From one Jewish wanderer to another…

I can relate to finding a way to live in relative peace and comfort with a certain personally-defined lifestyle/outlook. But in my opinion and experience these are relatively short-lived (the same way the externally defined lifestyle+belief system is not sustainable). I think that’s first and foremost because they don’t successfully address the most important unanswered existential questions and issues, which at a certain point makes the lifestyle/system feel arbitrary and forced, even if was initially, supposedly, to a large extent self-defined.

The Work-Hobby Un-Balance

I am listening to podcasts like a fiend and so I know from the voice inside my head (aka  a dude on TED Radio Hour on the topic of success) that work-home balance doesn’t exist. Up for debate but that was the voice’s claim.

I’d extrapolate that to say that no balance exists. I mean, do you ever feel “balanced,” like you’re truly pleased with the amount of time and energy that is going to each aspect of your life?

No, I didn’t think so.

My problem is that there is so much I want to do (hobbies). And so much I need to do (work). And these two long, rich lists (which confusingly overlap), meet each other in a cosmic explosion, leaving me in the middle, bewildered, confused and frustrated.

I am the first to say that this is a “rich man’s problem,” as they say in Hebrew. But, as others wisely point out, “rich man problems are still problems.”

Both the work stuff – my client work – and the hobby stuff – my cultural events and cultural event calendar – I love. By love I clearly mean love-hate but in my life that’s the same thing – maybe more on that another time. And so I almost always feel torn;  when I focus on one, I miss the other. Or I feel guilty for not working on the other. (We’re ignoring gross bureaucratic-like tasks for now.)

And when I say to myself, “OK Deena, enough. This is ridiculous. Pick one of your projects to put on hold for a while,” I just can’t get myself to do it.

The hypocrisy in this is, of course, that I don’t even believe in this ultra-busy lifestyle. Putting busy-ness on a pedestal as is done today is definitely a collectively crazy thing we’re all doing to ourselves. And yet, here I am, part of that, and unwilling to free myself.

Because I want it all.

A bird and a fish

You are a fish
Diving deep, deep into the depths
of the world’s secrets and wonders.

I am a bird
Exploring from above,
Holding my freedom
Close to my heart.

I am a fish
Digging deep into the coral
Into the human psyche
Going deep into my head
To be authentic and good.

You are a bird
Flying high on the wings of spirituality
Chassidut and
Kabbalah.

You are a fish
I am a bird.
I am a fish
You are a bird.

A fish may love a bird
A bird may love a fish.

The truth about antisemitism

The truth about antisemitism is that it’s true.

And that is the most shocking truth of all.

Because what does a refined westernized Jewish woman do with such information? Where does she put her wishes and hopes for safe times, times without hatred targeted towards her and her people?

It would seem she might do best to look into long-term storage options for this hope of hers, a place where her hope can be put for safekeeping, because as long as antisemitism has existed, so too it just might continue to exist.

Born on the correct side

It has always amused me how almost everyone believes that they just so happened to be born into the most accurate belief system, whether religiously, politically or otherwise.

Quite the coincidence, right?

But what truly baffles me is when I realize that I honestly am on the right side. How I was chosen, I do not know, but, indeed, my parents educated me correctly and here we are with the task of figuring out how to be the just ones, the good ones, the light unto the nation, against so much darkness and evil.

The emphasis on size

At the local authors event this Sunday, David Ehrlich, a writer and owner of Tmol Shilshom restaurant in Jerusalem, spoke of the woes of being a short story writer. Publishers simply don’t like books of short stories.

(Reminds me of a sad and amusing Hebrew book on the subject: “The Short Story Artist.”)

Also that evening, Debbie Herman, a children’s author, said it would be difficult to get Carla’s Sandwich published now because it is too long by today’s standards.

Years ago while in Vancouver I took a creative writing class with Paul Belserene. One day I confessed that I often didn’t publish blog posts because I felt they were too short by blog post standards.

For kids it can’t be too long. For adults it can’t be too short. In blogs it has to be just the right length too.

But what about the ideas, the stories, themselves? What about the wacky humour of David’s stories? What about the immersing experience of Debbie’s charming book?

Paul at the time suggested I simply write how I feel like writing.

So here you go. I hope you enjoy.