It is official.
I am flying to Prague at the end of this summer, and I don’t know when I’m coming back. Don’t ask me what I’m doing when I get there, because I still have no idea. For now, the plan is to be plan-less.
In the meantime, I’ve been exploring new territory! I’ve broken into the world of art modeling, I started publishing original songs on a multimedia blog called Walking Harp, and I’m just barely dipping my tippy-toes into the mysterious world of the adult entertainment industry.
Also! I helped set up my little sister’s awesome new blog, The Botanical Feminist. She’s a rockstar in training. O, who am I kidding? I’ve always been the one in training. She is cooler than EVERYONE ELSE.
It took a long time for me to get to a place where I even felt comfortable reaching out to him. First, there was the process of even admitting to myself that I’d been raped. That part took the longest–no one wants to be the girl who cried rape, and I certainly didn’t want to be seen as a victim to be pitied.
Then, there were the consequences of discussing the rape with my partner, friends, and family. That part was pretty easy, actually. I’m very lucky; everyone was supportive beyond belief.
This week, the daily grind is getting in the way of my life. I am frantic, obsessively sifting through the mainstream and alternative media sites for the most up-to-date on-the-ground facts. Three lives, four lives, ten lives, fifteen, twenty. The numbers keep rising, and my pulse keeps racing. The only thing keeping me going through this election war is checking facebook statuses to know that the friends and relatives I care about deeply are safe.
These same friends and relatives are pressuring me to limit my concerns for my family and the Israeli lives that are at risk. Yet I refuse to bow to the pressures of ethnocentrism. I condone no violence whatsoever, nor do I condone a “put the family above all others” attitude. All lives are vital. All lives are sacred. Read the rest of this entry »
I wish I could say that I’ve had some time to play catch-up after returning from my trip. Sadly, I believe that “catch-up” is a long-since neglected concept in my life, and that mulling things over is a thing of the past. I have, however, managed to complete a couple of tasks since I’ve come home:
- Check out my debut post on Tikkun Daily, detailing my experiences with the Israeli center-left (and the ensuing despair).
- Here’s another Tikkun Daily blog post reflecting on an overwhelmingly troubling day of news blasts from Israel, and my role in healing Israel/Palestine. I’m hoping that this one might just be the catalyst for just giving in and making aliyah already.
- I had the honor of presenting my experiences at the Meretz Symposium at Jewish Voice for Peace’s East Bay chapter. I was a little concerned about how my project of reclaiming Zionism would be received, but the question and answers section was more than supportive, and in fact, informative.
If two days ago I was starry-eyed, and yesterday I was bleary-eyed, then today I was teary-eyed.
Yesterday we went down to Be’er Sheva to visit a bilingual school called Hagar. There, they have an equal number of Arab and Jewish students. Each class has two teachers, one Jewish teacher who only speaks in Hebrew and one Arab teacher who only speaks in Arabic. All the signs are written both in Arabic and Hebrew. Downstairs, they turned the bomb shelter into a pirate ship library. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Totally mitigates the fear of being showered by missiles.
At lunch, we met Vivian Silver, the co-executive director of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development, a program dedicated to creating a shared society between Palestinian Arabs and Jews in Israel. She filled us in on the situation of the Bedouins, the indigenous inhabitants of the Negev desert. I’d been to a Bedouin community before, on Birthright. Their tea was glorious, and so were their camels. Despite the fact that the Bedouin are legal citizens, the Israeli government is trying to get the “maximum amount of Bedouins in the least amount of space.” Read the rest of this entry »
I’ll keep this one extremely short, since I have a pretty intense migrane tonight.
Today we met Shachar Ilan from Hiddush, a publication dedicated to promoting religious pluralism. Shachar is a numbers guy, who religiously tracks the religious media. He’s full of terrifying statistics, such as:
- The Haredim make up about 9-10% of the Israeli Jewish population.
- 60% of Haredi men are studying instead of working.
- 60% of Haredi women work (mostly part-time).
- 10-12 billion shekels (3-4 billion dollars) are given to the Haredi.
The Haredi do not serve in the IDF, have incredibly large families, and receive subsidies from the government for being religious. Shachar believes that the main problem in Israel, which leads to all the other problems (including the occupation), is that secular Israelis have failed in redefining secular Jewish Zionism. The Haredi like to call themselves a minority, but politically, they hold an inordinate amount of power. Netanyahu could leave them out of his coalition, and he knows he could because he cut the child allowance (which basically translates into the government subsidizing large families) when he was finance minister. However, this cutting of the child allowance actually only affected the Arab population, rather than the Haredi.
Even if he wanted to, it is difficult for a Haredi man to find a job because Israel is financing an education system without a core curriculum. No other Western state finances non-core curriculum schools. But the girls are learning secular subjects since they are expected to support their families. Read the rest of this entry »