Heidis, Milkies and Amalekites

It is no secret. I am not settled here. I need a change. I was originally thinking Cork (I bottled it). Now on the radar is Berlin.

MilkyAnd the brouhaha stirred up last week by an Israeli in the German capital encouraging others to join him is about far more than the price of chocolate pudding with a splurge of whipped cream (Times of Israel).

I can’t put my finger on what exactly has made me so unsettled here. The illness and passing, last year, of my lovely mum – I have now lost all three members of my immediate family (it is not quite as dramatic as it sounds) – won’t have helped, though my feet were already itching about a year or so beforehand. My aunt is convinced it is my still being single. But, while a wife and kids would not have left as much time for indulgent introspection, I don’t share her conviction that being tied to this country would have made me any more contented in it. Perhaps I am just experiencing some kind of mild, mid-life malaise.

Like “Pudding Man”, I still consider myself a Zionist. What I need, however, is some time (to draw on the Hebrew idiom) out of the Land. I look back at some of my more fervent postings here and wonder if it was really me who authored them. I recently deleted, as unrepresentative of it, “this miraculous little country” (though it is undoubtedly that) from the bullets under About This Blog. The locals now irritate me even more than they always have. The charedim appear more preposterous, the Tel Avivis more arrogant, and the working classes (I had better not get any more specific) more primitive. Tel Aviv feels ever more superficial, and while Jerusalem is more like home, it is also suffocatingly parochial. And there is little escape. The north disappoints (especially knowing the Lakes and Highlands as I do), and the south holds no appeal at all.

Soon into my Tour Guides’ course (which I was anyway forced to abandon in order to care for my mother), it became very apparent that my love for this place was on the wane. The sandstone was of as little interest as the lime, and the myths had lost all their meaning. On a Succot outing last week, our (excellent) guide’s enthusiasm just left me cold. And I have long stopped reading the Israeli press.

My reasons for wanting a break are not typical. They are neither economic nor security-related (though I thank the dear lady who, on the steps of Raleigh Close on Rosh Hashana, and with a grave wink hinting at the unspeakable, assured me that there would always be a spare bedroom for me in NW4 . . . should I “need it”). Unlike the Milky protesters – and there is genuine discontent amongst many Israeli twenty and thirty-somethings – I thankfully need neither cheaper housing nor grocery bills. The missiles, too, don’t faze me. It is more the arseholes who never let you into traffic, drive with a finger on the horn, jump red lights, and don’t stop at pedestrian crossings.

On Thursday evening, a delightful Jerusalem police officer chose to curse my mother in Arabic after spotting me raise my eyebrows as he overran the red light and stopped his marked 4×4 on the crossing. And, more upsettingly (who expects anything from Israeli police?), I recently witnessed the owner of the café where I drink my morning juice eject a frail gentleman in his seventies, who could only shake his head in disbelief, because he was deemed to have been sitting with his newspaper for too long following his last sip of hafuch.

I am sometimes assured, by those attempting to assuage the recent black moods, that such experiences are one-offs, exceptions and not rules. If only. I witness similar things here nearly every day. And they are signs of a society lacking class, boundaries and respect.

I am not comfortable about publishing much of the above, and apologise to anyone it offends (or depresses). But I have always endeavoured in these pages to tell it as I feel it (what otherwise is the point?) And if Yair Lapid wishes to label me an anti-Zionist, or even a traitor, I can live with that. But there is a great big world out there, and just because we have been hounded wherever we have gone in it, it doesn’t follow that we shouldn’t wish to experience it for longer than an Israir Special.

All in all, then, fresh surroundings and challenges clearly can’t come too soon.

Berlin is a wonderful city. Resonant with history, stylish, cosmopolitan, tolerant, and, yes, affordable. It is, I imagine, somewhat similar to the city of my birth . . . before it lost its identity and soul (just sit and observe, as I did a few weeks ago, from the top deck of an Ealing to Golders Green 83). And its main downside is not that history, but the very folk I need a break from: “You got rid of the very cream of world Jewry,” I always remind Oliver, my German lawyer, “and have ended up with tens of thousands of Israelis . . . serves you right!”

Resonant with history: the Neue Synagoge at dusk

Resonant with history: Berlin’s Neue Synagoge at dusk

Even though Angela Merkel’s Germany is arguably Israel’s most loyal and trusted ally (at a time when we don’t have many), on hearing “Berlin”, many of the reactions to my proposed move fall between shock and horror, often accompanied with the expression of someone biting on a pickle that has turned.

But why are we so insistent on clinging to our former enemies? Because of the shortage of current ones? Say I have a short memory, but even if the Germans are (as I was recently informed) the descendants of Amalek, Hamas, IS and Iran all cause me rather more sleep loss than the Amalekites (whom, incidentally, I would take over the Palestinians quicker than you can shriek “Allahu Akbar” and detonate your suicide vest).

Some of the double standards I have encountered have been hilarious, from friends and family whose kitchens could moonlight as AEG/Bosch/Miele/Neff/Siemens showrooms to the elderly relative who I discovered, soon after learning that he was Berlin-broyges with me, had been nailing a local fräulein while serving King and country in Allied-occupied Austria!

Perish the thought . . .

Perish the thought . . .

Indeed, folks’ greatest dread on hearing that I might move to Berlin is, of course, that I could end up in some kind of unseemly liaison with an athletic, fair-haired female with bone structure out of a human biology textbook. I don’t even want to think about that. Much. But anyway, at 47, should I still be placing national survivalism before personal happiness? (And even if Heidi has midos like the pair nearest the camera?)

Some of the ‘caring’ souls who have provided unsolicited opinions as to why I “can’t” move to Berlin are, curiously, the very same who went entirely AWOL during my mother’s illness and the second that I got up from shiva. My oldest friend, Shuli, though, is certainly an exception to that. And, while I am loath to compliment him, I do know that he genuinely cares. After I had successfully repelled his latest attempt, last week, to persuade me to pursue a future with a couple (though separately) of completely unsuitable women – his former search criteria for me long having been reduced to a criterion (i.e., Jewish) – he threw his hands up in the air and exclaimed “Don’t tell me you are happy when you are sitting alone at home with Stuey and Dexxy!” The hard truth is, though, that most dates leave me longing to get back to them.

As for Deutschland, I have a few rather loose ends to tie up here first, but am already looking forward to the new challenge. I have some exciting business ideas and the feeling that my “fascination for the [former] abomination” (to quote Joseph Conrad) could be the impetus for a renewed vigour for writing (both blogging and even something more tangible). Who knows, it might even recharge my flagging Zionism.

And, to all you young Israelis who feel the need for a change, go for it I say! The experiences, culture and Weltanschauung that many of you will eventually bring home will serve this ‘island’ far better than the arrogance and hypocrisy of those who criticise and condescend from their villas in Caesarea and Ramat Aviv.

To all my readers, a very happy, healthy and gevaldig 5775!

Looking ahead (with Vladimir Ilyich, Prenzlauer Berg)

Looking ahead: with Vladimir Ilyich, Prenzlauer Berg

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53 responses to “Heidis, Milkies and Amalekites

  1. Philip Israel Witriol

    Brilliantly written as ever. But are Berlin “demographics” so different from London? http://www.euro-islam.info/country-profiles/city-profiles/berlin/

  2. Don’t you dare!!!

  3. Beth Steinberg

    It’s a good piece Mike. Honest and forthright. I’m here much less time. I don’t have the right to wonder at someone else’s journey which might take them elsewhere. Thing is, maybe a change of venue or work might help – what are you doing at present that feeds your soul?

  4. Jeremy and Trudy Hanson

    It happens dude, it happened to me a couple of years after I made Aliyah from London in 1985. It’s a tough place to be and ultimately you have to be somewhere that you feel is right for you. I eventually left Israel in 1988 and lived in my Hometown of London for ten years until we moved to the US. That hasn’t been without it’s issues but we’ve made it work. In the end you’ve got to think about you, G-d willing you’ve another 20 or 30 years. Spend them being happy.

    B’shalom

    Jeremy

  5. I think your argument could be classified as reductio ad absurdum – reflected in the hideousness of that much-quoted, vacuous Israeli’s ‘concern’ for his children’s future ability to eat four-packs of Milki. As the Goons’ Grytpype-Thynne used to regularly accuse Bluebottle: ‘You poor twisted boy, you.”

  6. I just saw this TED lecture yesterday. Its not just the decision you make; its that those decisions turn you into something else. Mike, I do understand your irritation with Israel and your personal restlessness but I hope you will be back soon. Here’s the TED:

  7. Roddie MacLennan

    Entertaining and thoughtful, as always, Mike. We should all ponder, perhaps, Albion’s past and continuing perfidy, when pointing fingers at tall blond(e) people of Central European origin. I believe it was “Malleus Scottorum” himself who first marked Jews as being “outside” English society, firstly, demanding a distinguishing badge to be worn, then murdering those who had bankrolled his wars against his neighbours (all of them) and finally expelling them before paying his debts. Then there’s the British inventiveness at its very best; Jameson’s Raid and the concentration camp. But the Brits, like the Germans, can be damned nice volk. But, Gott in Himmel (Catholics are allowed to blaspheme.), haven’t we both had some shite leaders and foreign policy, over the centuries? Let’s stop the nauseating war films on a loop TV and give the Germans a break; they deserve it.

  8. 1. You’re not surprising us, Mike. After all it was you who already surprised us with notions of your move Berlin-ward when you came up for air after a long absence, only to discuss your disgust for shifty Berliners who yanked the rug from under your feet when you THOUGHT the condo you put a deposit on would be yours. But no! The very designers you hired to fix it absconded w/it instead, leaving you to lick your wounds and diss the designers to high hell. So time healed all wounds and you’re ready for another go at it, eh?

    2. In light of that blogpost, this commenter indeed thought of you as soon as she saw that TOI headline last week! Still, why you didn’t reference said blogpost is telling. Perhaps you didn’t want your readers to rub your nose in it, as this one just did? 😉

    3. One doubts the dating scene will be much more forgiving than the Israeli one is for you. Now were it Thailand you opted to make your 2nd Aliyah to, I’d tell you something else. Ahh, Thailand. Where even aging ex-Mossad septogents pay under $400 for a beachside 3 bedroom and a bevy of femme-fans.

    4. When/If you truly go through with it, we’ll all miss hearing about Aretz HaKodesh from the eyes of all of our favorite cynic. Darn! Who’ll pick up the baton from you? Please don’t leave us w/o referrals!

  9. Your points are definitely salient. As you say, not a day goes past without some BOORISH native giving me the itch to punch his lights out.I am however toughening up, because of this uncouthness and probably turning into an uncouth boor myself. I used to be a Zionist. Now, most of the time I`m an ANTI-SEMITE.You`ve been here longer than me and you DESERVE A MOVE. Funnily enough though, I feel SAFER here than ANYWHERE else in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, so I`ll just have to grit my teeth and bear it.

  10. Whereas the percentage of Muslims in the total population is even slightly higher in Berlin (9% cf. 8.5% in London), Philip W, my guess is that London has a far higher proportion of Arabs (73% of Berlin’s Muslims are from a Turkish background) . . . not, of course, that I have anything against Arabs.

    What “soul”, Beth? 😉

    Only “another 20 or 30 years”, Jeremy and Trudy? Do you know something I don’t?!

    I thought “Perfidy” is where Aberdeen play, Roddie.

    Well spotted, Laurel . . . I wasn’t going to let those NOrags (gedddit?) beat me. Thailand is not my style, though I am sure you will find an ex-Hasmo’s tales re Heidi & Co. – “melchy rides again”?! – just as engaging.

    And if I promise to stay put, Philip L . . . will you promise to put a fucking space after your full stops?!

  11. I’m sorry to learn of your mum’s passing and wish you a long life .
    You are lucky enough to be able to explore the possibility of life and , hopefully happiness , in a different land .
    I hope you find what you are looking for.
    My experience is that, in the words of Harry Chapin , ‘ you can travel down some ten thousand miles and still stay where you are’

    Take care

  12. Point taken, Mike . . . though even if I am just going to “stay where [I am]”, I at least want to experience different things on the way!

  13. Macshovah Levatolah

    The ability to describe ennui in terms tinged with apikorsos or at least generally accepted kosher hatred…….. AND to see it for what it is, is what makes this such a depressingly uplifting blog.

    Although my wife never totally believes I am joking, absence does makes the heart grow fonder. Plus and there is much which the state could take on board beyond a few subs that would benefit society (just as a few yeckers always spiced up the United Synagouge) even those east of the Woburn Meridian!

    Wishing you all that which you know you should wish to those who truly annoy you .

  14. How sad. To think that the Jewish State that has inspired so many, that has been the stuff of dreams, yearning and aspiration for 1000s of years is now leaving you cold….I wonder what it is that still makes some people want to stay, and others need to leave? I’ve been here for nearly 30 years and raised a family, so have no experience of what that could have been like in Hendon (though I have a good idea!) There have been so many challenges along the way – my husband commuted for 15 years! – but the thought of leaving “home” was one we considered and rejected. The privelige and possibility of being part of Israel – with all its madness irritation and frustration – is just amazing and I feel blessed every day that destiny has made this my path. Having said that – good luck Mike. Not sure Berlin would be my first choice for alternative lifestyle – when we were there last year for a day visit I found the place depressing and redolent of past atrocities. Even hearing German gave me the chills. But each to his own! I hope you find what you are looking for and that being away makes you want to come back… Israel needs more voices like yours!

  15. I hope you enjoy yourself and have a good life wherever you live. I have a feeling that you and all of us have more roots in Tel Aviv / Israel than elsewhere, even NW London. For sure you are like many Jews here who romanticize gollus as they denigrate Israel. True that Israel is a dirty, noisy, racist country full of shitty people – just like everywhere else in the world, including Berlin! I am really not criticising, we can live where we like and your personal happiness should be more important to you than some notion of patriotism. I just think the move will be temporary. Mike will be back!

  16. I just followed the pudding man link, and as far as I’m concerned, that punim is reason enough to do Aliyah to Berlin. What an incredible merging of (Iraqi) sperm and (French egg), that!

  17. Moshe Abelesz

    Shuli’s your best friend??? no wonder your’e miserable :).
    Seriously, I hope things work out and that you should be happy and healthy.

  18. Fabulous blog!! U nailed it!!
    … And i would certainly say: go for the personal happiness, life really is about joy, happiness and health… And not about pleasing others..( unless that makes one happy)

  19. Did you consider spending a year in the Scottish Highlands or Ireland? You’ve mentioned how fond you are of those locations. Or do you hanker after somewhere with more of a buzz? If you still require access to synagogues, then perhaps Glasgow would be more suitable. I understand some of the synagogues have thriving malt whisky societies!

    Regardless, Scotland or Ireland probably lack the emotional associations which England and London have for you and moving to either location would not involve ‘going back’ and all the associated issues.

    Good luck.

  20. As someone who was born and raised here but being the child of anglo-saxon Olim, there’s a lot I can sympathise with. It’s the people here in Israel who want to make you stay, It’s the same people who make you want to just leave and go somewhere else. It’s a daily dillema…

    However one cannot trivialize the fact that Jews can travel and stay in many places around the world (well, Damascus is not the preffered choice these days) even in Berlin – and not be as easily presecuted as before they had a Jewish state to come back to, support or rant about…

    As always – beautifully written.

  21. Good luck in whatever you do Mike!

    I write this on my 15th aliyah-anniversary and if I were to proffer some (maybe unwanted) advice I would say that while I have much fondness in my heart for Berlin (I got engaged to my now-wife there) I am also painfully aware that if we’re not careful we can take our problems/shit wherever we go.

    The grass is always greener when we water it.

  22. Don’t really get the Berlin thing Mike if truth be told – probably in part at least to do with your inner need to provoke and outrage – but it seems to me that the destination in this case is of far less importance than the departure point and why you are departing. And why you are departing is more or less exactly why I too, despite my love and admiration for the State, have never been able to make a go of it in Israel; so all I can do is express this empathy for your plight – and it is a sad plight, make no mistake – and wish you luck and happiness in this next stage of your life.

  23. “Oldest” friend, Moshe, “oldest” . . . though what is it they say about beggars? 😉

    “Depressingly uplifting” . . . I love it, Machshovah!

    I considered Cork very seriously, Outsider (have you read this?) The Irish are wonderful. And I was close to buying a house there. But, following months of agonising, I decided that, yes, I need somewhere with a little more buzz . . . and Yiddishkeit. I wouldn’t rule it out, though, in the future. Perhaps for part of the year.

    Thank you, Steve, for the advice. More obvious and trite than “unwanted”. We all have “shit”, yes . . . but that doesn’t mean we have to stay put in a place that is clearly not doing us any good in order to deal with it.

    And yes, Saul (as “old” as Shuli!), I also “think [it] will be temporary”.

  24. I am sometimes assured, by those attempting to assuage the recent black moods, that such experiences are one-offs, exceptions and not rules. If only. I witness similar things here nearly every day. And they are signs of a society lacking class, boundaries and respect.

    By way of example, this morning . . .

    I woke up, showered, and took the dogs for a walk, stopping off at the post office (on Chopin) to pick up some registered mail. Being ‘served’ at the counter were three Italians, members of the Roman Catholic clergy, to whom the tichel-covered moron behind the counter kept yelling in Hebrew “Tikach et zeh! Tikach et zeh!” (Take this! Take this!) . . . even though they clearly couldn’t understand a word. This continued for several cringeworthy minutes, until I intervened and acted as interpreter.

    Arriving back home, I opened my e-mails.

    A few days ago, I wrote to the CEO of a property company, managing a project I am involved with, as follows: “Shana tova! I have been abroad for almost a month, and only just received the latest payment letter on my return last week. Do I have a little “breathing time”? Best, Mike”

    The following was her response . . .

    Dear Mike.
    Shana Tova.
    You have to pay on time. This shouldn’t be a surprise for you. your due day was 15/10/14.
    you are already late.
    I cannot give you any extra “breathing time”. This is totally wrong.
    Please sort it out.
    Best
    Xxxx

    Now am I being oversensitive . . . or is this woman – whose company, by way of background, has been late and inefficient in all kinds of ways over the last couple of years (and who keeps boasting, to anyone who will listen, about some “Mickey Mouse” second degree she completed in London) – a complete c*nt?!

    Thoughts, anyone . . .

  25. Macshovah Levatolah

    Mike,

    Get in the swing of the times, don’t be so judgemental, be mid Atlantic..

    “Somewhat of a ” would be less dismissive than “a complete ”

    It gives you the option of a lengthy discussion on the existential merits of the relative rightness of breathing room, which she does seem to be dismissive of. however look on the bright side, she gave no reason for her blanket value judgement of it being wrong (why, how and what color.)

    I have always felt that someone who has to replace a simple NO with four lines of semi waffle deserves all they get.

    It could give you a short period of stress relieving mirth before revising your opinion back to “complete “.

    “Producing my eponymous product, for the greater good, or at the very least entertainment……..”

    Machshivah Levatolah

  26. You got so into that little rant, Machshovah, that, by the end of it, you had become a chossid . . . Machshivah! 😉

  27. Macshovah Levatolah

    How Dare You Sir!

    I demand satisfaction…….choose your Kugel!

  28. I shall do what you want by the time we have our next drink together.So,the sooner the better,If you so desire.,,,

  29. An honest, well written piece. I’ve always said, I love Israel, apart from the Israelis. My fondest memory is when a taxi driver physically attacked (well, shoved) me when I tried to get my own suitcase out of the boot of his car. I’d prearranged a price with the office, of course, but he wanted to rip me off, of course!

  30. Tragic shame that the boorish postal worker, cop and cafe owner can’t be booted out to Deutschland instead….Sadly, yet another “brain” is being “drained” away at a time when Israel can least afford it.

    Although I do think that your latest relocation over-looking the old Tel Aviv bus station may have contributed to your increasingly bleak assessment of life in Israel. It is as if you were looking to deliberately trip yourself up I order to reach a conclusion that you have already made… If not deliberately,then sub-consciously.

  31. You are to punctuation, Philip Lehrer, what Jimmy Savile was to young girls’ chastity!

    Interesting theory, Yosef, but I am 90% of the time in Jerusalem these days . . . perhaps proving your point! 😉

  32. In today’s Jerusalem Post, an Israeli living in Berlin says:

    ““I think young Germans and young Israelis share a lot in common. We both grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. And in that sense, we understand each other”

    Fatuous comment of the decade?

  33. Might I point out that no one was ever taken to a gas chamber in a dishwasher?
    All joking aside and speaking as the quintessential yored I cant say that I am surprised at your choice.
    Life brings decisions and choices, we make them and live with them and hopefully we fill fulfilled by them.
    There are things about living in Israel that I miss daily, and I still pay 012 for my email address but I also know that I could never do what I do now living in Israel. It is easier to be a Zionist in America where you don’t have to deal with Israelis all the time.
    On personal reflection I might have chosen Tullamore Dew or even Jameson’s over Lager, but each to his own.

  34. I thought that was a wind-up, Allan (or at least a misquote) . . . but no!

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Milky-Man-revealed-Hes-former-IDF-intelligence-officer-Naor-Narkis-379189

    And it is not merely by “an Israeli living in Berlin” . . . but the “Pudding Man” himself!

    Not the most appropriate analogy perhaps, but it is somewhat akin to an AFC Hendon supporter telling a Barca fan “We both have football in our blood.” 😉

    (PS I see Joe Denly has had enough “Mickey Mouse” cricket. Joining me in the Caribbean in April?!)

  35. I’m not in the ‘misquote’ business. Wind-ups? Perhaps…

  36. A melchett mike “exclusive”: Allan Engel to finally reveal what his business is!

    😉

  37. Not sure on how interesting MM will find this article , but it gave me food for thought.
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2014/10/19/europe-growing-anti-semitism/3ZltIeXKC2lwbvlT4IO2LN/story.html

  38. well written – really enjoy your writing.

  39. A wise man once told me that you like your neighbors’ kids “because”, but you love your own ”despite”. They say “Good morning, how are you?” so you like them. Yours – you love – despite all the heartache they may cause you.

    I spent a lovely couple of weeks in Northern Italy this summer. I liked the friendly and polite people. The view was gorgeous and prices were a little cheaper than Israel. I enjoyed frying fresh sardines in olive oil.

    Then I returned home to my love. As we took off we heard that bombs had begun to rain down on Southern Israel. A week later one institution where I have worked for almost two decades went bankrupt because of either incompetence or worse and a boorish neighbor threw an egg at my garden because he claimed our Talmud study was disturbing his sleep. I couldn’t find any fresh sardines in the market.

    During the same time many wonderful things happened too as the people of Israel united together and behind its army as few nations do, one daughter got engaged and a new grandchild was conceived.

    Are chocolate puddings cheaper here than Pontebba? I honestly don’t know. Are shopkeepers more polite? Probably not, but they’re getting better; and at least I can talk to them.

    However, none of this matters. I’d love Israel even if she was in a much worse state than she is. Perhaps, I’d even love her more. After all, don’t we all love our children just a little bit more when they’re in pain?

    Mike, I wish you the best wherever you go.

  40. Thank you for the comment, Daniel. And for your wishes.

    The truth is that writing that piece got a lot of bile out of the system, and I am feeling much better now! I would still like to take a break, though, even perhaps for just six months or so. The next boys’ night out on Unter den Linden?

    ” . . . one daughter got engaged and a new grandchild was conceived.”

    As you know, Daniel, I am the last person to impart prudish advice, but I would have expected any daughter of yours to have at least waited until after the engagement party. There’d certainly have been none of that had you stayed in Edgware . . .

  41. I’m told that Edgware has changed a lot, so you may be right.

  42. Fraulein Kischmein

    I don’t understand all the anti-German feelings by Jews; I know for a fact that over 70 years ago, whenever Germans met Jews they provided them with temporary lodging, and gave them free tattoos.

  43. Not to mention the jobs . . .

  44. Fraulein Kischmein

    blow the jobs …

  45. Erin go Brach Michael. Would you not consider moving back to Hendon ?

  46. I publish the following e-mail exchange as an interesting (I think!) adjunct to my original post above.

    I wrote to Moshe on Saturday after spotting his flyer advertising foreign language “chat groups” (led by a moderator in the relevant language). Keen to supplement my beginners’ German classes at the Goethe Institut – and not having found, yet, a young exchange Fräulein to practice (my German) on – the idea appealed.

    It turns out that Moshe reads this blog. He was, he confessed in a postscript, “another ex-Hasmo boy – saw your blog a while back”. And, in another one, that he had “found [my] last posting [i.e., Heidis, Milkies and Amalekites] ma-zeh depressing!”

    “Sorry to depress you,” I replied, “but I try to keep it real!”

    And the exchange continued . . .

    Moshe: but Berlin…… (sorry one of the many Hasmo children of Holocaust survivors)

    Me: I did hadracha at Yad Vashem. And I know Holocaust survivors who chose to bring their kids up in post-WWII Germany, despite being able to leave. It is more complicated than that.

    Moshe: Whatever Holocaust survivors do or dont do – believe in or not believe in – that is their prerogative; I grew up in a family and community of survivors and believe me each one had their own “shtick”. That doesnt give us a carte blanche to do as they did and shirk our legacy responsibility to remember and respond. If you feel the need to leave Israel then maybe a different destination would be less of ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’.

    Me: Thank you for the guidance, but I have never “forgotten”. And why is German among the languages you offer in your business? The principle should be the same . . .

    Moshe: I was wondering when you would get to the fact that we teach German – we also teach Arabic and Spanish. If you are contemplating yerida to Berlin you are well on the road to “forgetting”.

    Me: The difference is only one of degree. If I am forgetting, so, too, are you!

    Moshe: Seriously? You are moving from Israel to Germany because its an interesting place to be at the moment to dance on my grandparents ashes while carefully not stepping on stolperstein and you think there is one degree of separation between that and teaching German?

    Just next week when you will be distributing gifts on first night Chanuka my adult children will be waiting another day for theirs, as thats the night they shot my grandmother in Riga. (you can visit her stolperstein in Meuse near Dusseldorf) on the other hand come Shabbat they will have a huge plate of sweets to eat as this as also my murdered grandmothers custom.

    Remembering isnt just about standing ‘dom’ on Yom HaShua.

    You want to live in Berlin, bevakasha but dont expect people not to give you “guidance” on the matter.

    Kol tuv

    Moshe

    n.b. hope you dont take this as being abusive to you that’s not my intent (try Amsterdam maybe – they killed Jews there as well but its a great place to live)

    I chose not to respond.

    Thoughts, readers?

  47. If you move to Gateshead-upon-Tyne for a year you will be able to re-invigorate yourself with skirmishes with the local shkotzim, a shiur from Reb Avrohom Gurewitz and Newcastle Broon Ale.

  48. Could I choose just the one, Pinchos? 😉

  49. Pinchos Chalk

    Or you could join my daughter-in-law who wants to settle in the Shomron on the basis that G-d intended us to leave our creature comforts behind when deciding to live in Galus Green or in a caravan enclave surrounded by rolls of barbed wire.

    That would relieve the tedium of dealing with frummies, Tel Avivians, Egged bus drivers, dustbin cats and self-detonating clockwork cousins.

    Apparently the Deutsche government will throw money at you if you establish anything remotely Jewish in Swastika Land so if you head up a Yiddishe Tiddlywinks Club in Berlin you may be on to a good thing.

  50. John Fisher

    Mr Chalk, excuse my being tangential (I suffer from Post Elman Trauma), but I have been trying to decipher the dashes in your comment. As it is clearly apparent that the missing letter in G-d is ‘o’, can I assume that the idealist setting up shop in Judea or Samaria (you do not specify) is none other than your daughteroinolaw – an interesting sounding phenomenon, whoever or whatever that is?

  51. Pinchos Chalk

    Correctly with substitution this reads, ‘Oh, I have a daughter in law, how did that happen?’

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