Voices from Israel: Arrival by Adam Baratz

June 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Adam Baratz, Voices from Israel | Leave a comment
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Flight number: CO84
Date: SAT 29 May 2010
Airline: Continental Airlines
Miles: 5692 miles

I board the Boing 777 at Newark International Airport. I have taken many flights out of Newark before, however, this time something is different. I am going back home for the first time in three years. This is the longest stretch of time that I have been away from my home. But at long last, I am going to Israel.

My name is Adam Baratz. I am currently a junior at Cornell studying Natural Resources and Development Sociology. To make a long story short, my grand scheme of being poor for the rest of my life is almost complete. In any event, this summer I will be working to develop a few community gardens in Beit She’an.

During my flight, I had two notable interactions. Boarding the plane, I had been waiting in line for 5 minutes. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an Israeli woman pushed in front of me for no apparent reason. This aggressive move was not warranted; no one was actually in a rush to board the plane. Such an experience would understandably annoy most people. Next, I interacted with an Israeli flight attendant. When serving water to children, this flight attendant jokingly tells them that the cups are full of vodka. To many, such anecdotes may seem strange and even rude. However, for me, these jokes were a breath of fresh air. These experiences gave me small glances into Israel’s culture. I have not been home in so long that I accept both the good and the bad with open arms.

Four and a half movies later (airplane time), which translates to 12 hours (human time), we touch down in Israel. Looking out the window I gaze out into the country of my birth.

This will be a trip of self-discovery. I grew up in Israel, but moved to the Cleveland 6 years ago. To put it simply, my sense of place is very complicated. Although I was born and raised in Israel, my life journey has not resembled the experience of the typical Israeli. For example, when growing up, my closest friends came from Americans families, we communicated in English. I spent a number of years attending the American International School in Kfar Shmaryahu. I am currently studying in an American university. Although my identity is intricately intertwined with Israel and Israeli Identity, it is also distinct in its own way. I therefore believe that this trip will help to resolve many uncertainties that I have about my own identity. What does it mean to be Israeli? What constitutes a home? Why do we need a home?

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