One of my oldest friends in the world, ER, is in Israel for 2 weeks.
We got together last night and had so much fun, talking and catching up.
We are friends since high school, and we also attended the same university. After that, our paths diverged. He is also a strong Zionist, but his real dream is to be an astronaut.
Talking about high school friends, made me wonder where all my high school friends are these days, and how they are doing.
We swapped information about the friends with whom we are each in touch. But we had many more questions about "what ever happened to....?" than we had answers.
Some of the stories that ER told me were sad. (There is a lot of tragedy in the world) Other stories were just bizarre. And some just magnified the different paths that all of us have taken.
I lived in such a different world back then.
First of all, I felt split in many directions. Socially, my friends were all over the place -- there were my friends from school (mostly, but not exclusively, Jewish, secular and assimilated), my friends from NCSY youth group (Orthodox, FFB), my friends from Habonim youth group (Zionist, non-religious), and my friends from frisbee. (yup, even then I had a "frisbeechevra")
Even within school, I was split. I went to the A-school (Teaneck's Alternative 1 High School -- which deserves a blog post of its own). I also took science courses at Teaneck High. And I also took courses at Fairleigh Dickenson University, as part of my high school curriculum. (Where I passed as a college student, and prayed that nobody discovered that I was really just in high school).
And then there was my involvement in the theatre community, which is how I became the confident, outspoken person that I am. (Can you believe that I used to be really quiet and introverted?)
My friends from high school were so different than I was, in so many ways. But I LOVED them. I loved hanging out with them. I loved hearing their stories. I loved experiencing all their wild adventures vicariously. I loved being on the fringe of their outrageous world.
And I was on the fringe. I was a serious kid. Serious about not taking drugs. Serious about "waiting until I was married." Serious about going to classes. Serious about being Jewish. Serious about Israel. Serious about everything.
Maybe even too serious.
I was on the fringe of the fringe group.
Maybe we all were -- fringes on the fringe.
I think about my high school friends, and I think about the unique paths they took.
Compared to the rest of my high school crowd, I took a unique path as well.
I'm the only one living in Israel. I'm the only one who is "dati leumi" (Religious Zionist). I am the only one who married a religious Jew and whose children are religious Israelis.
To them, I might as well be an astronaut and live on the moon.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,