Saturday, July 23, 2011

Have You Been Here Before?

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Yes, Five Years Ago

I push this new friend's shoulder playfully and say, "Don't wait another five years to come back!"

"Well, I'm from Berlin," she says and I feel silly.

"Ah, well...."

Pat & I are headed out of Shabbat services last night when I see a woman, standing by herself near the exit. Is she an older version of a young woman I knew when I lived in Jerusalem? I look at her like she looks familiar, but then realize she's not. She's not at all old enough to be that friend.

She has thick, nearly black hair to just above her shoulders; dark, twinkling eyes; is almost slight in physique at a quick glance; and is a few inches shorter, and many years younger, than I.

"Lots of young Israeli lesbians are coming to Berlin..." she says when I ask her how big the community is where she's from. I'm trying to act casual about her homeland, but it's still wild to me to meet a young, Jewish person, let alone a young, Jewish lesbian, from Germany -- it's just the generation I'm from, I guess, but I'm still stuck in a Holocaust time-warp when I least expect it.

"I was in Hamburg once, but just overnight for a focus group, for business," I say, and she becomes excited that I've been to Germany. "I've been told that when I go back, I really need to see Berlin."

"Yes, definitely, you should," she says, looking at both of us.

Pat recalls that a congregant's family is from Germany and that he gave a Torah from the family to the local, re-built synagogue in the town they were from.

I bring him over to meet her. Pat & I want to leave in any case, as that's how we spotted the woman at the exit in the first place, but we don't like to ignore strangers.

Once the woman and he begin speaking in German, I excuse us. The woman looks anxious and I say, "Are you on Facebook?"

"No, I've not wanted to be, but I can see that I'm going to need to be before long....Let's exchange e-mail addresses, in case you come to Berlin."

"Sure." I write down Pat's and mine and she writes hers -- her name spelled backwards.

Wow, a young, Jewish lesbian, living in Berlin today....Humanity hosts so many stories.

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