Monday, March 30, 2009

Summer Timing

This was the first "blog" I was incited if not "pushed" to write in the Jerusalem Post. It was three years ago and I did not know exactly what I could write about. The point that was clear for "the new scant" that Shira felt I could bring was to write about something about "being one and many". Tonight, Israel switched to "shaon kaytz - Summer time and clocks"! Other countries will soon follow the move. We are supposed to spare money. There is also this "Earth Hour": switch off electricity for one hour. Depends! On the one hand we lose one hour time with Summer light and then we sit in the dark for another hour, so what is best?

I suddenly felt hungry. Not falalels, glatt kosher new Chinese, French steak entrecote and wines or my usual East-European kneidlach\קניידלעך (matzo balls) and Russian blintzes. These are the natural ingredients of my Jewish identity. No, I felt a voracity for words. A blog is made of words. It sounds so beautiful in Hebrew : “Davar” means : “word\דבר” – “object” and “midbar\מדבר” is not an empty place but where we received the Words. I used to be fed back (news, breaking news, briefings), now talk back (answers, responding systems, “parrot back”)… So I want to blog, but still with much respect to words and ideas and as accomplishing some sort of mitzvah . A blog that would make sense, if any. By the time I could contemplate the possibility to start blogging up, the first note was a bit obsolete.

Israel is fascinating by the way it apprehends time. We might think that we are only 61 years old; but the IDF counts, as concerns the victims, from 1860 when the Jews left the Old City of Jerusalem. Oh, that year was 5620 for the Jewish tradition. On Nisan 4, 5769 (Jewish month), we shall live together according to various calendars: March 29th for the civilian international schedule or Gregorian date; March 16th and though not late for the Julian Eastern Orthodox Christians that are numerous in the country, then, Rabia'-Thani 1st, 1430 for the Muslims.

We love to update, upgrade, but it is so catching and gorgeous to live in this time-fragmented society: it obligess to ride a permanent steeple-chase, ride horses or drive cars, socialize in buses. My day is, comprised of constant intercultural jumping, a persistent jumping over calendars and time building.

This is why I wear two watches: I decided this is the most adequate way to participate in the events that happen on such a kaleidoscopic tiny planet as our's. At this point, on my left wrist, a regular watch showing in Hebrew the date, sunrise, sunset and when to "daven 5Yid. Davenen = דווענען" (pray) and/or don the tefillin in the morning. At the end of the day, it rings; the day is over and, according to the Jewish tradition it switches to the next day. It is a living connection to the biblical "There was evening, there was morning", but I get it at dusk... in advance just to be ready in time the next day.

Then the other watch shows the civilian Gregorian i.e. western style calendar - the universal business one. Jerusalem time, date in English. But time changes in Summer. A kind of amazing brain-reviving aerobic training. We changed to Shaon Kayetz/שעון קיץ (Summer time) before Passover - so new time is on the left wrist.

On my right wrist, the watch reflects more Middle-Eastern cultures: Orthodox Jews do not change for Summer time. Now it is useful to explain that Orthodox Christians never change as well. Thus, time is more Arab, Jordanian, Oriental...

The funny thing is when people ask: “What time is it?” This may be the most usual, basic and connecting phrase we share many times throughout the a day! True, we don’t need to wear a watch: cell phones do show time; still, it is so nice to ask. Often, some people stare and see I have two watches. Then I ask them: “Time? Okay, in which culture?” We burst into laughter and begin to talk.

We go through hard times and hours, one of the best ways to start a discussion in Israel is to ask "what time is it?" People are so easy-going that they don't wear watches and anyway they know that time is shown on mobile phones. Let's get connected for the best of life.

March 29/16, 2009 - 4 deNisan 5769 - ד' דניסן תשס"ט

drops of time
old-new time in Prague

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