While I can say that I’ve made a few jokes in my life about picking up everything and moving to a kibbutz, I never really figured I would spend any time on a kibbutz. After all, this isn’t exactly something that is common in the United States… well I guess we had communes in the 1960s but how many of them are really still around?
I’ve always found the idea of the kibbutz to be interesting. I have no idea why really but maybe it is because when you have no siblings and no cousins, you yearn for an extended family. Which I assume you would get on a kibbutz.
Anyway, after our first night on the kibbutz, we had breakfast and went on a tour (this set of videos is what one friend thinks is the best part of my trip). I loved the fact they have a nurse’s station/infirmary which they hire a doctor/nurse/whatever which may or may not be a member of the kibbutz. Apparently they generally are not but hey as a hopeful medical student who may actually become a physician one day and who joked about living on a kibbutz, this was awesome!
We went to Mount Ben Tal which was probably the windiest place I have ever been in my entire life. However it was so pretty… we could see Syria and Lebanon. What I didn’t like is that I ended up accidentally deleting all the photos of this plus most of the rest of the olive oil thing and the winery. Whaaa!
When we went back to the kibbutz, I had a bit of a breakdown. I don’t know why, maybe it is because I was at the half way point of my trip. Maybe because I was on a kibbutz. I don’t know, but I do know that at that very moment I did not want to leave… at all. Even though we could basically see Syria from our cabin. (Ok not really but you know what I mean). I wanted to live and die in Israel. I could feel every one of my ancestors, of course I could feel the Italians at Masadah but I could feel the Jews that were in my family that had been forgotten. I could feel them with me, standing by me. As sure as I was standing on a kibbutz, those people, my ancestors were there with me.
Also so much history! You don’t get that in the United States. It certainly was not the people I was with, it was the location.
I even called one of my rabbis (who was very confused as to how I was calling from Israel) and told him I wanted to stay. He said I should apply for political asylum and tell them he was abusing me… He forgets, I can make aliyah on my own. 🙂
We then went to dinner also on the kibbutz, interesting meal but wasn’t fabulous. Then were supposed to all watch a movie about ftm Israelis. I started watching the film, but started crying during it so could not handle it and had to leave. Roommate offered to sit with me, but I told him I was just going to go back to the room.
There are things that you cannot, cannot show me without me getting upset. You cannot show me harm to an animal. You cannot talk about suicide. You cannot talk about death. You cannot talk about abuse. You certainly cannot talk about parental rejection or family rejection or friend rejection. I get bent out of shape.
So I went back and used the jacuzzi. The world in Hebrew for jacuzzi is… well… jacuzzi transliterated into Hebrew. I learned that as the directions were all in English but the switches were in Hebrew and it said to activate it using the labeled switch. What? I can now say I was in a jacuzzi. I don’t understand it, but I used it.
I went to bed early as usual. It was a long and emotionally exhausting day.
Next morning, up and at ’em! Although we almost had problems as the bus acted a little funny.
Any way we went to Safed which is not pronounced anything like you would imagine. It’s Tzfat which where they get these letters I don’t know or that pronunciation. It’s like the Hebrew alphabet is messing with you. This is the Kabbalist’s dream town. This is also where you are supposed to sing “Lecha Dodi” and such. Very interesting place although I have never seen so many stairs in a town in my life.
We went to a talk at Tzfat Gallery of Mystical Art which I felt like one of my rabbis was there with me as these two could have been reading each other’s minds. I blame Kabbalah as that is what both of them were quoting and they are the only two Kabbalists that quote such things and I know several other Kabbalists that do not say the same things they do and use it the same way they do.
Other than that I was suprisingly not overly impressed with the city. I felt surely that I would connect to it as a Kabbalist, but I didn’t. We saw two shuls, learned the difference between how Sephardi and Ashkenazi shuls were set up. Ashkenazi set up more like a church, Sephardi more like a mosque. (Although I find that odd since I know people who claim they are Sephardi and go to Sephardi shuls but the shuls are set up like Ashkenazi! I am so confused.)
When in Safed, I was told some very hurtful things about what a horrible person I was because I left the Israeli ftm movie in tears and that I should have stayed and suffered. This is why I try to never go to anything ftm related at least not as an open ftm. Because you know as an ftm, my sole purpose is to put my life through hell in order to make other people happy. Being a real man is not being forced to suffer, being a real man will allow you to show emotions which will include leaving if one is getting too close to having another breakdown.
We had time for shopping in Safed, but who can really afford the prices? I do not understand why everything in Safed is so expensive. There was a really pretty bargain-basement priced tallit for 800 shekels that I loved. 800 shekels is about $230 USD. I can find the exact same tallit on amazon for $157. I saw my favourite tallit that I purchased for less than $80 USD for 1200+ shekels ($350 USD) in a shop in Safed. Hahaha… no.
So we went off to Jerusalem. We stopped near Hebrew University and saw the city at night. Hillel said “Welcome Home” But suddenly I didn’t feel like it was home. This was yet another foreign country and a city I was supposed to feel connected to. It felt more like home on the kibbutz.
We went to dinner with Women of the Wall. Honestly the most interesting thing about the dinner was that they are helping transgendered people make aliyah.
Accommodations : Arthur Hotel.