Your Brain is Green
Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance. You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver. You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns. You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Two Songs

Every time I read a message on Tachlis or other Israel list, or a blog written by a oleh hadash that laments that Israel is incomprehensible, dirty, rude, not consumer-oriented, or otherwise simply not more like (a highly fictional) US of A, I remember a song by Tom Lehrer called "She's My Girl":

Sharks gotta swim, and bats gotta fly,
I gotta love one woman till I
To Ed or Dick or Bob,
She may be just a slob,
But to me,
She's my girl.
In winter, the bedroom is one large ice cube,
she squeezes the toothpaste from the middle of the tube!
Her hairs in the
Have driven me to drink,
But she's my girl, she's my girl, she's my
And I love her.
The girl that I lament for,
The girl my money's
spent for,
The girl my back is bent for,
The girl I owe the rent
The girl I gave up Lent for
Is the girl that heaven meant for
So though for breakfast she makes coffee that tastes like
I come home for dinner and get peanut butter stew,
Or, if I'm
in luck,
It's broiled hockey puck,
But, oh well, what the hell,
my girl,
And I love her.

I don't think there is a single Israeli that doesn't have a love-hate relationship with the country. But it's particularly strong among those who have chosen to come live here, and aren't here from necessity. The "olim by choice" often have very exaggerated notions of the hypothetical utopia they have come to. In other words, they expect the "Heavenly Jerusalem" and get the "earthly" one instead. And a very earthy one it is.

As a result, they generally go to one of two extremes. Either they deny that there's anything wrong with the country, and all criticism of it is a libel verging on the criminal, or they can't stand anything at all about Israel. This leads to two further divisions: those who return to the home country they never really left (mentally and emotionally), or those who are determined to change Israel for "the better" (i.e. American way of doing things). Sometimes the latter even succeed: while our oven-ready chickens still have lots of feathers on them, we do have an anti-smoking law and we are supposed to use seat belts.

So, remember: Israel is a work in progress. For every downside, there is an upside, or nearly so. As the words of the Naomi Shemer song, "For All These Things" (Al kol eleh) goes (more a paraphrase than a translation, btw):

Every bee that brings the honey
Needs a sting to be complete
And we all must learn to taste the bitter with the sweet.
Keep, oh Lord, the fire burning
Through the night and through the day
For the man who is returning from so far away.

Don't uproot what has been planted
So our bounty may increase
Let our dearest wish be granted:
Bring us peace, oh bring us peace.
For the sake of all these things,
Lord,Let your mercy be complete
Bless the sting and bless the honey
Bless the bitter and the sweet.

(Please don't uproot that which is planted, Don't forget the hope [play on words of Israel's national anthem]

[God] cause me to return* and I will return to the Good Land.**)***

Save the houses that we live in
The small fences and the wall
From the sudden war-like thunder
May you save them all.
Guard what little I’ve been given
Guard the hill my child might climb
Let the fruit that’s yet to ripen
Not be plucked before its time.

As the wind makes rustling night sounds
And a star falls in its arc
All my dreams and my desires
Form crystal shapes out of the dark.
Guard for me, oh Lord, these treasures
All my friends keep safe and strong,
Guard the stillness, guard the weeping,
And above all, guard this song.

For the sake of all these things,
Lord,Let your mercy be complete
Bless the sting and bless the honey
Bless the bitter and the sweet.
Bless the sting and bless the
Bless the bitter and the sweet.

*The Hebrew word " hashiveni"is used in the morning prayers "cause us to be ingathered from the four corners of the earth" --an allusion all Jews know.

**" (The)Land" is a synonym for Israel

***The parentheses were not translated. This version is meant to be sung to the original tune, and has kept the meaning of the original.

1 comment:

aliyah06 said...

Maybe this is just an American thing--we have these people in the States, also. A friend of mine went to work in a rural mountain community as a social worker. She chose it BECAUSE it was a rural mountain community. New freeway access went in, and suddenly it became an attractive bedroom community to people from the SF Bay Area who were willing to commute three hours to work. Those SFBA folks moved up into the area and immediately began complaining about how it wasn't like SF and the environs---to which my friend, and others, responded: "Then leave."

There is a woman in my ulpan who isnt' going to make it---she's here from Silver Springs MD because her husband wants to be here because HIS parents made aliyah. His parents came already speaking Hebrew and with love and desire to be here. SHE hates it and wishes it were "more like Silver Springs" (Ugh!).

BTW, thanks for all the help on Tachlis!

Sarah Williams