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born israeli

a wise person once said
that the worst possible advice
a native israeli can be given is

be yourself!

because
native israelis had better not
be themselves

khalilah!
god forbid!

they
are already too loud
gesticulate too much
complain
protest
and grumble too much

they are too intense
too absorbed
too unruly

all
in
all
too
much
already!

barukh was anxious
five years ago
as he entered the airplane

he didn’t like himself
and felt ashamed of himself

not because of the aliyah
but because of
what had happened before

for years

because
he had sold
his soul
to the devil
and the devil didn’t pay him off
so he didn’t only lose his soul
but also the price of it

he gave up everything
for conformity in hungary
but to no avail
he couldn’t fit in

and so
he didn’t only lose conformity
but also lost what he gave up for it

himself

(everything)

barukh arrived in israel
hoping that one day
one of our days
he would become an israeli
not only on paper
but by the looks of it too
so all that anxiety and shame
he had brought from hungary
would be wiped out of him
would disappear

like
forever

he hoped
if he had wanted it enough
and had strived for it badly enough
he could’ve divested himself
of his galutnik background
one hundred percent
he could’ve ripped out the roots
that linked him to the european diaspora

and then
he would’ve really become
a native israeli
a born israeli
at least as he saw native israelis

intense
absorbed
unruly

he hoped
that he would speak
hebrew without an accent
that he would be
unbroken
and enthralled

he hoped
that he would be assimilated

that he would blend in

and disappear

and he would never ever
feel like an outsider
again

this is not what happened

and poor barukh
is about to accept it too

he will never be a native israeli

because he wasn’t born in israel

and if he tries to act
as if he was born here
forcing matters
taking on gestures and mannerisms
that born israelis use
then he will lose
exactly what makes born israelis
born israelis

that they are
who they are
just the way they are

for barukh
who was born
in a family of wandering arameans
and whose ancestors
always unconditionally believed in
the power of assimilation
it is very difficult to accept
that there are limits
to how successfully
he can become assimilated

that no matter how much he wants to
no matter how much he tries
he won’t be
a born israeli

a wise person once said
that the worst possible advice
a native israeli can be given is

be yourself!

it took barukh
five years in israel
to understand
and acknowledge
and accept
that the only way
to permanently
get rid of
wipe out
and destroy
the anxiety and shame
he had brought from hungary
and simultaneously
make him
more or less
like a born israeli:

is not to try to be
a born israeli

if he gave up
trying to be
someone else
than what he was
who he was
but rather
would try to
discover
who he was
and what he was

then
with all his might
all his energy
he would turn into

what he was
and who he was

so much so
that even
the aforementioned wise person
will tell him:

barukh!
dai!
khalas!

don’t be yourself!
this is too much already!

About the Author
a wandering aramean poet / born in hungary / living in israel / longing for a home / and peace / outside and inside // he writes about his new life / and his old one / his adhd and asd / his adonayush / and war and coexistence / in israel / in the middle east / and in the world // hundreds of his poems are available in hungarian / and in a weekly increasing number also in english // “self-appointed poet” (“önjelölt költő”) / his first book of poems / was published in budapest in 2021 / "twelve points of barukh" ("barukh tizenkét pontja") his second book was published in 2022 // he lives in the kurdish suburbs of jerusalem / with his wife and two sons
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