Adi in America
By: Adi Ratzon, BZD Shlicha
This past month was full of activities and exciting new experiences. Before we talk about work, I want to start with the amazing snow. As you all know, we can rarely see the snow falling in Israel - you have to be at Mount Hermon or on another high place in the north of Israel. Personally, I haven’t been in Mount Hermon since the age of 12. However, I did see snow, but it was never a big amount. So when I looked out of my office window, and saw the snow start to fall, I was thrilled. I ran to Caren’s office and told her to come out with me to take a closer look at the snow; it was very beautiful, even magical. After a few seconds I started to jump and dance, enjoying the snow, in our parking lot. I did not care that I am an adult, because at that moment I felt so happy, just like a child. SoI did exactly what Adi as a child would do, I took a crazy amount of pictures and videos, and sent them all to my friends and family, who can tell by the pictures how happy I was.
It is unbelievable how the simple, little things in life affect us and can make us happy or sad. There is no doubt that the cold weather influences our mood. Only here, when I came to experience the lowest degrees in my life, I felt that influence closely. There are days, when I get home from work, and all I want to do is to get under my warm blanket and drink some hot tea in front of the T.V., or while reading a book.
Now, that has been said, we can focus on work. Last week, we had a tour at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in partnership with the Gordon Center and the JCC. We took a full bus to the USHMM, and listened to the fascinating story of Mr. Isak Danon, who survived the Holocaust. It was a very emotional and meaningful day. It was also the first time I did something on the International Remembrance Day, because we have Yom HaShoa in Israel. The minute I got to Baltimore, I knew that I wanted to do something special and educational, not only on Yom HaShoa, but also on the International Remembrance Day. I felt lucky to have the opportunity to not only attend, but to be a part of this educational, meaningful and important tour.
From the moment we stepped inside the museum, I started to look intently, and thought about the Yad Vashem Museum. It was unintentional, but I guess it is just bigger than me. I kept comparing between the two museums, and noticed the vast amount of differences. After reflecting, I can now understand that it is a different narrative due to the differences in the target audience that come to the museum, and from my opinion, their feelings towards the horrifying occurrences, and the sense of closeness. It is a well designed museum with a lot of important information and explanations about the way the Nazi’s came to power, and how they conquered more and more territory in Europe, as well as how they expanded their terrible regime. I felt like the focus was on the details and maps, and less on the personal stories of the people...our people, who were the victims of the Nazis, and their allies.
When I got to the duplicate of the Auschwitz Birkenau Gate, it threw me back to the age of 17, when I flew with my school to see the places where the most horrific atrocities in history happened. The piles of the hair and shoes, the little shelves that they had to squeeze in six people, and even the bricks of the ghetto. Like I said at the beginning, it was a very emotional day.
On a lighter note, another event that I was happy to be part of was our “Cooking in Hebrew” workshop. For this specific workshop, we made an Israeli breakfast, and it was delicious like always. From time to time at these workshops, I see the way food connects people, and I truly think it is a blast to have such a common topic and tool, that makes us learn more about the state of Israel, her culture and even the alphabet. I really am looking forward to the next workshop, and to the chance to meet more lovely people from our community.
Part of moving to live in a different country, so far from my mom, is dealing with the fact that I can’t jump after work to my parents’ house, and eat the delicious food that my mom cooks. However, here in Baltimore, if I want to eat, I need to cook and try things by myself. My problem is that I never liked to cook, or to be in the kitchen. My part was always to do the dishes at the end, and also to fold all the laundry - my mom used to say that I do it the best, so it became a thing that I would organize all of my family’s closest's. I digress, let’s get back to the kitchen - not my favorite place. Every once in a while I make some pasta, mashed potatoes or rice, and Israeli salad, but I don’t touch meat. Because of that, I tend to eat outside a lot, especially at YESH Hummus & Grill restaurant; I LOVE that they have real Israeli food! Schnitzel is my favorite dish, and they create it just like at my neighborhood place back in Israel, two minutes from my house. Yesh also has real authentic Pita bread, and great hummus. So, I eat there a lot for two main reasons: first, their food is fabulous, and second, the minute I get inside, I feel like I am back in Israel...and I love that feeling.
Today, I am starting the fourth decade of my life and as I turned 30! Wow! My birthday has got me thinking about my life, what I have been through and what I have achieved. I am really thankful for everything I have, all the amazing people that are part of my life, even now, thousands of miles away, and the choices I have made in my life. The choice to travel here to Baltimore is definitely a big part of my life, and it started to, and I think, it will continue to shape my personality.
P.S. I am sure you will all be glad to know that I now have a couch, coffee table and even a rug in my living room! I finally have a nice place to call home. ☺