Avital Grinberg

Theodor & I

EUJS Campaign: Theodor and I - Zionism & Young European Jews
EUJS Campaign: Theodor and I - Zionism & Young European Jews

Theodor and I live in the 21st century. 

We are in a modern relationship. 

Theodor and I have been on-and-off.

We love each other deeply but have commitment issues. 

This is what happens when your foundation is long distance. 

We are afraid of labelling. 


Theodor’s love language is words of affirmation and acts of service. 

But I can only give quality time, regardless of me needing the same.

So we keep expecting the impossible from each other despite not owing each other anything. 


I used to love him blindly. 

I used to envision us living together forever.

But as I was doing my seven circles around him under the Chuppah, he reminded me of his complexity. So I bailed. 

He believes we are on a break. I believe we aren’t. 

I just need some space.


Sometimes Theodor would mansplain to me how to live. 

One day I should be prouder, the other I should be more cautious.

He keeps telling me he cares about me. I keep not seeing it. 


These days I don’t understand Theodor fully. 

The one I loved for making me feel safe, makes others unsafe. 

Theodor keeps treating people badly and I can’t stand by idly. 

Among all his lovable qualities, he is also a bully and it hurts to see him hurt others.

These days I can defend his existence but can’t defend his behavior. 


Some would say I should dump him. 

But I love him and so do the majority of my friends and family.

For us he is a miracle, a celebration, for others he is destruction, a catastrophe. 


Otto isn’t perfect either. By far not.

But I know how Otto is ticking. 

He might not give me the same warmth but he is reliable. Like an omelette. 

Whenever I get tired of Otto, Theodor would serve as a pleasant rebound. 

And every time I get disappointed I would fantasize about Theodor.


One day Theodor and I will sit on a bench – somewhere between rainy Brussels and sunny Mitzpe Ramon.

We will look at each other and remember what we went through together. 

Our wrinkles will remind us of our debates and fights.  

We will remember our tumultuous love affair. 

We will pause for an embrace and heal. 


I love Theodor but Theodor needs therapy. As do I.


Happy Birthday, Erez Theodor – from afar.

This blog has been submitted as part of a wider campaign, which is being run by the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) entitled “Theodor & I – Zionism and Young European Jews”. Being launched on Yom Haatzmaut, the campaign seeks to start a discussion on Zionism, towards challenging the existing conversation surrounding the concept and ultimately highlighting the plurality of Jewish European identity and Zionism.

The opinions represented in these blogs do not necessarily reflect the position and views of EUJS.

About the Author
Avital Grinberg was born in Berlin, Germany and currently based in Brussels, Belgium as the elected president of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS). During her studies in Berlin and Jerusalem she was on the board of the Jewish Student Union of Germany (JSUD) and the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS). Further, Avital is committed to informal Jewish and political education, combatting antisemitism and hate speech online and human rights. Driven by the belief in equality and loving kindness, she dreams of advanced Jewish communities and a vivid Jewish life in a diverse Europe.
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