Monday, September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur Weekend: Unintentionally atoning in my own way

Yom Kippur is the holiest Jewish holiday of the year. It is when religious Jews fast and attend synagogue to atone for the year's worth of sin. For me, it was a time of drunken shouting, wobbly walking, massive sickness, and a lack of memories. What exactly happened? I wish I could remember. But I've been reminded of a few things, many of which I'd rather not have known at all.

The good news is I feel much better today. It is still Yom Kippur until sundown and we plan to ride bicycles to the beach. The streets are empty of cars and all shops closed.

***

More coherent blogs on the way...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Absurdity and Perversity

I spent the earlier half of the day in Tel Aviv committing much-needed financial damage. Two chamsot later, I found myself thinking about the general lack of manners amongst Israelis, only to be met with kind-hearted generosity the next minute. I swear, I am constantly surprised by people here. Absurdity and perversity definitely go hand-in-hand but one thing is for certain: nothing is predictable.

On our way out of the carpark we found ourselves stuck in a horrendously long line. Inevitably, people started to honk as if it could make a difference. I've concluded that honking here is more an act of cathartic release than efficient communication. We asked ourselves, why is this taking so long? Probably because people don't have their tickets out, their money ready, or are asking directions to the freeway. But naturally, they will honk their brains out at everyone else.

**

"A concept even bigger than yourself"

....Is what is on my mind.

See you later.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When things go wrong, I tell myself: "Welcome to Israel"

I renamed the blog "Courtney's Karka Poriah" in honor of a song mis-translation. Thus it stays.

**

I left the squalor of Los Angeles for the glamour of Israel. Wait, perhaps its the other way round? No, I was correct the first time. I am currently living in Kibbutz Gaaton, a leafy, breezy community tucked into the Galilean hills of northern Israel, just under the Lebanese border. To remind me of exactly where I'm located, the folks at IDF like to do practice flights with their fighter jets overhead every now and then. Its a noise louder than I care to hear.

After some bouts with bad timing and very bad things in general, I now find myself enrolled in an intense dance program on the kibbutz. Allow me to explain.

The contemporary dance scene in Israel is rapidly progressing into international notoriety and also happens to be one that actually interests me and my 3-second attention span. I've decided to take a leap of faith (pun intended) and head on over to the Holy Land to get myself involved.

It seemed like a good idea at first.

I should explain that my program is entirely conducted in Hebrew, and that I am only one of 2 non-Israeli students. This is problematic. Luckilly, there is another program on the kibbutz consisting of dancers from abroad, mainly Americans and we study Hebrew together. But am I anywhere near fluency? Dear God, no.

Such is life.

***

I live amongst an interesting array of characters and personalities. The difference between living on the kibbutz and in London is the proximity between myself and my classmates. In London, we finished school and returned to our respective flats scattered throughout the city. Perhaps people lived in NW, NE, SE, S, or W? Whereas here in Gaaton its more like "up the hill" or "down the hill". But I'm finding my hiding spots.

I cannot say for certain that the national cultural psyche is influencing me much, but thats likely to change as time goes on.

***

The last two weekends were spent in Tel Aviv with an assortment of Israeli friends and new friends. It is essential to leave the kibbutz each weekend for a different perspective on living in this country, but three days in Tel Aviv is more than enough. By the end of it, I'm happy to return to the kibbutz.

Tel Aviv is an ostentacious mix of trashy, sleezy, tastless, noisy, Russian-mafia, meshugah, drugged out tomfoolery. For this, I love it. It is a city like no other. "Ha Buah", the locals call it, the bubble. Tel Aviv is a bubble within a larger bubble. With all the conflict and tension in this tiny region, Tel Aviv somehow manages to remain unaffected by it all. Religion, race, and politics do not exist here. Tel Avivis are wondering where to get their next meal.

***

I am spending the Yom Kippur weekend with my new friend Ronnie and her family in Nordia, a "moshav" in central Israel. What is a moshav, you ask? Numerous answers have been given, but frankly, I'm still not sure. Its a taste of the 'burbs as I know it.

Little slices of home here and there are most welcome. But a big chunk may not be necessary. With that in mind, I bid thee adieu. Good night and have a pleasant weekend, wherever you are.