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…)by Liza Rosenberg
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…)by Liza Rosenberg
Husband: No way, José!
Little One: Way!
Yet another notch on the American slang bedpost, my friends…by Liza Rosenberg
What follows below is the text for my final daily diary entry for the BBC World Service radio show “The World Today“. The audio link for this show can be found here, and includes a response from one of my counterparts in Gaza, Mr. Omar Sha’ban, an economist and father who lives in central Gaza.
This is Liza Rosenberg, keeping an audio diary for the World Today. When I tell Israelis that I’ve been keeping this daily diary for a BBC World Service radio show, I’m often met with a pleading response to “explain that Israel had to do this. Explain to everyone how we didn’t have a choice.” While I would be lying if I didn’t say that there are definitely some Israelis who are celebrating what’s been happening in Gaza, most of the people who I’ve spoken to do not feel that way, feeling instead that Israel did not have a choice.
As we entered this conflict, many Israelis were genuinely puzzled by the fact that no one else seemed to understand why we felt this way. Part of me has felt this way also, which I imagine you may have gathered from the diary entries I’ve shared with you since early last week. I’ve been having these terrible feelings of frustration as this conflict has dragged on, being tugged back and forth by events that have happened – Hamas’ cynical use of its civilian population, questioning Israel’s ethics when it fired on a school. I’ve had feelings of sadness as I dealt with a loss of innocence of sorts, as my four year-old son learned that there are bad people who shoot rockets at schools, and his belief that if I were to buy him a sword, he would be able to defeat the bad guys.
There have been times that I felt were incredibly important, times when I had an opportunity to shape my son’s thoughts and wanted so badly to ensure that he understood. When he told me that his teacher explained that there are good Arabs and bad Arabs, I responded by reminding him that there are good people and bad people, and that it doesn’t matter where they’re from or if they’re somehow different from us. I tell him that in Gaza, there are little boys just like him, little girls, mommies and daddies, that they are good people, and that they are probably very scared right now.
As this will probably be my last daily diary entry, I was asked by my editors if I would be willing to conduct a joint interview with my counterparts in Gaza. I thought about it, but felt that I couldn’t go through with it. What could I possibly say that wouldn’t sound hollow and completely ridiculous in light of the fact that my country is destroying his? To say sorry would be so hopelessly inadequate in this situation, I think. I would feel ashamed, embarrassed, helpless. And they might take their anger out on me, which, though misplaced, would be understandable. Or perhaps they would be gracious, and that would be even more unbearable, because I would feel so horribly, horribly guilty. After all, as I sit here in Israel with all of these thoughts, all of these worries about what my son is understanding, these gentlemen are worrying about whether their families will survive another night in Gaza. I’m not personally responsible for anything that’s been happening down there, and I believe Hamas has to realize that there will be consequences to its actions. I want more than anything for there to be peace and quiet for my fellow Israelis in the south. Ideally, I want the same thing for the Palestinians in Gaza as well. As I formulate my words, news networks are reporting that Hamas has agreed to a one-year, renewable ceasefire, if Israel is prepared to meet certain conditions. And I wonder how we’ll ever find our way out of this mess that we Israelis and Palestinians have managed to create.
Thank you for listening.
This essay was written specifically for the BBC World Service.by Liza Rosenberg
The following conversation took place during our trip to the US…
Me: So, Little One, what would you think about coming back next summer for a month? You could go to day camp.
Little One: What’s day camp?
Me: A place where you could go swimming, learn new songs and games, play. There are lots of fun things to do in camp.
Little One: Who would I play with?
Me: Other kids.
Little One: Other kids? What would their names be?
Me: Ummmm…by Liza Rosenberg
I realize that I haven’t been writing much lately, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve been neglecting my blog. Okay, maybe I have been neglecting my blog, but only a little. Just because I haven’t been sharing the usual amount of scintillating, witty prose, I have been keeping busy. To use the technical term, I’ve been tweaking. Adding a few bells and whistles, and polishing the old blogroll. If you take a look at the blogroll these days, you’ll not only see quite a few new blogs listed, but I’ve also added a new category – Writing about Writing, and expanded the Family & Childraising category.
Speaking of family and childraising, one of my new favorite daily reads these days is a blog called Motherhood: The Ultimate Survivor. Without a doubt, this happens to be one of the funniest blogs I’ve ever read. Every single entry has me in hysterics, and unless you’re the perfect mother (in which case, I hate you. Go away…), you’ll have no trouble identifying with Sharon’s trials and tribulations. Oh, and in addition to her fabulous blog, Sharon is also collecting “candid confessions and revelations about mothering experiences” for a project that she’s putting together. If you’ve got some interesting motherhood stories to share, click here to see what she’s looking for.
My other new favorite daily read is a blog called My Shrapnel. Gila was seriously injured in a terror attack six years ago, and recently started a blog to share her experiences. Don’t let the nature of the topic fool you. She writes with an exquisite sense of humor, and while it may be a turn-off for some to see humor injected into such a heartrending subject, as one whose sense of humor has gotten her through some of the darkest times in her life, I can only sit and laugh hysterically as Gila takes us through these otherwise horrific events.
Aside from the blogroll, I’ve added a number of little bells and whistles to make things just a bit more interesting around here. Subscribing to this blog is easier than ever, simply by clicking the links for subscribing in either an RSS reader or via email. Even more exciting is the banner on the right, enticing you to “accelerate your search”. Thanks to a company called Conduit, you can now download the brand new something something toolbar, which includes, among other things, a search option (using the Google search engine), a link to the new something something chat forum (allowing you to sign in and chat with other something something readers in real time), a configurable email notifier, a news ticker (using a selection of feeds that were handpicked by yours truly), a link to online radio, a configurable weather link (which defaults to the location where your computer’s IP address is based), and, most importantly, a link to this blog.
I’m still playing around with the configuration options, but the toolbar is up and running, as you can see if you click the image above. Download it, play with it, and be sure to keep clicking the button labeled “lizarosenberg.wordpress”, which takes you back to something something.by Liza Rosenberg