Next week I am
invited to give a lecture about my book, Daughters of Iraq, in Berkeley. Giving a lecture always makes me very nervous, and I always 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 geography and Hebrew to university students, to Geography to high school students, and Hebrew to elementary kids. 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 this really makes me nervous at the same time.
make sure that I am well dressed, no holes anywhere, makeup in place (and I usually do not wear make up), high heels (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 “blackout.” 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 no longer am afraid. I just see the faces, and I know those faces are really anxious to hear what I have to say. And I know that I have a very important mission here: I want to bring some 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, too, 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 of Iraqi Jews, to immigrate to the Holy Land. For many generations Iraqi Jews prayed to go back to the Holy Land, to revive Jewish life there, as they used to have 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, take his family with him and start a new life.
It breaks my
heart, though, 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, 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 constructing roads. His wife no longer respected him, and neither did his kids. He was even deported by his wife to the little house corridor, away from their bedroom. Even living in a little house took long time, after my grandparents and their children lived in a tent for almost three years.
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 a great honor like he deserves.
Here is the
link to the lecture. You are all invited to join. I sure am hoping to see you all there.
Or copy this link into your browser: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116573535099629