“No way-in, entrance to foreigners”, maybe we could say “aliens”. I found this photo in FBfr. Revital Peretz
‘s files quite a certain time ago. The social network systems and “buddy, pal, friend, contact conneting groups” make people often shy, backlaid, reluctant to share and answer adequately. The price of being alive, of being in our generation, of seeing and dealing with so many technical, spiritual, human tools and instruments should call us to more “humanity”. As I was walking around in a mall at Boulogne-Billancourt (Paris suburb) two days ago, a place that is quite frequented by a lot of “middle-class” Jewish people, I bought a Diet Coke bottle at the Häagen Dazs shop. Two youths were working there on that day: a colored man and a youn gilr: tattooed and pierced, quite softly. My matushka asked me why I was smiling: in her neck, though she had nice long hair, the young girl had “engraved” a tattoo in Hebrew “אנשיות – humanity”. Not really visible, but still. I could not miss it. We are used in jerusalem to get to the heart of anything very quickly. Due to some sense of security, care and definitely we are in a very young country, we get to things quickly and this is dynamic. I immediately spoke to the young lady who wanted to sell me some ice-cream, but I am more in Diet Coke… I said “hello” in Hebrew and she smiled back, very happy: she said that she hardly could speak Hebrew. I told her she had a special and nice tattoo in her neck. She got really happy and answered: “Wow, you saw it! Do you know what is written there?” – “Humanity”. – “Yeah, gosh! you got it!” she replied, quite happy. she said she did not really know what the word means, but she got it tattooed in Hebrew because of her “backgrounds” she ascertained. “it is so cute that you got to that so quickly”, she told me. I answered that she should learn Hebrew. She had made the tattoo in this Paris suburb and she was glad that, indeed, humanity makes sense in Hebrew. It does. sadly, but I may go back sometime there… I did not ask to take a picture of her neck. I have a lot of tattoos made in Israel. it is not kosher, but I conducted very interesting discussions on the subject with a retired Israeli ambassador to Europe, a specialist of tattooing in Israel at the present.
In Jerusalem, I know I would at once have taken a picture of this neck! But even in a context like a French suburban mall, it was difficult just because there were a lot of clients and the young girl was more likely to speak with me than to distribute the ice-creams… And her choice to get this word “printed” for always on he neck in Hebrew is catching.
We need humanity, being humane. Humane, the word is not that frequent in English. it is not that British or “tea time”. Humane is Yiddish. In Yiddish “mentshlekh/מענטשלעך ” is unique, just as “Yiddish” is unique and not evident: we are not called to reject anybody, to deny, to rebuke, but to enter something like being on a permanent “Dessine-moi un mouton/draw me a lamb, please” as “The Little Prince”. Then to answer. Answering can make it discomfy, unconventional or beyond all conventional standards.
I often send some pictures (flowers, landscapes,…) to some Facebook friends. Both men and women. Or ask how they feel. Males as females would be astounded, they click and go. Some women who are into “introspection” can’t leave their own page to drop a “hello friend answer”. Of all Facebook contacts that I have, few finally came to meet at Jaffa Gate or in the Old City. They would hardly come to any otehr place in Jerusalem because the process is the same as on the picture above “strangers, foreigners are aliens and we are such so far we are at pains with taming”.
Interestingly, the social networks allow Jewish Israelis and Palestinians or Arabs to share and discuss.
We are in a process of “hyper overspeeding process of self-hedonistic behaviors”. after World War II, “hedonism” came to Europe and hardly to Israel because the survivors had to fight for the existence of a reality that still is hardly recognized. But the Jewish tradition is very “incarnated”. it focuses on bodily, physical, mental, reflective and human veracity of life. So why are we so shy? Or as Viktor Frankl stated, overcoming death compulsorily leads us to be humane.