Friday, 4 May 2018

Observations from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

- In a Jewish state, in Jerusalem in particular, I feel more often than not, like a minority as a non-orthodox Jew, despite the prevalence of many different peoples. Streets differ one from the next

- There is a big discrepancy between different kinds of Jews, and I cannot find connections between my Judaism and that of the Orthodox community in Jerusalem

- Tel Aviv feels like a city concerned with the future, while Jerusalem is occupied with the past in a manner that does not always feel progressive

- Political tensions are felt more in Jerusalem. This city as a contested site, holy for many peoples, is palpable

- Extremes, both Jewish and Muslim are felt more in Jerusalem than in Tel Aviv

- Different denominational groups seem to be more harmonious in Tel Aviv, which feels like a European urban centre

- I feared, initially, that going to Israel, I would return to the UK feeling more Jewish in a manner that I worried would conflict with my political views. Despite this initial anxiety, I have come to feel, for a variety of reasons, less connected to the Jewish community, particularly in Israel, and even more so in Jerusalem. I think part of this has to do with my thinking on identity and the ways in which, elements of identity often function in tiers. Within this vein of thought, my feelings are the following: I am first a woman, first Canadian, an art historian, and then maybe a Jew. This may be because my Judaism takes the form of secular ancestry more than it does with faith. I wonder in this regard, where my spirituality lies and where I might look to find it?

- I connect very much with the Arabic language similarly to how I feel about Hebrew because of the familiarity of the sounds from my childhood, hearing my grandparents speak to one another as well as sing songs

- Hummus <3

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