Memories of a funeral in the mount of olives 1986
There are few olive trees
in the mount of olives ,
there are mostly graves,
and where will he walk
to wake them up
when there is no longer a path
when stones cover the mountain
the mountain of graves ?
and where is your heart
closed as a grave
not seeing me
not seeing olive trees
slowly turning to earth
and leaving me
to choose death
and you can NOT choose
The latest statistics show that Israelis have a sentimental attitude towards the religion of their forefathers and mothers, the reform movement does not do well in Israel and the religious political parties are going up in the polls while the labor party seems to be losing power, according to the latest polls.
Today the news report an eighteen year old ultra orthodox religious student had come to the mount of Olives to visit the grave of a Rabbi he follows and was attacked by a knife to his throat and suffered serious injuries .
Knife attacks have become a regular event in Israel , sometimes ending up as an injury and then other times with a loss of life, a life that might or might not return to this earth, depending on your belief system.
My much beloved maternal grandparents had the faith that the messiah will come one day and the dead will come alive and the first will be the ones in the mount of olives. Actually there was no other place they felt closer to, their European home taken over by the Nazis, my grandmother had the remains of her father flown from hungary and buried in the mount of olives and so they are there waiting for the messiah.
The last time i was in the mount olives was 1986, my beloved grandfather had passed away a year and a half after my grandmother who was already there waiting for him with her father buried side by side.
When i had attended my grandfather’s funeral, i had been a student at the Hebrew university on mount scopus,collecting the points needed for an academic title that would bring little use to my life but a lot of illusions concerning an intellectual life that never seemed to thrive in group settings..
“The air of Jerusalem is good for studying”, my late grandfather would quote.. He himself had graduated from a religious seminary in Bratislava and ran the family lumber mill business till the Nazis invaded his country and he chose to leave with his wife and children before being deported to a concentration camp . In Israel my grandfather never found an occupation that would suit him and so it was up to my grandmother to work, she was better in business , and he was better in dreaming and studying the torah and tending to the synagogue near his home.
My grandmother had been buried near by , my aunt and uncle were not speaking to me , my mother or brother, my cousins also silent, one had the excuse of being mentally ill, the others just suffering from a disease called : bad attitude.
Religious jews go to the graves of their relatives once a year on the day of the parting,but i have not gone since then, i also do not visit the graves of my father’s family, also not my father’s grave.
When my father died, i was 18 and very interested in Biology , looking at what remained of the most beloved human being in my life laying beneath a white sheet on a stretcher ,as is the jewish tradition to bury without a coffin, i had a feeling i knew what happens to us after we die, it was clear to me that my father would return as the bible says to dust and will be recycled as a flower or a tree if he is lucky..i did not believe for one minute that the messiah will wake him up when he comes nor that he will come to haunt me as a ghost but these days i can see my son who is 18 years old displaying a very familiar character to that of my father, very kind, very mature , very caring about others and sensitive , and he even looks like him, tall, handsome, a gentleman with good manners , excellent communicative skills and what is most important a good heart.
My father’s side of the family has a whole plot in the center of Israel where they are all buried and there is great comfort in that but i know i will not be buried there, the place next to my father has now been filled by a grave my mother had bought when he had died and there is for me little importance to the place where my physical self will be placed after my life ends. It will not matter where i will be buried and i wish i was brave enough to donate my body to science but i really want that part of me to be left alone, and i have lost a lot of trust in science since i had been 18 years old.
I still believe in nature and the recycling of the physical matter but i don’t really know what will happen to my soul, i only know it exists, it is what enables me to feel and love and care and some people call it a heart but i call it soul. The soul is eternal, i believe that, and there is a connection to the ultimate source of life, and so i do not really believe in any divided section for souls of different ethnic origins.
There is no designated place for this or other soul , it is just people marking territories even when they die.
I used to have great respect for the ultra religious jews, dressed in their clean white shirts , my grandfather was always wearing a clean white shirt and had a black skullcap, just thinking of him brings back so many memories of love that can not be buried and i know i will not find them in the graveyard.
Part of being a civilized human being is being tolerant of nonviolent existence and belief systems but i do think that what is going on in Jerusalem is a horrible mistake, the way the Moslem Mufti has urged young Moslems to turn to violence and fight for more control in Jerusalem has to be called criminal but i am also not fond of voices that declare that Jerusalem belongs to one nation only. Under Israeli role i do believe it should be possible for all religions to practice peacefully their traditions and rituals but what is happening now is a three ring circus, the mufti of Jerusalem turns his sermons on the mount to preaching of hate and incitement for violence and the ISIS flags are waving in east Jerusalem and this is not religious freedom, this is its abuse.
My political views are for tolerance for all people to practice their way of worshipping but when people feel they have a right to hurt or kill others, this can no longer be called religion but a crime, so lets call these brutal attacks of unarmed people what they are acts of crime that take place in historically spiritual places where people preached for all sorts of wonderful future fulfilment of the prophesy of an idyllic life when the wolf will lay with the sheep instead of attempting to devour it.
The older i grow the less i care about the religious insistence of certain places being holy and i turn more inwards to the rooms in my heart where my soul resides and try to feed my soul the food it needs to grow and thrive and keep the physical form also alive as long as possible till my mission on earth ends but i am not waiting for the messiah , i am trying to make my life on earth as pleasant as possible for myself and my loved ones keeping the memories of my beloved ancestors in the deep drawers of my heart, where no one can get to them and harm them.
Peace, light and love