Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Existential Whiplash

Time Magazine published an article two months ago celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. The article's writer, Jeffrey Kluger, posed this question to some of the men who walked on the moon.

"What about the existential whiplash that comes from being on the moon one week and in your living room the next - and having to find your own way to process the vast gulf between these two worlds?"

And that, I thought, is a remarkably accurate sense of what it's like to make the transition from Israel back to America. I have made this transition more than 20 times and existential whiplash (not to be confused with Snidely Whiplash) is exactly what I feel each time.

Yesterday, I went to the Second International Jewish Bloggers Convention in Jerusalem where I realized, with a start, how many of my friends here are also bloggers. I knew, of course, but it wasn't until I saw them all in one room that it crystallized for me. I have yet another thing in common with so many friends on this side of the world.

From 2-10 PM, I sat in multiple sessions where people talked for hours about Israel. In my mother tongue. Oy, joy! Eight hours of talk about promoting Israel, in this case through the use of blogs and other social media with 300 people who not only don't roll their eyes when I say the word "Israel", but who, in many cases, actually know way more about the topic than I do. And even though quality varied across sessions, the most astonishing thing was simply that I was attending a conference with 300 other (mostly) Israeli bloggers in Jerusalem. Yesterday, I occupied a space in an Israeli sanctum sanctorium.

Today, Ariella and I took yet more bus rides, shopped and waited our turn at the post office, the bank and the health fund office, taking care of her aliyah business. I'm not actually an Israeli citizen, but I play one on TV.

In less than 24 hours, I enter the existential whiplash zone of returning to America. My life in Israel is an altered state of consciousness.

Scratch that.

It's my life in America that's the altered state of consciousness.

Here in Israel, I am most fully alive.

2 comments:

rutimizrachi said...

As usual, I love reading you.

"I'm not actually an Israeli citizen, but I play one on TV."

Since this world is illusion, and what matters is how the neshama relates, you have actually been an Israeli citizen for decades. Now we just have to wait a wee bit longer for illusion to catch up with reality. Here's to a very short wait.

Barbara R. said...

We are just waiting for you to get here full time. In the meanwhile, keep your neck steady so the whiplash is not too bad!!