Monday, January 15, 2007

Israel update

My trip is now halfway complete. I have seen the major sites in Israel - hiked the Galilee, Golan Heights, seen Safed (Kabbalah community), Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, hiked the Masada, swam in the Dead Sea and Red Sea, slept in a Bedouin tent, ate at a Druze family's home, had a long talk with an Arab Israeli bartender, and of cours, met the inimitable Raccoon. (I swear I was not drunk!) I cried at the Western Wall, and at Yad Vashem. Actually, there were many tears. I am sure there will be more tears. What do I think? Words cannot describe. I am very emotional writing this right now. One thing I really am struck by is how lucky I am to be alive, and how lucky the Jewish people are to exist. The state of Israel is in many ways a miracle. When my grandma was in the Holocaust, she would have laughed at the thought that somehow Israel would exist in such a short while. And yet it does. I was also amazed at the opinions of the staff members of the Birthright trip - most seemed to belong to the Labor party. Identity politics are certainly a major issue. But more than anything else, I am feeling so emotional right now because I feel like I am sorting out all the inner crap that my mind goes through. Who am I? Why am I? Why do I do what I do? I am such a passionate person - I often act with my instincts. Sometimes my instincts are right, and sometimes they are wrong. I realized during this trip that perhaps my passion is part of the problem - it is unfocused - I go in 20 directions at once, without doing anything. But I do have specific passions. I see, with this trip, that I love Jews and Judaism irrespective of antisemitism. There is really a family amongst Jewry that exists across the world. But sometimes families fight. And sometimes families turn their back upon one another. Sometimes they even, as horrifying as it is, kill each other. But it still is, more than anything else, a family. Islamofascism, can it be defeated? I don't know. All I know is I have to work on myself. I have to be the best person I can be and try to learn as much as I can about myself, my family, and the world in general. Only then can I even hope to effect positive change in the world. I feel that so strongly right now. And somehow, thinking this, recognizing this, I feel some of the anger at those who hate me slipping away. Will there be people who hate me because I exist as a Jew? Absolutely yes. Will I ever be able to change this? Absolutely no. But can I make some small changes in the world, bit by bit, chipping away at the hate wherever possible? Absolutely yes. And I think, recognizing this, it becomes clear that I was misdirecting my efforts for a long time. I feel so many emotions in my heart, but more than anything else, I feel joy. I am joyful that, be it the atomic superparticles that collapsed the universe, or some unknowable God, somehow I was created, and humanity was created, and that is so beautiful. Breathtaking. There will always be horrors in the world. There will always be genocide in every generation. But there also will be goodness, kindness, and love. And perhaps it's not possible to take one without the other. Perhaps it is all part of the crazy, seemingly incomprehensible world that we live in, and the only way to exist and not go mad is to focus on what each individual can change in their own lives to shine just that little candle of light into the unfathomable darkness. I will be in Israel a week longer, and I cannot even imagine what I will be thinking then. All the best, Red Tulips

7 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

This may sound really cliche... but I think that whatever forms of evil there are, islamofascism including, are already digging their own grave, because they are based on hatred and destruction. The joy you felt (and which I can totally understand, especially after visiting Israel myself), that's the constructive, building element, that will inevitably bring growth and new beginnings.

ratherdashing said...

RT,
This is a wonderful post. You are pouring it all out. Thank you for the look at how your trip has affected you. Because, it reminds me that God is Love and Love does and will conquer all. You see, He wins. We already know the ending to the story.

In the New Testament it says:

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

I hope your trip to Israel will set you in the correct direction to find the answers to all of your questions about yourself and your existence. God has a plan for us and it involves life and peace. He wants us to have an abundant life. You seem to have touched on that.

MechanicalCrowds said...

Lovely post.

Now ratherdashing don't ruin it by squeezing religion & verses in there. Love will conquer all? Pigs will fly. Both are just as unprovable.

Anonymous said...

How fortunate you are to have taken that trip. What a great post.

Kevin said...

But MechanicalCrowds pigs can fly, if you fire them out of a canon.
Glad to read that tulips had a very good time indeed.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Are you Agnostic now, still Atheist, or have you found God?

Red Tulips said...

BEAJ,

I am ignostic - I more than ever believe that if God does exist, it is beyond the understanding of humankind, and it is pointless to even attempt to understand it. However, I also believe there are ways to get better in touch with yourself and the world, through meditation and whatnot. Further, I appreciate the connection of worldwide Jewry.

All the best,

Red Tulips