Beyond Borders: Navigating My Jewish Identity Untethered From Zionism.
For months now, I’ve been struggling to write, to reclaim my disciplined daily writing practice, my ability to shut out the world for a few hours to say something meaningful or meaningless, just something. I’m used to fallow phases, I don’t worry during those times, they always end with a burst of creative energy.
But this is different. This feels like a square cement block shoved inside my skull, taking up all the soft space, preventing me from moving too far in any direction. But also, I have a lot of exceptionally valid excuses.
- My husband has been working from home since February. In May, he was supposed to go on location for 7 months — Morocco and Budapest — I would go with him for most of the time. Thanks to two lengthy strikes and a war, he’s still home, working from our (my) office.
- The day after we screenwriters went on strike, the coffee shop I made my new office unexpectedly shut down leaving me unmoored. My productivity depended entirely on that gluten free banana bread and hot almond milk latte.
- Oppressive financial stress after my husband’s show was paused.
- Oppressive annoyance that my husband is still home, working from our (my) office.
- A war and a world that is tearing my heart apart.
I want to tell you about the day I got a little too high, took a walk and imagined all the ways anti-Semitism might impact me. Might the maitre-d at the fancy restaurant greet us at the door and say, “Stern? Jews? No, we don’t serve Jews here.” Or about the young Jewish looking couple I passed who I was sure glanced at me suspiciously, wondering if I too was a Jew. I told myself it was just the weed but then I remembered the six million ghosts in my head.
I want to tell you about the summer of 1984, my first trip to Israel, and Misha, the handsome, muscled, blue eyed Russian emigre — my first true infatuation — and our barefoot walks through the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem and our languid love making on the cold tiled floor of his kibbutz bedroom. I want to tell…