September Update (and a bit of October)

Hello!


Summer is gone, the holidays are finally over, fall and reddish colored leaves are not really something you see in Jerusalem, but October in the holy land will always be my favorite kind of October.


September was a shaky month, I faced some down thoughts and emotions. They related to a few uncertainties and challenges that are going on in my life. But that’s life. And I am working on embracing them. Overall, I think the changes are good for me.

In a month and a bit, I will be heading to the US, for a long period of time. I am planning on taking part in an Artist in Residency there this winter; something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time.
My parents, who had their green card for a while, will soon be able to vote, which excites them. I, the only american (on papers) in the family, have been feeling very detached from the political scene there. Honestly, my interest mostly comes from how it influences Israel/Palestine. But lately, I’ve been far from that too. It’s probably better like this, for now. The things I am looking forward to the most in the US are simple: going groceries with my mom (checking out all the options Israel doesn’t have), sit at Barnes & Nobles with my dad and talk about nerdy things (I can do this for hours) and hear from my sister (who isn’t american on papers) about the american slang I never heard of (none of it basically).
One of the doctors I visited this past month told me: “you are very close to your family but you are trying to run away from that. Don’t worry though, once you form your own family you will feel better”. Sweet of him. Though I don’t think I will “form” a family anytime soon. There is still so much I want to explore on my own.


On Sukkot, I traveled north to the Golan to visit my aunt, who keeps with the mitzvah of building a sukkah every year, without a man. Women are not committed to a sukkah according to the texts, but here it is anyway, and it is marvelous. 

It’s a shame sukkah’s lifespan is 8 days and then it ought to be gone.    

Drawings of earthy growing foods. Seriously the most beautiful sukkah ever. My aunt is traditional and does things according to the halakha, but always adds her own artistic touch to everything. 

The round table in her studio 🙂 
A mountain monster in my sketchbook

The area where my aunt lives
Part of our breakfast. 
The candle is for my grandma who recently passed away

I’ve been meditating regularly for the past two weeks. I have a long way to go in my meditation journey, but I try to gently focus on the moment, on each morning, and each breath. 


Another Sukkah. Karen and I made drawings for it in my living room. It supports the Palestinian Beduin community at Khan Al Ahmar as they face the threat of demolition.
I am still thinking about the concept of sukkah against demolition. There is room for more on this topic, for sure.

Old City discoveries. Matilda (who speaks and reads all the languages) translating some Arabic as I take a photo. 

More from the old city. Some very beautiful calligraphy. 
I especially like this one.

Another page from my sketchbook



Summer and late updates

I love the summer.

And even though I have been out of school for a while, summer still feels like it breaks the rhythm of the year: a time to do something different from “sitting in class” all day.

I wish for summers to always be special.
A lot has happened since last summer: I visited Berlin(October) and the New York(Twice! December and May). I haven’t written anything about my travels even though I was planning to. Therefore, I will do it now J
I was very impressed with Berlin. I managed to fall in love with most of it (mainly coffee places, bookstores, galleries). I visited a few dark history memorials as well. I didn’t like the Holocaust memorial (those large black stones in the middle of the city), but I loved the Jewish Museum! It was truly fascinating to visit.  So many details about the life and traditions of different Jewish communities across Europe and during the ages. Israel doesn’t have anything quite like it.
Shada came to explore some street art with me, and we visited her cousin who recently moved to Berlin with her husband (she is a Palestinian Christian and he is Jewish Israeli). They reported that there is a community of young Israelis and Palestinians in Berlin who know a lot about each other. They also admitted (with big smiles) that life is much more peaceful for them in Berlin. I don’t doubt this for a minute.
New York was an adventure both times. There is something I really appreciate about New York. I do not feel at home there, but I am not a stranger to it either. It always feels too big and too exaggerated, but I find it very intellectual and liberating as well. 
A week after I returned to Israel, my parents and sister came to visit. 
It was the first time we were all here together since forever. We visited many people and places. My head was spinning a lot. My parents always meet with everybody when they come here, it’s like they know everyone.
Their presence attracts conversations from the past and people I don’t see often. As well as an old me that I have been trying to let go of.

I am not going anywhere this summer. I will be taking care of all sorts of things I hope I can tell you more about in the future.
The photos are a bit unrelated.
Recent Woodcut Prints I’ve made 

A display in New York

The Painting at the Seeds of Peace Office. I worked on it with lovely seeds last year but it recently moved to a new wall. So here it is!

Sondos and Sam who usually invite me to spots in Jerusalem I never get to on my own

Magic from Nachlaot

It’s time to explain why I love Nachlaot.

Nachlaot is a very Jewish neighborhood. But it is diversely Jewish, meaning, it has the Jewish world crammed together in its small 23 courtyards. And even in Israel, this is a bit uncommon.

It has religious folks of all kinds, who go back and forth between the many hidden synagogues. They try hard not to look at the secular folks who don’t wear too many layers. The hippies of Nachlaot are, in my humble opinion, also very Jewish because there is a certain way to be a secular jew, a liberal jew, a hippie jew, or all of them combined.

There are Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, and Ethiopian sub-neighborhoods. Yiddish, French, Arabic, Amharic and American English are part of town. Hebrew blankets over them though, always keeping its alluring balance as the language of ancient prayers (sang around each corner on Shabbat) as well as pornographic wall poems and funky political signs.

Many things are going on, and I like to simply wander around and absorb them.

There are people arguing loudly about stupid things, they stop to laugh about something, then resume arguing, with passion.  A couple is cursing each other in the middle of an alley; you cannot distinguish if they are going to kill each other or if their love is simply too strong.
There are those who found god, they smoke about it with everyone who cares to listen. Small girls, not older than 6, with long skirts and shiny shoes; their hair is restrained in a long braid behind their neck. Young minds who go to Uni, work 5 different jobs, go to a demonstration and then stay up all night doing creative things. The Americans who came to learn the truth and maybe save everyone. And the grandma who doesn’t understand when did her street become so hip. She cleans her flat patiently, wishes for the weirdos to leave.

I love the livelihood, the sense of community that almost contradicts the differences in the place, I like that everything is beautiful and messy at the same time.

But what I like the most about Nachlaot is the strange peaceful air that maintains itself along the narrow streets, at the heart of Jerusalem, where peaceful doesn’t seem to belong.

This Menorah has been chained to the wall since the Romans 

David doesn’t look happy

🙂

“You still don’t know it but one day there will be a beautiful garden here! Until then, let the Pineapples grow in peace, and don’t throw garbage on them! “

Ice Cream and “There is no one but He” 
I don’t think you need more than god and Ice cream. 

“Stopping the Deportation” (of Asylum seekers) 

“So how do you drink your coffee?” 

Close-ups