Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Books and Movies

Last week I attended the first International writers festival in Jerusalem. I went to a session with Etgar Keret, Jonothan Safran Foer and Nathan Enlgander. Jonathan safran FOer had lots of interesting things to say about the process of writing, for example, he writes becasue he loves art - in general, and writing is the form of art that he can express himslef, if he could paint he would paint, but he can't. He continued, everyone probably ahs a bout 10 novels of material in them, it's just a question of what you do with that amterial, does it wach through you or do you write it down?

They had an interesting discussion about the difference between an "Israeli" and "Jewish" writer. Etgar Keret suggested it had something to do with identity, that 'diaspora' Jewry has issues with identifying and establishing an identity as a Jew in a secular environment, and hence they have to do things to create an identity, or hide it...the whole "Kavalier and Clay"/ superhero notion of being two things at once. WHereas in Israel you are Jewish all the time. No hiding. No need to identify yourself as different - here we are all the same - the super-jew with their army.

I thought about this in terms of religion. Religion is definitely a way of maintaining identity in the "diaspora" and once you are in Israel and everyone (ok the majority) is Jewish, does the push to keep religion lessen or deepen because of that? You are no longer special becasue you keep all these different customs because everyone is doing it...establishing your identity takes on a different meaning...

LAst night I went to an evening of early film in "Palestine" early 1900's. It was fun to see all the clips of Israel under the Ottoman/ British rule...everyone was dancing, and ploughing the land, this was the signature meaning to being Israeli - working the land, planting orchards and building houses and schools. It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling seeing all these "pioneers", even if the film was choreographed.

Living in Israel now, am I ploughing proverbial fields? Am I living the "Jewish" dream?
Am I "Israeli" yet? Things that cross my mind from time to time...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like to read your blog Gila, I like your way of wondering about "it all".

4:43 PM  
Blogger gils said...

Thanks! I will try and write more!

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be nice, although I like that you take time and think of what you say, at least thats my impression. I know it can be hard to put on paper all thoughts wandering in our heads and for whats even harder, try to make sense of it all.

6:01 AM  
Blogger gils said...

I think the point is, I write down what doesn't make sense...hmmm, I should have more material than my number of posts reflect!

12:00 PM  
Blogger ladymathematician said...

This was a thoughtful entry.

In the past two years I've become more interested in learning about traditional Judaism - but once I decided to move to Israel, the interest has faded somewhat...

7:28 AM  

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