Thursday, June 4, 2015

Far From Home

Once again, I'm traveling to a business conference, taking a plane to a distant land. Last time, it was India...different in so many ways from Israel and yet I felt that it was also similar. People are people, I thought to myself when I was there, with the same basic thoughts, feelings, concerns. What occupied the minds of many Indians, at the conference there and wherever we were, was making a living, surviving and even prospering. They were very concerned about security, very aware. Wherever we went, when we said we were from Israel (and we did often), the Indians reacted with a smile and a greeting...unless they were European tourists...then they rushed to tell us that they were pro-Jewish...and anti-Israel, one British man told us sadly...they are concerned about what has happened to the Jewish people...we used to be different.

Yes, I thought to myself, we are different. We've learned to defend ourselves; we've rebuilt OUR land and worse, in the eyes of the Europeans, we're doing a darn good job at making it a success. The poor, battered, grateful Jew doesn't exist in Israel and amazingly enough, is becoming less and less willing to stay in Europe.

Europe...that's where I am now. I'm at a conference outside of London. We landed yesterday and took a bus to Southampton. As always (wow, that's funny that I wrote's only my third time here and the second time consisted of being inside a Heathrow terminal for 8 hours)...but yes, I always find England beautiful. The houses, the green land, the endless rivers tucked in the most amazing places. Yesterday, we took the bus from London to Southampton with a really nice lunatic driver that left me sick to my stomach, smiling and thanking him and then suggesting we skip a cab and walk to the hotel so that I don't have to get in a car.

Beautiful hotel; amazing and kind workers here. I find I am more nervous in England than I was in India. There, we were anonymous unless we chose not to be. We were foreigners in a world where they expected foreigners to come and we were not readily identified except in Cochin, where many Israelis visit. There, the merchants called out to us in the few Hebrew words they likely had insisted Israelis teach them (yalla ... which is Arabic and means "let's go"...but is widely used by Israelis; sababa...which is Arabic too, and means "great/excellent/cool"; shalom...that one is definitely ours and means "hello" and "goodbye" (yeah, confusing) and most of all "peace"; and "mah nishma" which means "how's it going?" or "what's happening?" or "what's up").

As in India, my brain is working in Hebrew...I'm anxious to speak the language, even with my children, with whom I usually only speak in English. I crave home; I crave the language...and I only left yesterday! I miss my children and my grandchildren...I'm going to miss almost 1/4 of Aharon's life...little Michali cried when I left, and I didn't get a chance to kiss Yosef before I left.

Last night, as we were settling into the hotel trying to relax...when I saw that two missiles had been fired. I can't begin to explain what it feels like to know you are far from home...while knowing it's starting again...


John Dowling said...

Welcome to the UK and specifically Hampshire. :)

Sammy Finkelman said...

it kind of looks like maybe the missiles were fired in an attempt by ISIS or people close to it who would like to use Israel to destroy Hamas for them, because Israel has this policy of retaliiation and they figure Israel will not re-occupy Gaza.

Or so some people in the IDF feel.

It's probably not so simple.

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