Letter from Home

That’s a joke.

Home is an ongoing, changing environment. After 11 ½ months in one apartment on Feivel in Tel Aviv, we are moving to another apartment three blocks away on Be’eri, named after Berl Katzenelson. This will be my seventh move since 1998. For a sense of stability, I imagine the ghosts of these Zionist thinkers and writers watching over me. Fortunately, the apartment on Be’eri sits on the corner of Henrietta Szold, so the mother of all mothers, who was never a biological mother, will be spreading her wings over my fate, as well.

Two weeks after the move to Be’eri I’m going to visit another Home, the original one–Cleveland, LeBron James, Ohio. Apparently, for short, LeBron calls the city we share The Land.  I will be leaving one The Land to go to the other The Land.

“Wherever I go, I am going to The Land of Israel (Jerusalem),” said Rebbe Nachman.

floor1

The latest image that comforts me in times of stress is a turtle. Like a turtle, I am slow. For example, my last five baby teeth had to be pulled out when I was fourteen, because they had no intention of falling out on their own. Menstruation began at fifteen. Married two months before 27, which back  in the ‘60’s with Shaker Heights values, felt late. First child at thirty, also latish in those days in Jerusalem. Started a small business late. Found my calling as a teacher and mentor late. Made peace with myself at 70. Published a book late – maybe by 80, if at all. Found stability and love late. Learned how to express my love for my children late.

My mantra is from the children’s story The Tortoise and the Hare: Slow and steady wins the race. I don’t know which race I’m in, or who the competitors are, but I know I am slow and not necessarily steady, but persistent. These traits I inherited from my late father, who at 87 described himself as a Late Bloomer. He married at 38, had his last child when he was 48,  started making money in his 70’s and moved to Florida at 87.

On the eve of my 71st birthday, I’m looking ahead to a blooming great decade . . . or four, with at least five more moves, the first four vertical.

Like a turtle, not only am I slow, but I carry Home on my back.  I have learned to lessen the load by getting rid of casserole dishes, Norton anthologies and uncomfortable shoes. Each successive move is easier. No joke. I’m always moving closer to Home.

 

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About Judy Labensohn

I'm a writer and teacher of writing.
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23 Responses to Letter from Home

  1. estherhecht says:

    Judy,
    You are a harsh judge of yourself. I’m so in awe of your achievements.
    Now you’ve found a new home, are succeeding in shedding unnecessary baggage, and have found the words to write about it.
    Brava!
    Esther

    Like

  2. George Becker says:

    Loved it. Love youŠ G

    George A. Becker & Co.

    23802 Duffield Road Cleveland, OH 44122-3111 216.533.3622 (m)

    @GBecker1018 george@gabecker.com http://www.gabecker.com LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/georgeabeckerco

    From: WRITE IN ISRAEL Reply-To: WRITE IN ISRAEL Date: Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 1:09 PM To: George Becker Subject: [New post] Letter from Home

    WordPress.com Judy Labensohn posted: “That¹s a joke. Home is an ongoing, changing environment. After 11 1Ž2 months in one apartment on Feivel in Tel Aviv, we are moving to another apartment three blocks away on Be¹eri, named after Berl Katzenelson. This will be my seventh move since 1998. For “

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  3. Allan Kohrman says:

    Why not stop in Boston to visit? I’d love to see you.

    Like

  4. Judy,
    Maybe you were “late” but, if I remember correctly, you had a whole gaggle of friends (me included) accompanying you at more or less the same pace. So, you (we) weren’t “late,”; it was others who were “early,” (my theory of relativity).
    Much mazal tov in your new home. One of the nice things about moving is the ever lightening load of things we’ve chosen to keep.
    Have a wonderful trip back to the States.
    Come back with many new stories about what’s going on there; hopefully, how much better (yikes, or not…) it is to live here.
    Love you,
    Laura

    .

    Like

    • Laura, what you’re saying is that maybe Late and Slow are Normal. You’re probably right. It’s all that fast stuff that is abnormal. Love to all your crew
      and thanks for the good wishes.

      Like

  5. Steve Hinds Seminole, Florida says:

    Love all your correspondence. I, too, was a slow starter in marriage and children. We just celebrated my 80th birthday on July 1. Don’t forget the Indians are in first place as well.

    Like

    • Thanks for reminding me about the Indians. I thought you were my sister’s age, but you’re older. Why is your name so familiar then? Did you go to Ludlow?
      Have we had this conversation before?

      Like

      • Steve Hinds says:

        Yes, I went to Ludlow. However, my folks were Charter Members of Temple EmanuEl, and I was the second Bar Mitzvah of the Temple, held at Bellfaire. Graduated in 1954 from Shaker.

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  6. Jane Arsham says:

    Love this reflection, Judy– looking forward to seeing you in “The Land” which no long feels anything like home to me, except when surrounded by friends that I love, that would be you 🙂

    Like

  7. STEPHAN SCHENKER says:

    Glad to hear you’ve finally found a place! Haveva good trip back to Cleveland. See you when you return?

    Stef

    P.S. Thought of you earlier. I saw the film “American Splendor” with Paul Giametti that takes place in Cleveland, of all places!

    Like

  8. Joan Leegant says:

    Another wonderful post, Judy. Love it. Also, as someone who has not lived in her actual physical home for the last 9 years (it’s been occupied by others), and has had 11 other addresses in that time (!), I can say that moving has its pluses, not least the stimulation of exploration–even if it’s just to figure out the new bus stops and grocery stores.:). Good luck with the move and trip to Ohio. Next time you’re stateside: Seattle! (I hope!)

    Like

    • You like figuring out the bus routes too? Every time I take a new bus in TA and discover a new neighborhood I feel so enlarged. Joan, you definitely get the Most Moves Award – 11 “homes” in 9 years.
      You’re writing a long essay about it, no? Or you already have? Are you familiar with Lisa Knopp’s book of essays on home? Definitely worth reading. xox

      Like

  9. Macabee DEAN says:

    Grow old along with me!
    The best is yet to be,
    The last of life, for which the first was made:
    Our times are in His hand
    Who saith ‘A whole I planned,
    Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!’
    Rabbi ben Ezra by Browning

    Like

  10. My big brother left the house he’d lived in for, oh, maybe sixty years and moved into an apartment. He said it was easier than he expected because he found out “your home isn’t your place. Your home is your stuff.”

    Like

  11. My daughter once interviewed a whole bunch of people about their definition of home. One person said – and i’ll never forget it – “home is a place you can defend with a gun.” how’s that for contrast?

    Like

  12. LOVE this post. Thank you and mazel tov, Jennifer

    On Sun, Jul 3, 2016 at 8:09 PM, WRITE IN ISRAEL wrote:

    > Judy Labensohn posted: “That’s a joke. Home is an ongoing, changing > environment. After 11 ½ months in one apartment on Feivel in Tel Aviv, we > are moving to another apartment three blocks away on Be’eri, named after > Berl Katzenelson. This will be my seventh move since 1998. For ” >

    Like

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