everything everything everything

guys i smell so bad. really. its gotten to the point that – well, ppl around me at the chader ochel [eating area] are pulling back when i offer hugs [pulling back when EYE offer hugs??] but that’s not SO terrible – i’m smelling my putrid scent of work, sweat, mud, and balagan that its actually comforting, in a way. right? call it machismo, call me machismo – try it: aaron machismo ephraim urbaneskimo small – but the very, very temporary self repulsion has turned into sweet muddy satsifaction. maybe its that i havent showered in 4 days. or that the work shirt im wearing hasnt met mr. detergent in 7 weeks. or the oil and clay stains on my 20 shekel pants. they’re all GRRRRRRREAT!

so its been a long time since i blogged. yes, i realize. nothings really come up though, no lightning bolts to the head, nothing too inspiring. and now, on the eve of the end of the adventure that is the GA at kibbutz lotan, call it cliche, but things are melding together, culminating into the final product that can be none other than a full realization of my own potential, the unearthing of my soul, the layers of materialism, doubt, adolescence, and again, doubt, being brushed aside by the desert sun, work, leaders, the staff here at our program, kibbutznikim. 

 the light has gone on ladies and gentlemen.

everything is possible.

say it again. say it slowly, with intention.


is possible.

so if everything is possible…

what are you sitting around for?


life in desert

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

T.E. Lawrence


i have a deep, somewhat fading obsession with world war 2. technology, warfare, movement, empires, philosophies, catastrophes, the movies, flappers, zoot suits, computer games, big band music…it’s almost pathetic.  almost.

sometimes i connect better with my grandparents and even great grandparents more than the ones who were actually involved in my seeding. yes, mom and dad are so real, so tangible, that my own dementia brings upon daydreams of baghdad, iraq, uzghorod, the czech republic, hungary. when i lived in italy i was prone to scramble and hunt for nazis among the alleyways of antiquity, peering from the tops of cobblestone arches making sure that those deadly kraut mg42s that killed broxman the week before was nowehere in sight, the coast clear for me to jump across and continue to my objective. or i’m playing the tarbouka with my grandfather ezra on a patio in the jewish quarter of baghdad, circa 1936, the sun elongating silhouettes across the cityscape, domes and mud buildings ignited with gold.  there’s food cooking, there’s always food cooking in this arabic house, and i get a nod from my grandfather. he smiles at me, blows out smoke and shisha, because life is good.

my grandparents fled iraq in 1952 after al-Huseini went the way of hitler. i think he was beat up, his wife also arrested for zionist activities. put in jail for 2 weeks for believing in a state for jewish people.  in the european theatre, matters were much worse, my grandparent’s families simply – what’s the word – destroyed. people, fathers, mothers, children, were put to death because of faith, a farce, a deranged criminal in a deranged time.  

my inquiry? my holocaust? i remember. i’m16. my gravitation towards all things nostalgic draws me towards our bar, where my family keeps the pricey alcohol it never drinks, an pictures pictures pictures, weding photos, trips to hawaii, bar mitzvah shots, my dad’s bar mitzvah invitation, report cards from when i was 7.

and i see this list. it’s my father’s family tree, compiled in 1987.  and it starts way way back, to the late 1700s, retelling the story of the neuman family, where they came from, names i can’t prounce. and some names are roots of families, branches of children extending, location and professions of distant relatives whose names I’ve once heard. but then are the gaps. names that dead end, a premature death, their existence and their being shattered early, histories and lives collapsing into a dark place of nothingness. 


people were erased.  68 out of 72 people in my grandmother’s family were erased. 

today on yom hashoah, holocaust rememberance day, i try and remember those 68.

waking up

santa claus is pretty ridiculous, any way you look at it.  fat man in red coat, flies reindeer driven chariot, falls through chimneys. and thats how kids find playstations under pine trees these days. yeah. that’s the legend. 

im curious: when does it finally hit children that this myth is pure rubbish? that that just can’t be…it’s completely illogical, irrational, and unlawful entry.  tooth fairy, your mom convincing you of immortality when you were seven, the united nations…all a load of bs.

this permaculture course is almost over. im home in about 3 and a half weeks. im busy running past lessons in my head, recalling memories of worms and compost making and vegan pies and liquid fertilizer and building with mud and soil consistencies, thinking back and trying earnestly to make sense of everything, and how im going to use it.  technical practice aside, of which there is plenty, this week has been full of various enlightenments of my own actions and behaviors..

it takes massive amounts of energy to raise a cow for meat. its astronomical compared to vegetables. so why not go vegetarian? how much protein do we really need? how is it that americans eat meat or chicken twice a day, on average? why? i’ve lost the taste of meat. to be frank, its just hard to separate the environmental effects from my cuisine anymore.

why do build from concrete? its expensive, it breaks apart, it doesnt retain heat like other natural materials (straw bale construction), its caused injury and respiratory diseases, and its all rock. why has society sacrificed health and wellness for cheaper production? who wins in the end?

and the mother of all…sewage. what kind of idiots decided that the best way to deal with human waste was to put it in a bowl, and send it away underground with water in a complicated network of metal, corrosive pipes? then we invented chemicals to treat and clean the water, and make it safe for drinking? what? seriously. have you ever thought about this? we use clean water to send crap away somewhere else.

and this is what ive been waking up too in these past few days.  and ive been trying to understand the root of this problem. laziness? irresponsibility? or simply a lack of awareness that we can live healthier, more exciting, interesting, and fun lives, but only after we examine ourselves, our actions, and their consequences.  because right now, the sitation is getting worse, the problem trickier to deal with, the solutions requiring even more thought and contemplation.  my roommate describes humanity as a young thief who steals and steals from the liquor store. he comes in every day, takes more and more candy, thinking the old, aging owner isn’t paying attention. only one day, there won’t be any more to steal, and the kid won’t have anything to hide behind. 

then what happens?

So I think I understand God…

okay. okay. so here it comes.

when i was younger my parents sent us to camp, jewish camp, as so many jewish parents do. only i’m not quite sure they did enough research to find something that aligned with their own philosophies (whatever they are) and so off we went to Gan Yisrael, affiliated and run by the Chabad movement. My fondest memory? Sitting outside in the sun waiting for popsicles and for my parents to pick me up, all while singing “We Want Moshiach Now!,”in a frenzy…I remember it being something like sports ‘n Jewish Jesus camp.

What I can’t understand, and what’s been holding me back so long, is this simplistic, quasi-pagan outlook on God that I’ve been fed since I was 4. “God is going to get you, God is going to help you, God killed my hamster, God was sweating and that’s why it’s raining in Buffalo.” How obtuse. How unintelligent. How pathetic. It conjures up that familiar Santa image – old guy with the beard, taking memos in a gigantic golden scroll. He’s watching you.god

My clearing away of all that crap left me in the middle of Zen. Complete, total emptiness. Everything is nothing. nothing exists. life is irrational, and so what the hell is existence? what are we but simple amoebas running around trying to screw each other (financially,. socially, and sexually) to make more of ourselves? All this, the world, us, me, you, the chair your ass is sitting on, the computer screen, it’s nothing. Identity, the idea of I, ownership, possession, is ridiculous. Judaism is a fraud, it’s bullshit, it’s a bullshit fraudulent crutch for lost people to lean on for meaning, an answer for suffering, and a code of ethics in our lawless world.

And then I started seeing the connections.

First and foremost, Torah is solely metaphor, and nothing else. It’s a way of teaching culture and ethics through stories, because that’s what Semites do, and because we, everybody, especially children, love to hear stories. In kindergarten, at a bar, at the Cheesecake Factory…We love stories, so story is the method.

You with me so far? Maybe there were a bunch of Jews who lived in Egypt. Maybe. Who knows. I don’t. Do you? Can it be proven? Is that important. Not really. Unless you want get hung up on that for the rest of your life. But once you accept it as metaphor, and lose a bit of yourself, you start to shed pieces of your ego, which in Judaism, (and of course Buddhism), is the source of all suffering and pain.

I realize this has opened up a huge, bottomless box of ideas and directions. But my mind starts with God, first with what it isn’t. First off, IT IS MORE OF A CONCEPT, A FEELING, than anything. It’s difficult to grasp, and most of us won’t come close, because it goes beyond the physical, the tangible, the concrete.  It’s beyond human.  It’s not your moral accountant.  It is everything, and it’s nothing. It’s the embodiment of everything into one.  An interconnectedness of everything, a space where ego disappears, and all their is this ‘thing’ (it could be called bicycle, sexually frustrated kangaroo, kangaGod, or Google- your choice).  So is there a God? Much easier to drop the article. Is there God? Yes, there is God. What is so unfortunate is how this entire study has been bastardized by blind, unintelligent fanaticism. I’m not referencing anything or anybody. But I think it’s smart to maintain that fundamentalism of any sort is bad.

So if everything is everything, then I am everything. And so are you. And so is the basketball. I am the moon, the moon is the computer, the computer is your SPF 35 Sunscreen, your Sunscreen is your neighbor. It’s all the same thing! Salinger writes about it in Nine Stories, in “Teddy,” the child prodigy who at some point attains Enlightenment and sees that his sister is pouring milk into the glass, or “God into God.”  If everything is connected, then we can begin to understand the Golden Rule, found in nearly all major religions…

Love your Neighbor, Give more than Receive,  Treat Others as you want to be Treated. It’s so simple. It all returns to the circle of kindness and being fair to others, since we’re all part of this universe, the sum of everything.  The kinder we behave, the closer we come to this understanding, this understanding of this strange (I hope less so) God concept.

In Judaism, the central prayer is the “Shema Yisrael,” which goes like this:shema

Listen up people! The Lord is our God, the Lord is One!

It doesn’t read: God…He is the One..It’s meant to teach that we must strip away our hindrances of gender, physical makeup, and such, to begin to understand that everything is one, everything is a connected. Thus the prayer serves as a 3x daily reminder to see the world as one, and therefore, to treat others with respect and offer assistance and give whenever possible.  It’s NOT an incantation, a mantra for worship…’God’ doesn’t need to hear something, in a specific order. It’s more for ourselves than anyone else.

Wow. Alright. I think this should continue in comments, because that was a lot of writing. Happy exodus everybody. Liberate yourself from that which binds you. More on that later.