Culture, Global, Identity

Eretz Enigma

How do you translate Israel into meaningful words? I was a liaison between the people and a hidden future today, but a very limited one. “If you are voluntary will you tell about the cities of Israel?” Dange Telahu asked on behalf of his family who will join their grandparents in Israel in July. “Will they take my baby away, will he be safe when I go on the plane?” his mother tenderly clutched her child as he drank from her drained breast. “Is there nature in Israel like in Ethiopia where I can run on a mountain or near a river, not on an asphalt road?” his brother Adesso hopes to train to be a professional runner. “What does sand feel like?” “ How will I know which bus goes where when I get to Israel?” “Will I be able to keep my sherouba, my braids in, or will they make me take them out?”, “Will a terrorist try to kill me?”
I was caught on having answers that would numb their doubts and place their nerves behind them. Would a terrorist discriminate against their skin color? Would life in an absorption center differ greatly from normal Israeli living?
I tried to explain what I did know – the imprinted history I had lived only a year before. A lot of us claim to know the back of our hands, but how would we describe them to a blind man? I took his palm in mine and traced lightly, attempting to mimic the emotion of sand – this is like that feeling I said. I pointed to the side of my face yawning, trying to describe what a ‘pop’ in the ear might feel like during take off and landing – they would need to yawn to make it disappear but that that would come naturally from within. What I really wanted to say was that adaptation to change comes from within. Humanity moves through the world like liquid. But unlike liquid that is overpowered by its environment we guide our own moldings through it, we each chisel our own Davids and should not fear that process.

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