fbpx
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Israel Is Not Normal

Print This Article

Let’s face it. Israel is not a normal country.

We cut each other off on the highway, but will help a total stranger carry her baby carriage onto the bus.

We will steal your parking space at Azrieli, but will pay for your coffee when you’re five shekels short.

We scream at our neighbor because her dog peed on our lawn, but we will be the first over with a basket of food when her mother dies.

We cheat on our taxes, but give to charity.

We litter in the park, but plant trees.

We draw lines, but reach across them.

We are cynical. We are optimists.

We can be jerks. We can be brash. We can be rude but we will bring down joy with tambourines and timbrels, and we will join hands and dance the hora with total strangers.

And remember this — today and all days: We have all grieved over someone killed horrifically and violently – a parent, or a lover, or a friend, or neighbour, or God forbid, a child. And this place is so small, so close, so fraught that even if we haven’t felt it touch our flesh, we feel it, and you can see it in our eyes when the news broadcaster announces “a bus has blown up in Talpiot.” “There has been a car ramming at Pisgat Ze’ev.” There has been a shooting in Tel Aviv.” “A young girl was stabbed to death in her bedroom in Kiryat Arba.”

And we take it very personally.

This isn’t a headline or a sound bite for us.

These are the people we sat next to on the train this morning, or jostled in line with at Aroma. They sat shivah with us at our uncle’s funeral three months ago. They danced with us at our cousin’s wedding last May.

And we keep our phones on all the time just in case, and as soon as the news hits that something terrible has happened, we call, we text and we hold our breath and our heart stalls in our chest waiting for a response.

And every time we relax just enough to breathe a little, it hurts so hard in that space beneath the ribs until we are afraid to breathe again too deeply.

And it’s like this every single time.

And it’s true, we are a strong and mighty nation, but we have never known a day of peace since we came into being – and that fear does something to us and you can see it on the roads and in our lines and in our homes and when we vote.

We are PTSD-riddled, angsty, angry, handwringing, nail biting people.

But still, we stay out all night and swim in warm sea water, or argue with our friends on crowded corners, or drink whiskey until sunrise, or dance until our feet hurt and then stop for a minute and keep on dancing. We choose life with our arms and eyes wide open.

We are full to brimming.

We are not a normal country.

We are in pain at times, but joyful still. We make mistakes and struggle and defend. But we keep on moving on that spiral through history — a beautiful and messy work in progress — and we are a miracle.


Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the new media editor at The Times of Israel and the author of “Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered: One Woman’s Year in the Heart of the Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish Quarters of Old Jerusalem.”

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Rice Is Nice With Everything

Someone once said that rice is the food equivalent of khaki pants—it goes with anything. Anthropologists are divided over whether the popular Asian rice we...

Table for Five: Lech Lecha

Edited by Salvador Litvak, the Accidental Talmudist I will not take so much as a thread or a sandal strap from what is yours, so...

Jon Stewart to Return to TV in Apple TV+ Series

Emmy-winning writer producer, director and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will return to television with a new one-hour, multi-season current affairs series for Apple...

Adam Sandler Goes to Space in Netflix Film

Adam Sandler, now starring in “Hubie Halloween” for Netflix, is going to space in his next movie for the streamer. He’ll play an troubled...

Those Shtiebel Moments

A dear congregant gifted me a beautiful memoir about her father growing up in Poland during the Shoah. Prior to the onset of the...

Former IDF Chief Medical Officer To Lead Israel’s COVID-19 Fight

One of Israel’s top public health experts is praising the decision to name Prof. Nachman Ash to lead the country’s coronavirus efforts following Prof....

Prop 14: “Don’t Stand Idly By”

At the very heart of our Biblical tradition is this commandment from the Book of Leviticus: “You shall not stand idly by the blood...

Lost Bob Dylan Interviews Share Musician’s Concerns of Anti-Semitism

Dylan had a lot to say about his Jewish identity including changing his name because he was concerned about anti-Semitism.

France is Cracking Down on Radical Islam – With the Blessing of its Jewish Minority

(JTA) — As the French government rolls out a controversial plan that amounts to its most robust crackdown on religious activity in decades, it...

US to Extend Bilateral Agreements with Israel into Judea and Samaria, Golan

The United States and Israel will eliminate territorial restrictions for bilateral agreements in a ceremony on Wednesday. The move will build upon a policy shift...

Culture

Rice Is Nice With Everything

Someone once said that rice is the food equivalent of khaki pants—it goes with anything. Anthropologists are divided over whether the popular Asian rice we...

Jon Stewart to Return to TV in Apple TV+ Series

Emmy-winning writer producer, director and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will return to television with a new one-hour, multi-season current affairs series for Apple...

Adam Sandler Goes to Space in Netflix Film

Adam Sandler, now starring in “Hubie Halloween” for Netflix, is going to space in his next movie for the streamer. He’ll play an troubled...

Lost Bob Dylan Interviews Share Musician’s Concerns of Anti-Semitism

Dylan had a lot to say about his Jewish identity including changing his name because he was concerned about anti-Semitism.

Lawsuit Filed Over ‘Borat’ Sequel Synagogue Scene Dismissed

Sacha Baron Cohen’s hilarious “Borat Subsequent Movie Film” is a smash hit for Amazon, but not everyone is laughing, including unsuspecting civilians who were...

Latest Articles
Latest

Rice Is Nice With Everything

Someone once said that rice is the food equivalent of khaki pants—it goes with anything. Anthropologists are divided over whether the popular Asian rice we...

Table for Five: Lech Lecha

Edited by Salvador Litvak, the Accidental Talmudist I will not take so much as a thread or a sandal strap from what is yours, so...

Jon Stewart to Return to TV in Apple TV+ Series

Emmy-winning writer producer, director and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will return to television with a new one-hour, multi-season current affairs series for Apple...

Adam Sandler Goes to Space in Netflix Film

Adam Sandler, now starring in “Hubie Halloween” for Netflix, is going to space in his next movie for the streamer. He’ll play an troubled...

Those Shtiebel Moments

A dear congregant gifted me a beautiful memoir about her father growing up in Poland during the Shoah. Prior to the onset of the...

Hollywood

Jon Stewart to Return to TV in Apple TV+ Series

Emmy-winning writer producer, director and “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will return to television with a new one-hour, multi-season current affairs series for Apple...

Adam Sandler Goes to Space in Netflix Film

Adam Sandler, now starring in “Hubie Halloween” for Netflix, is going to space in his next movie for the streamer. He’ll play an troubled...

Lawsuit Filed Over ‘Borat’ Sequel Synagogue Scene Dismissed

Sacha Baron Cohen’s hilarious “Borat Subsequent Movie Film” is a smash hit for Amazon, but not everyone is laughing, including unsuspecting civilians who were...

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 99: When Corona Meets a Chronic Illness

New David Suissa Podcast Every Tuesday and Friday. A poignant story that captures our pandemic times, by Karin Katz. How do we manage our lives during...

Rabbi Reuven Wolf: Who Is The Jewish Messiah and When Is He Coming?

Rabbi Reuven Wolf of Maayon Yisroel Chassidic Center, takes us deep into Jewish mysticism as Sal and his rabbi explore some tough questions: Why...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

x