As we welcomed spring with taxes, cleaning, holidays and saying things like "I can't believe it's April already!" I had my eye already trained on summertime--not because it brings vacation during an academic year, or because I'm dying to sit on a beach somewhere. (My skin, in case you haven't noticed, does not tan.) But because I've been invited to participate in several special projects this summer that I think could really make an impact, I've had to make summer plans early. And since I already owed some people an update, I thought I'd share with the class.
April and May will mark a major transition for me: I've decided to leave the singles column at the Jewish Week (most recent column, "Spring Cleaning, Relationship-Style," is here--two more to go). This was an extremely difficult decision--to walk away from something that's been so much a part of my life for four years. It's often been a challenge to be the Lorax for single Jews, but it's always been a privilege. It was good for my ego, becoming the most minor of local Jewlebrities, and alternately encouraged and discouraged me to learn that the challenges I faced were also faced by others.
But it was a challenge for me personally, in my dating life, and
when I was otherwise "off the clock," to not become the column. I faced
the regular charge of trying to share enough personal insights so that
the columns were meaningful, without giving too much (of myself or my
emotions) away. I ended up watching reruns of late Season Six episodes
of "Sex and the City," watching as Carrie grappled with identity within
her column and how she insisted that she was her own entity, apart from
the context in which people knew her. And I thought, well...sort of.
But after being seduced by the romance of--and moving her life to--Paris, Carrie was pursued by her past, and sucked back into it. A happy ending, most people thought. But I had always resented her ending--she went back to her old life, her old patterns, even the ones she'd identified as dysfunctional. I was not anxious to stand in her fictional, yet clearly uncomfortable shoes. I'm not entirely done with the subject--I'll keep writing about dating and relationships on JDatersAnonymous, and will likely use the experience in a longer, dare-we-say "book-length", venue someday--but the day-to-day focus of my writing will be elsewhere.
But wait...there's more.
Fate spoke up, and -- in the unlikely form of Shimon Peres -- beckoned me back to Israel.
Mid-May, I'll be flying to Israel to attend Peres' invitation-only President's Conference, called "Facing Tomorrow." According to the Forward: "The list of scheduled participants boasts an impressive variety of figures, from politicians like President Bush, Tony Blair and Mikhail Gorbachev, to business moguls such as Google’s Sergey Brin and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to entertainment stars such as Barbra Streisand." Oh yeah, and me. (Though Page Six now reports that Barbra's now not performing at Shimon's conference. Maybe she didn't want to compete with me?)
Why is this conference different from all other conferences?
(Passover on the brain, sorry.) The Forward report notes the
President's response, that it's about "the breaking of old patterns":
The conference, he notes, will focus on individuals rather than on the communal organizations that have traditionally been viewed as representing the Jewish people.“Today there are many Jews in the world who don’t have a checkbook but are not any less important,” Peres said. “The world today is much more intellectual. One person can create a revolution; you don’t need an organization for that.”
Breaking old patterns, stressing the ability of individuals to effect change...plus, a letter from the President of Israel? I couldn't pass it up. (All due respect to Babs.)
June and July will also find me in Israel, in and out of the strip of coffeeshops in the German Colony, as I work before and after the ROI Summit for Young Jewish Innovators: I'm excited to meet this year's crop of impressive innovators. And I'll also be popping in at the second PresenTense Institute, the amazing hotbed of ideas and creativity, while trying to pursue some personal and professional goals; if I achieve results, I'll share them here. Then I'm due back in the US in August, to speak at CAJE about technology.
I'm looking for an apartment (2BR) for June and July in Jerusalem, so if anyone knows anything that's available, do let me know. I'd actually be interested in something smaller (just me) that starts May 11, and then June/July in a 2BR (with a roommate). All leads appreciated...
It's big change, which I hope will lead to big progress. It's a journey, a transition, a voyage into uncharted territory, and waters, and other cliches. I hope that somewhere beyond the Cliffs of Insanity lies a land of untapped potential and opportunity. I'm excited to have this chance to keep my heart and mind open to new people and opportunities, and think it can only lead to good things.