Wednesday, December 07, 2005

only questions

i've just spent two days visiting different programs supported by the organization i work for in the jewish communities of kishinev and beltsy and my mind is spinning.

what are we doing here? how did jews get here, how are they still here and why? is this still a jewish community - if they have to be taught and the shul is on the bylines (how closed minded am i?) what is a community? can you consider it carrying on a chain having elderly people in day care centers singing a yiddishe mama and avinu malkeinu (and making me cry) while many of their children are far away or they have no one to carry it on? who is jewish? what is jewish? is it better to have a minority very orthodox and the rest secular or is broadly progressive/traditional better? is it ok for me to judge about a community who has next to no kosher facilities and bemoan their lack of discipline when i myslef do not to take on some halachot due to an equal lack?

what am i doing for my community - the poor and the elderly? am i as bad as those children - what do i do on a daily basis to build a jewish community or to care for the needy? did i - by moving to israel - seemingly relinquish this reponsibility to the state and the taxes i pay? how will i convey to my children the pride of being jewish without being super orthodox or rightwing or just plain wishywashy?

how do i communicate the need for support in what i write? how do i communicate it to others so they can write it? how can i be convincing but not shmaltzy? should that be a goal or do i need to just stop being cynical? is it false empathy when i think this could have been my family if someone hadnt made a wise decision at the end of the century? am i being sanctimonious by thinking about A's family who really could have been here far more recently? am i thinking about my wedding becasue i am really moved by the community i see and my role in that chain or is just because i have a selfish need to bring it back to me.

how does a country ever get out of poverty? what would have happened here if communism hadnt happened? should i be suspicious of non-jews here and just remember the progroms and the massacres or should i trust what the community says today -- those who are returning. the new israeli moldovans - big business men who dont know yet what it is to give to their community in a sustainable way.

how do i reconcile staying in this posh hotel when it costs the equivalent of a 7 months pension a night? should i just grow up and know that this is how the charity business works? maybe thats why i'm annoyed with myself that i'm wearing a shlochy dubon and not a smart business like coat. get over it already.

but the most difficult question is why have i just paid an extra 7 lei (approx 1-2 nis) just to stay in this internet cafe listening to a popped up version of TFF's everybody wants to rule the world while i obsessively look at i hate that website. i feel nautious from the terminal clicking to find someone i know. is it a subconscious desire to connect with something i know -- some alternate but more recognizable form of jewish continuity -- even if it is one that makes me feel like an outsider?

or maybe my stomach is just turning after nearly two hours in front of this luminous screen.

time to log off. answers another time