Upon reflection of the last eight days, I am truly amazed at all the experiences I have had the opportunity to embrace. I am astonished at the magnitude of the Jewish community in China and how a scattered group of ex-pats have built community in a place that only offers a temporary life style. Judaism isn’t officially recognized by the government which leaves those in a undefined place that works within and without the laws. However this undefined area is still separate from the mainstream Chinese culture and thrives as a insular foreign group. Because religion is strictly monitored by the government Chinese born people are actually forbidden to participate in Any way. Which offers an extremes amount of flexibility and also a considerable amount of anxiety. Yet I have been able to walk away from this experience and see that community is not just a value I teach my students but is on the ground something of great importance. In the US we have become complacent and apathetic to our Jewishness and furthermore our communities have suffered for it.
Cue in Death Cab for Cutie. I feel the heat emminate off the cement wall as I walk by. Faces of the desolate and despaired linger by the 24hour pharmacy. I see the wrinkles of hard life and feel numb. This is life in the big city, nothing unusual. Thankfully my indifference to their suffering comes with a soundtrack; songs for the sunset on spotify. The callousness of this city allows me to continue on my journey; sushi. My phone beeps. Snapchat from my sister. It’s a picture of a cappuccino potato chips captioned “‘Merica.” I quickly send her a picture back of my shock. The street corner has a rancid smell ruminating. I make sure to avoid walking into the man lying on the ground. I assume he is the cause of the smell, but I can handle it, thankfully cause I have an iPhone 5s. My twitter feed pops up. A video about police brutality in LA. Thank God I live in a good part of town and don’t have worry about those things. My belly grumbles. Mmmmm….sushi is so close. I sign the petition and feel better for participating in my civic duty. As a matter fact I think to myself “I should retweet this.” So I do and now I can rest my mind. I finally arrive to my destination. My phone buzzes; Facebook. I scroll through my feed while I attempt to read the menu. minutes pass and I’m hungry but I haven’t made up mind. I text my friend to ask what I should order. The server patients awaits from a distance. I’m too preoccupied to notice his frustration. All I can think about is eating. I of course am angry when he is isn’t here to take order the moment I am ready. Why? Because my world exists in my interactive bubble with the world. I’m friends with people in every continent, and I get to enjoy their company while I eat alone.