It’s been an interesting month away from Austin – eye opening in some ways and healing in others with my usual assortment of adventures.
So many adventures, each of which could be their own post:
- Assisting in the transformation of a beachside mansion into an art exhibit in Caesaria
- Harvesting in the fields as a volunteer for Leket, Israel’s national food bank
- Following music through the stone alleyways of Nachlaot until finding and befriending its source
- Inadvertently becoming a posterchild for lesbians in Israel (right place / right time or wrong place / wrong time?)
- Visiting the only religious women’s shelter for domestic abuse in Israel and ascertaining how I could be of help
- Making my way up to Dome of the Rock and Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) for the first time and stopping to marvel at the massive riot shields on the way up… before stopping for breakfast at the best hummus place in the Old City on the way down
- Attending and reviewing a tantric breathing workshop at Israel’s ashram in the desert, where I found wonder, renewal and perhaps the start of forgiveness
- Appearing in a three-page spread in an Israeli daily for Jewrotica, and subsequently being recognized by my bus driver and other strangers
- Putting my Hebrew to the test with my first ever Israeli stand-up comedy show… (Knowing the vocabulary doesn’t help if you lack the cultural context and language for the punchline!)
- Being adopted by an army unit at my first-ever chiloni (secular) Israeli wedding and joining a group of female Israeli scouts for an excursion in Tel Aviv – before being led on a studio tour by a Tel Aviv friend and artist
- Dabbling in the Haredi world and stirring up mischief, as always
- Befriending the English-language theater crew in Jerusalem with an eye toward future performances
And then there was last night. An evening of cooking, conversation, interaction, confusion and clarity culminating with a private theater show so fitting to where I am in life that it may as well have been a Theater-For-One hashgacha pratit viewing designed for me.
I return to Austin in one week. I had the opportunity to Skype with a dear friend in Austin just a few days ago, and it felt like time travel. I have been so engrossed in friends, family and my life here in Israel that Austin had begun to feel like a distant past. But, speaking with this friend, it made my life in Austin come back full-color and I suddenly remembered that Austin is indeed a vibrant (if flawed) present and not a distant memory. Mind you, “flawed” is not meant as a harsh critique – as all places and realities have some flaws and it is our task to appreciate the good in what’s before us.
Jewrotica has become such a full-time and start-up endeavor that I feel as though I have less time to post on this blog. And, as time goes on, it may make sense for me to turn the page and start a new blog altogether rather than writing on the ghosts of my chapter with Yair, a seven year chapter that has been the entirety of my adult life.
But, until then, life continues and I am learning, and I look forward to sharing that which I learn.
posted by ayo