Saturday, February 28, 2009
Jew for renewal
A few weeks back I was driving through Preswich on a sunday afternoon after a regular cycle 40 odd miles on a tandem with a visually impaired guy on the back sort of sunday morning. I was feeling a little woozy so pulled over next to a park in Prestwich. Those who know Manchester will know that this is on the north side and is pretty heavily populated with a jewish population which once led a dear friend of mine to refer to it as a safari park. I still love her dearly, though i've never forgotten it. So whilst I was parked up, I noticed a group of orthodox jewish girls walking by.
Now, having not taken a picture of these girls, and having found mostly lewd pictures upon putting 'jewish girls' into google images, I can only explain to those who can't picture who i mean.
I've probably lost half the male audience to google images, at least temporarily, but I'll carry on anyhow. Firstly, don't get me wrong, this is not what every jewish person looks like, but there is a certain image that sits in my mind. It's a white shirted girl, with a long gray skirt and dark tights and shoes. Dark hair and eyes that look like the black is bleeding into the surrounding skin. Sombre and walking like there's somewhere to go usually. I've always been very interested in the girls I see that look like this, even though I've been seeing them all my life in various jewish quarters, synagogues etc. I've always stared at them for a little too long and felt a little strange afterwards. In the past the reason for this hasn't seemed so clear, but on this particular woozy sunday afternoon the colour drained from my vision and suddenly these girls stood in a perfect black and white picture. Just like my grandmothers, their mothers, the mothers' mothers. These girls that I see are my walking ancestors. They probably have mobile phones and T.Vs and Ipods, but they look just like the people I know came before me. It's a strange feeling, to be connected to someone and yet not understand them. Our ancestors aren't supposed to be here now, they aren't supposed to understand and experience the things we do. Mozart couldn't have heard his music played on a modern piano let alone an 80's synthesiser. So perhaps it is for this reason that I never thought that I would be in a country that, for all it's problems, is a place where people can visit ancient jerusalem any day of the week, where it's normal to keep shabbat, and where people can swear and chat and write rock songs in an ancient language.
Posted by Jane petal at 11:06 pm