Sunday, August 30, 2009

"That's what happens when we raise our kids to be Zionists and they listen to us."-- Arlene Smith, this Shabbos

There's a show called "Songs For a New World." It's not a play/musical with a plot, but what's called a "song cycle." There are 16 songs, and each one stands alone but they're all linked by their nature-- each as much as it is about a moment in time-- before, during, and/or after a big decision.

The opening song (aptly titled, "Opening for A New World")'s lyrics are here:

That's kind of the way I feel now...very excited, on the edge of something big, and scared and it's wonderful and intimidating at the same time. And you think you know how your life is going to go-- you plan it, minor changes along the way-- and then boom! You go somewhere for a few months and find out that you can't live anywhere else:

"It's about one moment
The moment before it all becomes clear
And in that one moment
You start to believe there's nothing to fear
It's about one second
And just when you're on the verge of success
The sky starts to change
And the wind starts to blow
And you're suddenly a stranger
There's no explaining where you stand
And you didn't know
That you sometimes have to go
‘Round an unexpected bend
And the road will end
In a new world"
You think you know they way your life is going to go-- I planned my life. And then-- "The sky starts to change/And the wind starts to blow/And you're suddenly a stranger"
Aliyah was not something that was a foreign concept to me. wasn't for me, I couldn't leave my family and it's hard to live in Israel. But then the sky changed and the wind started blowing and I became a stranger in this place called "AliyahLand," where things are unfamiliar and-- "There's no explaining where you stand." I can't explain so well why I need to live in Israel, but I know it feels so much more right and I feel so much more...completely myself when I'm there and I feel like part of me is physically missing when I'm not there. (as a side note, I think I just got the full meaning of " אם אשכחך ירושלים שתשקח ימיני -- Im eshkachech Yerushalayim tishkach yemini-- If I forget Jerusalem let my right hand forget [its skill]")
"And you didn't know/That you sometimes have to go/‘Round an unexpected bend/And the road will end/In a new world" Yeah, this is my unexpected bend. The new world being Israel. I always thought that I would live somewhere not in NYC, but nearby. Not Israel.

"It's about one moment
That moment you think you know where you stand
And in that one moment
The things that you're sure of slip from your hand
And you've got one second
To try to be clear, to try to stand tall
But nothing's the same
And the wind starts to blow
And you're suddenly a stranger
In some completely different land
And you thought you knew
But you didn't have a clue
That the surface sometimes cracks
To reveal the tracks
To a new world"
"It's about one moment/That moment you think you know where you stand" You finish school with your career planned. Plan a graduation trip and say, "Ok, so I don't stay for Purim meshulash." And you're okay with that because you'll have been away from home and yourfamily long enough-- 9.5 weeks-- and then you get there. You start living there-- taking the bus every morning, being a part of that society and life, make some friends, you're right there. You wish you could stay for Purim meshulash-- your mom will understand that you want to stay for Purim meshulash-- and then you get an e-mail from the travel agent that your flight has been switched and you are staying an extra day! Which means you get to be in Israel for another day (and celebrate Purim meshulash-- but you get to be in Israel an extra day!). And then you come home-- but you're not really sure if it's America or home or both-- can you have two homes?
So you decide to go back to Israel because you miss it too much-- and besides, your license paperwork will take time to process and there's really nothing else you can do in the meantime. What are you going to do-- sit around the house? You don't have a job for the summer-- it depends on you passing your OT Boards, what you do. So you might as well go back. And besides, you want to do course madrichim and the shlav bet course. So you book a ticket back for 6 weeks later-- my G-d, you've become one of those crazy people who goes to Israel and decides to go back because America sucks. Not that you think America actually sucks, but for some reason you feel out of place.

"And in that one moment/The things that you're sure of slip from your hand/And you've got one second/To try to be clear, to try to stand tall/But nothing's the same" So you go back. Because you find yourself miserable in New York. And you have, again, a really amazing time and you start to think, "Maybe I could live here? Permanently?" And then after those 8 weeks you know that you are going to be back for good. Probably in 1.5-2 years, but you're not really sure. All you know is, This was not the plan. Um...hello, G-d. Having a good laugh?

"And you thought you knew/But you didn't have a clue/That the surface sometimes cracks
To reveal the tracks/To a new world" You did not have any clue you were going to be moving to are the girl who, when asked if you were going to Israel for the year [after high school] said, said "No." You never had any grand dream to make aliyah and live in Israel. You were very happy to stay in the US and live there and visit Israel-- it was an important place, but you were going to live in America, thankyouverymuch. And then the surface cracked-- you were in Israel not as a tourist, but as someone living there for a couple months, doing the every day things that you don't do as a tourist-- getting around by public transportation, getting lost, navigating the streets, figuring out what to buy in the supermarket and which ones had the best prices. Which brands you like, which are okay. How to shop in the shuk. How to be a little more aggressive, not because people are rude, but because they will just...push. And also that fit in.

"Nobody told you the best way to steer
When the wind starts to blow

And you're suddenly a stranger

All of a sudden

You life is different than you planned

And you'll have to stay ‘til you somehow find a way

To be sure of what will be
Then you might be free

A new world crashes down like thunder
A new world charging through the air

A new world just beyond the mountain

Waiting there, waiting there"
"Nobody told you the best way to steer/ When the wind starts to blow" The wind of "I could" became "I have to. I don't know why or how, but I have to." And nobody told you, or can tell you, what is the right decision-- when to go to Israel? Get married here or go single? What about a place to live? A job?

"All of a sudden/Your life is different than you planned/"You make the decision that you are going to make aliyah in 1.5-2 years "And you'll have to stay ‘til you somehow find a way/ To be sure of what will be/Then you might be free" -- after you pay off your loans and save some money, enough to get you through the first year-to-year-and-a-half. "A new world crashes down like thunder/A new world charging through the air/A new world just beyond the mountain/Waiting there, waiting there" And then you ask yourself, "Well, why am I staying here?" And you decide to make aliyah in 9 months. And you're ready-- and then a monkey wrench gets thrown into your plans and you decide to push your aliyah back to the original date of 1.5-2 years.

"A new world calls across the ocean
A new world calls across the sky
A new world whispers in the shadows
Time to fly, time to fly


A new world calls for me to follow
A new world waits for my reply
A new world holds me to a promise
Standing by, standing by


A new world shattering the silence
There's a new world I'm afraid to see
A new world louder every moment
Come to me, come to me!"

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