Mean Chelm



I like showing up at David’s bakery at 8 pm. In Katz time, that is usually when I am snuggling with Channan and Dov watching Phineas and Ferb but I have given up my dose of “Where’s Perry?” to head out to Rosh Tzurim. I can’t describe the air in Rosh Tzurim except to say that it is good air. It is Kibbutz air, as though air can change from my little hill to their little hill. But somehow it does and it is good.

I get there as breads are coming out of the oven for tomorrow and as the sun finishes its descent. I have made fun of David for years for believing that we can see the Mediterranean from the Gush but on these nights, if I squint I swear I can. It is colorful and peaceful and calm. It makes me believe that one day we will own a farm and sit on our porch at the end of the day. It inspires me to buy outdoor furniture.

When I write curriculum, I always try to write “silver lining” pieces. I think I’ve mentioned it before. It’s the type of lesson that says: boy do things suck, but check out this part — it’s so good (Civil War in Syria? Bad. Israeli hospitals helping the injured? Good). And then we forget about the sucky part and just remember the good. I get lightly mocked for my desire to put that spin on virtually everything I do (my unit on War In Judaism left out Mlichemet Mitzvah because it felt…mean. I’m in the middle of rewrites.)

But boy do things sometimes just suck. We finished a BIG meeting today about Channan where a new solution was proposed that simply seemed too good to be true. You know why? Because it was. It was a lie. We left the meeting and within 15 minutes and two phone calls it became clear that they were selling me the Brooklyn Bridge. If I’m being charitable I’d say people just didn’t do their homework well. If I’m being truthful I’ve started equating the situation to being stuck in Mean Chelm.

Yoni and I leave for North America tomorrow. We land in Toronto and I get to hug my brother and sister-in-law. We go to the PanAm games. We see a few folk and then we road trip to Cleveland. I get to hug my people — the people that I equate with good air and sitting outside, at sunset looking at the Mediterranean. I’m ready for that air and those people. I’m ready to not drink coffee at Caribou’s? Peet’s? Whatever may be left? I’d like to drive by Trader Joe’s and Barnes and Noble because I can. Maybe I’ll even buy a piece of overpriced fruit at Whole Foods. It will be my silver lining.

And then I’ll come home to Mean Chelm and to our bakery at sunset. It will all be good.


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