July 4, 2011

Guest Blogger: Revital Horowiz

Today's guest blogger is a fascinating woman.  She's very new to the blogosphere, until now she had focused mostly on her novel about Jewish life as Iraqi-Israeli immigrants.  Revital herself has relocated from Israel to the United States, so she writes from a perspective of otherness that I enjoy- I love taking myself out of my own frame of thinking and into somebody else's.  I hope you all enjoy this slice of her life!


Next week I am invited to give a lecture about my book in Berkley.  Giving a lecture always makes me very nervous, and I think about people who are performing in front of millions of people.  How do they do that? Do they get nervous like I do? Standing in front of people in any quantity exposes you.  I remember when I used to teach I had a similar feeling every single day.  I loved teaching, and I taught many levels and actually even many subjects, from Hebrew to University students to through geography to high school students, Hebrew to elementary kids and I even spent one year as a fourth grade teacher in Israel.  I love teaching.  I love connecting minds, seeing the curious faces in front of me, and yet public speaking really makes me nervous at the same time.

I always make sure that I am well dressed, no holes anywhere, makeup in place (and I usually do not wear make up…), high heeled but comfortable shoes, and I prepare.  I do my homework, but when the moment comes and I stand in front of people, it takes me a couple of minutes to think and make sure I do not “black out.”  I panic.  I don`t think people really notice it, but I really do panic.  It takes me a minute to have myself focus and start speaking, and when I do start talking it all goes away.  I am no longer afraid.  I just see the faces.  I know those faces are anxious to hear what I have to say, and I know that I have a very important mission: I want to bring silent voices to life.  I want to tell everyone ready to hear about the Jewish women of Iraq.  I want to tell my grandfather`s story, because he really does deserve to be remembered.

You see, my grandfather had only one dream in his life: he wanted to be the one, after so many generations, to immigrate to the Holy Land.  For many generations Jews prayed to go back to the Holy Land, to revive the Jewish life there as it used to be in the Bible.  My grandfather just could not believe how lucky he was, of all generations he was the one able to go back to the dream land.  To take his family with him and start a new life.

It breaks my heart, and I always have tears in my eyes thinking of my grandfather, who kissed the land after he got off the plane.  My grandfather who was an accountant, able to support a family of nine people, and came to a place where he no longer had his identity as the head of the family.  He worked in every job he could, including building roads.  His wife no longer respected him, and neither did his kids.  He was even exiled by his wife to a little corridor away from their bedroom, and even living in a little house took long time.  They lived in a tent for almost three years.

My grandfather never regretted immigrating to Israel. For him, any price paid was worth it.  I only can lecture next week, tell his story and pay him the great honor he deserves.


I am an Israeli-American woman who is never sure where she should be living, in the US or in Israel. It seems that my feelings are always divided, influenced by politics, the time of the year (I vote for winters over there, while definitely for summers in the Northwest), Holidays, and the distance...  It is hard to live thousands of miles away from your parents, siblings, and nephews.  When I am here I feel so Israeli, and when I am there I sometimes feel I do not belong anymore. 

Did I mention I am the mother of four boys?  I am, and my boys tell everyone how I tried for a girl four times.  The truth is I did want four girls, but the reason would sound unusual for someone who was not born in the Holy Land where everyone is obligated to serve in the Army and I was always a worrier, and was afraid to send my boys to fight.  I guess this is pretty selfish, but not every feeling we have is under our control, but as I already told you, I ended up having four adorable boys ages 18, 15, 12 and 7. 

Life is packed, and life is complicated.  Next week my oldest son is graduating from High School.  He is eighteen and off to College in the fall.  My son has learning disabilities, and since he was in first grade he has had to work extra hard to be able to make it.  Next week he is graduating, and he was accepted to one of the finest schools in the Northwest.  I know I need to carry with me tons of tissues, since I am going to sob there, and I really do not care if I am going to embarrass myself or him.  After all, I do deserve at least one good cry of pride and delight.  After the graduation he will say goodbye to us, and go work all summer at a Summer Camp.

I do not know how other mothers feel about their kids leaving home.  I know that this is going to be really tough.  I love having all these boys’ energy around me; lots of good laughters, active games, and yes lots of farts too, but this is all a part of having all boys surrounding you. In just a few weeks my oldest son will leave home.  When he was born he weighed less than 5 pounds, and now he is a fine young man.  I will have less laundry to do, and more driving to do since he helps driving his brothers (a good kid, did I mention that?), oh my god it is unbearable even to think about it.  How do you all do it?  Am I the only one ready to go back to college just to be with him?  I am telling you, I would if I could…

Revital Horowiz' novel is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble

1 comment:

  1. Revital: your story blessed me in a phenomenal way!!!

    Multiplied blessings,
    Billie J. Garrret
    Author of: Escape from Crazville



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