Monday, May 26, 2008

Three links

The first link is to Frume Sarah's World, where one can find Haveil Havalim (and thanks for the links!). Today's post is also rather cute.

The second link is to a friend's new blog.

The third link is to Confessions of A CF Husband. I have been following this blog rather obsessively since January (along with literally thousands upon thousands of others readers). If you have time, I highly recommend it. It is the type of story that gives one faith. Even if one is a Tel Aviv apikoras-whore-of-Babylon type. :)

And no, photos of me dressed up as a Whore of Babylon are not forthcoming. Unless I actually succeed in sticking to the current diet. In which case, give it a few months and no problem. I mean, it is hard to be photographed in Whore of Babylon garb if it does not fit. Not "does not close". That would be fine--just chalk it up to my depravity. Literally, "does not go over my head". That is a problem.

I am working on it, people. Really.

On the plus side--I now have a new hearing aid! It is cute. It hides in my ear. It has three settings. If you count the mute setting which allows me to turn off my ear at will (you have no idea how lovely that is) it has four settings. It gives me an earache after a few hours. I am hoping that the last aspect will pass.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What Luck?

Life is not fair but we desperately wish to think it is. We are not all equally blessed…but who on Earth can comfortably stomach the concept that he has been shortchanged by G-d? This is why we spend so much time justifying reality. That is why we put forth so much effort inventing and then trotting out our "this is really a good thing, this is for the best" mantras. I am no different from anyone else. In respect to the bombing, if not in respect to various other aspects of my life, I have my own collection of mantras. I was blessed. What happened to me was for the best. I am a better person for what happened. If G-d were to come to me today with an offer to repeat this period of my life, but without the bombing, I would turn Him down. Usually, these mantras satisfy my craving for blessings. Nonetheless, every so often, I find myself questioning the fairness of it all.

My moments of doubt are both entirely random and entirely predictable. If you were to record what passes through my mind when I attend a simcha (a joyous occasion, ie. a wedding or baby naming)—at some point or another, you would find the bombing. But my moments of doubt feature at other times as well. They like to come visit late at night, when I am alone in my apartment—writing or watching television. They remind me that I am going to go to bed alone. They listen in when I hear about someone my age that is ten times more successful than I am. They join me in contemplation every April as I switch over my to my summer wardrobe and ditch the closed toe shoes and nylons—nylons in Tel Aviv in the summer being madness—and have to once again get used to showing off the scars on my leg to the world.

Generally, the moments sound like this: "How much did this cost me?" I can itemize and I can measure what the bombing gave me but I also know that nothing is free. Everything has its price, its opportunity cost. What opportunities did I lose? All of the time I spent in treatment, all the energy and focus I had to put into just keeping my head above water and myself marginally sane, all of the months I spent with an obviously scarred face. That year I spent being introduced to all and sundry as "Gila-the-woman-who-was-injured-in-the-pigua" instead of "Gila, the nice, single Jewish woman who just made aliyah from the United States". The six months I spent retaking courses I was already nearly done with. The three years post-bombing that my career choices were heavily influenced both by mental exhaustion and by my fear that I could get bombed again and my fear that another employer might not be as nice. If it were not for the bombing, maybe I would be married too? Maybe I would have children too? Maybe I would be more successful and further ahead in my career? Maybe I would have an apartment and a nice car and would be completely settled and established? Maybe I would not be so afraid of "what catastrophe is waiting for me next—what will I need my savings for" that I might feel secure enough to buy an apartment or a nice car? What future was stolen from me?

A few weeks after the bombing, a close friend of mine—the friend who "got" the guy I was crazy about—came to visit me. She brought a pint of Ben & Jerry's. She had great news. She received a job offer with a fantastic salary. She wanted to celebrate and since my going out was a bit problematic, she decided to bring the celebration to me. I was genuinely happy for her. I was also very glad that she was treating me normally—as a regular friend who was interested in her life as well—and not as a pathetic, generic mitzvah project. At the same time, I could not help but think: I was the one who worked the hardest, who studied the hardest in Ulpan, who did the most planning…and I end up with nothing and she ends up with everything? Her life is moving ahead while mine has stopped short? This is not fair! Six years have passed since that day and enough has happened in both of our lives for me to accept that it was not that simple. Nonetheless, I still feel like that, sometimes. How can I look at this and say it is fair?

Maybe it is not fair. A day after my release from the hospital, I sat with Nomi and Michael Elbert in their kitchen. Michael was on a roll. "Everyone is going on about how lucky you are because you were not killed and you are going to be okay. How is this lucky? A young woman caught in a bombing, seriously injured with damage to both of her eyes, hospitalized for two weeks…that is not lucky. That should not be!" At the time I dismissed his words. I thought his friends were right. I was lucky. Several years later I had cause to remember this conversation and to reconsider my blithe dismissal of his analysis. I was discussing with a friend the health of a third woman we are both friends with. This woman underwent difficult fertility treatments in order to have her first child. In the course of checkups to prepare for a new round of IVF, it was discovered that she had cancer. She spent the next year in treatments; as of that time she had been given a clean bill of health though it was not clear if she would be able to bear any more children. My friend's take on all this was similar, though not identical, to that of Michael's friends: if it were not for the fact that our friend had fertility problems, and that doctors insist on such a careful check before starting fertility treatment, the cancer never would have been caught so early and her cure would not have been nearly as assured. Ergo, our friend was lucky. I took the part of Michael. I found this type of logic ridiculous. Our friend had to suffer through fertility problems and cancer. She should not have had to go through either, much less both, and certainly not both by the age of 30. How can you possibly define this as luck? This should not be.

The truth, as much as there can be said to be a truth, is that both sides are right. It is not fair that one woman should suffer so much to have kids, and should suffer so much for the right to raise them…while her friends receive both in quantity and with no suffering whatsoever. That is true. Yet, it is also true that if she was going to have cancer, it is lucky that she had the fertility problems which led to the cancer's discovery. For that matter, were it not for those fertility problems, she might not have had children at all. It is because of the problems that she decided to start having children as early as she possibly could, instead of waiting several years as do so many women who marry at the relatively young age that she did. Had she waited, her fertility would have been destroyed, and that without a child there to comfort her. All of these are true, so who is right and who is wrong? Is she lucky or is she not? Is she blessed or is she not?

Am I lucky or am I not? Am I blessed or am I not? Is this fair or is it not? I can tell you that there are plenty of times I raise the issue with G-d. Listen, G-d, so far I have had kidney disease as infant and rather serious issues as a child, adolescent and young adult. And I deserve a bombing too? And cancer three years later? How can that be, G-d? My friends get everything handed to them: nice normal childhood, nice normal college educations, nice normal dating lives, the husband, the children, and the home. I get a bombing. I get cancer. They are the lucky ones, not me, and if you call what I have luck, well then, enough. Enough! Enough! Keep your type of luck, or give it to the irritating, chirpy, brainwashed and smug bastards who call me fortunate. I would like to see how blessed they would feel were they me. If this is Your love, than just give me Your hate, and be done with it already. נמאס לי כבר!

I challenge G-d to call me blessed and to call this fair even while understanding that even if this was not fair, I was blessed and I am quite fortunate. I made it through okay, and I took far more out of the bombing than it took from me. I stand by my contention that this was the best thing that could have happened to me even as I feel sorry for myself for having to go through all of this. I scream at G-d in my jealousy even while understanding that I very well may have nothing to be jealous of. What do I really know of the lives of my friends? I wrestle with G-d while understanding that there really is nothing to fight about. Things just are, and what do I know of the workings of the universe? Not everything that happens is or will be within the bounds of my mortal comprehension. I put on the rose-colored glasses and I take them off—grateful, bitter, grateful, bitter, grateful, bitter.

I want the blessings I want but I receive only those of G-d's choosing. So am I blessed or am I not? There is no answer.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

And now, for something blindingly obvious

Okay, after days and days of reading about: Nakba, how Iran is going to destroy us 3), how the Taliban is going to destroy us and, how Hezbollah and Hamas are going to destroy us and how the Palestinians are all anxiously awaiting that day, I finally figured out what was really bothering me about the whole thing.

The stupidity of it.

As follows:

1) Israel is a small country

2) Palestinian and Israeli cities are not that far from one another. Furthermore all of the major Israeli cities include significant Arab populations.

3) Nuclear weapons and the related radioactive fallout have not yet reached the level of sophistication that they differentiate between Arab and Jew. If Tel Aviv is nuked, not only is Yaffo toast as well, but based on the size and type of explosion and the prevailing weather conditions, the fallout could conceivably affect Palestinian cities in the Gaza strip. I think it is a fair assumption that, in this case, Israeli medical assistance to the affected Palestinian areas would not be forthcoming. Several of our major hospitals would have been vaporized and the others would be busy treating Israeli wounded. Sure, this might not go over well on the world stage, but at a time such as that, "world opinion" would probably be pretty low on our list of priorities. Or so one would presume.

4) This is not even taking into account any Israeli response. Which, in the case of a nuclear attack, would be (I hope) rather severe. It is not that I am all that bloodthirsty but rather that, after the Holocaust, my worldview in respect to such matters can be roughly described as "if we are going to go down, at least we should take down as many of the bastards down with us as we possibly can". Though, of course, I would prefer that we do not go down and that we do not have to take various others with us. This is in particular because I live in Tel Aviv--aka Iranian Target #1. There is nothing quite like self-interest to keep any random violent tendencies that I may have in check.

5) Hamas has (if the news is accurate) joined up with Iran, who is effectively proposing a plan that has the ability to cause significant damage to the folks in Gaza. As such, if Israel is wiped off the map, so will a healthy chunk of the Palestinian population living in the region.

I can understand the alliance with Hezbollah. Right now, Hezbollah also hits Arab Israelis, but theoretically, at some point they may get their hands on technology which will allow them to aim. In addition, Gaza is not within Hezbollah's range. Therefore, to a certain extent, this alliance makes tactical sense. I say "certain extent" because a conflict with Hezbollah also has the potential to injure the Palestinian population. If they knock out our electric grid....guess who also looses power? I suppose one could look at this as a necessary inconvenience to be suffered in order to achieve an ultimate goal.

But the alliance with Iran does not represent a mere necessary inconvenience. It represents the potential for mass casualties. True, there is all that rhetoric about blessed martyrdom. But I do not completely buy that either; the Hamas leadership seems to be quite interested in keeping themselves alive. Nuclear conflict makes the achievement of that goal significantly more difficult. Of course, I suppose the leadership probably has bunkers.....

So far as I can tell, at this point the average Gazan does not have too much in the way of opportunity to freely express his or her opinion on this matter, much less "vote the bastards out" if he or she disagrees with Hamas' foreign policy. But I do wonder if this has occured to them. I would like to think so. I would like to think that if you peel back the external layer of radical elements, you really would find a core of people who are reasonable, who are not looking for glorious, violent martyrdom, who would choose the companionship of their families over that of the mythical 72 virgins...and in short who consider it to be in their own best interest to stay alive. And who are sensible enough to realize that the Iranian schemes run directly counter to said self-interest.

And who find the whole situation just as insane as I do.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Vignette from the life of a Poor Sad Heroic Victim of Terror ®

A couple months after the bombing, I spent a weekend in Tel Aviv with my friends Yael and Debbie. On Friday, Yael and I headed off for a day at the beach. On our way there, we popped over to Shuk HaCarmel, the Carmel Farmers Market, to pick up stuff for lunch. We arrived at the Shuk at around noon—an hour when the place tends to be completely packed. Yael got a bit nervous.

"You know, it is really crowded…." She did not have to say more.

"No, it is okay", I blithely responded. "We are not really going into the shuk, see? We are buying stuff right at the entrance".

Yael just looked at me. Oh, right. Entrances to open markets are bad.

I really should know this. But whatever. Nothing happened.

Monday, May 12, 2008

?האם תרצו

A. A conversation with an Israeli friend who grew up in the US.

Me: True, we have a lot of problems here. But I believe in Israel. We have done so much in 60 years that I have no doubt we can go the rest of the distance.

Friend: (condescending) Oh please. The government is corrupt. The people are corrupt. No one cares about anything but their own wallets. Really, nothing is going to happen to change that.

Me: Of course change can happen! Look at the United States! The federal and local governments were completely corrupt until people got up and called for change. We can do that here. We are already doing that.

Friend: You know, I know you like to believe your pretty little fantasy world. But you cannot compare the US and Israel. The US was built on a good, solid foundation. Israel was built on a bad foundation.

Indeed? Please, take a moment and Google the following:

Tammany Hall. Robber barons. Tenement Slums. Slavery. Star Route Frauds. Decimation of the Native Americans. Discrimination against women. The Red Scare and McCarthyism. Jim Crow. Pollution.

I present you with two potential conclusions to be drawn from the above list:
1) The United States and Israel have equally solid foundations.
2) The United States and Israel have equally weak foundations.

Choose whichever one suits you. Once you have done that, please take a look at some the following:

Charles Henry Parkhurst. Mary Harris ("Mother") Jones. Jacob Riis. Thomas Garret. Dorman Bridgeman Eaton. Sarah James. Susan B. Anthony. Edward R Murrow. Barbara Johns. Rachel Carson.

To save you some time, let me provide you with the common factor linking the names above. Each of the names is that of an ordinary person who said "enough"…and who proceeded to change the United States and make it better. It is thanks to the above people and thousands upon thousands like them that the United States, for all of its faults, is so often cited as an example of good government and a well-functioning society.

Are you asleep, O our nation? What have you been doing until 1882? Sleeping and dreaming the false dream of assimilation. Now thank God, you have awaked from your slothful slumber. The pogroms have awakened you from your charmed sleep. You eyes are open to recognize the obscure and delusive hopes. Can you listen in silence to the taunts and mocking of your enemies?..

Where is your ancient pride, your old spirit? Remember that you were a nation possessing a wise religion, a law, a constitution, a celestial Temple whose wall is still a silent witness to the glories of the past...

Bilu Manifesto 1882

If they can do it, we can do it. Do not forget who we are. Do not forget where we came from. Do not forget what we have endured. And most of all, do not forget what we have accomplished despite everything we have had to endure. For us to doubt ourselves and our abilities as individuals, as a people and as a sovereign nation is patently ridiculous. A corrupt prime minister? קטן עלינו.

B. A conversation with a co-worker.

Friend: My husband and I sometimes talk about how we wish we had been born during the early days of the State.

Me: Why is that?

Friend: Times were different then, better. You know…more idealistic and heroic. People had something to believe in. The people were different then as well. They were more Zionist then, less disillusioned, less selfish and more self-sacrificing. They cared about the State of Israel.

Me: I don't get it—why can't you and your husband be like that? Do community service. I don't know…take your kids to volunteer at an old aged home once a month.

Friend: Oh no! We used to live across the street from an old aged home—it was really frightening.

Me: Well, then do something else.

Friend: Well, you know…things get so busy.

Now here comes the rub. We can…but do we want to? Let us have a little reality check. It is not "the times" and it is not "the country" that is the problem. You are the problem. Do you want to be idealistic? Then be idealistic! What is stopping you? What the hell are you waiting for? Either you want this or you do not. If you want it, you will do it. (Do not worry—I am saying this to myself as well).
אני רוצה להתבגר במדינה שמתגברת על כל הקשיים, בכל המובנים. דואגת לילדים שלה-וגם למייסדים. קולטת עליה, לומדים מניסיון אז נזכור מה שהיה ונעשה את זה נכון. ניקח אחריות, המדינה הזאת שלנו. אז בוא נצעד צעד צעד ללא פחד. נציג את כל שנבקש אם נשאר ביחד. נביט למציאות עמוק בתוך העניין ונבנה עתיד טוב יותר בעבודת כפיים. סאבלימינל והגבעטרון-בת 60
I want to grow up in a country that overcomes all obstacles, in all meanings of the word. That cares for her children and also for her founders. That absorbs olim, learning through experience so that we will remember what was and will do it right. We will take responsibility; this is our country. So come march in step without fear. We will achieve everything we want if we stick together. We will look reality straight in the eyes and we will build a better future with our own hands."

Subliminal and The Gevatron "Sixty Years Old"
Being idealistic in action is not as difficult as it sounds. Volunteer. Teach your children to volunteer. Go to demonstrations. Vote! If the party you voted for does not keep its election promises, kick the bums out. Write letters. Give to charity. Add a tzedakah box to your kitchen décor. Think about the environment. Turn off the water while you scrub the dishes. Fight corruption on every level, and wherever you can. Remember—corruption does not emerge, like Athena, fully formed from the minds of top government officials. It exists everywhere—it is just a matter of scale. The corrupt clerk in the iriyah who has an illegal side arrangement with the black-market guy who buys cars from people looking to leave the country (as encountered by my friends) may well "grow up" to be the mayor with illegal side arrangements with real estate developers. Fight corruption in your own behavior as well. Obey the law.

C. A juxtaposition of two comments made to me by two Israelis.

Comment One: (On the Israel she knew growing up, in the 50's and 60's). Yes, Israel was not rich, but we were also not poor. We did not have as much, but we were happy. It was good to live here. People really cared for one another and cared about the State. It was a community.

Comment Two: (On the changes in Israeli society and the claims that the upper classes are disconnected from the rest of the country). Can you blame people if they want to give their kids all of the things they did not have growing up?

Herein lies the rub. Getting back the idealism may entail some amount of trade-offs. It may entail giving up some of the things people did not have growing up but that they are now able to give to their children. Like, for instance: misery, cynicism, obsessive keeping up with the Joneses, rampant consumerism, self-absorption, and complete disregard and disrespect for the law when it interferes with your shopping or any other pleasure. On the flip side, this may also involve people giving their children what they did have when they were growing up: happiness, community and pride in their country.

Yeah. Definitely. A tough call.
The further we went the hotter the sun got, and the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became…. There was hardly a tree or a shrub any where. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country. No landscape exists that is more tiresome to the eye than that which bounds the approaches to Jerusalem. The only difference between the roads and the surrounding country, perhaps, is that there are rather more rocks in the roads than in the surrounding country.

The Innocents Abroad, 1869 Mark Twain

To help you decide, I offer you the Jerusalem Forest. Trust me, this makes perfect sense. The generations we most admire are the generations that carpeted the "tiresome terrain" with green. Next time you have a free afternoon, head over there and spend some time enjoying the trees and nature. While you are there, think! Here is the choice. Option number one: you can give your children the forests you had growing up, the forests you were proud of, the forests that represent so much of what is good about Zionism. Option number two: you can give your children a land where there used to be forests back in the days before developers greased the right palms, and the forests were illegally razed in favor of yet another "exclusive" neighborhood.

D. A Conversation With Myself

Me to myself: I love this country. If I ever get married, my relationship with Israel approximates the relationship I hope to have with my husband. I never really understood the mechanics of how people could stay together for years without going stark raving mad and getting sick of one another. Israel has taught me. I came here out of fascination and infatuation. I have stayed out of love and passion, a love that is almost indescribable and that exists despite the myriad of and warts and faults Israel bears and which I have gotten to know over the last seven years. Recently, someone asked me (seriously) if I would be interested in working in the US for a few years. The very thought of being separated from the מולדת, my homeland, for an extended period reduced me to something of a mental panic. This is love. This is my home.
אם תרצו, אין זו אגדה!" תיאודור הרצל
"If you will it, it is no dream!" Theodore Herzl
This is my home. This is your home. Either we do it right or we do it wrong but whatever path we choose, we have no other place. But honestly, I do believe that we can transform the State of Israel into everything it should be. Yes, the challenges we face are huge ones, but think about how much we have done so far. Look at Israel and look at other countries that were established around the same time. Look at where we are compared to where they are. Look at what we have had to deal with. This place is amazing and a testament to the people who built it. The times are different? The people are different? I disagree. The times are the same; it is just the nature of the challenges that have changed. And as for the people? We are the same people. We are just as good and just as strong. We can do anything…if we choose to. If we will it.
עורי עורי דבורה. עורי עורי דברי שיר." שופטם ה יב

"Awake, awake Devora. Awake awake, utter a song." Judges 5:12
Make a choice. Start with a little exercise. Israel spent approximately a gazillion shekels on her 60th birthday celebrations. Ask yourself this: what would need to change here in order that, by the 70th birthday, the government could spend nothing —no official birthday song, no air shows, no fireworks, no logo, no excessive Israel Award prizes—and you would still spend Yom Haatzmaut with a goofy grin on your face and you would still plaster your car, your home and your children with Israeli flags. Now sit down. Write up a list. Then get up, go out and make it happen.
Crossposted to 60 bloggers

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Time

The usual caveats apply. This was written in August 2002, at around 2 AM when I was too stressed out to sleep. As in, a long time ago and at a particularly tough time. Life is much better now.


********************************************************************************
I have a really nasty confession to make. Last week, when I learned that Americans had been injured in the Hebrew University bombing, one of the thoughts that went through my head was “Thank God! I am off the hook!”

"Off the hook for what?", you ask (even as you wonder how I could ever be so callous). Trust me, four months of this, and you would be callous too. Ever since the bombing, I have been, if you will excuse my pun, bombarded with requests. Can I do this interview? Can I come speak to this group? I feel as though I have become something of a poster child for victims of suicide bombings. This may be an overstatement. Maybe Israelis who are injured go through the same thing. However, what I have heard, over and over, is that I am special. I am not special because of the extent of my injuries. In comparison to many, my injuries were not at all extensive. Nor am I worthy of note because I displayed bravery in the face of danger. There was no bravery here. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rather, I am special because I am a native English speaker. To be more specific, I speak English with an American accent. As of last Thursday, however, there is a whole new crop of American English speaking Poor Sad Victims Of Terror ® available to give interviews. I am off the hook.

But why would I want to be off the hook? I should want to help! I should want to raise awareness! (And, ahem, money). I should be elated and honored to meet with every last solidarity mission that comes through this country. I should be begging for the opportunity to share with them my poignant-but-gutsy story. I should be grateful for the chance to explain, for the 100th time, and probably to the secret disappointment of the questioners, that, no, I do not get nightmares and am not particularly traumatized. I should get misty eyed as groups sing Am Yisrael Chai way off key, to cheer me up, and read me letter after letter from elementary school children. (Of course, I should also keep a straight face as they inadvertently read me, with great ceremony, one child’s awestricken letter to a Brave Israeli Soldier ®, even though I am a Poor Sad Victim of Terror ® and not a Brave Israeli Soldier ®).This is my golden opportunityto Do My Part, to Make A Difference. To Pay Back my Debt to Life, the Universe, Everything and the Worldwide Jewish Community…and I want to be off the hook? What is wrong with me?

This is what is wrong with me. For the first month and a half after the bombing, I was not working, and could not do much of anything. The month after that I only worked two hours a day. During that period, if people asked me to sit for an interview, or meet with groups there was no problem. I had the time, I was grateful for the help I had received and I pass it forward. But I never thought that this would last beyond the first month or two. My assumption was that the interest would wane as my wounds healed, and I became less dramatic. That did not happen. Four months after the bombing, I am still fielding at least one or two requests a week. Friends, acquaintances and organizations will write or call with requests. “A solidarity mission is coming to visit and your story is so great, so inspiring, (read: “so likely to raise money”) that we would love if you would speak to them”. Or, “So-and-so is writing a graduate thesis/ filming a documentary/ writing the Great American novel/ working on a very deep and meaningful conflict resolution project/ whatever and they were looking for good people to interview and your story is so powerful that I gave them your email. I hope you do not mind”.

I do mind. I really do. Although I am still undergoing treatment, and probably will continue to do so for approximately the rest of my natural life and perhaps a couple years beyond that, I really am trying to get my life back on track. Last month I went back to school and started working half time. As of now, August, classes are in full swing, I am working close to full-time and have finally come off the dole. To summarize, for two months now I have been juggling all of the elements of real life: work, classes and homework with the critical elements of being a Poor Sad Victim of Terror ®: administrative fun with National Insurance and countless doctors’ appointments. I do not have time for this. As difficult as it has been for me to learn how to do so, my nice American-accented English is now expressing the word “No”.

But if I chalk my feelings up to a lack of free time, I am only telling half the story. The other half goes something like this: “I am sick sick sick of this god-forsaken, stupid bombing and of being a god-forsaken stupid bombing victim. I want it all to go away”. This has nothing to do with trauma. I emphasize this because whenever I mention this aspect of being Poor, Sad Victim of Terror ® to people, their faces immediately take on this sad, ‘I-understand-your-pain’ expression. They speak to me in slow, gentle tones just dripping with concern: “of course, it is painful to re-live it”. To clarify. I am not traumatized. I am not in pain. I am stressed and I am irritated. To use the vernacular, I am royally pissed off.

Here is what all of you seem to be forgetting. You can put terrorist activity in a defined space. When you have time, and to the extent you have time, you can take it out and play with it for a spell. You involve yourselves. You read articles. You send checks. You write your representatives in Congress. You are all very sincere and well meaning and believe that it is so important that those outside Israel really understand what is happening and understand what we Poor, Sad Victims of Terror ® go through. Then, when you are done being sincere and well-meaning, or if you discover that it does not fit into your schedule this month, you can go off and do other things.

You are dabbling in my bombing. I am wallowing in it. I cannot escape. What am I supposed to do—say I am done with it? Ignore it? My entire life has been taken over by this, this, THING, and it will be taken over for the foreseeable future. It is now nearly four months out, and I have five doctor’s appointments next week. At a minimum, I will literally be dealing with the medical treatments for the next year and a half. I still spend at least several hours a week dealing with National Insurance. My career, my earning power and my absorption into a new country have all been shoved back six months to a year. Beyond the obvious fallout there are other, more subtle intrusions. The bombing has leached into the simplest of my actions. I choose to wear a sundress because there is a heat wave—and have to bear people staring at the scars on my arms and legs all day. I went to the beach with friends and had to put on mounds of sunscreen and rent two umbrellas because I am forbidden to sunbathe. I went to a sandwich shop with my cousin and had to ask the staff to turn off the music so I would be able to enjoy a conversation during the meal. I went on a blind date and ended up waging a futile battle with my hearing aids as they picked up every conversation but the one I was having. I made the mistake of explaining the situation to the guy. Instantly, I stopped being Gila the person and was transformed into Gila the Poor, Sad Victim of Terror ®. I spent the rest of the evening answering questions about the bombing. Needless to say, he was not interested in me, even though he found me so sad, equally brave, is sure I will meet someone and wished me a refuah shlemah. Can’t I do ANYTHING without that stupid bombing coming along?

I am just so tired of the whole thing. I am sick of doctors, sick of the hospital, sick of National Insurance, sick of my hearing aids, sick of my glasses and sick of my scars. I am sick of people asking me about my recovery. I am sick of being stressed out—so stressed out that here I am sitting at my computer at 2:00 AM because I am too wired to sleep. In short, I am sick and tired of being a bombing victim. The last thing I want to do now is give this bombing more of my life. There are new American injured? Yofi. I am off duty and off the hook.





Sunday, May 4, 2008

Haveil Havalim #164 The No Names Edition

I have been working on some various projects and my blogging has taken a bit of a backseat. Fortunately, the rest of the blogosphere has been busy. Check out the latest and greatest at Simply Jews.





Which has, incidentally, one of the coolest symbols out there....

In light of the comments, I have added a link to the explanatory post. Word to the wise--if you value your computer screen and keyboard, do not read while eating or drinking.

Friday, May 2, 2008

In honor of Six Million



1983. Ofra Haza and the State of Israel giving Hitler an update on the current state of affairs.

Sometimes, success really is the best revenge.

:)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hearing aid update

Today I had a mold made for a new, in-the-ear hearing aid. It really is a simple process--you go in, the technician crams lots of sponge down your ear canal (which hurts) and she fills up the rest of your ear with putty which then dries in the shape of your ear. The new hearing aid should be ready in about two weeks.

While I was there, I asked the technician , Rachel, about the Lyric hearing aid (which was featured in a New York Times article forwarded to me by pretty much everyone on the planet). Her response: well, you know how it really hurt when I put the sponge in? And how you whined that it was making the nerves in your jaw go haywire? Well, that is because you had surgery on your ear. And the Lyric is going to go in even further. It will hurt even more!

So, no, I will not be going for the Lyric. :(

As an aside, should one's hearing aid technician be happy that another hearing aid might cause one pain? Does that mean Rachel is a sadist? Should I be concerned? Or do you think that this is simply a little quirk she has and that she is otherwise harmless and would not do anything untoward to my new hearing aid?