Holy Moly

Perhaps this quiet, sweltering Saturday in Tel Aviv (when most shops close and public transportation shuts down) is a good time to lounge around my Jaffa Air B’n’B and do some reflecting n’ writing. I’m one week into this exhilarating, eye-opening 2-week stay in Israel (which began with my being detained at Ben Gurion airport immigration for more than five hours). Israel’s ancient, religious, spiritual, militaristic, open, extreme, dizzying n’ disorienting energy hits you hard and fast, and I feel like I’ve been on some sort of crazy high since the moment I arrived. The reaction to my visiting Israel has been unsurprisingly mixed—“Why are you visiting Israel if you’re not Jewish?” “Boycott Israel, free Palestine!” “It’s the most amazing place in the world!” “You won’t like it at all.” “You’re going to feel so at home given your Middle Eastern background.” I’m doing my best to tune out the noise and just see and feel it for myself.

One thing that strikes me the most is the open-ness of the people. There’s no ice to break! No guards up! What I’ve seen so far in Israel is lots of hugging and kissing and hand-holding and back-stroking between friends and strangers and families, as a way to feel and engage and communicate and inquire. It’s a shame that touch—such a basic and essential human need—causes such discomfort in American culture.

This whole trip so far feels like a very sweet treat to myself after some very tough times. I’ve written quite a bit here about these past two years, but about six months ago, just when I thought I had made it through the worst of it, I was actually about to face the most frightening part of all. It’s as if I had spent two years climbing a punishing mountain, and when I finally reached the top, I was told, “Nice job, Sheila. Now jump off!” Ouch! I remember laughing about it with a friend and asking him if I was actually in that Michael Douglas movie and when were all my friends and family going to greet me with glasses of champagne and congratulations telling me it was all just a game?!!?? But I jumped off the cliff, and I can now say from direct experience that everything everyone always told me about surrendering and letting go and embracing what’s difficult and painful and allowing life to be what it is as opposed to what you want it to be…. it’s all true. Life feels very different now. Much richer. Less anxiety-ridden. More open. Less need to control. Less self-conscious. Throwing caution to the wind!

Or maybe I’m just high off this wild Israeli energy?!!

Next stop Jerusalem!

Bakery in Jaffa

We stumbled upon this brilliant record shop in Jaffa, where I found
an original copy of this much-coveted Grazia LP in mint condition!

Eilon + Lily en route to the Dead Sea.

Jason + Lily in Zohar Shuldinar’s record shop, Spinal Tap.

Tel Aviv beach at sunset.

Bauhaus beauty in Tel Aviv.

Mud-bathing in the Dead Sea. Definitely one of the most
mind-blowing experiences of my life!

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