Friday, March 23, 2007

Between Two WORDS



As fate would have it, last night, I saw a chassidic love story, called Between Two Worlds. It was based on a play entitled The Dybbuk written in 1914. A woman I know played the lead and she and her lover gave wonderful performances. At one point she played a Dybbuk in a wedding dress. More female roles like that, I say.

And Israel is haunting me. I have met more Israelis, in New York, in the past week, than I think I did while I was in Israel. I have met a bunch of strangers who did the free Birthright trip; The woman who does my eyebrows almost moved there; The girl I picked up my new eyeglasses from told me she got a better tan when she was there.
Not to mention the plays I'm invited to see. Apparently half of New York has been to Israel.

Israel- The Jewish Bahamas?

When I was in Jerusalem, I saw a play completely in Hebrew. It was a translation of Life is a Dream by Calderon de la Barca. I read this play about 10 years ago, and needless to say, had very little idea what was going on. But it happened. In two hours, I watched people captured, released,love, cry, consumed with envy, and forgive- all without understanding a word.

I do have to say, although I felt helpless from beginning to end, I understood something very new (or very old) about our relationship with language. During the play, I saw all those things(fear, love, hate) but I came one small huge step away from feeling them. In the dark of a language that was not my own, I saw how deeply we are triggered by the word. In our own languages the codes we have get inside us. Body language does only half the work. The word sears us. I forgot that, I think. I was reminded during a the King's, stationary, 12 minute Hebrew monologue. Where everyone one was laughing except the three fake Jews in the front row.

The chassidic love story on the other hand, I got every word. When a frum Jew says "you've come to steal my heart," in English, to a secular female, you just get that.


Oh, the places Jew will go.

Let's pretend I never said that.

3 comments:

Rachel said...

Well, we weren't FAKE jews sitting in the front row. We are real ones. And I was SLEEPING in the front row, notably- and likely not to my credit.

I'm becoming more and more resentful of the assertation by israeli's that if we don't speak hebrew we aren't really jewish. How about, if they aren't in the diaspora then they aren't jewish. ha. how about that.

MS said...

done and done.

At the airport...

Us: Was your family discriminated against?

Blonde woman from Newark/Guy from Eilat/People from Ben G: Why no, we are all second generation Israelis

Us: I see, than you what you're saying is that you have no idea about the plight of the Jews for centuries and centuries?

BN/E/BG: Well, eh, um, we speak Hebrew...

Us: worse than a dead language, a made up one!

(They are then blasted by these words and fall to the ground. Heroes are seen delicately boarding airplane.)

Peter said...

If you want some more Yiddish entertainment, you don't even have to leave the city:

http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?&aid=67808&search_result=1&stid=120

The Pirates of Penzance in Yiddish..