Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Toda Giur

I waited on the steps of the Bet Din, the sign posted said it would be open from 9-10:30, this was my last opportunity to retrieve my conversion certificate before my meeting on Wednesday. I followed the man inside as he pulled out massive yellow folders, packed full of certificates. Or their version of what a certificate is.
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After the first folder, my heart sunk a little. "What if they didn't record my conversion?" I worriedly thought. Halfway through the second folder, I found my passport number. A childish grin grew on my face as I greedily looked at the piece of paper I've been waiting 3 and a half months for.
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The man carefully pulls it out of the plastic lining and checks for mistakes. He pulls out the second copy and does the same thing. I always thought my conversion certificate would be some beautiful, spiritually- influenced looking paper. This was a printout with a stamp on it. "I think my electricity bill looks fancier than this!!" I chuckled to myself.
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After it is folded and in an envelope he places his hands on it. "Do you have a job?" he asks. "Eh? Me? Yeah, sure" I answer. "This is going to cost you". "Cost ME??? Have I not paid enough already??How much???"
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I am in no mood to care too much about the price. I handover the cash and skip away.
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My puzzle is almost completed.
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Sunday, July 29, 2007

I came across things in my home I've forgotten about. Dozens of letters I wrote to my parents whilst in the Peace Corps. I made it a habit, to write them every week about everything: stomach viruses, bucket baths, and sick dogs. My father saved it in a Chinese vase in their dining room.
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I didn't realize I've accumulated glasses for everything. I sit next to three martini glasses I've never used because I don't know how to make one of my favorite drinks: a simple dirty martini.
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My arms and back are sore from two things:
  1. Carrying boxes packed too heavily.
  2. Playing the Wii last night like it was a tournament
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The Ginrod has discovered the Wii. She'll never be the same again.
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Please invite me over to play with you.

Hang Me

Tel Aviv heat is excruciating right about now. My list for the week is the following:
1. Move to new apartment.
2. Officially immigrate to this country. Which requires swimming in a plethora of offices tomorrow.
3. Celebrate my 27th birthday.
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Today is dedicated to working on step 1. In preparation of my move, I went to approximately 5 stores in front of my neighborhood to gather skirt hangers as my skirt wearing habits have exploded since I became a Jewapino.
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Now, when I think of a small clothing store. Well, even a mildly competent human being would be led to believe that indeed, they do carry an extra supply of hangers. After all, clothing must be hung.
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All I asked was for plastic hangers with clips. Everyone looked at me like I was asking for their diamonds. It's like going into a box factory and asking if they had extra boxes and them looking at you like you are a crazy mango. How much are hangers? Plastic ones are probably .02443532243 of a cent.
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That was the most Jew move I've witnessed in a long time. A sweet Russian lady gave me two. She probably wasn't Jewish.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Catching up on my Judaism

I spent Tisha B'av assembling a 3d model with Channahboo. I kinda look at it as catching up on all the years I missed out being the Jewish kid building Jewish stuff.
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Or something like that....
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P.S- 3d models for young children are harder to assemble than I thought. It took us a good while.




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Let the Flips Dance.

This is what the incarcerated in the Philippines do. Let the Flips Dance. Gotta love my countrymen!!
1,500 plus CPDRC inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Cebu, Philippines at practice!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Almost Done

I am easing into my 25th hour of fasting.
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I've avoided the outdoors for fear of losing much needed hydration in my body. I have spent my day lightly working and assembling a 3D model of the 2nd temple (dork right? i know1 but so fun!!). I needed to brush my teeth to get the feeling of cottonmouth out of my mouth. I don't miss eating as much as a large glass of cold liquid.
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Ice Cold Liquid.
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Fresh berry flavored liquid.
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Cold Shower.
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Soup.
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Gazpacho soup.
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Cold, Gazpacho soup.
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My stomach is turning now for it. My sides a bit achy.
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I will step outside in my last hour. And prepare my body to be satisfied with it's cravings!

It's not hard to forget anything.

It is often when my heart aches, when I can't shake my grief off, I simply look at the calendar to know that another 25th of the month is approaching. It's funny how the soul works, an inbuilt cycle of time, connected to your subconscious to remind you that you are not far from your pain.
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Last year, On Tisha B'av, Channah turned to me before we entered the Synagogue, "This holiday is to remember the sadness of the Jewish people, in fasting we aim to feel that humility in sadness". "All I have to do is think about the year before and i'll feel the pain the entire week!" I responded with my dark humor.
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This year, it's not so far from the truth. Last Shabbat, I dropped in for a lunch for the Girlfriends of Fallen Soldiers. I only knew a few girls from my own past and the new recruits from last years Lebanon war are fresh and much younger. "Soooo, who's the newest recruit??" I sit back in my chair and ask half-heartedly to myself before looking around".
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My close friend in the group, Kelly, darts her eyes across the table and nods. "Her, over there- two months ago." The girl turns and looks at me. I don't say much to her, except I put my hand over my heart because it's hurting for the pain I remember feeling at two months. "She's so young" I say out loud to no one as I look at her and she pretends to ignore me. "She's not that much younger than you were a couple years ago susi" reminds Kelly's mother.
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Girls are walking outside for mini therapy sessions with the weathered members. Some aren't ready to make the dark jokes or slip into the public persona of the girl that has her sh*t together, Or the girl that has moved on. "I was so needy" Says Shani, another old friend. "I realize as the years past, I couldn't trust anyone, feelings of abandonment constantly floating around, many years later- I am finally healing." I nod at her,while playing with my espresso cup. I don't know what to really say anymore: I'm not a big fan of hanging out with other women I have my grief in common with. I know how normal the grieving process is and how long it is. I understand the psychology of how I have fears of losing people in my life, but still, I'm not in the mood to be reminded how sad everyone is after all this time. It can break you.
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It can break you. I keep it in a rucksack and sling it over my shoulder.
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As I pick up my things to leave the restaurant. "You'll be speaking for us next week?" Asks Rina, the mother hen of the organization. "Absolutely, and I have Tisha B'av to get me in the mood for the engagement.." I smile sly and walk to my boyfriends car.
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Fast well.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ginrod..simpson style..




















This is my boyfriend and I simpsonized.. i guess we're both a bit browner when we're cartoon characters!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Shabbat afternoon conversation with a Frenchman.

Me: So you're telling me, when you think of that body part. You lose all control?
Frenchie: Yes, it's like, all the adrenaline in my body goes into my nose and I must smack it out of me.
Me: So you just smack yourself in the face and rub your nose vigorously until the thought goes away?
Frenchie: Yes.
Me: Serious? Bellybutton.
Frenchie: (hands in air, smacking begins)
Me: I want to stick MY finger in MY bellybutton!!
Frenchie: no no no!!!
Me: Mu ahhahaha BELLYBUTTON!!!
Frenchie: (vigorous smacking of head and nose rubbing) nooo!! (runs out of room)
Me: & I thought rocking my bum for meditation was odd...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pigeon Pie

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I wasn't able to catch it on time. This young kid was walking in front of the wailing wall. Slowly. .
He would then curve his walk, then walk a bit slower.. then, suddenly, swoop in and catch one of the many pigeons wasting their time prancing on the limestone in front of the Kotel.
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He would pick one up.. pet it a few times, and then let it go.
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When he caught the bird, he looked at me. I struggled to turn my camera on to take a picture. I wasn't quick enough.
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Then he walked off...
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Ballsy one
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Confession of a Ginrod

Dear G-d,
I think about you often. Especially my place in this whole Jewish world I chose to plant myself right in the middle of. I called my Rabbi today. To tell him my guilty feelings of my lack of dedication to my Kashrut whilst on holiday. "I ate vegetarian most of the time, and it took that one moment of hunger weakness to reason myself into eating some fish."... And i don't feel guilty because I didn't know better, I feel guilty, because I know I reasoned myself into eating it For whatever reasons they were." I told him.
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See, I've heard every one's philosophy on just about everything when it comes to their Judaism. I've listened to reasoning in regards to wine, salad's, coffee houses, friends houses, the way they dress, the way they pray, why they do some prayers and not others, why they light candles or don't. The way everyone keeps holidays and don't. I know every angle and I know what I've been taught. I also do not doubt what goes on behind closed doors, but my door is often open.
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The point is: whether people think it's silly, stupid, too fine of detail or not, I shouldn't go prancing around this world reasoning myself out of things I'm pretty good at keeping at home just because I'm on holiday.
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I did feel guilty in retrospect... but from myself being myself, well- I took responsibility that despite knowing whether or not i should do it, i did it nevertheless. I mean, we as humans always feel guilty afterwards. I've always been the person that said: i know your sorry, but if it really mattered, you wouldn't have done it in the first place. Erg, I can be such a hypocrite.
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I mean c'mon. I didn't even break the rules in a fit of passion. It wasn't like temptation of the skin overcame me and I had a love affair with this dead fish and loved it all up. Geez, I can't even blame that I was overcome with passion. I was just sick of being hungry on veggie sandwiches.
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Perhaps I felt even more guilty because what an impression it made. You know, the whole "Ginrod dedicates herself to something and if something so simple can be reasoned out of, what else is there?"
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Worry not G-d. I learned my lesson. Honestly, I know Israel has spoiled me. Things are a lot easier here. Seriously, the guilt from something so silly is simply not worth it. Above all, it's really about my responsibility as a convert. I don't want to be a liar. I didn't have to convert. Is it possible temptation of the fish is stronger than temptation of the flesh? whoa. Dissertation on fish vs. flesh to be presented in my next Shiur.
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xx
Gavriella.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Toilet Paper

I've noticed the world is divided by toilet paper. Thailand was a strictly one- ply toilet paper type of country. Israel is often one- ply with a two ply option. England is strictly two ply. Even in the tube toilets.
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The more western a country, the more ply's.
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My desensitisation for consumerism began whilst in the Peace Corps. Years later, I'm over stimulated with all the accessories and clothing the western world offers. Signs of 75% clearance dance in front of me and my mouth froths. Suddenly, I am a victim of clean packaging and catchy slogans of the west. I am completely entertained of all the musicals advertised in the subway stations. I notice the baby doll cut shirts on every window display and the printed slip on shoes.
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Tel Aviv has all of this as well. I just pretend it doesn't. I like to think that we worry about other things more than what's in the store window. We probably don't.
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xx

Thursday, July 05, 2007

London calling

I'm in London now
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Ah- La La La London now..
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The weather makes me sleep in.
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An excuse for some shopping.
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Ooo La La La London now

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Meow.

My dream was of velvet lined steps which led into an massive room full of people. I was following a pack of cats. The one closest to me was a majestic lion who always walked in front of the other cats. Beside me was a panther, a white tiger, and a lioness. I got the feeling the building we were in was some sort of hospice. Although no one was dying. There were many terminally ill people of all ages. I was there to find a boy.

The cats were with me to accompany me in this journey. None of the sick patients were scared of these cats, although I thought they would be. The lion kept running ahead and I was always losing him in different rooms as the other 3 majestic cats walked with me.
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I've never dreamt of cats before.
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Aside from that, I have ended my previous job and begun a new one. All of this change is pretty exciting as I am always happy to have good change vs. bad change.
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