Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Legitimate Rights of the Tung People

In the aftermath (me and my overanalyzing everything) of a great meal at friends (professors, doctors, engineers and alike from Transylvanian origin), I found a troubling lack of parallelism.

The people were really nice, the food was great, and so was the music and general athmosphere. For no ulterior motive (other than a laugh), there was some ridiculing of the ways of the 'natives' or other ethnic groups, their clothing (weird combination of nightgowns, slippers and anoraks) and their grammatical mistakes with foreign words. Someone mentioned a contestant at a trivia show on TV answering 'Tungestan' when asked about the element found in electric lamp filaments, instead of Tungsten. One could think it is a former Soviet state, like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan or another 'stan'. In Hebrew writing there are no vowels, and so when reading a word you don't know, you might pronounce it either just incorrectly, or with a different meaning. This could be the possible cause of the mispronounciation.

The underlying subconscious assumption here is the natives' lower cultural level, compared to Europeans. At the same time, European immigrants' mistakes in Hebrew pronounciation or writing are considered chic, certainly not related to cultural level. To all hypocrites, I suggest reading Horace Miner's 'Body Ritual Among the Nacirema'.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Detachment and Fears

A few days ago I went to a funeral and noticed a distancing trend of funeral participants. In the past, people would stand right at the front, close to the mourners, the body and the Hevrah Kaddisha rep conducting the ceremony and then close to the grave itself. They would watch the body being lowered into the grave and covered with earth. They would actually participate. Not anymore. People stand at a distance, barely there, as if detaching themselves from the ugly details, would send death away. They want nothing to do with death, they are afraid of it. Or at least that's my interpretation.
I am afraid of many things, mostly of sudden incidents that would change my life in a split second. I'm afraid of plane crashes (leaving orphans), of animal attacks (not clear where would I meet them), of cockroaches (actually, I'm more disgusted than afraid), diseases, unemployment, false arrest, loneliness and war, although I'm pretty sure I can cope with most situations, should they occur. Now that I mentioned them, I'm even surer.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Two Reasons to Party

While decorating my balcony with flags for Independence Day, I'm wondering about its meaning for me, about the type of love I feel for Israel. It's not the blind, sentimental type of bursting in tears when listening to the national anthem (although that can also happen depending on the occasion), it's more of the mature type. I love it depsite its negative sides. Thank you Israel for being. I watch the fireworks from my new balcony and feel happy.

In a previous post, I complained about the missing ceremony. This time, at the open house on Independence Day, Jeff (mentioned in another previous post), in addition to reciting the blessing for setting the mezuzah, also gave a short speech that made all the difference. "Write [my commandments] on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days will multiply, and those of your sons, on the land which God promised to your forefathers, to give it to them like the days of heaven on earth." -says the Bible and we do. "This book is the reason we are here", says Jeff and makes me think.

The mezuzah housing is tasteful and symbolic. It's made of stone (natural and durable material), it has different color stripes (archeological/historical layers or stages in our life if you wish).

People came and went all the day, took Dan's guided tour, ate, drink, brought more food and drink. You can see some pictures in this album.