Here I am at week three of my Pubslush campaign reaching out to again, friends and family.I feel as if I’ve exhausted all the names on my list. I’ve just sent out an endorsement request to Etgar Keret, one of Israel’s younger and popular writers.
And then as I was reading more about him and his new memoir, I found this piece of humor in light of his photo book tour of New York City last month for his new memoir:
Eating hummus outside of Israel is like ice skating in the desert. It makes no sense.
I’ll tell you… there is no such thing as good hummus outside of Israel. And falafel. And tahini. And babaganoosh. And knafe – a cheese filled pastry that is mentioned in my memoir. All Israelis know it. From my almost twenty years of living in Israel, I “became” an Israeli through food. I learned about food culture. I also learned to be an assertive driver. I learned how to cry in front a policeman and bare my vulnerability in front of his masculinity so I wouldn’t get ticketed, reduce the amount or eliminate the ticket altogether.
When I hung out at a falafel stand, I struck up banter with the locals. But then at some point, my American soul wanted to be heard. I wanted to share successes. Things that worked well as I was still finding my way in this “new” culture. I wanted to be heard and share opportunities. I wanted to learn how to improve.
I would eventually learn the hard way, that Israelis do not like to hear of another person’s success. They simply don’t know how to handle it. So, as you can read from my About page, I stayed a silent teacher for years.
When I finally left Israel for good, some of the English speaking teachers scoffed and derided me. Perhaps these “friends” were jealous that they couldn’t leave Israel and I was making them homesick.
I could only have written about my service in the form of a memoir outside of Israel. If I stayed in Israel to write, I would be too close to all the memories of being bullied and antagonized and those harder years of trying to adjust to this new and foreign land.
When I signed the contract for my memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces, I knew that in some odd way, I’d broken the silence. If you’re an Israeli, you are assertive. There’s no time for accolades.
If you’re an Israeli, you don’t need to tell your IDF story because everyone does the military. And does who write about it, are typically men. Again, if you tell it, you’re “showing off” what everybody knows.
Now that I’ve written my story, I can’t stay silent anymore, and yet, there’s still lots of work to be done in terms of outreach for my campaign over at Pubslush.
My suppressed feelings cannot stay in Israel, really. What happens in Israel, cannot really stay in Israel…but the ghosts of the past are still with me…
How do I in fact, reach out to Israelis who seem like the obvious kind of supporters, many of whom live on the other side of the ocean like me…
So here I am, clicking on the names of Israelis in Pittsburgh on a Facebook group, many of whom are familiar and some who I don’t know…. I breathe in and out and in again. My step step is to reach out to them. Will I be ignored like I was in Israel? Will I be be “slammed?”
I admit: I’m holding back from even reaching out to many of my Israeli cousins for fear that they won’t get my campaign, my story or who I am.
Here I go… breathing easy in and out. Detaching from outcomes. I’ll admit: it’s easier to reach out to Israelis on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean…
Dorit Sasson writes for a wide range of print and online publications including The Huffington Post and speaks at conferences, libraries, and community centers. She is the author of the compelling memoir Accidental Soldier: A Memoir of Service and Sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. Read a complimentary first chapter over at her Pubslush campaign and learn some very cool rewards and how you can become a supporter. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children. She can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org