The new term has started, I am back at university and feel like I am not the same as I was before March. I have always been interested in family trees and had some look into my own. I did some research here and there about my surname and badaboing! I have Jewish ancestors. Really rather far away, but there they are. I would never have thought it, considering the absolute atheistic way I have been raised. My mother did not even know about it, so I guess my dad did not either. Anyway, this discovery was like an revelation to me (laugh).
My first name is a Hebrew one. My parents did not choose it because of that, they simply thought it a pretty and suiting name for me, chubby little baby that I was then. As a child I really did not like my first name very much. I thought it boring and too long. When I found out about its meaning (it is Hebrew for my favourite flower – lucky coincidence!) I learned to like it and even love it now! Since then a strange fascination has been working on me concerning things Jewish. Just like I cannot explain why I love everything British so much nor when it exactly started, I never could make out what was so interesting to me about the Jewish people. Long story cut short: Could it be that I have always known unconciously about my ancestors?
So when I found out about my family tree it seemed to me like a sign or at least a really good reason to find out more about the Jewish people and their beliefs. I did some reading up but felt like I really should start reading the Bible, too. I would have preferred a Torah but you have no idea how difficult it is to get a Torah in this small town and part of the country. I did have an edition of the Bible from the Jehova’s witnesses (my family got it once for free for listening to them and after that it lay at the back of the book shelf), but while reading there were some words and terms which I thought might have been strangly translated to fit into the beliefs of the Witnesses.
The region I live in is rather atheistic or better to say non-religious, just like the one I come from. Those who do believe are mostly protestants, with a few catholics here and there and because of the international students there are surely some muslims and hindus, too. We have this little shop that only sells things connected to protestantism and Christianity and so on. I felt a little out of place to go there but the clerk is such a nice and friendly person that this did not last long. He asked me if I needed help and I said: Thank you, no.
I thought that with my education and general store of knowledge it should not be too difficult to buy a Bible. How wrong I was! I browsed the store, found a huge shelf full of Bibles and stood in front of it completely confused by the great number of different Bible versions and translations… I simply wanted a Bible without any ideologic tendencies of any separatist groups (I really hope I do not get the terms mixed up here, no offense intented!). I must have looked somewhat helpless when I turned to the clerk again asking for some help and he explained to me the aspects of the different versions in a patient manner which helped me a lot! I know own an edition which is used for theologic studies at university and fairly recent. I have been reading it almost every night before going to sleep, two or three paragraphs at a time.
It not only helps me to understand religious people in general, but also in many cutural aspects I see much clearer now. Considering that the Bible is such an old book there are of course lots and lots of associations, proverbs and the like which I did not understand hitherto. And it is also helpful for doing crosswords. ^^
I never have thought that someday I would recommend reading the Bible, whether you are religious or not, but I do. At first it may be a little dreary, but I was reminded very much of oral tradition with all the repititions and so on. Another funny thing is that I started learning biblical Hebrew for university and oh it was such a mess! I was not told exactly which course I had to take to I thought Ivrit would be perfectly okay and anyways it seems much more interesting to learn a living language. But at the end of the third week of the new term they told me I was in the wrong course and I was very lucky that I still allowed to enter into the biblical Hebrew course… It’s five times a week plus two times voluntary pratices and from these 7 only 3 fit into my time table. I will have to work really really hard. My teacher told me that I should consider not doing the course or at least not the exam at the end. But this only made me want to succeed more! This is while instead of enjoying my Easter holidays I have been studying the Hebrew alphabet. I had to start from the very scratch but I am honestly relived that like the other languages I learned before it seems to come naturally to me, phew! I was a bit afraid since it looks so foreign and it is a semitic language and not a romanic or slavic or germanic. It works! And sometimes I allow myself to believe that this could be because of my distant relation to the Jewish people! 😉 I am rather proud of this relationship!
My next posts thus may be about my experiences of how I try to find out more about what this relationship and the question of my personal sprouting religiousness means to me. But I have definitely some other news about my normal life and love life to share! Yes, I am still thinking of my I. and trying to finally find the courage to make a hit on him without trying to err… make a hit on him… . Well not to obviously… nah. I’ll tell you then. Shalom and cheers!