I spent all day Wednesday museum-hopping. First, I took the bus to the
I almost skipped stamps and coins—I mean, who cares?—but was very glad that I didn’t. I was reminded that stamps, money, weights and measures, standards of all kinds are part of what societies need to manage—the Hubble problems of a few years bear witness to what happens when those measurements aren’t standard. There is a distinction between ideology and values and those tools that need not have ideological import. I say “need not” because, of course, we put all kinds of symbols on our money and stamps—some frivolous (the
I went from that museum to the art museum and had only about an hour there. It was fantastic—great impressionist and post-impressionist collection. Some weird stuff, but I didn’t much care; there was more than enough to see. I had posted earlier about how children in
That evening, I took Avital out for dinner. She drove us down to the waterfront, where there were many shops, restaurants, and most of the city enjoying the warm, humid night. It was lovely to be out with her, talking about her experiences growing up in two countries, in the army, and as a scout. The Israeli Scout experience sounds not too dissimilar to 4-H in terms of developing skills and leadership. Avital was emphatic about distinguishing it from US scouting—it has a huge membership; many, many families participate. Much more than school, it is clear that scouting has shaped her. Which makes me wonder about looking at it as an education model for Jewish kids in the states. She also spent her last year in Scouts working with Israeli kids in south Tel Aviv. These are kids who don’t have the resources—money or other people—to run effective tribes, so many teens come to help and she was one. She spoke with great pride of bringing fourth grade Jews and Arabs together and watching them go from distrust to great friendship.
She also spoke of what it’s like to be in the Army—the bonds you form with others, the sense of responsibility of knowing your country truly needs you, and the fact that she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life and, until she is done with the Army, doesn’t have to. As we sat on the Tel Aviv boardwalk, we also talked about how there is no sense of danger or war and, late into the night, there are still families and children wandering around, both in groups or alone. So there is a very different sense of what danger means, as well as some interesting ways to compartmentalize it.
It was a lovely evening and ended with each of us showing the others pictures of people and places.
Thursday morning, Karen and Jim’s friend, Yascha, picked me and took me to breakfast. He is a lovely man with a generous spirit. We returned to the same boardwalk, this time in the daytime, and sat speaking Hebrew and enjoying the food and the waves. Then he took me to buy a suitcase (either that or just throw more money at British Air) and headed off.
In the meantime, Steven had arrived from