In the city of the biggest international cultural festival I end my cultural quest. (for now) Did you know Edinburgh festival was initiated by a Scotsman with aspiration for inter-European reconciliation after the 2nd world war?
I find it symbolic enough to gain self resolution with the different identities fighting within Dana in this city.
And so I did.
Budapest: the Israeli cannot find peace among Hungarian Jews. In her eyes they are way too obsessive. It takes “only” one year to comprehend that this manifestation of Judaism is basically crucial after years of oppression in this Eastern-European capital.
Then, working with colleagues in a Zionistic movement, one native Kibbutznik declares his disdain towards an orthodox life-style. And she’s stuttered. It takes until summer for her to agree that for him- secularity was his only choice to obtain a sane Judaist affiliation.
Then in Poland, a significant group of non Jews consider Judaism to be an inseparable part of their heritage, and she cannot find arguments against it. For her it is the first time that she has acknowledged “her” Judaism is not only hers as she had thought.
In Holland Jews discussed a great deal about their connection between the nation of Israel to their Judaist image, and in Edinburgh a total secular Jew prefers going to the orthodox synagogue, and deliberately not to the liberal one, because Judaism for her must be in Hebrew. (This approach was my favorite).
Every time I arrived in a new place I had to re-construct my values all over again. Any pre-assumptions I brought with me were bound to make encounters fractious.
What will be the ultimate Jewish identity? Who’s a real “Mench”? I guess, ultimately, I’m not that far from being Jewish. Whether I want it or not, I cannot dismiss my Israelity either, not for the obvious fact that I’m loud and even vulgar to some Europeans, but for my point of view on the world:
My Tel-Avivian capitalistic tool-box was not appropriate in the social environment of a Hungarian Jewish community. Although I willingly accepted the new set of rules or social principles from which the Jewish state was established in the first place, once in the UK this set didn’t find its use- where every second Jew in London declares proudly he went to a private school.
I think in Israel, capitalistic as it might be, the word ‘private school’ would not be uttered from anyone’s lips, because it would be a total disgrace. As if we ultimately set-up an official social structure of classes, which in England is very fundamental.
Neither of these ways is absolute. I learned to tolerate Israeli Jews celebrating their atheism, hand in hand with Jews that their cultural background privatizes their education. I fell in love with the variety it comes in. I hope to express this love with the Jewish cultural festival I’m putting on in Israel next year; to showcase my precious discoveries. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to partake in this quest; Join me and I’ll share it with you.
I’m taking part in an inter-European training program at the moment. It is about humor and education, diversity and human rights. I just experienced my first real-life scenario of directed antisemitism pointed at me. Something I thought exists only in books.
It was a mind-blowing experience: Intelligent educated Europeans conditioned with dangerous perceptions, openly telling racist jokes. I’m thankful for this experience. I am dedicated now more than ever to put on the 1st Jewish humor festival in Israel.
Real Jewish humor is the most humanist, and would never allow an expression of one’s superiority upon another.