On the way back from LA on September 13…
I’m sitting in the plane and listening to an Israeli song. Within a second it’s taking me back. I’m no longer the 22-year-old that recently moved to California. For one moment I’m closing my eyes, and I’m back to being a young girl in my first house in the city of Herzelia, dancing with my dad. Despite my young age, during my life my family and I moved to 4 houses in 3 different cities. Even the house my family is living in now, my parents are renting, which is temporarily necessary. When you move to so many houses in a relatively short time, slowly the walls lose their meaning. For me what symbolizes home more than anything (except for my amazing family, of course), is music, Israeli music. During my childhood music and song was always part of everything I did. At first it was just old Israeli songs, the ones that accompanied my parents during their years of growing up. Those songs will always have the biggest place in my heart. My dad, with his hoarse voice, used to sing me songs by Hava Alberstein and Arik Einstein every night before I went to sleep. With time I added new Israeli music, all different kinds and types to my playlist and to my heart.
The song I was listening to is over and a new song is starting; this time it’s a song by Meir Ariel called “Shir Ke’ev.” I’m closing my eyes again, but now I’m a teenager, and I’m about to take the bus to Tel Aviv. I’m waiting in the bus station with my headphones on, getting chills from the music as always. When I’ll get to Tel Aviv I’ll go down in my regular stop, and start my regular way up in King George Street to Shuk Hacarmel. Although in the real world right now I’m in a dark plane on the way back from LA, when I close my eyes and give in to the music I can feel the warm sun of a Tel Aviv summer day, I can picture the stores I always pass on my way and hear the loud street full of people. A new song starts.
Why from all the things I went through in these past two weeks, or even in the past summer that I spend at Camp Newman, do those songs makes me miss home the most? Maybe it’s because in my head they connect to the place and moment I first heard them. But maybe it’s also because I know that here those songs don’t have the same meaning. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid that here I won’t be able to really explain them to anyone. Because how can you translate expressions, how can you translate a meaning and the memories, how can I even translate the vibration I feel in my body and the sounds that go deep into my heart? So I’m asking myself how can I translate a song or a poem, how can I translate a culture? But when I open up my eyes I know that now this is my challenge. And maybe this journey is not about translating at all, but about connecting. A part of it can be to translate but it’s also about finding the different ways and songs to connect to each one of you, it’s about creating new experiences to tie with those songs, and it’s about finding the spots that our cultures meet and about creating together a big diverse Jewish world. I’m excited to be here for at least another year and to keep looking together for new ways to do so.