Sunday, December 27, 2009

Well, All the Christmas Cheer is Gone for Good...

Collage of various Christmas images, made from...Image via Wikipedia

I was kinda OK today, with all the Christmas gloom that hovers above me during this season...I was kinda OK before Christmas because I simply refused to let myself get carried away by depression and sadness. It happens to me every year around the major holidays...it passes afterwards but it usually leaves me with a bitter taste for months. But today, it was different...I even planned a nice optimistic blog post about how I decided not to let negative thoughts pervade my coat of happiness. The truth is we had a nice Christmassy week-end. Maya's godparents came to dinner, I went overboard with the decorations this year, so the apartment was nice and cosy, with lots of lights and candles...
But, and I really don't know why, maybe it is my sadistic alter ego, I went and read a blog post that simply made me sad...about how nice it is in Israel without Christmas...well, I guess it is the person's right to be happy for herself and for the lack of Christmas (strangely enough, we are on the land where Jesus was born, remember?) but she does forget that here in Israel live a lot of people (and not just Russians, as she implies in her post) that are different and that different doesn't necessary mean something bad...It is after all a free country...
For some time now I've been suspecting the lady of being a bit extremist in her views about Israel and the relationship between people here. I remember that once she wrote a post about stereotypes in Israel and she was simply mean towards certain groups (she has something against Russians, it is clear). Back then I said to myself that I won't be reading her blog anymore...
I know now I was very naive when I decided to come and live here. I thought that Israel is what I saw when I worked as a journalist and wrote articles that praised the Jewish state that I grew to love...But life is just more complicated than that and time taught me how gulible I was...It is not enough that I have to deal with my rootless existence, I have to put up with all kinds of narrow-minded people that make me feel like a criminal...I have friends, Christian friends that are afraid to decorate a Christmas tree because of "what will the neighbours say" and because they don't want their kids to be perceived as different. I sometimes ask myself waht will I tell my daughter when she'll be older...
Well, so all my good disposition when to the dogs...and I am hurting again...I feel trapped sometimes, trapped because of prejudice and ignorance, and I feel so bad because I know I cannot change anything...
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3 comments:

Hevel said...

Well, I was in Israel for Christmas in 1993 and back then Bethlehem was super busy with Christian celebrations and Christian tourists were all over Israel. Since then it seems that teh Christmas tourism is restricted to Bethlehem proper. I still find it strange that there is not more... that local Christian communities don't make themselves more visible and accessible during Christmas. I think building a circle of Christmas celebrating people would be something that I'd be trying to do. Dunno.

One thing, however, that you described is something that I have experienced myself. Except it wasn't in Israel and it was about my choice of NOT putting up a Christmas tree, NOT letting my kid participate in the Christmas program and letting my kids experience what it means to be completely different from others. I made that choice for my children and myself, and I believe that Christian parents who don't want completely assimilated children in Israel will have to make as well.

You are different. You values, traditions, the norms you want to pass on to Maya are different. I know you will find a way to tell her when she is older, or rather, she will just understand as she grows older. There is a chance that these things won't be her values, her choice of winter holiday, or she will not light chanukkah lights at all. But i know YOU will find the right words to tell Maya about her heritage.

Alone in Holy Land said...

I knew you would understand the hardships of being different...
As for what I want to teach my baby...I think that the moral values I want to teach her are not that different from the universal ones. I want her to be a good person, not to harm other beings ( humans or otherwise)and, most of all, I want her to be tolerant. To learn to accept that each of us is different, that this world it is so amazing and it should be a place of joy and not sorrow...
OK, you actually gave me an idea for another post...

Angel said...

Luckily for Maya, you are her main influence and what you do rather then say will make the most difference. I have longed to visit Israel, and have always thought of it as a place where Christian and Jews cerebrated in Harmony. That was a Naive idea, and i can see that according to your post. I feel really silly to have thought peace would reign in a country that is the homebsse of three of the most powerfull religions in the world.
Thank you for a glimpse into life in the Holy Land