Friday, December 20, 2013

Do I love Israel? It's complicated....


My Dearest Ima,
            How are you? I miss you a lot. I’ve been in Israel for about five months now and, well, it’s Israel. Life here is life except it’s just –more. I go to school, I go home, I don’t go to the kotel anymore. I try to speak Hebrew as much as I can and it’s getting better. Guess what? I worked in a salon for a month and, don’t freak, but I let my boss shave my head. During that month he wouldn’t stop bugging me to make aliyah. I don’t quite know what that’s about -he knows I’m a Reform Jew. I can forgive him though –he’s actually very sweet. There’s so much more to tell you, so I’ll call you soon.
Love, your Malka.

Dear Ima,
            How’ve you been? I haven’t written in a while –I’m sorry we haven’t talked. I’ve been in Israel for almost half a year –sometimes it seems like forever. Classes here are hard and I’m learning a lot. There’s so much you never told me about Jerusalem. Sometimes, on my walk home, I walk towards the Old City but somehow I never make it. I don’t pray at the kotel anymore. Here in Israel –in Jerusalem –you’re on the left or you’re on the right and somewhere in the middle the Reform Jews quietly move farther south. I’ve been thinking a lot about God lately, Ima. We’ve been in the Negev for the past two days –I suppose the desert will do that to you. God here is strange. It’s like standing on the precipice of Masada, shouting into the vast surrounding dunes. You shout and shout until you’re no longer sure if the echo coming back to you is your own voice or someone else entirely. But you hope. We say that we all believe in the same God, but in Jerusalem there’s room for only one God.  I miss you Ima, call me sometime.
Your Malka

            I don’t really know where to start. I came here to Israel, to Jerusalem, to find you –why have you been avoiding me? It’s been nearly half a year. Maybe you don’t understand how hard it is for me being here, and I’m not sure I can explain it to you. I don’t go to the kotel anymore. I just don’t like it. Anyways, I’ve already re-written this postcard twice so I might as well just cut to the chase. Imi, I know you don’t want to hear it but I have to say it: I want you to be proud of me. I need you to be. And maybe more than anything, I want to be proud of you. I really need to be. Because soon I’m going back home where there are people that hate you. I need to be able to look them in the face and say ‘listen to me!’ Listen to me –I’m your Malka. Don’t I belong to you?

I know we won’t talk after you read this but I still love you.


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