Yom HaShoah

It is the day of remembrance of the Jewish holocaust.

IMG_0028I spent the weekend trying to recover my memories from my walk across New York by visiting the old sites and using the visual cues and sequence of cues to recover memories I otherwise never would have remembered.

Diabetes affects memory in at least a couple of different ways.  There is the direct action of insulin on memory, and then as one ages and the complications of diabetes start to set in, there are the vascular-perfusion related memory problems that would normally be associated with aging.  Only, aging can begin very early in diabetics.

Saturday evening, I found the synagogue at the foot of the Catskills just over the Rip Van Winkle bridge – the one at the base of the climb up a mountain that had been one of the hardest days of the New York trip.  I returned this time to attend a Yom HaShoah service.  During this service, an older survivor of the Holocaust recounted her story of refuge and escape first from Berlin, then occupied Paris, briefly down into the Massif Central, and finally over to the United States on a small boat.  Another speaker related his storytelling of a Dutch resistance fighter who would make papers for people.  We lit candles.

In Israel, it is said, people also observe 2 minutes of silence/pause.  The cars stop on the highway at a designated time as the sirens sound.

Later on Sunday, I would attend a sold out premiere of a play “My Anne” about Anne Frank’s diary at the Hudson Opera House – the building that houses the oldest continuously operating theatre in New York.

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When I had picked up the ticket for the play, they had let me upstairs to see the older bigger stage.

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Seeing the boundary, I crossed it – imagining myself pushing forward on the stage that had become my head.

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Where would I go next?

There had been some Jewish art in the synagogue the night before – Moses himself breaking the commandments.

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I had secretly wondered about Jewish art and identity.  Does an artist always need an outsider perspective to develop?

As I confronted the financial displacement from the hotel where I had stayed and worked in Albany to return to life in the cramped car, I repressed the scream that would normally accompany this transition.

When I had been displaced from my protest in Washington, I had taken a ceramic toilet that had been left on the porch, and smashed it on the driveway.  It had been a metaphor of the broken toilet in my body after 40 years of diabetes.   My kidneys.  Surely lost on the contractor (and probably also on the scientific researcher).

It is art, I tell myself, as I quietly ask the man behind the desk at the theatre if he knows of any available local cheap housing for a week so that I could work on my writing and remembering.  Were there any acting workshops that were being held in the community?

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