Shalom to all that (2) by Jill Cartwright
In part 9, Jill continues to say her farewells, her departure from work is next and our heroine tries to understand this failure syndrom she is going through, better know to locals as jewish guilt…
Sitting opposite David Landau in his office, my announcement that I would soon be leaving was met with an almost knowing smile as if he were just waiting for this time to come. Like heâ€™d seen it all before. Like heâ€™d seen the lines of young Israelisâ€™ â€œother halvesâ€ come in for jobs, try to make their lives and relationships work, until undoubtedly it would all unravel and the European partner would fly off home and forget all about that crazy and rude place where they lived for a while. Why did I feel like a failure?
It was almost like the time I called him up and asked for a few daysâ€™ break, the day after a suicide bomber had ripped through the large glass-fronted bar at the end of my street and the night had been broken by wails of sirens, red flashing lights and the screams of human panic.
â€œCanâ€™t take the heat, huh?â€ David had said as I asked for the time off and apologised for the late notice. But maybe something in the sound of my â€œNoâ€ worked in my favor and the next day my friend Shahar and I took off for a few days in Turkey, to a resort where we found ourselves surrounded by English tourists of the sort that give everything English a bad name and Israelis constantly checking their cellphones to see what was going on in Israel.
My other colleagues also greeted the news of my departure as a kind of confirmation of what they always knew was going to happen. â€œI never really understood what you were doing here in the first place,â€ one of them said to me and, â€œWell we all thought you were a bit crazy to be here anyway,â€ said another.
It made me wonder what had driven me to stay. Who on earth was I trying to prove something to? I had felt it, this great sense of human duty to stay here, to take a stand against something, maybe against fear, maybe even against terror in a small way, or maybe it was just my own rebellious nature, stubbornly insisting on doing something that to others looked slightly insane and not to be done.
I guess at Haaretz English Edition, where there were either ambitious American Jewish interns who come for a short time or jaded Anglo veterans who had come here, as they tend to remind everyone on a regular basis, at a time when Israel was a paradise of socialist values, full of happy, song-singing pioneers, streets of sand and just the one television station, I was something of a misnomer.
One of my fellow sub-editors, however, said to me when I told him I was leaving, â€œOh thatâ€™s a shame, you were quite an asset here.â€
â€œReally?â€ I said, surprised. Positive employee feedback was an alien concept at Haaretz â€“ the most one could hope for was an ego-crushing bellowing at from David (â€œThe more he swears and the higher the decibels, the more he likes you,â€ I was comforted on many occasions of looking suitably ego-crushed), and training consisted of a â€œyou can sit over thereâ€ from someone who had far more important things to do.
So mostly I just tried to catch up, keep up and read up, and of course had the frequent tendency to slip upâ€¦.