Saturday, September 17, 2011

Family, Relationships, and Being 6000 Miles Away When Your New Niece is Born

I have a new niece. Her name is Smushy (according to her Doda Lauren, that is; other family members call her by the name on her birth certificate). She is adorable and wonderful...and 6000 miles away. Which sucks.

When I moved here, I had one niece who was old enough to look at me on the computer, identify me by sight, and semi-carry a conversation. Our conversations have since progressed to playing hide-and-seek, making faces at each other, and her telling me about her day. Smushy can't do that yet; as an infant, she knows people by voice (sound), smell, and feel, mostly the middle and last ones now. I won't be seeing my niece until she's about 9 months old (assuming I go back to NY for the summer like I plan to). I held Squishy the day she was born; Smushy is going to be 9 months old before I hold her or see her in real life, and she might not even let me hold her because she won't know me. That really, really sucks; my own niece who I love so much not even knowing me.

I knew that at some point this would happen. I don't expect my family and friends to stop living their lives because I'm not there, but each time something big happens there, it hurts and it's hard. I'm happy here, I really am. It's just hard when life events happen without you there.

I don't even want to think about when more family and friends get engaged, married, and have kids and I won't be there.

This was depressing. Sorry. But this is one of the hardest-hitting and most bringing-you-down-to-reality, if you will, parts of making aliyah without all of your family and friends.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A thought on terrorism

I was watching a video set to "Little Did She Know [She Kissed a Hero]" by Kristy Jackson when I was struck by something.

September 11 is THE defining event in American history for terrorism, when America became a target and she had her terrorism on her mainland soil. There is no ONE defining event for that in Israel. Israel is, for good or for bad (and for lack of a better word), used to terrorism. In Israel it's a part of daily life; not that there are bombs going off every day, thank G-d, but in that you're a little more aware and a little more alert in general. But there is no ONE defining moment that people can say, "This event brought home the concept of terror." In Israel everyone has his or her own event that has defined terrorism for him or her. Kind of scary.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11-- 10 years

I was in school when the Towers were hit and fell. We had just finished davening and were going to our first period classes.

The Brooklyn buses said something about the Twin Towers being hit by a plane, but it was on Z100 and they were never serious, but...really? Why would they say THAT?

So we went to our classes, and we started hearing more. I turned my walkman on to 1010 WINS (an AM news station) and they were saying the same it was true... Mrs. Brand (the principal) made an announcement over the loudspeaker to bring our siddurim to the multipurpose room; I wondered if that was how Israelis felt when there was an attack, but I also thought that this was a much larger scale than any attack there. We didn't have classes the rest of the day. People whose parents and other family members were in the area were calling and trying to get through-- I made sure that my Dad wasn't downtown that day, because sometimes he worked downtown. He wasn't.

At first the bridges were closed so all of the Queens girls were offering to have non-Queens people stay over, but they they opened the bridges. On the way back to the my house I saw a huge column and plume of black smoke where Manhattan was-- that was it, just thick black and dark grey smoke.

The news was the same for two days-- same video clips, same audio bites, same images. Occasionally a press conference here, a new clip there. Eventually I shut it off. The city literally shut down.

They were asking for blood donations, but I was too young to donate. Turned out they had more than enough blood, because so many people died and didn't need it.

It's been 10 years, and I still remember there were lines at the pay phones and people trying to get through to families, and my friend's relief when she found out that her father who was there was okay. I can still see the smoke and remember how it felt to not be able to see Manhattan, just a darkness where it should have been.