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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In A Parallel World, Written for Voices Magazine

Voices from Shiloh for Voices

In A Parallel World
By Batya Medad
August, 2011

My trips to the states are like living in a different dimension, a parallel world. Conversations are on different topics, surprisingly different values and priorities. I confuse people by sounding like a native but ask very dumb questions. When I pray, I have no idea which direction to face. My attempts to figure out from where the sun is shining never work.

Food and water look the same but have different tastes. Kosher sandwich places don’t serve salad. The kosher Dunkin Donuts in Riverdale didn’t even have a tomato or slice of lettuce for my sandwich. Israelis wouldn’t go for that.

At a “very Jewish wedding,” where the men were all in matching kippot, blessings were said under a roofless “chuppah” and the food was traif. Specially ordered plastic covered kosher food was ordered for the few of us who follow Torah Law.

American newscasts centered on murdered children but nothing else. I had no idea what was happening in Israel.

New York City is now a very mellow place. Even competing for views of the July 4th fireworks display, there was very little stress and tension.

A year my father was reunited with my mother in their new “home” in Arizona, they’re well-adjusted and barely remember any other life. Call that the gift of senility.

My Arizona Shabbat hosts were horrified that although it was my third visit, I had never seen the Grand Canyon. They drove me there on Sunday. The City of Phoenix, plus its suburbs, is almost as large as the State of Israel. I’m not used to driving such distances. And then we got to the Grand Canyon and Sedona… G-d sculpted and painted these beauties when separating water from dry land during the early days of Creation.

Flying in airplanes I marveled at the talents, intelligence and creativity G-d gave to human beings. It seemed totally miraculous that we were floating, suspended for hours in the air, higher than birds can fly.

I thank G-d for these opportunities and gifts. I hope I appreciate them sufficiently.

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