I was going to jump ahead to disaster, or safety, but as it turns out, my next word is perfect for what I wanted to write about today.
Comfortable. It is coming on the heels of rich, and poor, and while this probably isn’t what I had in mind when making that list, what I am is comfortable. Comfortable in my neighborhood, in my life, in my values. This will make sense in a minute. Hear me out please. I’ve been following the news about Israel, and about the anti-Semitism that is happening in France, and all over the world really, right now, and it’s *scary*.
I posted (to Facebook) this article from kveller.com yesterday, and today this one showed up on myjewishlearning.com. I feel so safe and secure in my little neighborhood – a good number of the closest homes are Indian families, Muslim celebrations are common on our street. The air is scented with the yummiest smelling food on feasting days (and non-feasting days ;)). Our little street is lined with cars of visiting friends and family celebrating whatever holiday it is. Our neighborhood is decorated with lights every December. A few houses are decorated solely in blue & white, a few have Chanukah clings in the windows. Most of the houses are our for Halloween, either walking with their kids, or sitting in the driveway with a bucket of candy (and maybe a dog or two). I don’t know most of my neighbors names, but I know their faces. I’ve watched their children grow up, or they’ve watched mine. I’ve lived here for eighteen years. Some have moved out, but a few have been here just as long as we have. We all sort of leave each other alone, and that works for me.
I couldn’t imagine anyone here creating such hate on someone else’s lawn or home. I’m comfortable being me here. I’m safe and secure. I can’t imagine living any other way. On the flip side, when I shared the kveller article the other day, I also shared this:
My father told me my entire life not to announce I’m Jewish. And it’s sort of rubbed off, because I find myself hushing my children when we’re in places that aren’t mostly Jewish. Which is most places. We’re not so far removed from WW2, and what is happening today is scary.
I grew up in a Jewish community. I’d go so far as to say an orthodox Jewish community. Most of my jr & sr high schools were Jewish. It was insular at the very least. Where we live now is not. We’re near a large orthodox community (and if you ever think you are far from one, look a little closer – they’re more common than you think!) but not really a part of it. My kids are generally the only Jewish child in their various classes. I am guilty of telling them to keep quiet about it, nod and go with the crowd, because that is what I grew up with; It is what I know. We recently went to the Holocaust museum in Naples and when we got to the Kristallnacht display I had to explain that it was happening again today, this week, in the world. I couldn’t explain why. I hate that I had to try. I guess I was hoping that one day we would be far enough removed from WWII that we could stop hushing our children about their heritage.
I may be comfortable in my neighborhood and not have any worries about my windows being smashed or having graffiti painted on my garage door; The rest of the world can’t make the same claim, and that makes me decidedly uncomfortable.