What hurt most was the lack of recognition / when I bumped into myself last night; / I surfaced by the river / in no light, / and asked myself my name, / old fool that I am - - / till it hit me, by (of all things) / pulling at my leg.
Beit Shemesh is a centrally located small town that started as a backwater, graduated to developing suburbia, and, having inherited from exorbitantly priced Jerusalem both a strong middle class and a sizeable population of hard-line Ultra-Orthodox, is now figuring out how to keep the extravagant promises we all made to ourselves, and those that successive mayors made to land developers. Nucky Thompson and Arnold Rothstein have nothin’ on Daniel Vaknin and Moshe Abutbol.
It is almost the Jewish New Year, and I almost care. As the year begins, I believe the space of the almost is underrated, because wholeness, certainty, and serenity bore me to tears. I feel almost like this is a lazy approach, and almost like it is brave. I feel like there is a lot of energy in almost, and also a lot to mourn.
Rome and Paris are deeply embarrassing cities for artists and writers who have abandoned their craft. Before I became the manager of creative processes in the service of selling a secure future to the Jewish People, I was elbow deep in the creation itself, often simply in the service of the process.
When a heavy box of old junk that another has packed and stored badly *literally* falls out of the pre-fab suburban ceiling and breaks open on the ONE Day out of *hundreds* that YOU happen to be home, and THE OWNER/ PACKER / STORER happens to not be….What is the symbolism there?
On Wednesday, we helped children in a Jewish elementary school in Greece prepare decorations for Hanukkah, the upcoming winter holiday which celebrates the victory of light over darkness, of the miraculous over the commonplace, of Maccabees over ….Greeks . (In Greece, the children learn that the victory was won over the Assyrians. What I would call a nice save. And true-ish.) I cut out shapes of menorahs and sivivonim (dreidels) from colorful paper, and glued them onto large poster paper with a girl named Alexandra and a boy named Niko, who both understood rudimentary Hebrew. How am I supposed to wrap my head around that?
I have always been a fan of the top ten list. I suppose it started with Casey Kasem's American Top 40. (Doing the math? Yeah. Old.) Of course, the top ten format is as old as the hills...actually, one specific hill called Sinai, where, tradition has it, God's Top Ten was revealed amidst much noisy weather, on this, the Shavuot festival. Whether He intended it as marketing or humor will depend, I suppose, on your general outlook.