Thursday, May 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Israel!

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60 Years Young

Yom huledet samayach. Yom huledet samayach. Yom huleeedet samayach. Yom huledet samayach! If you were in India, the tradition would be for someone to smear birthday cake on your face.

But you're not. You're in the Middle East. I lived with you for a year when you were two years younger than I am now. You were very '80s then. Very Frankie Goes to Hollywood. That's my memory of you and the radio station I listened to when we lived together back then.

You grew the freshest almond trees. You made me feel confident about my ability to be fluent in another language. You didn't laugh at my American accent for the entire year. You provided the world's finest falafel right outside my dorm's doorstep, and sold pizza by the slice, which was topped with canned corn-kernels.

You let me try to find love, you encouraged my daily swims and your rays only burned me a couple of times. My recollection of you is mostly nostalgic and romantic. I left before either of us had lived to see Rabin assassinated by a Jew. Historically-underrepresented groups so often are our own worst enemy.

You are a remarkable 60-year-old relative. Kal ha kavod!/Nice going! And like most of my family, you have delighted and frustrated me over the years, but I am bound to you.


Anonymous said...

Lovely letter. I especially like the last sentence.

Sarah Siegel said...

It's true, isn't it? And in your case, as my sister, you've delighted me much more often than you've frustrated me over the years.