7 Movies and Rituals
Dec 21 – 24
“Someone” fired a rocket from Gaza into Israel and Hamas says it wasn’t them, and are indignant that Israel responded. I guess we’re just supposed to let them fire rockets if they say it’s by renegades…. Would you believe that from someone who proclaims repeatedly they intend to DESTROY you?
Movie night: Those of you who’ve tried to talk me into movies, know the big screen is not my preferred mode of entertainment, and yet I found a subject that drew me eagerly into a 4-hour experience. The Prime Minsters: Pioneers and The Prime Ministers: Soldiers & Peacemakers – are separate brilliantly designed productions based on the best-selling book by (now retired) Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Avner, The Prime Ministers. The story told is the inside story from his perspective as a senior advisor to Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Shimon Peres. These documentaries are not like your 5th grade history class, and better than many PBS productions. The famous quote about those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it, is a compelling reason to watch for the films’ Netflix release, or availability on Amazon. The book is available now and guaranteed to satisfy you history buffs, while the movies will entertain and equip both novices and sophisticates with a new level of understanding of the Middle East conflict and the entertaining/human interest value of the personalities, leadership styles, and humanity of these real-life heros of OUR TIME.
The following falls into category labeled “I know you don’t care, but it’s all part of navigating a big move”
My washing machine is finally installed so clean clothes are possible. I was beginning to feel like Pigpen from the Snoopy & Charlie Brown comics. Anyone old enough to recall the swirl of dust that enshrouded him?
The installer kindly visited at 12:30 after several phone calls from me to follow up about our 8:00 – 10:00 “window”. Since the washer had been delivered a week earlier, and I’d been staring at it longingly from my dirtier and dirtier daily wardrobe, I could have KISSED him. He was efficient and I was nothing but grateful. First new washer I’ve ever bought, seems a funny thought.
I listened with my best discernment to his pitch, which I invited, about the water filter and surge protector. The unit is digital and apparently Jerusalem’s frequent electrical surges can blow it, and the water in Jerusalem is very hard (they say, “it has many stones”) so the filter protects the machine’s parts. (Water softener for the clothes would be an additive, like in the U.S.) So, I negotiated the price and then ok’d it for both; this week I’ll ask at appliance stores and check prices of the add-ons I purchased to grade my judgment, whether good or bad, and learn for the next time. Some of you may think, “what’s the point?” but for me, that’s the learning process and to that extent, not much different than I’d do in the U.S. It’s part of my decision making. There were times in my life when I relied on someone else to make those decisions. Not now.
Many here have said winter is so short, and it’s so “dry” that I don’t need a dryer. “Dry”? You call this dry? Visit Denver, and then we’ll talk “dry”. Thus far, my jeans and the very un-plush towels I’ve borrowed are not drying quickly, but we have rain coming, so we’ll see.
Tuesday was a hard day. I took a tour which was fine – interesting, not dazzling – but wrestled with that alone-in-a-crowd dynamic, feeling so very, very different and an outsider. I couldn’t quite shake ALONE, not an uncommon vibe for me that shadowed the day’s otherwise mostly fine events and encounters. To put it in perspective I’m listing a few of the positives:
- Exchanged contact info with a gal who is interested in meeting to practice Hebrew, and seems like an interesting person. I suspect we have some shared history of betrayal and disappointments.
- Nothing bad happened – no accidents or emergencies, etc.
- At our final stop, the tour guide had a skit for us to “perform” and I found myself one of the four volunteers, and received the designation narrator. I love the stage, you may know, in most any form and you’re probably already laughing with me. Many of the 50+ on the tour commented afterwards on my performance and asked whether I act or what… I definitely am missing that outlet in this season of my life.
I returned with a tension headache from too-long without water or food simply because of the logistics, combined with unsettled emotions swirling within. Early in the day, a woman had asked me a personal question, literally because I was different from “them” even though most of us were from the U.S. I was apparently the most recent immigrant, which usually is like being a newlywed – a position that garners happy congratulations and “wow”. But with this group, somehow, I felt more outcast.
So, why the internal crisis? Did one stupid question have that much power? Even though at the time I knew it was an attack of the stuff of being alone: not belonging to this culture in countless ways, being away from loved ones who KNOW and love me, sleeping on my sofa and weary of camping in this apartment. Don’t get me wrong: New friends are wonderful and caring. I have the core creature comforts, but miss the things that make home “home”. Since I don’t have my peeps or routines of friends and dancing and singing and hiking and such, I’m more aware of missing the comfort esthetics of “home”. My art is a big part of that, and I’m especially looking forward to being surrounded by the “people” and scenes and colors that have been the constant in my past homes, through different seasons of my life. My eyes don’t like bare walls and these echo-y empty rooms. I have a folding table and outdoor plastic chairs as a “desk”, and the new sofa, and really, it’s fine. My mattress along with a few other furniture pieces, some kitchen items, and art are scheduled to arrive at Israel’s port on January 5th, and should make its way to me some days after that.
That’s only a few weeks away! I chastise myself for whining because I’m not sleeping on the sidewalk or even the floor. Still, yesterday my ugly self was manifesting self-pity, wanting to disregard that I am loved and included by some, and have had a lifetime of roofs and food and warmth, even during times of limited income and tight budgets. In moments like these, besides being really oh-so-very grateful for my amazing blessings, I take inventory: the preceding few nights had been more difficult and I’d not gotten enough sleep. I’m lonely. My metabolism was out of whack and the headache was relentless. That day was one of many instances when I ask myself why I’m here and what was I thinking, while at the same time telling my same self that this is all part of the process. If this makes any sense to you, feel free to explain it to me!
Thankfully, I had an acupuncture appt that evening, slept 10 hours, and enjoyed the next day’s sunshine, grateful that my clean sheets dried quickly, even on the shaded clothesline.
Rituals: From a distance, I observed many new rituals surrounding the holiday, Chanukah. I’ve been reading and listening to find the back-stories, but have only been able to sort out a few. When others’ don’t understand why we do what we do, they can think us very strange. I’m aware of how little I understand of others’ family, faith, and other traditions. Even daily personal rituals…traditions.
Holidays and everyday life dictate unique rituals for generations. Do you know yours? Do you know the “reasons”? I don’t think my family had much in the way of traditions, and my memories are more along the lines of: for some years it was this way, and then this happened instead and so things changed… In my 30s, I tried for several years to establish traditions, but didn’t seem to have the knack. Eventually, I accepted the reality that what I was trying to start up was only meaningful to me. I still think traditions must have some meaning to the participants; I really didn’t want people doing things only because it mattered to me.
The Denver ladies who’ve been gathering at my home monthly for the past 1 ½ years developed into a sort of tradition I loved. That was precious to me. Many years ago, I had something similar, but with time learned it really meant more to me than the others. I don’t think most traditions can be done alone.
I have some traditions I enjoy without any other people, though, and know for certain God’s presence in those moments- for me it’s a very dear time, but then that’s different from sharing with people known and loved. Many years ago I realized gratitude (to God, for LIFE) was lacking in me – and sought Him to change my heart to one of thankfulness, rather than counting the empties. I welcome the joy of the moment as my tradition of joy… of life… grateful that I can LIVE it. Though the moment may never happen again, or every year with the same people with genuine relationships, I savor the memories and revisit them, AS my traditions, while living today.