יום רביעי, ינואר 31, 2007

That's How I looked when I was in Kitta Alef (first grade, year one etc).
I am to the back. Bad hair day, no doubt.
The lovely girl in the red Top is my very wonderful friend Merav A.

Etgar Keret in English

Click on the title and get to listen to Radio4 recording of his Short stories.
(Yes, I still listen to Radio4)

יום שני, ינואר 29, 2007

On the coming Thursday, 13th Shvat, it will be my father`s Yeurzeit, Eight Years.
In the last two years I didn't travel to Israel for it, and I had a memorial evening for him in London. One year I taught about Ethics of Beauty, and last year I had a frog auction and raised money for Chai.
This year it feels different, I don't need to do something to feel I take part. I am here, I will go to the cemetery on Friday.

In my family its a tradition to die and ruin a Jewish Festival - we had death on Sukkot, Chanuka, and eight years ago Tu Bishvat was part of the Shiva. This time of the year is hard for me. I started my job in the Jewish Agency two weeks after my father passed away, and this year I am starting a new job on the same day he died. As if he is watching, as if he is allowing me to make changes. Because that's what he was for me. Someone who believes in changing and growing. He taught me how to play chess, I was very angry one afternoon and he realized this kind of game might tame me.
He showed us to ask more from life, never let society decide for you. He loved Jazz when that was the worst thing a frum boy can do, He studied philosophy and although being a shy person he always said what he thought and believed in. He taught me philosophy. he showed us what pluralism means. He loved studying Torah - I remember him sitting with the Parashat Shavua or Talmud, with a cup of tea and studying. Or sitting in the study, reading or writing listening to Jazz.

He was a very healthy man, handsome. He was vegetarian, didn't eat much, never had junk food, ironically he suffered from Cancer in his stomach. He said it happened to him because he was to frustrated with many things, i guess I learnt a lesson from that too.

I used to dream about him, vivid tangible dreams, I haven't dreamt of him for awhile now. I assume I learnt how to live without him. Eight years ago I couldn't imagine my life without him.

I hope he is proud of me, of what I am doing. Of writing and teaching, and loving music and being kind to people. I assume he would liked to see me married by now, with few kids around to take care of, So would I.

So If you happen to read this piece to this point I thank you, If you want to do something in his memory, his name is David Chavkook ben Ester v Yehuda.

יום ראשון, ינואר 28, 2007

Got into Flicker, and I love it!!!
Any idea how can I put a link from the blog to my Flicker page?

That will be well cool!
Went out to celebrate a friends Birthday in town, we set at Seven - its on Yaffo st. The place is a gastro-bar with lots of finger food. Which was a big change for me - I can actually order food if I want to. Keeping kosher is fun in Jerusalem!

Always walk

Thursday night I was on my way to meet S , she just came back from the states, and we decided to meet up at a nice place at Emek Refaim.
I decided to walk to the restaurant - its just 30 minutes away from me, and I can use some excrises.
AS I turn to Emek I recognize three people from the distance walking towards me.They are familiar, but they don't fit Jerusalem, not the three of them together, they are from somewhere else.
they were 3 people I know from South Woodford - a couple that made Aliyah a while ago, and their friend. I am used to see the couple around, but the combination of the four of us standing together chatting about Israeli prices, Jerusalem finest kosher restaurants, threw me back to many Shabbat meals we spent together.
Also something about the walking hit me - I used to see them all walking, on Shabbat. after shul, on the way to shul. Walking.


J was the first to use this word, I remember I looked quickly in the dictionary to find it meaning, discovering that my laziness has a scientific name. Later on M admitted to suffer from the same thing.
So now, I have 3 ppers to write to uni, I am not working this week, and this morning I managed not to write because I was busy with:
1. Burning CD`s to my Itune
2. Chatting with friends from London through skype
3. Tidying my closet
4. Arranging my next dentist appointments
5. uploads photos to flicker - I am there as shlomiti

I really should start writing, I am starting g a new job I wont have time to write I have only 4 days to write, but nothing,no inner motivation what so ever,
I am very lazy..... Well, I am not lazy actually. I am just in the middle of a procrastination session.

יום חמישי, ינואר 25, 2007

Just got back from the dentist. Would you believe that? Still alive.
I realized how much I aged. The dentist is younger than me. Or I am older than him. Same same.

יום רביעי, ינואר 24, 2007

Sunrise in Jerusalem Kislev 5767
It must have been an earely Tuesday morning, I usually wake up early on Tuesdays to drive to Beer Sheva. The view is from my living room, its to the North East so you can see Mt olives on the far left. Old Jerusalem, New Jerusalem on a Tuesday morning. If only everything was as simple

More Sunrise in Jerusalem

More Sunrise in Jerusalem

Here is the Dvar Torah I wrote for taste of Limmud.
If you want to subscribe to a weekly Dvar Torah email: tasteoflimmud@limmud.org

And Moses answered: With our youth and with our aged will we go, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go, for we must hold a festival for G-d" (Exodus 10:9).

The Jewish understanding of freedom of worship implies participation from the whole community – the young and the old, men and women. Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch (The Rashar Hirsch) points out "…For we are all to form 'chag l'hashem' as a circle about G-d. G-d calls us to Him, with all our possessions, about Him"

The Rashar Hirsch understands the word chag not as a noun i.e. a festival, but as a verb – in the meaning of gathering around, circling. Our way of worshiping G-d is gathering around Him, in a circle, as a community.

The Egyptian understanding was different; in their eyes only men should worship G-d. We learn this from Pharaoh's answer: "Go now you that are men, and serve G-d, for that is what you desire…" (Verse 11). In their ruling, only men are needed in worshiping G-d. Women should stay behind.

If we reflect upon women's role during the Exodus from Egypt we will come across Shifra and Poa – the Midwives, keeping the Jewish male newborns alive. We will find Miriam, sending Moses off on the Nile for a better future in the Palace. Meor Ha'afela, (a Yemenite commentator from 1329, under the name of Netanel Ben Yeshia) sees Miriam singing at the opening of the Red Sea as halachic (legal) evidence for the obligation of women to pray. The Talmud in Sota 11a tells us more about the immense role women had in that generation: Because of those righteous women we were redeemed from Egypt.

Another commandment we come across in this sidra is to tell the next generation about the hardships and the miracles we experienced in Egypt. What do we pass from generation to generation, regarding women's participation in the Exodus story, or any other aspect of participation in Jewish life?

Research led me to a book by Avraham Grossman: 'Pious and Rebellious: Jewish Women in Medieval Europe'. In this book, Prof. Grossman collected evidence about women's participation in Jewish life, and shows us that the image we might have of the participation of women in observing Jewish law is wrong. From Medieval days, we have testament about women that were mohel(ot) (performers of circumcision) and shochet(ot) (ritual slaughterers). We can find evidence for women wearing tziztit and joining zimun (collective call to grace after meals) with men. Rabbi Eliezer from Vermiza (1165-1230), a great Ashkenazi Chassidic Rabbi, says in the tribute to his wife Dolce after her death: "In all the countries she taught women, singing nigunim (melodies), would arrange the evening and morning prayers, would be the first and last at the synagogue."

Next time we think about Jewish women's participation in synagogues, or any other aspect of communal Jewish life, let's not name it automatically as a 'modern' or 'feminist' action. Actually, it's quite ancient, and was passed to us from generation to generation, with one main aim – to be part of the circle around G-d .

יום שלישי, ינואר 23, 2007

Driving today to Be`er Sheva, I jiggled with the music, bit of 88fm, bit of Galatz, then I listened to the cd I had in the car. It was Coldplay`s X&Y. They are ok, dont get me wrong. But thier sound is not the right soundtrack for road number 40 - heading to Be`er Sheva. It fits London, Jerusalem in the winter. not the Negev.
Quite ashamed to have a Katzav as a president. I hope he will resign tomorrow.

Where do I belong?

Last week just before the writing workshop started I saw one of my class mates, we have known each other for 14 weeks, and as you know I am quite vocal, I have few opinions and thoughts to share, you know. So one can understand my cultural background, my millier. Right?
So she sees me and asks where was I born, she is surprised to hear I was born in Israel, but she insists I am a foreigner. She tells me I do look and sound like someone not from here. And she goes on and on. Luckly class starts.

What can I say. Maybe I dont belong here, maybe I belong somewhere else. Maybe I belong to few places, maybe none.

Maybe Belonging is not for the 21st century, or just not for me?

יום ראשון, ינואר 21, 2007

Crazy about Crazy

I drove this morning to work in the rain, everything was gray and gloomy. Tears appeared, the cars around me were stuck, no where to go.

And then Crazy was played on the radio, and slowly the day got better, still cold and miserable, but better.

יום שבת, ינואר 20, 2007

My mother told us that in the hospital she works at they opened a (kosher) Macdonalds.
It makes a lot of sense.
Its like a dentist selling lots of choclate at his clinic, or dry cleaning selling paint.
I find this worrying.

יום חמישי, ינואר 18, 2007

בני בתירא 8

מורחת ליפסטיק אפור על פצעי הגדר
מכסה ערוות עוני בנוצות שקיעה ורודות
משביעה שלא נעיר את האהבה ולא נעורר
מבקשת את האתנן מיד, ללא הטרדות
ואני דופקת אותה בחזרה,
בשבילי את לא עיר הבירה
את סתם נוף
בני בתירא שמונה דירה עשרים ושלוש

יום שלישי, ינואר 16, 2007

Sometime happiness sneaks into your
life, an unexpected movement in your
hands marks the appearance of
a longed guest. Clean the room
open the window its in your

יום שני, ינואר 15, 2007

יום ראשון, ינואר 14, 2007

Poem for the coming week - by Israel Eliraz


speaking of a thirst that grows stronger
until I can't imagine
it anymore except

as the real thing which can't
be other than itself.

Beyond the kitchen wall, over there, in the world
things happen that are

the strong material reality woven of wild
lines, which are a sort of
urgency, of happenstance.

The music like a bright hand scatters slips of paper:
to the sun!

There is a parking space next to the gaze, we'll set out
from one material reality
to another

© Translation: 2006, Gabriel Levin
I was told I am too angry, that my body wants and needs to release all this anger.
I agree I am angry. for many reasons, mostly because I am in pain.
But the problem is the solution - what do I do with all this anger???
Is there a regional anger waste area I can go and throw away what I carry??

יום שלישי, ינואר 09, 2007

Naomi Alderman - Disobedience

This excellant book is now transalated to Ivrit under the title "Mardanut".
Click on the title to read the interview Haaretz had with her, its in Ivrit.

This is the poem..

הסנדביצ'ים חסרי ברגים
גבינה לא מדביקה את חלל המגירות
השולחן כולו מתפורר
לא זוכים להמצא בניקיון של פסח
נבלעים עוד לפני ההפסקה
הגושים קשים ושורטים בגרון
מלכלכים את החדרים
רק שלא היה ריק
I was almost bullied today in a poetry workshop.
This women, that I dislike for many reasons, was mocking a poem that I wrote, she argues there is no importence in its opening line, and no one will climb to the top of the roof and shout this sentence - and she actually did shout it.

I am standing naked in the town squre, everyone is throwing stones, laughing at me as stumble, cry and fall.

Then she says to me - What were you thinking? I want you to explain to me!
And I, calm and polite as Queen Elizebeth, said to her, there is no reason to respond to your question as I find this behavior appalling, and I will not be part of this discourse.
She shuts up immediatly, opening her big dark eyes.

I am wearing my Shabbat best, smiling to the crowd, they throw flowers at me, I wave.

Just Now means...

Right, 12 points to all of you that answered correctly!!
Just Now in South African English means, not now but later.
For example:
I ask my flat mate`s friend if she wants some tea, she answers: Just now.
I start moving myself towards the kitchen,
and I hear her saying - not now, not now.

That is part of the expirience of living in a multi-cultural flat!

יום ראשון, ינואר 07, 2007

About Writing

on the way back from Limmud, I met Gil and Arik - two of the Israeli presenters we brought over. Gil is a foodie who published few (excellent) cookbooks, and Arik published a novel and he is a literature critic in two leading Israeli newspapers. So chatted about the conference, about how great it was, we discussed how it can work in Israel, and the, Gil asked:
As the three of us write, what do we think is the one thing an author must do?
I answered too quickly and said: to avoid self pity. Arik said - Always think about the reader and Gil said - Chuck out all the banal adjectives.

It got myself thinking about what I do when I write, what is this urging need to write. Is it good, bad. does it come from humble place or egocentric needs.
I a, still thinking.
What do you think?
What is the place we write from?

יום שישי, ינואר 05, 2007

The fog is covering Jerusalem.
The view from my flat is stunning. one can look to the far left and see Augusta Victoria - Mt Olive, all the way towards the road to Beit Lechem, Talpiot is folded in front of you, you can see Bakaa, you can see new flats, you can see old council estates.
And now the fog that covered London is blocking Jerusalem from entering my living room. It became such an obvious thing to have outside your living room, that now I feel isolated, a lonely princess in a very tall and remote castle.

This is a special Shabbat. My friends Noga and Noam just had thier first baby girl, Carly, Areille and Adam are staying with me. So I am not that lonely, Its just the fog getting me all confused, you see.. well you really cant. its all white outside.

יום רביעי, ינואר 03, 2007

So on Sunday evening before we went to a party K, S, T, M and myself played another round of Taki, or Uno as its called in the UK.
It brought back to me many memories of Shabbat, after Friday night dinner, we used to play Ramicube, long long games. Only when I started to go to Bnei Akiva on Friday nights -as all my cool friends did, we stopped playing.
Years later my father will teach me to play chess and I will discover the power of strategy, and that its not about luck, its about planning.

It also brought back memories from the first Gulf War, when school was cancelled for months and we used to play Taki or Monopoly, I used to play at my friend`s Miri She lived right across from me.

There is something very comforting about this kind of games. Maybe because I am allowed to play, as opposed to serious professional daily life, ,maybe its the enjoyment of having friends around playing, just playing, with no need to be clever, happy or friendly, just playing.

One funny thing: We discovered that the one who is in charge og the score is the one who wins the round.

p.s. There are no loosers, we are all winners!

יום שלישי, ינואר 02, 2007

So.. I am back in Jerusalem, University was great this morning. Got a lovely e mail from M, and realized how lucky I am to have her and many of you, my loyal readers, as friends.

Hope to be back soon, and maybe I will have the strength to go and visit much loved Redbridge.