A Trip with S' to Jerusalem

Inside the Museum of Italian Jewish Art

Inside the Museum of Italian Jewish Art

I have four new pairs of shoes and I’ve taken three older pairs to the cobbler’s but I know it isn’t the footwear that is to blame. I lack direction; I am clueless, I do not know where to go. Hence the leg problems. Buying new orthopaedic shoes won’t fix this. What will fix it is if and when I feel the way forward is clear.

Does anyone know the way forward? I feel stymied. Where am I? Who am I? Should I write a symphony? Wear wide brimmed Sofia Loren styled hats? Merge my finances with those of an eligible bachelor only slightly older that myself who has dignified graying temples? Every day is more bizarre than the previous one.

I took my son to Jerusalem this week, unbeknownst to his father, who was under the impression he was at school. S’ is particularly sensitive to energies and Jerusalem is way out there energy wise, so he was ambivalent. He barricaded himself behind an orange flavoured soft drink and refused to come out. People killed each other here. There are others who still wish you dead lurking about.

I let him sulk. In a way it is easier to travel with a kid that manifests what he feels so directly. It was easy being the adult with him lying on the shop floor exhausted. I was just the normal customer trying to buy a sweater, whereas he was “acting out”, “naughty”, “childish”, etc. I had my role defined for me in juxtaposition to his. I didn’t have to wonder who I was; I was obviously the mother of this overgrown child.

At one point he wanted to write something. I got him a pen and some pieces of paper. This was perhaps the best moment, my son writing something he needed to record on a table in the middle of the pedestrians-only street in Nahalat Shivah.

“There are things here,” I said to him as a stone arch revealed itself under a stone stairway, “that you cannot see back home.” He kicked the arch to demonstrate it was unworthy of his or our attention. He waited for me outside when I went into a small museum and refused to come inside even after I called him again.

There was a small prayer room there. Two German artists decorated it meticulously over a period of three years, in exchange for room and board. Oh! How I would love to go back to those slow going times. This was in the late eighteen hundreds. Of course they didn’t have access to the fine chocolate I require to be creative, but they had a world that unfolded gradually before them, letting them absorb it bit by bit.

I am sure their ramblings brought them places safely and leisurely, even if they each had only one simple pair of sandals.

Miracles Abound

I am so fucked up I can't even feel grateful for the small things. I've rejoined a company I used to work for 20 years ago, and I am not letting myself enjoy. So much stuff, so much weight…

They send me to business meetings and court rooms to translate to or from English. Thursday I went to a court in Netanya. Suddenly the atmosphere was as I remembered it. The animosity of the opposing sides, me stuck between the poor non-Hebrew-speaking witness on the witness stand and the cross examining attorney who would be going for him full throttle.

The trial hadn't started yet so I said I'll be out in the corridor for a breather. When I came back there was a discussion going on. The wife of one of the attorneys brought him something. She was very attentive. The attorney next to him noticed and said aloud that his own wife wouldn't have been as helpful had she been there. Then a man on the prosecution's side, I think the prosecuting party, said he, the attorney who complained, should see what he was doing wrong before accusing his wife. This made us smile.

At that point I went for a full throated laughter. This was potentially funny and I wanted it to be funny, so I laughed and translated the joke to the non-Hebrew speaking witness. A miracle indeed. The animosity melted away. I'm going to actually notice these things more.

On the way back, on the street, a toddler sitting in a sidewalk cafe with her mother standing behind her, put her hand out to the passers by. I stopped and smiled, and put her tiny hand between both of mine for a second or two. We smiled at each other and at the beautiful tall mother, and I went away.

There are miracles, right? One just has to give miracles a chance. The weekend also was nice. My half brother came and we sat round the kitchen table and ate and discussed things until my son couldn't take the sitting down anymore. And on Saturday I walked with a friend in the park. I was so hesitant about inviting her to join me and in the end it was so pleasant.

We sat on a wooden jetty right over the water and looked at the whiteness of the ducks floating about and of the tip of each wave when a boat went by. The white was very miraculous indeed and the whole picture is now stashed away under the "images to go back to sometime" file in my mind.

Then S and I passed near a point from which you can see that balloon you can pay to go up with and see the whole of Tel-Aviv, this over where the two rivulets we call rivers here in Tel-Aviv converge, and over a big round gazebo. That's an image I already have stashed in the file so I just stopped and pointed it out to S and she, miraculously, thought it wonderful too.