almost had racial police violence in Holland. Just like in America. Almost!
Five cops were involved in the arrest of a man with a (slightly) dark skincolour, and sadly he died as a result of this arrest. The policemen involved are suspended and will be held accountable.
The arrest itself wasn’t particulary violent, it was all done according to protocol. I saw the video. My father is a policeman, I spoke to him about it and asked critical questions. I like to do my research. But still sadly, something went horribly wrong and as a result we have dramatic consequenses. An innocent man died beacuse of lack of oxygen. The victim, who had been (allegedly) jokingly saying repeatedly with friends at a music festival, that he was carrying a weapon. Which made the police try to arrest him. So sad and so unneccesary. A trauma for the family, bystanders and even for the policemen involved. Because this is of course a nightmare scenario for every policeman. They enroll in the police to serve and protect. Not to choke innocent people to death by accident.
Not long after the death of this man, rioting began in the most multicultural (notorious, as I’d call it) neighbourhood of Holland. The Schilderswijk in The Hague.
Why notorious? Because for example, last year this is where locals (of course it’s just the irrelevant minority which by chance ofcourse happens to live in high concentrations in this neighbourhood) was waving ISIS flags and called for the death of all Jews.
Notorious, because the police there is accused of being racist if they do anything to keep the peace there.
Saying that the police in that area is racist is as idiotic as accusing the Israeli police of anti semitism if they operate in a Jewish neighbourhood in Israel. “But it’s always us that you pull over! You are doing this because we are Jewish!”
It’s a funny joke, but the problem is that this way of thinking (mixing up cause and effect) is taken serious and not as a joke.
In 2008, over 90% of the registered people in the neighbourhood were immigrants (or decendants of immigrants) according to wikipedia.
There are hardly any native Dutch people left there. They avoid the area because it’s not a place where they feel safe anymore.
Yeah okay, maybe for someone who’s not from Holland this is a bit hard to understand. But we are an openminded country. Peace, love and understanding for ALL! We invented it and we did so well that now we lost a part of our free country. Jews, homosexuals, women who don’t dress modestly enough, they are not allowed to exist there.
So, even after the family of the victim has said: “well, actually the man who did the most harm during the arrest (the actual choking I’m assuming) was black himself… He’s from Aruba… So it wasn’t a racist arrest. They just wrongly thought he had a weapon and used too much violence during the arrest…” the rioting continues!
Again, the same group of people, from the same neighbourhood have hijacked someone elses case to make their own point. Now they wrote and open letter to the police. Basically promising they’ll riot every night from now on until the police backs away from their neighbourhood.
And what does my gouvernment do? Literally nothing. Blame it on the HEATWAVE… Leaving it’s own policemen and women to deal – one hand tied to their back, with the shit that’s overflowing the whole country, as now in other cities there are also similar riots planned. Policemen have been wounded, treatened, even doused with flammable liquids…
We are dealing with a problem that is of such proportions that my gouvernment is not able to deal with it anymore. The problem is a minority with an appetite for blood and violence, that is making a much bigger impact than the ‘peaceful majority’. So we can’t pretend it’s not there.
The police are reorganizing, getting combat uniforms, much heavier weapons, learning how to respond to heavier weapons. If they are basically preparing for war… and at the same time there is no way the gouvernment wants to deal properly with the small group that causes these big problems, I’m really worried about the future sometimes.
I’m an islamophobe. Apparently that’s a bad thing.
But yes, that’s what I am. I have a real FEAR for islam. I don’t like having a fear for a certain group of people, but when a certrain group of people displays a certain kind of behaviour on a regular basis, and they do things as horrible as terror attacks… the only appropriate reaction to that would be… “fear”.
Today, a man was decapitated in Lyon, and his head was put on a fence. Decorated tastefully with islamic state flags. Radical muslims murdered one innocent man and tried to murder several others. Their attack wasn’t fully “succesful”, because they planned to do much more damage.
Sadly, in Tunesia… many innocent people were murdered. On a beach. Tourists. Innocent people who were just enjoying life. There are Belgians among the victims, I haven’t heard yet if they are dead or ‘only’ wounded.
Terror always makes people angry, because it’s the lowest of the lowest thing imaginable. And still our filthy gouvernments keep bringing in so called refugees from these terror countries, where the people only have terror, death, hatred and their sick, disgusting ‘islam’ on their mind.
Today the free world celebrates with America that finally in all their 50 states there’s equality of marriage for everyone. It’s f-ing 2015 but finally…. we are getting there! I, a religious orthodox Jew, celebrate with the free world. And why is this, one might wonder?
I can tell you a very simple answer to that. It’s because I was educated as a child not to hate others. In fact, I was educated to respect each human being, no mather the gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, looks, or even no mather how much dumb things a person might say.
Respect and love for all! Also for Islam.
I remember a picture in my book. A girl wearing a headscarf peeking out of her front door while a Golden Retriever walked by. “This is Fatima. She loves dogs. But she would never touch one or allow it to come into the house, because to her, dogs are unclean animals”
I loved dogs too. Something Fatima and I had in common. It didn’t bother me that for her dogs were not acceptable as pets.
Another picture in my book. Two good looking men, laughing together. “This are Teun and Dirk. They are homosexuals. It’s normal in our country, that two men get married. We don’t frown upon two men who hold hands in public”.
Fact accepted in my child-brain. Until this very day. It must have been… 1990?
And then… Islam. The religion that is taking over my country of birth, and also the country where I’m living now. The religion that is causing nothing but trouble in the country where I’m headed soon. The religion that doesn’t accept dogs or homosexuals. Or Jews. Or ‘blacks’. Or Christians. Or atheïsts. They all are either slaves or should be murdered if they don’t convert.
The respect that we have given to this religion, has not been given back to us. The babyboom generation did not only destroy our economy but also left us with this huge problem: Islam.
But you know what? While most people will convert because that will be more convenient for them, there will be always a resistance. Russia doesn’t embrace muslim terrorists, and neither does China. European politicians have done everything to accomodate Islam and are still doing their best to let as much radical islamist into our borders. A frightening thing really.
A very close friend had to travel with a small taxi van, with the train from Calais to London and saw these so called ‘refugees’ who are now attacking truck drivers, ambushing them, trying to get on board to reach London… He took pictures and saw it with his own eyes, even their van was attacked and there’s a close up from a man who tried to open their door while they were driving. It’s frightening. These people are already agressive and dangerous… If these are refugees, where are their women and children? They left them in their country to wait for IS to capture them? Or what?
Anyway… Not everyone will bow for these maniacs. Some of us will not keep quiet now, or in the future. We will always stand up against the injustice that is Islam. In Iran, women are fighting for their individual right to wear a headscarf or NOT. More and more muslims are unhappy with the radical directions their leaders are trying to take them. More and more actually are starting to see that Jews are not the monsters that propaganda makes out of them, and that Israel actually is a great country for Muslims to live in. That in fact, in Israel for people who are participating in society like a normal human being and not like a maniac who wants to kill everyone else, the life standard is much higher than in European countries.
How far has evil driven me…. ME… a person who loves and respects everyone no mather what… to say: enough is enough! NO MORE OF THIS!!! I will fight against this injustice, not by decapitating people, but by simply speaking my mind. Islam is an evil that must be stopped. The individual Muslim that believes in ‘conspiracy theories’ and blame every terror attack on the mossad, should be stopped. Those who go to Syria and come back completely crazy, should be stopped. Those who force hijabs and any other kind of clothing on anyone else… etc. should. be. stopped. Go away.
Muslims who respect non-Muslims in general, but also specifically: gays, Jews, blacks, dog lovers, atheïsts, and so on, they have a place in our society. Those who dress in traditional clothes, also have. But only if it’s their free choice and they let others live in peace and decide for themselves.
They can contribute to our society, but not determine in what direction we are going. Because we fought long and hard for our freedoms and it’s an ongoing process. We will not accept to go back in time instead of ahead.
In the meanwhile, we mourn for the 37 deaths in Tunesia, and the death of a man in Lyon. And we hope and pray that there won’t be more attacks over the weekend.
Being critical towards yourself is very important. It’s for me by far the best way to move ahead in life, to grow, to learn from your mistakes, to become a better person. Being critical towards ones own ‘group’, be it a family, a religious group, an ethnic group, or something less serious like… a book club (sorry I can’t think of a better example). It’s always important. And to be able to laugh at yourself will make it easier to be able to deal with other people’s criticism.
But it’s not easy, to be critical towards your own group of people. Not half as easy as being critical towards those that you consider ‘the others’. In my case it turns out to be hard, to be openly critical of the community that I’m part of. When I started this blog it was because I felt the need to talk about things. I wanted to be honest, open, put it all out there! There are some things here that because of how absurd they are, make good stories! And at the same time… No…
I don’t want people who read this to think: “with her as a friend, you don’t need enemies anymore!“
My fear is that things I will write will reinforce certain people in their prejudices about Judaism, and I don’t want to do that. I want to be honest and fair, certainly mock everything and everyone and make my stupid jokes… But it shouldn’t become like ‘gossip’. It won’t be constructive to just complain. So, it’s hard to walk this fine line. Judaism teaches us anyway that it’s best never to talk (gossip) about others at all. So, I will try to follow this good advice and just talk about myself then and be critical towards my own actions. I still know I will fail now and then. :P Maybe saying too much, or not enough.
This afternoon I gave a tour to a lovely non-Jewish friend, (actually, she’s Babe’s fysiotherapist!) around the Jewish neighbourhood where we live. I feel after traveling to many Jewish communities, that Antwerp has something unique about it. It’s very oldfashioned. No wonder that many tourists come every week to get a glimpse from this place.
Because we are about the same age, my friend and I had similar childhoods. And we have a lot in common, despite leading very different lives as adults. And it’s nice for me to be able to show her an inside look of my life, what is seen by many people here as ‘a hidden world’, impossible to enter because the community is so tight knit and closed towards the outside world.
It’s been a good tour. I felt a certain pride, showing her the area, explaining things about our culture and (sometimes wacky) habits. And ofcourse I had some awkward stories to share! Like about the time when a lady (with the best intentions) sold me a minimizing-bra to take my modest style of dressing to a higher level. I then learned about my personal limits, how far I am willing to go along with things, and what is definately ‘too far’ for me. The bra had a flying lesson as soon as I came home after a long working day and has never been seen or heard of again. But it makes a good funny story now.
So now I really have to think, I do want to write certain things down but I don’t feel this blog is the best place for those particular stories.
It’s our obligation to open our mouth when injustice occurs. It’s not optional.
Like many, I’m shocked by the most recent shooting in Charleston, where one man murdered nine innocent people. Because of the colour of their skin.
Murdered in a church, during their prayer. It brings back the horrible memories of the murder that happened in Israel last year, where in a synagogue during morning prayer, five people were murdered, the finest. The most innocent. Just ordinary people, who never in their lives harmed anyone. Blood everywhere, on the floor in a house of prayer. And now it happened again in Charleston. The finest, most innocent, best people. Murdered by a monster while they were praying.
America, the land with weapons for sale like we are talking about selling tuna sandwiches. Something european’s can’t and will never understand, thankfully! But you know what? The slaugtering that happened in Jerusalem, makes clear that even if haters can’t get a gun, they will choose another weapen of choice. Knives, axes, a car… Hell, in Israel we have seen terror attacks with a ballpoint.
You can’t prevent it completely. You can’t put armed guards in front of every place where minorities or perhaps I should say the unwanted elements of society gather to do whatever it is they do. In Israel the gouvernment placed concrete blocks on strategical points, to prevent crazy people to kill other humans with a car or bulldozer (as we also have seen twice in recent years). They put armed guards and metal detector gates at entrances. There are high walls and fences, to prevent rocks and molotov cocktails being thrown.
So, the enemy simply digs tunnels. If people want to do evil, they will try to find a way. Blinded by hatred, they are not easy to stop. A gouvernment can’t wrap their civilians in bubble plastic and watch over them 24/7 to make sure nothing happens. Monsters full of hatred… they will find a way to do harm.
But why the hatred…? I had this idea in my head for a few days, imagining that if we educate our children, let them play together, Jew with Muslim, black kiddo with white kiddo… If we create every opportunity to let the children be friends… Then the world of tomorrow would look different. Or wouldn’t it..?
There are a lot of similarities between the hatred that Jews and people with a dark skincolour have to endure. There are also differences.Both have in common that we have to listen to the assumptions that ‘the others’ have about us, without even getting to know us. We are already condemned by the assumptions. More often than not it’s pointless to try and get people to chance their minds about the assumptions they have. They know better than we.
Oh, so you are Jewish? So, you must be really good with money, you must have a nose for business, *drums role*, surely you must know a lot about diamonds, you were born knowing how to play the violin (like a mosquito knows things from birth), you must be a cheater, a liar, have a very high IQ, and your life is basically a lot like in the movie ‘Rabbi Yaakov’ with a lot of dancing and singing. (And every now and then you kill a Christian child to use the blood for your matzah!)
Oh, you are black…? You are naturally a super good runner or basketball player, you are slow, you are lazy, unemployed, you have a strong accent, you are not intelligent… You must be a gangster, rap comes as natural to you as playing the violin comes to a Jew, you rape our women, etc.etc.
People have assumptions about you. They don’t have to get to know you, they don’t want to.
You belong in the ghetto. Another something Jews and Black people have in common. We live in ghetto’s, together with our own kind. ‘The others’ want us both to assimilate, to be like them. But a Jew can un-jew himself as much as a Black man can change the colour of his skin. Not living up to the standard, the expectations… it’s impossible.
We are different. And we have to actively teach our children, every single generation again and again, that it is okay to be different. Hashem didn’t create just one type of flower, but a whole variety of flowers. If we mix those, we get the most beautiful bouquets.
We are not aware enough of the power of education. If we really understood how powerful education was… if only we really woke up…
I have been tought from childhood on, to respect others, no mather race (as much as I dislike the use of that word), no mather the gender, the sexual orientation, no mather what faith you have. In my school I was actively tought that it was a part of society that homosexual couples lived among everyone else, black, white, Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc.
For me it’s normal. And it is such a shock to me to learn that so many people who haven’t been tought this, really have a strong need to disagree and argue with me when I say that. Like talking to a brick wall.
I have no solution. And sadly I have no hope. There is so much injustice, too much. And people are so far from tolerance. From a better world. All people want to do is fight, be right… Be heard in their opinion, no mather how repulsive it is. Mankind is completely lost at this moment.
When the economic crisis started I knew: “this is going to be trouble, no economic crisis has ever been good for Jews”, and it soon proved to be true. And at the same time I saw an enormous increase of racism against black people and foreigners.
Antisemitism and racism are “salonfähig” again, it means that it’s possible to talk about a subject without having that awkward or embarassed feelings about it.
Before, people whispered those awful things that they will shout out loud now, preferably on the internet. But when it was completely not-done ten years ago to say anything bad about Muslims, black people, foreighners… everyone is talking about it all the time now. Openly, no shame, no whispers. Sometimes with disclaimers: “ofcourse they are not ALL bad”, which is only said by those people to enable them to spill out even more venom.
We have to fight it. With words. With education… Never accept it and open our mouths. It will be a work that will never be finished. Not in our lifetime anyway.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their family… All people in America, Europe, or anywhere, who have to live with this feeling in their stomach… “What is going to happen next..?Will I be next? Or my wife/husband, my child, G’d forbid..?”
I sometimes think that if men knew the strange things women do to look as beautiful as we do each and every morning, they’d respect us… even less. I don’t think men even remotely realise how much work goes into looking ‘naturally beautiful’.
When I wake up in the morning, there’s first the battle of removing unwanted hair in the shower. Every. Bloody. Single. Day. I wish Hashem had made me one of those happy blondes with invisible hair. Oh yes and there’s just general washing in the shower too, of course. Then, a quick facemask… Then a ‘repair’ creme and afther that, one more protective layer: my day creme. While I have my second coffee, that’s supposed to been soaked up by my skin and make-up can begin.
First, plucking eyebrows. (No, you can’t do those in the shower…) My eyebrows are black so if one hair is ou of place, it’s as big and visible as a tree. I call myself “Bushmaster Harry” if I don’t do my eyebrows for three days. “Sorry, I’m Bushmaster Harry”today. I HAVE to pluck them during this Skype call or cup of coffee we’re having… Or else!!!”
Then, I try to even out my freckled skin by a fine layer of foundation. Basically I do this to fool people into thinking that I have healthy, glowing, perfect skin, which many actually seem to believe. With freckles who are there, just more like ‘angel kiss kind of freckles’ instead of someone shooting randomly at my face with a freckle machine gun.
You know. Subtile freckles. There, but at the same time not-really there.
Then, I draw on my eyebrows, as I like to call it. Or fill in the gaps, as the girl from the YouTube tutorial who tought me, called it. Because hair on women does this strange thing! It grows like a f-ing weed where we don’t want it, and it’s not present (enough) where we want it. In my case my eyebrows are a bit asymmetrical anyway and they have some thinner patches. So, on they go.
After my eyebrows, I begin to use several (natural) tones of eyeshadow to make my eyes look larger. They are big and brown, but according to modern fashion standards they need to be bigger. And browner. So for that last part, I use blue eyeliner that goes sort of ‘inside’ my eyes, so it’s there, but not really. You see it, but you don’t see it at the same time?
Makes sense, guys? Still have some respect left for me? Well, you just wait it will disappear when you hear the rest.
Next is putting blush – redish powder – on my cheekbones (and a dot on my forehead). To make my big fat head look thinner. Or in nicer words, to give me a healthy glow. In the summer I also use some shimmering peachy colour to make me look shiney and young. (it works! I look 29 instead of 30!)
Mascara ofcourse. At least two different kinds, one for length and curl, one for more volume. I have nice lashes naturally, but ofcourse according to modern standards, eyelashes (and everything else) are never good enough naturally, and need to be longer, bigger, curlier, better, whatever…
Lipstick looks (in my own opinion) totally weird on me and makes my teeth look yellow so I don’t use it much. I have a lipgloss that I purchased, which happens to be the exact colour of my lips. So besides making me look like I ate something greasy, it’s not really doing much. Either good or bad. So every morning when I do this ritual. Of basically drawing a fake face on my real face…
I wonder about this stuff. To be honest, I love make up. But if you really think about it. Really I mean… It’s a bit ridiculous. Why do women do this? And why don’t men do it? Or something similar.
Society is so terribly stuck in patterns of thinking. About men and women. About sexuality. And I really feel that we are a generation who loves to put everything upside down and rethink and reïnvent all things that we accepted as normal for so long.
I mean, look at the girls on internet, who decide to stop shaving their armpits. Clearly I’m not one of them, because of my beforementioned morning ritual (… she hurried to add!)
German women haven’t shaved their armpits for centuries, and we all gagged when we saw their hairy armpits on the beach in summer, and on their yaghts sailing into the Netherlands. But this generation… Hairy armpits is a sign of rebellion! It’s no longer okay to gag, or to judge the non-shavers. They are the ones saying: “Women have hair! We are hairy, just like men!” And rightly so! We do! Well done girls!
If you think about it, most of these accepted norms in society go back to one idea: men and women are not equal. Men can do things, that women can’t. And because why? Sexuality.
Men can be hairy like apes, all over. Women can’t be. Why? Because for women it’s not considered attractive/sexy. Personally I don’t mind hairy men. Not gorillaman-hairy. But preferably hairier than me. So I don’t feel like I’m the man.
Men can go around without a tshirt, if they really want. Not that they all want this. But really, if the time and place is not too awkward, no one will stop them really.
Women can’t because it’s too sexy. Women have to make a conscious choice in every situation to determine if her breasts are exposed or covered enough, according to what the situation demands, boob wise. If you go to a job interview, if you go to the supermarket, if you go to work, pick up kids, go out. Or heaven forbid… breastfeeding their child in a public space!
“How much sex does this job-interview demand from me? Well, lets put the push-up on then today, shall we girls?”
If you look at the orthodox Jewish world, rules that make difference between men and women go even further. Women are to dress covered up, no mather how hot the weather is. Hair needs to be covered, elbows and knees should be covered (which I think is a good thing in the case of knees, because they are totally repulsive). Women and girls shouldn’t wear shoes that make too much noise while walking, shouldn’t laugh or talk too loud in the street, and certainly not sing. And not run. But speedwalking seems to be okay. In some cases girls are not allowed to ride a bike, or only until age 12. Some women don’t drive a car, because that will attract a man’s attention to them. A scooter or motorcycle is also off limits.
Men can do all these things. Because, long story short: sex.
And before you start to think: “oh oh, there you have it, those damned religious Jews again, the root of all evil, etc. etc.”
NO! That’s not being fair! At least they can explain to me WHY they do want these things and in the end, in Judaism people have the freedom of choice to not go along with this anymore. Family might not like it and even break contact, but no one will get killed, like in other religions.
What I find much more disturbing is, that in modern non-religious society people are stuck with similar ideas, which is in my opinion much more ridiculous because the ideas are unfounded. They have their base somewhere in Christianity but with all do respect, unless you are Amish or something, I don’t really take people’s Christian faith very serious, because of the hypocrite randomness of how it’s been put into practise.
So someone explain to me… Why is there so much gender inequality? Why can’t homosexuals get married, like heterosexuals? I don’t mean in a church, just in a city hall. And why do we freak out completely over transgender people? Why is there still so incredibly much racism against people with a different skincolour? Why do women need to meet all the ridiculous standards that society has set for them? And why have men already won every race in life, just for the sake of being the gender they were, not by their own accomplishment – born with?
And, more questions… Will this generation who is so fanatically trying to break free from these stereotypes, not fall into the trap of chopping the whole head off, just for having a toothache? Because that has proven in history to be a fatal error too, thinking about how society in Europe was just before the holocaust, going overboard with their liberalism, and then creating an excellent climate for the prude nazi’s (who had more on their program than only exterminate the entire Jewish people) to step in and take over…
We need to rethink and reinvent our society. There’s an urgent demand for it and it’s imho every generations duty to do this. But if we are not careful, the next big religion (with strong desire to convert) is standing in line, waiting for it’s turn. We have to watch out not to get thrown 1200 years back in time, just because we are not so sure on how to go about the (maybe last?) phases of our own enlightenment.
Part of me wants to curl up on my mothers lap and cry my eyes out. I feel emotionally drained, even though today has been another one of those ‘the best days of my life’.
I’m so bad at saying goodbye… My best friend suggested that we are not going to say goodbye, instead we’ll pretend that I’m only moving to a house just around the corner. I could totally go along with that.
There’s so much going on right now. This morning we got the official permisson to make aliyah. To go and live in the land that I have always admired, which name was always sweet as honey on my tongue… I’m so unspeakably happy to go there. (I’m not sure that unspeakably is a word, or just a Dutchism). Not that I’m convinced it will be only a great success without any difficulties. But I’m glad for the chance, for the honour too, to live in Eretz Yisrael.
Today we said goodbye to dear friends who are moving to America. We said “see you [soon]” (tot ziens) and off they drove, out of our lives. It will not be a week or a month before we will see them again. Next time will be a year, year and a half. That’s okay, but it seems way too long right now. Not only is it saying goodbye to them as a family and individuals, but in fact a very special period has ended with their leaving. They were the rabbi and rebetzin from the synagogue near my hometown, and they did great work there for the people. A small community. Unique. We became religious Jews there. I don’t want to go into descriptions because they would never be enough to make any outsider understand how special and dear this place is to me. (No offence, it’s not you, it’s me, etc. ;) )
And it’s funny how when I think of feeling at home in a shul (synagogue), this was my home-shul. With the rabbi doing the service, the small, beautiful old building, with it’s amazing acoustics and his particular voice saying the full prayers out loud so the rest of the people could follow along.
Once you leave your parents home, to go study or whatever, you can never go back. I left my parents home and my city and returned there about six or seven years later. What I had left behind, what I had missed so badly in those years… it was gone. I looked for it everywhere, and even though I had the feeling of getting a glimpse, it never turned out to be the same.
A few weeks ago (lag ba’omer) I was in my home-shul and cried quietly during mincha prayer because I knew that was the last time I would ever be able to be at home in that shul, or any other. And at the same time my heart knew that there might be a chance that I will one day, enter a shul somewhere in Europe, look around and get that feeling… goosebumps, thinking: “this reminds me so much of… home…”
Remembering the happy times, but mixed with that weird sweet pain of realising that it’s not the real thing after all.
I had to say goodbye to my dear friend Lisa, who passed away without warning. Although I didn’t know it, but I had been saying goodbye to her during one shabbat, because we were all constantly talking about her and remembering the good times we spent in Hawaii with her… then to find out after that shabbat that she had passed away in her sleep. I guess that kind of goodbyes are better for me. The ones that you don’t realise are little goodbye moments. Or ‘parties’ if you like. (goodbye-party. contradictio in terminis!)
No. Really. I’m really, really bad with goodbyes. Emotional wreck ugly cry kind of bad. I felt the past months like it was a good idea to see some friends again who I don’t see often. Just for a coffee, an hour… Thirty minutes even if they were really busy. But most sadly declined to have me over for petty reasons when I was in the area. The last weeks now are for my parents, my best friends. Just to spend time and make more of those ‘best days of my life’ kind of memories. Doesn’t have to be big. Can be breakfast on a random Monday morning. I think those kind of things are the best in life anyway.
And thankfully. Having breakfast on a Monday morning is exactly what we have planned.