I have pressed pause on my usual blog. For I am soon setting out “On Tour” in America – teaching Torah seminars and performing a new one-woman show called “Babel''s Daughter – From the Bible Belt to the Holy Land.” Over the next number of weeks I will be posting excerpts from the show. The one below is the first installment. I hope you enjoy! - Please visit my site for more information about the upcoming Tour and where you or your friends can catch the show & other teachings. http://www.havayah.com/the-tour.html
I was born into this latest migration of the Jewish nation – from European provinces to the promises of a new land of ultimate opportunity. I was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis, the very buckle of the Bible Belt. But wait, we must pronounce it correctly and in keeping with its original rendering – the ‘baaable’ belt. Said in proper southern, “Bible” comes out conveniently as ''babble.'' Babble as in "speaking incoherently" – a meaningless cocktail of words and sounds.
Babble…as in “the tower of.” The Tower of Bavel, is after all, culled from the Hebrew word bilbul, meaning confusion, being mixed up, stirred together, intermingled. America stands as the epitome of bilbul, the archetypal mixing bowl, the melting pot into which all are welcomed, stirred-up and stirred-in. The Bible I learned in my bible-belting youth was more babble than Bible. Was more torn-up than Torah. Was more Christmas than Hannukah. More heysus than the yud-heh and vav-heh of God''s name I have come to know so well.But, as ''Jewish'' as I get, no matter how many scarves I wrap around my head, no matter how long my hem, no matter how many times in one conversation I may say “Baruch Hashem…” when I stub my toe, I still let out an irrepressible howl of “Jeeezus Christ!” Like an inbuilt reflex...I call out to a frick’n foreign god…an all-too-telling Americano-evocation of the god of stubbed toes and other small inconveniences.
And perhaps that shouldn''t be a problem, a little unconscious slip of the tongue. But, I am a big believer in making the unconscious conscious. So a subtle under-the-breathe call out to a foreign god is no small incident for me. It is a moment of ultimate bilbul, of confusion, an unconscious mixing and stirring, a foreign infusion. It is a twisting of tongue from mother tongue to other tongue. Where identity is undone. After all, what is my mother tongue? Am I a daughter of Zion or of Babel - or perhaps a well-mixed dialect?
(...to be continued)
Please visit my website for more information about the upcoming Tour and where you or your friends can catch the show & other teachings. http://www.havayah.com/the-tour.html