Monday, June 27, 2005

a few things on my mind...

This past weekend we went away to a hotel for Shabbat. On the way, we stopped off at the kibbutz we used to live on. It was a weird experience, as it usually is for me when I visit places I used to live. I seem to have an obsessive need to return to my "roots". In some cases, as in genealogy, I'm returning to places I've never been. But in others, I go back to cities, schools, homes that I used to live, hoping to find something. Just last night, my friends from my old high school had a big reunion, based on an email alumni list that I created! (Even though I couldn't attend.) I'm constantly trying to keep in touch with people, googling them, trying to maintain a connection.

I'm not sure why. I'm not even entirely sure what I'm looking for. Maybe it's rooted in the fact that my parents divorced when I was young, and I'm always trying to fix distanced relationships. Maybe because I was never terribly popular socially, and by going back, and finding friends, I can improve on the past. Maybe I just figure by going back to my past, I can understand my present and future better.


The hotel was nice. We were in Ashkelon, a town on the Mediteranean sea. The hotel room had a great view of the ocean, which reminded me of my house in San Francisco growing up. We lived about 20 blocks from the ocean, on top of a hill, with a perfect view of the Pacific. In the far distance you could see the Farallon Islands, about 27 miles west of the city. Depending on the gullibity of our guests, I'd tell them it was either Hawaii or Japan.


Last night my oldest daughter had an end of the year party for second grade. It was almost entirely group singing, particularly songs of a number of Israeli song writers who passed away in the past year - Naomi Shemer, Ehud Manor, Uzi Chitman. To get to the party, we passed by the funeral procession of one of the teenagers who was killed near Beit Hagai on Friday night. The tension on the roads - both of the Israelis who were coming to pay their respects and the Arabs who were waiting to get by - was very clear. But when we got into the room of the party, filled with parents and children, the somber atmosphere soon passed. But it never entirely disappeared, nor did the looming disengagement and potentially explosive summer. As we all sat there, singing optimistic, Zionist songs like Haleluya, Kan Noladti, B'Shana HaBa'ah, and others, I couldn't help wondering if at the end of the summer, we (not only the people in the room, but the country as a whole) would be still able to sing those same songs and believe them. It gave me hope, but also great room for concern. Only time will tell.