Ok ok ok! I know I haven’t written in a week, but I have been a very busy girl! I swear! I am not neglecting you, or my writing, which seems to have deteriorated in the last week… damn writer’s block! The truth is that what with root canal part 2, the many family dinners and stay-overs in honour of our birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and the entire Anglo Jewry descending upon this small dot of a holy land, this little miss graham has barely had the time to watch the new series of the Amazing Race! Although I did manage to skive off yesterday afternoon so I could watch it before going to see more English visitors and see the football.
Seriously people I am exhausted!
Even more shocking to those who know me… I also managed to stay in Jerusalem for 3 and a half days… Wednesday night until Saturday night! Ok so I did drive to Ra’anana on Friday morning to have lunch with the parentals and my little sisters, but in essence I spent a long weekend in Jerusalem and survived! I’m not sure if there is any connection to the fact that from Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon I was under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol, but nevertheless I see it as an achievement… even though my liver has other thoughts at the moment.
It was actually a most pleasurable stay in Jtown…
Nine years ago, I had the misfortune of going on my year out in Israel with Bnei Akiva, however I at the same time had the very great fortune of spending that year with 14 wonderful women (they were just 18 year old girls back then)… ok and one or two of the boys were ok too :).
During this year we bonded as only 14 girls; thrown into a hovel in the Old City of Jerusalem with only Aish boys for amusement, sent to do hard labour on a kibbutz because the 6 boys we were sent with were too weedy to do it(Ok Bogen was the king of the fish!), and then chucked off the programme for having “an orgy” in our apartment in Jerusalem, will do! In terms of the lifelong friends we made that year, we had the best year of our lives.
This weekend one of the girls got married at the David Citadel Hotel, looking out onto our old home of the Old City, and out of the 14 original girls in our group, 10 came to the wedding in Israel. It was amazing to see so many of us together again, and over the weekend it was wonderful to reminisce with them over the good and bad times we had all shared together. We walked to the Kotel and I couldn’t help but feel the déjà vu of walking with the same people to pray in the same place so many times before. To be honest the whole weekend was a little overwhelming for this little emotional wreck, and from time to time I had to take myself outside for a little reality check. This was especially so at the wedding where the hall was filled with people from all over the UK. During the meal I took a breath outside and turned to my friend Hugh to say that I had to pinch myself to remember that I had not gone back to England, but that we were still in Israel! But thankfully the next night in a different hotel, at another party for the same wedding, I found myself pouring out Hebrew to the barman… it just came naturally… I was still home! I was still in Israel!
As we all stood on chairs and sang our lungs sore, I looked at the girls who had now grown into successful women, wives, mothers, and I was overcome with the urge to shout, “Come join us here!”, but it is not for everyone, and for sure, their London lives are very attractive in some ways. But it is a life I left behind two years ago, and although I am sure that I will go back to England from time to time, perhaps even to work there for a period, it will never be my home in the same way that Israel is. I guess I never directly correlated my increase in age with the increase in age of England… I have no idea, nor do I care how old England is. But Israel, well she is only 32 (31 on Wednesday) years older than me, and with every year the age gap narrows and I see my growth in her, and I see how I am changing because of her. June 27th 2004, I made Aliyah, and now two years on as I am about to turn 27, I can safely say that I would not want to be anywhere else!