Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bush War

Summer seems to infuse the need to be overactive in my bones. This week was full of riding until I was full of sweat. Horseback riding lessons. And conversations about the Moshiach . It went a little like this:
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Inspired man: Rabbi Menachem Mendel is the Moshiach.
Ginrod: Oh yeah? How's that?
Inspired man: He performed miracles, he showed me the light.
Ginrod: He's dead no?
Inspired man: Yes, but he's not. He's around, ya know? His spirit.
Ginrod: really? they say that about Jesus too.
Inspired man: It's all about keeping the Mitzvah's, getting yourself on that higher spiritual plane.
Ginrod: That's cool. I'll worry about keeping the Mitzvah's then, and worry about who the Moshiach is when the time is appropriate.
Inspired man: Yeah, I really need to start keeping Shabbat.
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My outspoken cursing has reached a new level. Motorists here in Israel tend to inch up on green light ,pedestrian crosswalks. Today, a couple scooters, ignoring my presence, blocked me as I tried to cross into the park. I pleasantly flat handedly smacked a scooterist's helmet case on the back of his bike to scare him into following the large painted columns on the ground.
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Sandstorms have hit again, making the sun glow neon-like colors before it sets. I rode myself home along the narrow sidewalks that are even more narrow due to cars parking on the curb. To avoid a run in with a rear view mirror, I steered myself closer to the tall bushes lining the walk. Some bushes are full of leaves- natures little vertical pillars of natural pillow loveliness for a biker. Some have harsh branches, wrapped into knots to trap whatever is stuck in. This particular bush wanted to eat my handlebars and stopped my bike right then and there. I happened to be riding at my same speed as my body tripped to the side and over the handlebars.
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I sat there, for a second, completely dumbfounded. Then glanced around so see if there were any witnesses. Then I laid back on the concrete and let out a big BIG- curse word.
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Then I must have snorted out a breath of steamy air like the horse I rode the night before.
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I rode all the way home cursing and fearful of what this fall would do to my already existent ACL injury. Fortunately, I only have a light V shaped bruise and a stressed out thigh.
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I am returning to the guilty Bush tomorrow and will beat it with a dull stick.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Park


I took a new path today, one I had been curious about for weeks. I would always forget and by the time I remembered- I was a kilometer away. The path winded into the small community of trees along the river that runs through Hiyakorn park. It's hardly a river really, more of a wide stream. I discovered a whole new personality to the park through this path. All the Ponds and waterfalls that decorate it. I found myself following an elderly man on his bike. His muscular calves steadily pushing himself along. He veered himself onto a rocky, off road path along the river. I followed him, peddling at a steady pace to keep up with his muscular calves.
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Everyone was out today. Soldiers were practicing their drills along the running path. A group of barely-men running with a stretcher on their shoulders, a sandbag bouncing on the canvas above their heads. A woman in her professional bike outfit adjusting her teenage son's helmet- who was also matching in his uniform. Teens were glued to the climbing wall and dogs excitedly chased their owners, happily snapping at the air around them. The setting sun made the buds on the trees glow.
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Groups and Groups of people were lying in the grass. I gazed across them, admiringly. One young man caught my eye- he was lying on his side, his long legs sticking out from his cargo shorts and a gray t-shirt. Dark blond hair and wrap around sunglasses. From my distance, there was nothing that didn't remind me of Tsiki. My heart did not stop. It simply began to become extremely heavy and I had to lower my gears to peddle the additional weight.
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There it is, that hidden grief- not as hidden as I hoped. My jaw clenched tightly as I rationalized that I didn't need to cry. I peddled myself home allowing no thoughts.
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As love begins to seep into my heart willingly again, and my days have become crisp and fresh. Memories are a friendly reminder of all it took to get you to the very moment where you are able to breath again. My memories will always humble me.

What it's like to be a Jewess.

I've been a Jewess for around a month now, nothing has changed too dramatically. I mean, before I received my bag of gold and met with the Elders of Zion, I would stand next to a light switch and obsessively flick it on and off on Shabbat. Laughing . Because I could- being a Goi and all.
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I can't do that anymore. But I don't need to, you know- since my soul now is more elevated that those, dare I say it?.. Christians.
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I kid I kid.
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Over the weekend, I watched a documentary about the evangelical cults, I mean- Christians- in Middle America. "That looks like Kansas" I tell my Irish roommate. "It is Kansas" as we watch the evangelicals in action. It's a bit traumatic for me, watching things like that. I'd much rather separate my milk and meat than listen to country twang preaching. Watching the documentary, I was reliving the cultural experience of white-bred, middle-America. There is no place on earth like it. (Thank G-d).
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My new horns are growing right on my hairline. It's messing up my 180 Shekel haircut I just got. I don't know how my other friends do it- I mean, the guys have it easy- with the Kippa (Yamika) and all, they just have to find the appropriate size and walla! It's insta-horn cover-up. The girls- they spend hours and hours in the powder room, shaving them down and poofing their hair so the bumps are covered enough. I've noticed some girls are lucky enough to have their horns in the back of their heads. They don't need to shave them down, they just wear pigtails and no one notices. Lucky Jewess's.
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Despite all the fun of keeping halacha and all, being a Jewess is fun. but I've also met a plethora of JewAsses. I guess their bag of gold from the Elders must be bigger than mine. Not that I'm jealous or anything. I made another appt with one of the Elders. Privately- but in the laws to Yechud, ya know- to re-discuss my bag of gold so I could cut down on working and go back to Ulpan...maybe an apartment purchase as well.
xx

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jacaranda Part 2




















You see? I do not lie. If only we could be as colorful as the Jacaranda Tree when we fall apart.
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Who knew Israel could be full of so much..purple... in May.
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xxx
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Perverts.

I called the police today.
It was the right thing to do, it's been a week and my bike ride home from work has been disturbed by a man that lies on his stomach on the grass.
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I knew it was odd for a man to lie so often on his belly, as he lightly squirmed around, raising his feet above him in disturbing motions.
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At first I thought he was a challenged man, lying there on his belly, eating his ice cream- perched on a hill that overlooks the running path, the skate park, the men doing pull ups.
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Then I realized what he was up to and I was repulsed. Then I realised there were children around and I became alarmed.
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So I called the Police. "You should really have undercover officers monitoring the park" I tried to have my co-worker explain to them in Hebrew. "There are some disturbing people out there!!" I whispered to her as she was explaining the Belly man on the telephone.
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I packed my camera. I am on a mission.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jacaranda Trees

I'm sitting here, oiling my fingers by holding a mushroom berecha between them. "What are those purple trees outside that are in bloom??" I yell into the universe of above my cubicle.
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"Sogol" a voice replies from the office nearby. "It means purple in Hebrew". "What is it in English?". "Purple". "I Know it means PURPLE! but what is the actual trees name in English??"
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"Oh, I don't know".
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Two years ago, the sogol trees blossomed around Pesach. I remember swinging in the park in Maskeret Batya and witnessing that the blossoms from this tree fell in such a mirrored order that it created a colored shadow of itself. A mirrored painting.
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These trees, they stand out from the mild coloring the foliage carries right now. They bring such vibrant contrast to the humidity that is seeping into the corners of Tel Aviv.
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the purple trees don't seem to be part of the system of Israel. Instead, they are a breath of fresh air.
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I realized a lot in the last few days, I realized I'm happy to be living in Israel and doing what I'm doing. As a friend said last night "If I was in the U.S doing the stuff I do here, I'd hate it- it makes it all worth it because it's Israel."
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The headlines in Haaretz make me disappointed. My ride through the park everyday annoys me by witnessing litter in random places, and perverts. Thieves lurk in stairwells to supply the business of second hand bikes. The cat man walks the streets with thoughts of good deeds as he feeds the diseased alley cats. I can only sigh and blow the air into my bangs.
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My laundry man discolors a new skirt so I hand it back to him and say "if your going to discolor it, please discolor ALL of it so I can still wear it" and smile.
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I saw my two Goldfish actually kiss one another in their foggy fishbowl.
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This week is full of pleasant surprises.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

caasi cousins


caasi cousins
Originally uploaded by indybrewd.
i'm really enjoying the fact that I can attach my blog to my flickr. oh technology!! what would I do without!!??

the brown stripes


the brown stripes
Originally uploaded by indybrewd.
Found a pic of Bry and I on our "Nayda&Audi's living room" tour.

Monday, May 14, 2007

noggin

I recently acquired a bike helmet for my 40 min ride to work. I look like a bit of a willy but it keeps my noggin safe from the marauding tel avivians who think that the horn is an adequate alternative to the brake-pedal.
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I am surprised it took me this long to protect myself. It's a bit shameful, that being how I would brave a city with some of the worse drivers in the world because I was too lazy to cover my cranium.
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So my noggin is covered and I feel a bit better about things. Goes to the whole theory that there are things in life that are beyond our control. That which we can control, should be taken care of a little better, to make less of a mess in life when things happen beyond our control.
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I've decided to be a little more careful with a lot of things, it's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mom

It's no wonder Jews are known for staying within their community. The most entertaining fact about my last statement is that: what is the community? This religion is the biggest web of facts, commentaries, solutions, stories, roles, lack there of, disagreements, distrust, celebrations, holidays, there are.
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one perspective is: you are close minded if you only stay in the framework of being Jewish.
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The counter argument is: an individual spends their entire life finding and refining and re-defining their Judaism. Why search for anything else? This takes up a hellavelot of time.
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I told the Bet Din when I converted that it didn't matter if they converted me or not. That my lifestyle wouldn't change and I would continue to study and keep a kosher lifestyle etc etc.
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I realized I lied a bit. Not because I went the other way and wore my underwear on my head and a spandex costume, like a person with the Jerusalem syndrome.
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More so for the reason of the simple role of a convert. One does not convert to a religion just to be the same person they were before. One converts to take on the practices and beliefs (no matter how extreme it may seem to the secular individual) of the religion.... So I realized I lied. I lied because I should have said: I realize my path to learning is very strong, but as a convert I will need to be more aware of certain details that I didn't have to before.
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"you know more about kashrut than I do" says a friend.
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you keep halacha at a good level" says the other.
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And the only answer that makes sense is: since I chose this. I have more of a responsibility. but but but!!!!!.... I am also not perfect- but I'm learning..and will continue to.
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Then I try calling my mom, because you should never forget the role models in life that made you who you are, and right now, I'm homesick for my mom.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

ruminating Ginrod

My bare feet gather specs of sand in between them when I walk across my tile floors. The bottom of my purse is lined with sand in the corners- I have to fluff my bed sheets to make sure the sand bounces off them. These are the signs that summer is hitting Tel Aviv.
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As I was napping Fri afternoon, I started dreaming of Tsiki- as i opened my eyes, my heart froze and I've realized there are so many things I have forgotten- or chose not to remember during the last two weeks. I can't believe all the change that has happened in the last two years. I am such a different person than I was before.
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Saturday afternoon, I found myself cutting some bread and spreading the different dips on my pieces of bread, then slicing them in half and placing them on the cutting board. From there- I would eat my pieces throughout the day, in between walking from my room to the living room, or the kitchen and back. There was a glass of wine from the Kiddish I attempted after Shul which I would sip from and I realized: this is a habit of my father. He would always have his cutting board of his specially ordered, dark bread from the Bakery around the corner in Tulsa. He would spread different wurst's on the bread, cut them in half.. he'd have a glass of cold beer next to his reclining chair. I'd come home from school and he would say "Soozi, ze lebenwurst is prepared on ze cutting board. Help youEhself." I'd run over to him and his breath would smell of garlic and beer as I held my own breath and gave him a big, i'm home- hug.
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Funny how a simple cutting board can flood in so many different memories.
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I was walking last night to the Hilton to hang out with some friends. and the whole "yikes-I'm a Jew" thing popped into my head. Then the other side of the Ginrod asked: what does that mean, to be a Jew? - other than the obvious... why does this feel so important?"
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Then my walking to the Hilton self thought: "hmm your right, aside from the obvious answers..well, are the obvious answers are good enough- aren't they?" Then the other side simply agreed: they are good enough, those obvious answers, either way- your children now will be Yids, and that's all the matters.. for some reason."
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Then I continued my walk- still pretty smug of my life decisions that have brought me to this moment. It took all of me to get to this moment, and now I feel I can walk with my back a bit straighter.