During a work outing several years ago, my colleagues and I were given an opportunity to make ocarinas out of clay. While the others created instruments that looked like delightful sea creatures, dragons and other fictitious members of the animal kingdom, I suspiciously stared down at my lump of clay without coming up with a single idea. In the end, I created a simple, goofy smiley face on one side, and on the other, I wrote “My talents lie elsewhere”, since when it comes to envisioning and creating my own piece of artwork, I’m utterly and unapologetically hopeless.
That’s not to say that I don’t love art however, for I do – it often brings me great joy. I can, quite happily, spend hours wandering aimlessly through art exhibitions and galleries, and the genre of naïve art (discovered after I visited a naïve art gallery in Tel Aviv for an article I was writing) seems to reach into my soul and make my heart race with emotion. It touches me in ways that I simply cannot describe. I love the colors, the detailed intricacies woven into every scene that invite me to stop in my tracks and stare in open-mouthed wonder…
And now I’m going to let you in on a little secret. (more…)
You don’t talk
Or catch my eye
As I walk by
Cross the street
Change your path
I don’t exist
Erase the past
One by one
Destroy them all
Until it’s done
Forget that we
Were ever friends
I don’t exist
It’s all pretend
Lives and souls
That never touched
Laughed so much
Love and trust
I don’t exist
It breaks my heart
Picture created by Talya Shachar-Albocher
I know for a fact that there are Israelis who think I’m crazy for choosing to leave the United States to live in Israel – I know it because they tell me. Repeatedly. It’s not all Israelis or even most, but those who do have a tendency to question my sanity for reaching such a decision. They aren’t interested in hearing about my former identity as a Diaspora Zionist or my pro-Israel campus activism. They’re not impressed that I fell in love with the country when I was just fifteen years old, vowing on that first trip that I would someday move here (much to the chagrin of my parents who, more than 30 years later, are still hoping it’s merely a phase). The bottom line is that everyone wants to know how I could choose to leave a country where the salaries are higher and the living is easy.
Sometimes, I wonder the same thing. I’ve lived here for more than twenty years and have no plans to leave. I do, however, occasionally fantasize about having a life that’s financially easier, a life where I don’t feel compelled to make professional compromises that enable me to take my son to visit his grandparents in America once a year and pay for his Waldorf education. Of course, with the amount of money we save by purchasing Legos in the US, the trip practically pays for itself, but still… (more…)
עכשיו אני הולכת לספר לכם שני דברים על עצמי. אחד הוא שבכל פעם ששואלים אותי מה התפקיד חלומותי, אני תמיד אומרת שאני הייתי רוצה לכתוב טור קבוע בעיתון ה”New York Times“. הדבר השני הוא שקשה לי להפנים את זה שאני אף פעם לא אצליח להתבטא בעברית כמו שהייתי רוצה – דבר שגורם אצלי תסכול נוראי. וזה לא עוזר במיוחד שאני פרפקציוניסטית בכתיבה שלי, משהו שלא מסתדר עם הצורך מדי פעם (כלומר, אני מכריחה את עצמי, כמו עכשיו) לכתוב בשפה שהיא לא שפת אמי.
וכמו שכתבתי קודם, זה מתסכל. גם באופן אישי וגם באופן מקצועי. זה מגביל אותי. אבל לפעמים, יש לי מזל. לפעמים, יש את מי שמוכן לעשות את המאמץ. הפעם, זה מגזין אדם עולם – המגזין של הקהילה האנתרופוסופית/וולדורף בישראל, שהעורך שלו התרשם כל כך מהכתיבה שלי באנגלית (בפוסט הזה, שהעליתי לפורום בפייסבוק של הורי חינוך וולדורף), שהציע לי טור משלי. והדבר הכי טוב הוא שאני אכתוב באנגלית (במקום לשבור את השיניים לכתוב משהו בעברית העילגת שלי), ושהוא יתרגם. לא יכול להיות יותר טוב מזה, נכון?
My son clung to me and cried as he begged me to turn off the news last night. Through his tears, he said that he’d been ok in the morning when I gently broke the news to him that Arik Einstein had died, but that all day long, no matter where he went, people wouldn’t stop talking about it. And suddenly, while watching President Peres eulogize Israel’s greatest musical icon, he simply couldn’t take it anymore.
Not that it was easier for anyone else, of course. I, like so many of my friends and fellow Israelis, labored to get through a day that was permeated with sadness and seen through the occasional haze of tears. We shared memories and milestones that played out against the backdrop of his music, and it seemed that no matter where we’d grown up or what we’d done, Arik Einstein’s songs were seamlessly woven into the tapestry.
Growing up in Young Judaea, his music was as much a part of our collective Zionist identity as Israel itself – so much so, that during the National Summer Convention in 1985, we voted to make the song “Ani V’Ata” (see the transliterated version and a translation here) the movement’s official national song. And yesterday, as I struggled with my writer’s need to convey all that Arik Einstein had meant to me, I remembered that the starting point of my love affair with his music began with that song. Suddenly, I found the words I wanted to write.
You sang that we could change the world
And we believed you as only youngsters can
But really, it was you who changed ours
For we allowed your words to guide us
And as we strove to make a difference
Your music was the soundtrack of our lives
Rest in peace, Arik. Thank you for changing our world and creating the soundtrack of our lives.
1939 – 2013
…יהי זכרו ברוך
So long, my friend; I wish you well
As you embark upon this journey of searching for your self
I understand – you need to go
To walk this path alone
So I wish you strength and love
To help you find your way back home
I hope I cross your mind from time to time
And if I do it’s with a fondness and a glimmer in your eye
That you’ll dip into our well of memories at least once in a while
And that maybe you’ll allow yourself to think of me and smile
It’s not for me to question and it’s not for me to know
Even though I love you – I have to let you go
I’ll think of all the fun we shared and not of what was lost
And be grateful for the gift we had despite the heavy cost
But for now the only thing that I can do
Is let you go and hope you know that I’ll be here for you
And if our friendship’s meant to be
Then maybe you’ll come back to me
But for now, my friend, I wish you well
By the time our son was in pre-school, we already knew that we didn’t want to send him to a regular public school. My husband grew up in the Israeli school system and didn’t like the way it had evolved over the years and I, who had grown up in an idyllic small town in Upstate New York, was disturbed by the prospect of turning my son over to a seemingly problematic educational system that I could hardly relate to at all. We examined our local options with increasing dismay; when someone mentioned Rimon, a young, growing Waldorf school about 15 minutes’ drive away, we jumped at the opportunity to check it out.
We didn’t know anything about the Waldorf philosophy (which draws on Anthroposophy) when we started, and while we were skeptical of certain aspects, there were others that resonated right from the start – the strong emphasis on creativity, learning through art and music, the connection to nature and an appreciation for spiritual values, to name just a few. I have fond memories of the art and music classes that were an integral part of the elementary school I attended, and Rimon seemed to present a curriculum that touched on the best parts of the public school education I’d received. I’d be lying if I said we were completely sold, but given that the pros (including the fact that our local elementary school had approximately 40 children in each first grade class as opposed to the less than 30 students we could expect at Rimon) far outweighed the cons, we decided to go for it. (more…)
Sometimes I feel like I’m just hanging by a thread
Sanity lost in a roadside ditch – barely breathing, left for dead
Scattered bits of mind and soul where brake marks should have been
Attesting to the crash and burn my sanity’s been in
As I bump along the journey of my life
Careening as I do between the laughter, joy and strife
Peering at a map that often makes no sense at all
And I go around in circles, just trying not to fall
‘Cause it’s those jagged sunken holes that seem to trip me every time
They’re hidden in the shadows and the corners of my mind
Trap me in their clutches and try to take me down
Engulfing all my senses and inviting me to drown
And as I wander down my path, I’m still holding hands with fear
Who’s fending hope off with a stick for reasons still not clear
Contentment tries to keep the peace
While optimism praises some new lease
On life – she’s keen to share
As sanity sways just like a drunk
Acting like some stupid punk
And looking rather ill and worse for wear
Logic comes from nowhere, and tries to grab the map
Love decides to take a chance and choose a different path
The crazy gang has run amok and left me to obsess
About the roads not taken and cleaning up the mess
While the sun shined overhead and my husband tidied up the gravesite, our seven-year-old started to sing a silly song. As I gently explained why a cemetery wasn’t really the place for such activity, he interrupted me. “But Mommy,” he said. “I’m singing a song to make Elad smile. Don’t you want him to be happy?” Surprised by his question, I looked at him and struggled to find an answer.
Yogev was five years old when we told him about Elad, the brother who died before he was born. Having discussed it with my husband several months earlier, it hadn’t occurred to either of us not to share this tragic piece of our family’s history. We didn’t want secrets; we didn’t want to create a situation where Yogev turned around years later in anger, demanding to know why we waited so long to tell him, or even worse – confronting us because he’d inadvertently found out from someone else. In short, we didn’t want to live our life with an elephant in the room. (more…)
After picking my nine-year-old son up from school the other day, I asked him to sit next to me on the couch. I told him I loved him, reminded him that I would never be angry at him for being honest and then, with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, proceeded to gently ascertain whether or not he had seen pornography on the Internet while at a friend’s house.
The boy’s mother had phoned me the previous evening and described the chain of events which had seemingly led to her discovery. My instincts told me that if they’d somehow managed to find their way to porn, it was probably inadvertent, and this was the message I did my best to convey to the other mother. Not that it mattered in the grand scheme of things, but if there was any small semblance of comfort that I could draw on, it was in thinking that these sites were reached by accident and not on purpose.
My head was reeling, though. (more…)