I struggle with Yom Yerushalayim

I woke up in the galut.

It is not the worst of all diasporas, I woke up with feeling the cold air from the air conditioner on face and touching stacked books on the side of my bed with my arms. If it wasn’t for the pain on my back that I was feeling since I fell at a party, I would be able to say that I woke up comfortably in my diaspora branded by middle class values, sunny skies, rooms filled by literature and prayers — with a scent of chocolate cake in the air.

Modah ani lefanecha… After my prayers, I read through all the notification of my social networks. There were many notifications of videos and many pictures of Yom Yerushalayim. Many blue and white flags, yarmulkes and long skirts. I always write something about each one of our holidays, sometimes it’s easier and some times it’s harder. Yom Yerushalayim is one of these harder times.

I struggle with Yom Yerushalayim, because I feel divided between my heart and my mind.

On my heart lies a strong wish to be amidst my people and to shake that flag – that, although not mine, always calls my attention when I see and wakes feelings inside of my heart -, celebrating and singing. Allowing my eyes to amaze myself with the light shinning upon the old city and allowing my ears to hear the choir of the daughters of Israel singing happily on a new era of Jewish history. I just can imagine the general feeling of strength and happiness that one must feel when singing Hatikvah and praying among the crowd.

On my mind I look at the same images of Yom Yerushalayim and see an expression of triumphalism, exacerbated nationalism mixed with a religious fervor — that together arise a feeling of suspicious inside of me and do not bring to the surface the most rational, beautiful and westernized version of the Orthodox way of life, on the opposite, such mix can pave the way to the most dark corners of history.

So, this is my struggle between my mind and my heart. I’m sure that some would say a division between galut and Zion.

I turn off the screen of my cellphone and walk to my window. My city doesn’t remind me of Jerusalem. I would like to say that it is more like Tel Aviv, but my city’s provincialism (that contrasts with it’s size), lack of beach and small Jewish community prevents me from calling it my small Tel Aviv. I look down to the pool and see the light of the sun meeting the movement of the water. I certainly wish I could be swimming there.

I look to my bookshelf, the Talmud is there. Tanakh is also there. International Relations papers are there. Philip Roth and Amos Oz are definitely there. What will I read today?

About the Author
Avigayil lives in Belém (State of Pará), northern Brazil. Student of International Relations at University of Amazon.
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