April 20, 2012
My Last station
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?
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.
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.