Friday, November 27, 2009

The Drive

A few weeks ago something happened in my life. An awakening of sorts. I can't quite explain it, but I started to feel a deeper pride in being Israeli and being the type of Israeli that I am. It may have been when I viewed the completed first revision of my documentary, and I remembered the feeling I had back in 2006 when I completed the book that I was working on. The book still sits on my desk since I vowed to a family member that I would never publish it because of some sensative family issues crucial to the story.

Ever since this awakening a few weeks ago, I have been wanting to do more. That more can simply be described as longing and working towards living my life more and more by the logic of Yisrael that we call Torath Mosheh. There are many things that I had said I wanted to do, but I was to lazy to act upon them. There are things that I did in spurts, but something about finishing my documentary and editing it brought me back to an understanding on how important action is as compared to simply talking about what should be done.

Maybe part of the awakening was that I was letting other parts of my life overshadow my need to be logical. I enjoy so much the difference in a day when I know that I am being the best me that I can be, and how throwing away false logic can make all the difference in taking hold of destiny. That word, destiny, comes up a lot in my documentary and I can say that I get this from the influence my grandmother had on me. She made me believe that I had some grand destiny that I had to live up to. That was not the kind of thing I wanted to hear as a kid, but that is all she would talk about. When she passed away I realized that I had to do something with my life, and no matter what the cost I had to attempt to live up to all of my potential.

This leads to the other day I met with a guy who is going to do some drawings for me. At the outset he told me about a speaking engagement he had just done. He then went into his story. In order to be a Torah based Jew he gave up EVERYTHING. He lost his wife, his kids, his jobs, and a connection to his family. His wife divorced him, his kids told him they didn't want to see him, and he was going to burn in hell, and he was fired from his job. All because he sought out truth, and had a real desire to live by truth. His story really inspired me, and did something to me. I can relate to having to walk your own path to seek out truth, although I have never had it happen to the extreme level he had.


So I found myself this last week feeling so alive, and seeking to do more with my life. I found myself putting up Mezuzoth in places that I had been procrastinating to put them. I found myself doing Mitzwoth (Torah responsibilities) that I had shrugged off for some time. I also found myself starting to figure out ways to stand up for the right things. I love where I can go with my life if I continue with this drive and focus. There is something to be said about change and destiny, but I always find that Dune says it better than I can.


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Saturday, November 21, 2009

C.O.N.traversy

Ever since I was kid I was one of the those people who was sometimes the center of contraversy. That is what it means to stand between many different worlds. It is one the main points of the documentary I have been working. After some time I have gotten used to it, because the older I get the less I care about pleasing peoples' sensabilities. I am not the type of person who goes out looking for such things, and I don't believe in throwing my views in the faces of others. I simply believe in putting them out there, and standing on the ground that I am supposed to stand on.

I can tell you have seen some way out there stuff in my day. I have also seen a number of concepts and things that I don't agree with, but I don't feel compelled for the most part to comment on them or get into debates with people on them. The same freedom I have to be is the same freedom everyone else has. If there is anything that I just down right have a problem with, I simply approach on my ground i.e. this blog or on my YouTube videos.

Yet, with all of this I often get people who for some reason feel the need to approach me in ways that are quite laughable. Not only laughable, but remind of elementary school and he way kids pick on other kids. In the end, for me, such things are futile since a certain age most rational adults get past this stage and move on to more adult things. Yet, this is not the case with some.

One of the things I had to personally learn was to not waste so much time with these types of people. Some of them need conflict to, I guess, make their day go smoothly. I have found that there are people who need conflict in order for their lives to have meaning, and there are certain things that feed these people like a good lentil stew. So I made a decision that certain types of arguements I would simply ignore, others I would give a short time frame, and others I would dive right into it but on my own ground.

This comes up every once and a while, because I know that some of the people I am talking also view my blog. So I mean to say that I am still here, and things get better and better for me. More to come from the Chronicles soon.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick Update

I am taking a bit of a break from blogging and vlogging to finish up the documentary so the posts will be a bit sparse. At the moment I am about 90% done with the film, and I plan on having a showing for it on December 3rd, 2009 in Jerusalem. That is a pre-showing to get people's reaction and determine what changes I should make before I send it to the Mixed Roots Festival.

That is all for the moment, but as soon as I finish there will be some fresh updates. Stay tuned.
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Friday, November 6, 2009

A Country For Old Men

So I had a surge of documentary energy this past week, and I put together some good material. The next phase that I need to do is about my childhood in Kansas City. Specifically when I lived on 73rd and Norton, which for so many years has drawn a range of emotions. When my mother and I lived there I felt like I was really a part of something. It was the only place I felt was home. It was a closed off community, not by design but by circumstance. It was the type of neighborhood that did not have through street traffic, but instead only two streets led in and out of it, and not in a straight line. This in a sense made the neighborhood a secure safe haven for those of us who lived there.


For me, it was also this neighborhood design that created a sense of exclusivity since it gave me the feeling that our neighborhood was the entire world. On one side of the neighborhood were the woods that were a part of a huge park, Swope Park, further inclosing the neighborhood from outsiders. I remember thinking that a certain street that led outside of our neighorhood led to a completely different world, and traveling beyond it was like leaving the planet.

Every kind of life cycle event affected everyone in the neigborhood and in the summer there were community barbecues at least once or twice a month. One of the things I enjoyed was to listen to the older men talk. I can't quite figure out why, but hearing old men talk about life and philosophy was such a joy to me. Maybe, because of the fact that my father had passed away when I was three, I saw in these conversations what I wished I had at home. I especially loved to see older men joke around with each other and the jokes that their wives never understood. I enjoyed their zeal for life, and their overly opinionated ferver for what they felt was right. I marveled at what things could be gleaned from the age group of 40 and above. My favorites were those old me that were the modest and reserved types. Yet, I also liked the talkative and joking type of old men that would come up with wacky nick names for us kids. I remember how even with how close the neighborhood was there were at least 2 families that did not have their stuff together, but you dealt with them on their terms and life went on.

Love Lost

I loved that neighborhood so much, and cherished every memory so much that when my mother told me we were moving I felt my heart shatter into 1 million peices. I hated the idea of leaving so badly that I even tried to sabatoge the move. We moved into a neighborhood that had nothing that I could relate to. No community, no friends of value, no childhood games, no barbecues, and no old men to listen to. For a time I let myself slip into the wrong crowd because there was nothing else, and I nearly fell completely away from my family logic. I secretly planned for years after we moved to somehow move back to 73rd and Norton and regain what I had lost. If not 73rd and Norton there had to be some place like it that met the exact same criteria.

I was fanatic in this and when my got my driver's license the first thing I did was to drive to 73rd and Norton to try and find a peice of myself that was missing. Yet, when I got there what I found was that the neighborhood I grew up in was no longer there. The place had become run down, and destitute. The house we once lived in was in ruins, and there were no longer any old men to listen to. I felt so devasted that the only reality I knew was no longer in existance. I felt for many years after this that I had to find this sense I had on 73rd and Norton again. Every place I ever traveled to after that time never met all criteria and there were no old men to learn from and listen to.

College

In college I worked in a lab with a math professor and a former commander in the Navy, and their conversations reminded me of my childhood. They were Dr. Freddie Frazier and Commander Kelley. Throughout the course of my working in that lab I enjoyed hearing the conversations between Dr. Frazier and Commander Kelley and I was reminded so much of the past. Yet, one summer, the conversation stopped when Commander Kelley died of a heart attack while he was cutting his grass. When Commander Kelley passed away things just weren't the same, and he and Dr. Frazier were such good friends and seeing that empty place where Commander Kelley used to sit was hard since I began to realize that I was living in a country without old men. I remember how about a week or so before Commander Kelley passed away he gave his 10 year predictions of where he believed that all of the students who worked in the lab would be. I remember his prediciation for me that I would be completely dedicated to my work. At the time I felt it to be kind of an empty predication since I wanted more from life, even thought I knew on some level he was correct. After that point I never found that kind of feeling again, and maybe this was why for many years I was lost.

A Country For Old Men

That was until I moved to Israel and I found a country of old men. At every turn here I find myself reminded of my life on 73rd and Norton. I find myself hearing, either on the bus, or sitting in the resturants that I am surrounded by the type of conversations that I remember as a kid. I love the things I hear old men talking about here, and it brings such joy to my heart when I encounter the conversations of old men.



Just last night I was waiting at the bus stop near a military base close to Latrun to return home to Jerusalem. There was an older man maybe in his 50's at the stop and he asked me a few questions about the bus that he had been waiting on. He said he had been waiting for an hour and it was already dark. At that moment another older man, also in his 50's, and immediately these old friends began to talk and laugh together. The second old man said he was headed to Jerusalem and he could give his friend a ride. He looked in my direction and asked his friend if there was anyone else that he knew at the stop. He looked at me with an expectation of Why are you not asking me for a ride young man? I asked him, if I could get a ride to Jerusalem and he said, What are you talking about I was waiting for you to hurry up and come along with us. Come on young man the car doesn't mind. Get in.

I made a few of my own jokes on the way back to the car, and they laughed. On the way from Latrun to Jerusalem I listened to them talk and a smile came across my face. The conversations they had reminded me so much of my childhood on 73rd and Norton. How they spoke reminded me of exactly how the old men in my past spoke, with such passion and 100% clarity and confidence in what they spoke about. They talked about a wedding of a young man and woman that they both attended. They spoke about how good the young couple was and how beautiful the wedding was, and how it was such a blessing for two such young people to get married and building a life together. They spoke in detail on how the wedding brought such joy to their hearts. They later spoke about how it is a mistake in Israel that Arabic is no longer a part of the formal education in the schools. They both were fluent in Arabic, being that they were Moroccan Jews and I caught a few phrases in Arabic here and there.



The driver dropped me off in Givat Shaul near the Jerusalem bus station. I made them laugh a bit with some of my wit before I jumped out and I wished them a Shabbat Shalom (good Sabbath). Then they sped off on their way into the Jerusalem night. I just remembered that just the other day I was at a hardware store and the owner struck up a conversation with me. He enjoyed me so much he invited me to come to his some at any time and we could have coffee together.

This is my experience in the Middle East and it is why I say that I am home, and I would never return to live in America or anywhere outside of Israel. Though 73rd and Norton faded away, the concept is still etched into my heart, and one day in the future I will be one of those old men in my country telling my own stories of my passion for life. Yet, maybe that is exactly where I am right now thus this blog and everything that comes from it.

This is my life and I love it so much for these are the Chronicles of Ehav Ever.


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