Saturday, December 31, 2005

Corrections into the New Year


Well first off... I have to correct my last post. Non-Jews are exempted from military service, which is to say their country does not call them to serve. This is indeed a profound difference from my previous understanding, which was that non-Jews were prohibited. Nevertheless, I can only imagine that this rule would seriously undermine a citizen's sense of partnership with the nation of Israel. In fact, I believe for many Israelis, service is held as the highest of responsibilities, and the ultimate symbol of membership.

I spent the past 24 hours in Omer, which is a suburban community next to Be'er Shevah, I went down to attend a party in Imri's honor at his father's house. He bought 25 bottles of vodka in preparation for the party (he expected 150 people to show up, of which only 30 actually came), only 3 bottles were consumed by the end of the night. Clearly he's not an organizer.

I took a bus to get to Omer, which I caught at Tel Aviv central bus station. In order to keep terrorists off the busses, there is an elaborate security procedure (not unlike what we go through at American airports) used to screen bags and people for dangerous items. The only problem is, at a busy bus station in Tel Aviv there is a huge bottleneck that accumulates at the checkpoint. In the process of waiting to be screened, I was stuck in the middle of a mass of surly Jews pushing their way to the front of the line. And the whole time, all I could think about was the fact that all a terrorist would have to do is plant himself in the middle of all these people (packed in like sardines) and would easily be able to take out thirty to forty men, women and children. Major oversight.

Israel is a civilization living at the edge of Middle-Eastern extremities, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the sensation of being in the midst of lemmings plodding tribally off to sea. The landscape here is so bleak, miles and miles of terra-formed desert, undulating tracks of green agriculture punctuated by man-made sand dunes, remnants of some unfinished construction project. To the Israelites this little strip of land seems to hold endless potential, and so they sweat, bleed and toil towards a dream that to many an outsider is a bit outlandish, literally. I appreciate the spiritual significance and theoretical symbolism that a greater Zion provides the Jewish people – a heartland. It is a space to celebrate and cherish a crippled history, scarred by years of suffering, discrimination and attempted genocide. But sometimes this history is just too much to bear, I am distraught by the thought that Israel is a projection of the past. It is a metaphorical land that in many ways is the physical embodiment of all these things at once – a story of benevolent perseverance, and incredible, unbearable suffering.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dangerously Undiluted


A glimpse of the Chanukkah festivities at Disengoff Center today in Tel Aviv. Children gathered as entertainers captivated by way of magic shows and clowns on stilts.

I spoke today with a young boy named Matan. He is a 17 year-old activist organizing a petition to improve the public transportation here in Tel Aviv. He wants to encourage the development of an underground rail network for the city, an infrastructure I believed to be unfeasible due to the potential havoc a terrorist attack might cause in a subterranean environment. Matan seemed to believe differently, but I'm not convinced he knows. He complained instead of the cumbersome bureaucratic impediments put up by the government, a popular Israeli discontent.

Matan claims to belong to a group of anarchist environmentalists – an interesting development in a nation already beleaguered by vigilantes eager to influence politics through radical action. Environmentalism is a relatively new phenomenon here in Israel. Apparently the older generations are not motivated at all by issues of environmental degradation. I think the prevailing sentiment among the veteran Zionists is that Israel's natural resources are here to be exploited by any means that will further the economic and structural advancement of the state. Young people, however, recognizing that they are to inherit the environmental disasters that have already altered the Israeli landscape permanently, sense the imposing reality that environmental issues play. Water, primarily access to it, is a hotly contested chip in the game of Middle Eastern roulette.

Israeli elections are slated for March, but with Palestinian elections bearing down in January all the chips are on the table. What is in store this round remains unpredictable, but it looks as though Sharon's new party stands to gain major ground. The "bulldozer" as he is commonly referred to, claims this will be his final toss of the hat. It looks now, that he aims his legacy towards smashing Israel's ties with the settler movement once and for all. As the rest of the world lets out a collective sigh of relief, many are left to wonder whether the Israel that Sharon leaves behind will be able to address the disenfranchised minority within Israel. Namely non-Jewish Israelis, who are held second class by way of military exemption, among other slights. In a country where the military has such profound implications on the political, this appears a serious offense. Especially when you consider the fact that many jobs in Israel carry military service as a prerequisite to employment. In a nation where anyone can serve in the legislature, but not everyone serves in the military, the institution brandishing the sword remains undiluted. Dangerously so.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Worlds Apart


Like strangers they stand at opposite ends of the same spectrum. How can a people who inhabit so much of the same space maintain such a disconnected existence?

We spoke today with some organizers within the gay community here in Tel Aviv. We were surprised to hear that even in the gay community, political polling numbers reflect almost exactly the same distribution as the rest of the country. Upon original consideration this would seem to make sense in a nation where there is no separation between god and country. Israel, although on some fronts very tolerant of homosexuality (cases of transexuals in the military, and immigration rights for gay partners), also maintains a majorly devout constituency who stand diametrically opposed to the very premise of homosexuality. The disenfranchisement of the gay community in Israel would thereby perhaps lead one to create a separate political identity not served by elected officials. But our friend Sha'ul told us otherwise.

He says, "It is a struggle to survive in Israel, when you survive, you deal with the most important issue which you have in your life... which is security. You see it all over, if you live in Jerusalem, the chances that you are around an area that a suicide bomber explodes over there, and the chances that you see a finger sticking in the wall, or those kind of horrible sights, are very, very high. The chances that you know someone who died..."

Even for the gay community, issues of security remain paramount. This is the sad reality for Israel, a security crisis all the time. Yesterday, and probably tonight as well Israel bombs Gaza and Lebanon. What a horrible thing for Israel to be doing on the eve of elections in the Palestinian Authority. What better way to galvanize voters into voting Hamas (the only political party capable of providing social programs to Palestinian citizens), and what better way to undermine the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas (the only Palestinian voice of moderation)? The violence is so deeply ingrained here, it is frightening. People who live potentially just a mile apart, separated only by an imaginary line (although now it has become also a fence), live in vastly different worlds. This is in some ways a more blatant offense, a severely flamboyant form of social violence. The eyes and imaginations and expectations are darkened by the false promises and acute awareness of all the things they cannot have, and in what they can have there remains vast deficiencies.

You have to understand one thing though. To hear people talk about the nature of the conflict, it is never a matter of blame. The people I have conversed with want peace so badly it pains them to speak of it. They don't describe things to me in this way as good or bad, it just is. Neither yesterday nor tomorrow is important, just today. This is what is happening now. Sometimes on the other side of the world it is easy to forget that there is a whole generation of children who have been exposed to, and therefore want nothing else more than to just live normally and have the same opportunities as the rest of the developed world. And Palestinian children deserve the same, but they have not been exposed in the same way that Israelis have, they maintain an existence that is pathologically removed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Bella


I don't have much to say about this one, it sorta speaks for itself I think... downtown Tel Aviv, twilight, beautiful. It was a lovely sunset, what else can I say?

Looking Green


I encountered this fellow today downtown at an outdoor craftmarket in Tel Aviv. He was performing Kermit songs with a back-up band, which consisted of a guitarist and an electric kazoo player. I have some wonderful photographs of the mesmerized children, but I chose to post this picture because I love the facial expression of this performer. There are a lot of entrepreneurial folks in Tel Aviv, the economy of Israel has suffered terribly since the second intifada, street performers and artists deftly ply their crafts wherever there is space.

I also spoke at length today with a friend I have made at our local coffee shop, her name is Gili (think G. Lee). I was explaining to her the nature of our political endeavors, and the political work that I did in the States prior to coming here. I told her that we were researching some of the motivating factors for young Israelis that keep them engaged in the electorate. Seeing as young Israelis participate at such a higher level than young Americans, the idea is that it would be great if we could tap into some of the more visceral issues for Israelis and bring that steam back with us to engage young Americans.

Gili in turn related to me a very interesting perspective. At first she disagreed that young Israelis were more engaged. The voting record plainly disproves her assertion here, which I pointed out to her. Upon further conversation however, Gili related that as far as she could tell, Americans have the wonderful luxury of not having to consume themselves with the political beast. From her standpoint, politics should be an optional activity. Gili longs to live in an environment where she doesn't have to involve herself with politics. So this got me thinking, it really is maybe a broader symptom of my generation then, this desire to anesthatize ourselves with the material techno-gadgetry and designer fashions of our global marketplace. Or maybe it's just a double-edged sword, you can't have it both ways. I have spent my days of late, trying to figure out why young people in America are disinclined towards politics, and here on the other side of the world they think not caring is great. I'm trying to come up with ways to engage, and they're over here trying to disengage. The grass is always greener...

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Daily Grind


Evening in Tel Aviv, city dwellers crawl back to their rabbitholes at the end of the work day. I had a lunch meeting today with Ilan, a friend of my parents, whom they met in New York at a conference a few weeks ago. While dining, Ilan interrupted our conversation several times to field phone calls. He acknowledged to me that in America this would be considered anti-social behavior, but he explained to me that in Israel, it is rude to ignore your phone calls. In Israel you are required to pick up your phone and explain to the person on the other end that you are busy and you would like to call them back. Ilan claims that if you don't do this, you run the risk of offending your Israeli friends.

Do Jews have higher expectations than other people? Friends, parents, students, children, there seems to be so much pressure for Jewish people to fulfill this unspoken threshold of relationship. Ilan had a different spin. He says that the Israeli existence is anchored in the here and now. According to Ilan the entire mindset of the nation has been affected by the paranoia of not knowing what tomorrow may bring. Israelis are less concerned with making sure they have their college fund set up and much more preoccupied with the daily obligations of community. It is an existence that has many benefits. There is definitely a greater appreciation of human presence here. Young people and old alike, watch the days pass from the numerous coffee shops that dot the streets of Tel Aviv. On Shabbat everything is closed, it is a day of rest. Imagine all the restaurants and movie theaters and shops being closed on Saturday night and Sunday in the United States. Never. In the US, our days off are when we go out and do things. We fill our free time with activities that take our minds off of our daily lives. Not so here. Shabbat is a time to settle and be contemplative, to share and bond with friends and family, because you never know what tomorrow might bring.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Chappy Chanukkah!


Christmas in Tel Aviv is not unlike any other day. Jessy had to remind me it was Christmas today before I realized it. It is for me, very refreshing to be away from all the consumer bombardment and holiday hubub. And best of all, I don't have to listen to jingle bells, ANYWHERE!

I spent a large portion of my day in the ER. It seems there was something wrong with something I ate... maybe someone just wanted to make me feel more in the family. I was attended by an American resident doctor who had grown up in Rockville, MD and had made aaliyah with her Israeli husband. It was comforting to have an American doctor, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit (yet again evidence of America minor). However, every time I encounter an American Jew who has made aaliyah I can't help but to wonder "why?" It's a strange paradox. People come here because they want to live in an entirely Jewish environment, but to be a Jew in Israel is a lot like being a Italian Catholic living in Rome. In some ways being Jewish in Israel is a lot less religious than being Jewish in the United States. Well... happy holidays, here's wishing everyone a Christmas day a bit more lovely than my own.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Ebb and Flow


Young soldiers preparing to be discharged from the Army, travel to the sea, ostensively to make their peace. They entered the military without choice, their ancestors like mine, fled oppressive conditions in Europe. The only difference is, my forefathers came to the United States, theirs chose Israel.

As they distance themselves from their service many new questions arise for them. They are forced to confront their own actions as they begin to relate more fully as a citizen of the world, and not just as a citizen of Israel. Guilt and ambivalence, complicated answers to even more complicated questions, they are related to as though they should know the solution, after all they committed the crime didn't they?

In the end we are all people, and I believe it has less to do with who we are and more to do with the circumstances of our condition. Change is possible, people can radically transform their behaviors, it remains a question of incentive. We are creatures of context, and just as we should not overlook the surroundings for Palestinians growing up under deprived impoverished conditions, Jewish Israelis feel as though they can not overlook their own isolation and the reality that they have had to fight for everything they have ever had.

Perspectives


High expectations... Israel was a land created out of lofty idealism, and in many ways still clings to these truths. Israel is also a land comprised of immigrants, however, and much like the United States, there have developed many cultural divides. Beyond the most obvious conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, there are also ethnic divides amongst the Jews themselves. Much like in the United States, Russian Jews are the target of much ire and resentment from the rest of the European Jewish population. Similarly, Arab Jews from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Ethiopia (as well as other parts of the Middle East) are the target of discrimination as well. Young Arab Jews, with their different dress and social customs (such as slicked back hair, tighter clothing, and a penchant for cruising five deep in a hatchback) are commonly referred to as "Arsim." It is a bit unclear to me how this translates, but it is evidently a derrogatory term. Like any other immigrant nation, Israel grapples clumsily with its pluralistic identity.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Shabbat in Tel Aviv


For Shabbat tonight we went downstairs to celebrate with our new friends at the Mersand Cafe. Tel Aviv is not a religious city but at our local coffee shop they have a special welcoming of the Sabbath every Friday night, tonight we enjoyed some live music featuring a guitar player and a female singer. The music was good, not great, but interestingly most of her songs were in English. One was even about California, imagine that!

We went to a Judaica shop today looking to buy a cheap Chanukkiyah, as Chanukkah does start the day after tomorrow, and encountered a friendly shop owner named Ruben. Ruben expressed to us that Israeli's typically view George Bush favorably because not only has been a huge ally to Israel, he has been less pushy towards the Israeli government with regards to the peace process. He felt that Clinton had been very aggressive in formulating peace in the Middle East. It got me thinking about about all the famous photos you see of Rabin and Clinton and X foreign minister, Clinton is always the centerpiece of every one of those photos... Clinton really wanted Middle Eastern peace to be his living legacy. I wonder what Bush wants?

A Picture for your Kitchen


Strawberries like you wouldn't believe! Man, the food here is just incredible. It's funny too because I had this memory of Israel as having terrible food, but it's not true at all! It was just that the last time I was here, I was trapped on a tourist bus with other kids, and we were force fed schnitzel every night for dinner (a sorry excuse for fried chicken)... it sucked. This photo comes from the market in Tel Aviv, a constant source of interest, I think you can find everything here.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Freedom!


Imri, the day he was released from the military. I joined him as he went straight to a tattoo and piercing parlor. His ears were already pierced in the lobes, so he bought some new rings. But he also got a fresh piercing at the top of his left ear. This was for Imri a symbolic act more than anything, a resumption of civilian life.

Good food, Good company...


While in Jerusalem, I had the special privilege of attending an amazing ritual. We were celebrating the release from the army of one young man named Nadav, and the birthdays of two other young men, whose names I don't know. The entire gathering took place in an abandoned military fortification outside the city of Jerusalem. This is a great shot of the atmosphere inside the fort. There were about thirty of us singing, eating and drinking. It was a truly special occasion.

Strumming and Grubbing


More pictures from the gathering in Jerusalem. One of the most amazing parts of the shindig, was the music and the singing. They had songbooks and everything! I was trying to imagine something like this going down in the states, I was having a hard time picturing it.

This guy, I forget his name of course, if you look closely has a scar on his right forearm. While driving through a Palestinian Occupied Territory with his sister, his car was impeded and riddled with bullets from Palestinian militants. Both he and his sister survived miraculously, although they were both in critical condition for weeks. When you meet people who have been through these experiences and come to terms with the amount of violence that they are faced with on a daily basis, and you find that in spite of it all they are committed to peace and want to work with the Palestinian people, you get a very new perspective on the crisis here. The racial conflicts here are so much deeper than just prejudice. The war is evident on both sides, and has left many scars.

Dutch Oven?


All the food cooked for the ceremony was a feast prepared inside the fire that you see here. It was a dutch oven, I guess, Middle Eastern style. I just like the way the flames are jumping in this photo.

This is a photograph of the young French girl, for whom Ahoova performed a little Bat Mitzvah ceremony, and her mother. This photograph was taken at the Western Wall, which is where the ceremony was performed. Ahoova, Imri's mother was gracious to allow me to accompany her on this pilgrimage to one of the most holy sites in Jewish existence. While at the wall, I was approached by several Chasidim who wanted to bless me, and ask for money in return. The Chasidim are a burden to the Israeli economy. They spent their entire day praying, and otherwise being useless, and really begging for money. It's embarrassing, not to mention their fanatical opinions and views are the base vote for the conservative party here, much like the Christian Right in the US.

America Minor

Sitting in the Mersand Café (our neighborhood coffeeshop)… enjoying a lively mix of American blues and jazz. I am embarrassed to admit I do not have the slightest clue as to who and what is being played. Ariel Sharon had a stroke yesterday, the New York transit system is down due to striking transportation workers, what else is going on in the world? Brett Favre should retire, man what a embarrassment, 48-3 defeat at the hands of the lowly Ravens on Monday Night Football no less. Israel is so funny, I have begun to understand as “America minor.”

Television, and all other media here, is dominated by the American influence. And I’m sure your thinking, yeah, and so is the rest of the world. But in Israel, I mean, TOTALLY dominated. Tell me what other country in the world you’ve been to where you can watch the live broadcast of ABC’s Monday Night Football… live! There are like five Israeli networks that are broadcast in Hebrew and the rest of the million other channels (because of course they have digital cable here) are all in English! I swear watching TV you’d never know you were outside the country. The Jerusalem club basketball team won the European club championships recently, the entire team is populated by black dudes from America. Big surprise.

On Sunday I went with Ahoova, Imri’s mother, to the Western Wall. She conducted a ceremony for a young French girl who had come to Israel to have her bat mitzvah. It was quite a moving little ceremony. Ahoova translated for us many ancient Hebrew prayers that I have recited a million times, but never connected the meaning. This is a major fault for American Jews, all these prayers we recite, do we ever know the meaning?

I printed some of my photographs today. They turned out wonderfully, they are truly some of the most amazing photographs I have ever taken (thank you Canon EOS 20D). The man at the photo shop was very impressed. Given that he looks at pictures all day long, I was flattered to receive his compliments.

New Horizons


Tel Aviv skyline from atop the Isrotel tower. This hotel is just a few blocks from our apartment. It was 28 floors to the top and and then 3 more floors in a glass elevator. There is a swimming pool on the roof of the hotel, but it is drained right now, and thus the area is locked from the public. I had to climb out a window and over a security gate in order to get these pictures, so they are well earned. This is actually a panoramic composite of about six photos. The landmass jutting out into the mediterranean in the distance is Yaffa.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hot Dog!


I couldn't help but to include this one, hot dogs... mmmmm. The reds in this one really just jump out of the page. This was short stop on the way to Tel Aviv University. They really love hot dogs and hamburgers here, just another testament to just how American this place is. But don't ask for a cheeseburger or a chili-cheese dog, most places in Tel Aviv still observe Kosher laws, although I did find pepperoni pizza the other day. More like a sorry excuse for pepperoni, actually. America pervades this tiny country, it's truly remarkable. To an extent this is a bit troubling, but when you talk to the people and experience the society they have created, you realize the wonders of democracy in a region surrounded by hostile authoritarian, religious rule.

Arab School Children


I encountered these schoolchildren just down the road from the other boys featured in the previous photo. These children, belonging to an Arab schoolgroup, are nevertheless Israeli citizens. Their chaperones, many of them women, wear headscarves in traditional Muslim style. As far as I can tell they all enjoy the rights and freedoms of any other Israeli citizen, they were extremely boisterous as you can tell from this photograph. They all greeted me with an emphatic, "Shalom!"

Sunset in Yaffa


Sunset over Yaffa, the ancient Arab village that has been swallowed up by Tel Aviv. At sunset on this day the place was crawling with brides to be, fully festooned in they gowns and make-up, hair, everything. I mean the whole thing is such a production, just for some fake pictures? It's not even really their wedding! Yaffa is still comprised primarily of an Arab Palestinian population living in what is quite possibly the most scenic part of Tel Aviv. In fact, there is a significant Arab presence all over Tel Aviv. I am continually surprised by just how diverse Israel actually is...

I think this should be an advertisement...


I bumped into these boys the other day as I was walking along the beach on my way to Yaffa. They are all about 12 years old, I'd say, maybe 13. You can tell so much about the dynamic of this group of boys from the photograph. The joker, the don juan, the glitterati, the stoner? I don't know, you decide. This picture captures a moment in time, joyous and youthful. Which one is you?

Tadow!


I spent a long time working on this picture, and I'm happy with the way it turned out. This is the main auditorium/convention center for Tel Aviv University. It's actually quite a startling building, beautiful. Ernst & Young were holding a holiday party there today, I think... I walked in and they asked me if I was the photographer, I should have lied!

Morning at the Market


Early morning in the Shuk of Tel Aviv. Bartering at it's best. I am especially fond of this photo. Notice the way the light illuminates the beard and head of the old man standing in the foreground. The marketplace in Israel is at the heart of the Israeli Middle-Eastern existence. On this trip I bought some vitamin supplements and a cheap electric shaver, as I forgot my razor.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Old friends...


Ido and Imri, on the rooftop of their apartment in downtown Tel Aviv. Ido is Imri's housemate, he is currently studying to get into medical school. As you can imagine, this is probably one of the toughest tasks one could possibly manage in Israel. As Ido pointed out to me, if your mother is REALLY Jewish, you can do a program here where you get a combined medical and law degree. Oy vey!

Both Imri and Ido have completed their military duties and now hover in the purgatory of a post-military, pre-university existence. Both served in special operations units within the military, Imri specialized long-range demolitions. He is pretty cryptic about the nature of his duties, but suffice to say he was a combat soldier. Some of his actions and the words that come out of his mouth are thoroughly violent. But he is of sound mind, and I am trying to understand his perspective. It is truly astonishing to experience a friend you have had for so many years, but who has taken such a different path from you. In many ways he is still the same boy I once knew, but he carries with him a new darkness, at once familiar and yet so much deeper this time.

One Week...

Wow… I can’t believe it’s already been a week in Israel. So much has happened. Today Jessy and I walked to the old Arab village of Yaffa which is just south of the Tel Aviv city center. My grandfather has been admitted to the hospital for fluid in his lungs. I spoke to Marty yesterday on the telephone, it was my first time speaking to him since he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, the prognosis is not good, and Marty is not optimistic. Helen is “beside herself,” both Dot and she used those words to describe her condition. Not good. I was at the wailing wall in Jerusalem yesterday, I prayed for Marty, my grandfather and Mary Isham, it was quite the spiritual experience.

Some more observations… I met and had dinner at the house of Imri’s great uncle, Joseph Agassi. Apparently he is quite the scholar, although he seems a bit embittered about the nature of Israeli politics. He claims that the nation itself is fundamentally fascist. I can see his point I think, he gave me his book to read, which should shed some more light onto his thinking process.
People in Israel are consumed by the fragility of their little nation’s political existence. I was speaking to Mr. Agassi about the apathy expressed by American youth, and he attempted to explain to me the difference between young Israeli attitudes towards politics and the attitudes of American youth. For Israel it is a question of total loss. This country constantly walks a thin line between existence and obliteration, or at least in the minds of those who live here, there is a balance that hangs precariously.

Jessy and I encountered some soldiers today as we walked along the edge of the sea, they were preparing to be discharged from the army. We spent time speaking with them about their experience of the political environment around them. To them it appeared a question of the right person for the job, as opposed to a question of whether or not the system was right. They believe in the nation, which is not to say that they support the aggressive real politik reality of the Israeli military, but there is this sense that the people are good. For a people whose future seems so undetermined, whose mere existence is so routinely questioned, it is truly remarkable, the resolve of the people is steadfast. The Jewish people are so persistent and determined it is truly remarkable.

Being in Israel I am overwhelmed by the urge to discover my people, to realize what I come from, what have been the cultural impacts on my being. Every thing here is just so Jewish, I can’t help myself but to describe it in this way. I saw the main office building for the government, the capital building so to speak. You have never seen anything so ugly. So I asked Imri and his housemate Ido, ‘how can the government have such an ugly headquarters?’ The answer was plainly obvious to them, decision makers in Israel simply cannot coordinate the funding to undertake a majestic edifice because everyone has conflicting opinions as to what should be the appropriate use of government funding. Jewish. I believe that there is a old saying that goes something along the lines of, ‘5 Jews, 10 opinions.’ And that’s just it, I mean Israel is just a conflicted nation. We hear so much about the crisis of the Palestinian people, but it’s not Palestinians who are politicizing the issue, it’s Jews!

When you consider the human rights violations and injustices transpiring around the world, it’s a wonder why Israel gets so much attention. Jewish people are consumed with this question, why does Israel get such a bad rap, why all the attention? Well, it is precisely the fact that every Jew is constantly asking this question, that makes it such a hot topic. It is the Jewish people themselves, they won’t have it any other way. Obsession with seeking truth and fairness, it is this annoying persistence that defines the Jewish people, it is the solution and the problem all at once.

Spoke with a man named Barak at the coffee shop at the corner underneath our building, he invited me to a gathering tomorrow night from 8 until midnight… I can’t wait!