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Like a lot of Americans, worldwide, I have been pretty fired up over the 2016 election and its repercussions.

I am not going to sit here and get snotty over my socialized healthcare for all citizens while I know people who depend on the ACA to cover their pre-existing conditions or mental health care, or Planned Parenthood for their pap smears or family planning.

I am watching in horror as freedoms seem to be literally eroding before the eyes of the world, as the press is under attack and Russian interference seems to be like a sniffle – something that is pesky for a day until you have some tea and shake it off.

It feels like there are too many points under fire to list. The women’s march this past weekend highlighted so many – wage gap, rape culture & sexual assault, affordable health care, shady business practices, public education, climate change, the arts, treatment of people of color and religious minorities and queer people.

I want to be there, invited in to protest. I knitted a hat and everything.

science-saves

What my poster would have said, had I marched.

But then the images and words from the marches come rolling in. And what do you know, the “Free Palestine” narrative showed up. Just like it did in the platform of Black Lives Matter.

I want to be 100% behind the women’s march and BLM. They will help bring change and bring attention to people who are marginalized.

But I can’t readily shoot myself in the foot. The “Free Palestine” movement is connected with entities that are disinterested (/understatement) in a two-state solution. They would FAR prefer a one-state solution. (Hint: Israel isn’t it.)

Free Palestine talks a lot about Israeli oppression (which can and does exists – there are serious security issues), but seemingly not at all about Palestinian oppression of its own people at the hands of corrupt governments (like Hamas or Fatah) or Palestinian oppression at the hands of other Arab governments (such as Jordan or Syria).

So why is the Palestinian narrative worming its way into these American protests? (Which isn’t to say that all of the issues of the women’s march, racism, violence, and more don’t exist outside of America. But there is a lot of cultural nuance in different places.)

I don’t know. It is a beloved left-wing cause, seemingly more than other struggles for independence. (Would these same Americans throw themselves behind Biafrans, for example, who also want their own state, have a regional language and religion? Is the Free Biafra narrative strong enough?)

But anyway, my point is that America has its own racial, religious, economic, and educational injustices happening. Some for many, many years. There is no need to pick up a snazzy slogan about a complex international conflict that officially reaches back 100 years to boost left-wing credibility. This is not a time to divide American Muslims from American Jews with this narrative, although many liberal-leaning Jews have simply washed their hands of the Israeli idea and left it to the right-wing Republicans. (It is a weird thing, to be honest, because the mix of liberalism, socialism, and Sharia here should make Republicans’ hair stand on end. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS. Don’t they know we have high taxes, national insurance, and abortion? And queer people?)

My own feelings about Palestinian statehood are so complex I’ve literally shared them with nobody.

I want no part of the simpering movement to bring the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.*

But I’m still a Zionist, and an Israeli, and a Jew, and a woman. I am also an American. I don’t think I would be altogether safe in the current America, where a neo-Nazi has the ear of a misogynistic and narcissistic president.

So can’t we be in this together?

* (The capital of Israel is Jerusalem; who cares where some buildings are? Tel Aviv / Herzliya has the beach, so I understand the motivation. Let’s believe Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the rest who are loudly mulling revenge if this were to happen. People I love are in Jerusalem all the time, and I don’t want to worry about them more than I already do.)

 

 

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There’s nothing like a bright Sunday morning and the prospect of a long work week ahead to send you diving back under the covers, right?

The famed flour mill of Yemin Moshe.

The famed flour mill of Yemin Moshe.

Luckily, Tali of Israel ScaVentures had the perfect cure for today: an open bloggers’ run of the Windmill Dash. Part history lesson, part lovely views, part dramatic renderings, it was a fast-paced trip through the beautiful Jerusalem neighborhood of Yemin Moshe.

Tali, the creative genius behind Israel ScaVentures, and Lisa, the creative genius behind the blog Handmade in Israel (and my ride!)

Tali, the creative genius behind Israel ScaVentures, and Lisa, the creative genius behind the blog Handmade in Israel (and my ride!)

Named after its patron Moses Montefiore and inextricably linked to its famed windmill, the neighborhood of Yemin Moshe has played many roles in the life of modern Jerusalem: pioneer village, shanty town, and front line in the War of Independence, before yielding to its current reputation of refined oasis (with an epic view of the Old City walls).

Like the Neve Tzedek route, this scavenger hunt was a delightful mix of history, art, architecture, famous landmarks, and quiet corners. Amusing tidbits are par for the course — like the fact that the windmill, meant to provide a place for the meeting of industry and agriculture for the brave Jewish souls in the late 19th century who left the overcrowded Old City, was equipped to grind only softer British wheat, not the rougher wheat grown in Jerusalem. (Ah, well. A for effort.)

Thanks very much to Tali for gathering us together again. We’re getting to be a raucously familiar bunch – regular Bloggers’ Day participants and a wide swath of (mostly) women who work in some aspect of digital marketing. I got to see some Facebook friends who I usually only see at conferences. (Lovely to see you all in natural lighting, with nary a coffee cup in sight.)

And it was terrific to go back to Yemin Moshe, where I hadn’t ventured since — not kidding — the summer of 1991. (Young Judaea shout out!)

It won’t be as long a gap until next time; I’ve got kids to amuse.

A moment's rest in a quiet garden spot. Photo by Rachel Moore.

A moment’s rest in a quiet garden spot. Photo by Rachel Moore.

ym6

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Shabbat afternoon, 4pm

Miss M, calling from downstairs: “Can I have a persimmon?”

Me: “Yes. Wash it.”

AM: “I’m ALSO hungry!”

Me: “Put on some clothes; it’s cold downstairs.”

Miss M: “I want it cut!”

Me: “You’re going to have to give me a minute to get out of bed!”

AM: “I can’t find clothes!”

Me: “Just put on a shirt and pajama pants.”

AM: “Where is my cookie?”

Me: “Downstairs.”

Miss M: “I am cutting my persimmon!”

Me: “Absolutely no knives! AM, tell her to wait for me!”

AM: “Miss M, wait for Ema!”

Miss M: “It’s ok; I am using a plastic knife!”

Me: “No! No knives!”

AM: “I can’t find my cookie!”

Ten minutes later, rustling in the bathroom.

Miss M: “I cut my finger! I’m ok! I’m putting on a band-aid!”

AM: “I told her not to use a knife.”

Miss M: “I also cut AM’s apple!”

After Shabbat

Taxman: “Did you see her fingers? She sliced off the top of three or four fingers!”

Me: “WHAT?”

Miss M, crying: “I’m sorry!”

Me: “It’s ok, there are just small cuts. [Perhaps Taxman was exaggerating a wee bit?!] But I wish you would have listened to me when I said no knives. You have to have a little patience for me to get moving. You know Shabbat afternoon is the one time all week when I get to take a nap. Or you can…try eating fruit whole.”

Miss M, still crying, “It’s good that I didn’t die!”

AM, rolling his eyes: “Oh, Miss M, you don’t die from cuts like that.”

#neveradullmoment

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Solve my dilemma

This evening Taxman and I went to a family wedding. We left our kids with a babysitter because it was late, it was a second cousin, and they didn’t have the right clothes.

Right before I picked the babysitter up, she asked if a friend could come with her for the first half hour. Once I determined it was another teenage girl with babysitting experience (and not like, a boy, or something), I agreed. Not that I think my kids need 1:1 supervising, but Miss M is sometimes all about The Undivided Attention.

I exchanged some texts with the sitter about half an hour after bedtime to check up on things. Everyone was sleeping; she had helped the kids to feed and (briefly) walk the dog too.

We arrived home precisely at the appointed time. Taxman waited downstairs with the car to drive her home.

When I walked in, I was surprised to see that both girls were here. They showed me the art projects that they had done with the kids, but before I could really process it or respond properly, AM started wailing. He was in the throes of a night terror, so I quickly paid our sitter (I had gotten the money together in the car) and bid them good night.

But I am feeling slightly guilty that I didn’t pay them both.

Taxman says it not our issue. If our babysitter wants to share the profits with her friend, it’s up to her; we didn’t hire both.

The money was fair for a one-person job–her regular rate, a little extra for dealing with the dog, plus she could have eaten dinner if she had wanted to.

Thoughts?

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Did the small things help? WHAT small things?

I don’t know what I would have done without my friends in the computer. I don’t even know where to start.

Between them, Kate, Alissa, Uberimma, Shanna, and Emma:

•    kept me in coffee yogurts and homemade cookies
•    made sure a stranger didn’t drive me to/from the airport even once in three visits
•    drove in circles around central Israel to hang out with me – and made me feel like it was because they were excited to see me, not because they knew how badly I needed a break from watching my sister die
•    sent care packages to my boys back home: amusements I’ll be glad of for weeks, on days when I want to be fully present for my kids, but can’t help my heart being somewhere else
•    checked up on me without fail: urging me to spend as much time with my sister as I could, reassuring me that Lance and the kids would be fine, letting me cry on their shoulders at all hours of day or night
•    dropped everything, the minute they heard, and rushed to the funeral
•    came to sit with me every single day of shiva in Israel, so I’d have familiar faces amid a sea of people I didn’t know
•    had every last detail of shiva in NY taken care of by the time I got back home
•    spent all day traveling here, just to give me moral support

It wasn’t any one thing, although they all counted. It wasn’t any one person, although I will always remember each one. It was that no matter how far away I was – no matter how awful, heartbreaking, or unreal the path I was on – my friends never left me alone. I was never alone.

What else could anyone have done? What else can we ever do for each other? That’s everything. That’s all there is.

There are no words to thank you. I just want you to know: you did it right.

[NB: Persephone blogs here and often sports an extremely amusing Twitter feed @pphone]

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The lovely, inspirational blogger RivkA passed away this morning in Jerusalem.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

May her family and friends be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.

May we all be inspired to live with as much meaning as she did, as articulated in this essay in the Jerusalem Post.

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A fresh start

אני מאלחת לכל החברים שלי שנה טובה, שנה של ברכה, אושר, ובראיות. להתראות עד תש”ע

The Tired family would like to extend Rosh Hashana greetings to everyone. We wish you a year full of happiness, health, and dreams fulfilled.

One Tired Ema
Taxman
Miss M & AM

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