I am sitting alone in my Brooklyn apartment on the 29th floor when outside everything is finally quieting down.
The air is crisp and the smell of rain is entering the room through the little crack I left open in the living room window.
I am excited. I am so excited I can barely breath. In one week time I will be on a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. I have dreamt this moment for the past 10 years, and it’s finally materializing under my eyes. I am leaving. I am going and I am doing it all with money I have earned, raised, won. No string attached. I am leaving with a one-way ticket and like a seagull I may not be expected back.
I am excited. I am excited, but also scared too. Terribly scared. Scared of not knowing how to speak hebrew almost at all and not to even mention having to change my money in a currency I have not used since 1996. I am baffled to the fact that I am going to turn 29 on the 29 of June alone maybe in the Negev desert possibly with my camera at hands contemplating life in a kibbutz.
I am going. Alone. To Israel.
What more is there to say for a wondering Jew who has wonder the world for years from Italy to Colorado, to D.C. to Louisiana, to New York who finally decides *(about time!) to go do a story of photos in the land of her ancestors?
I am alive. I feel so alive inside. I am alive and well. I feel as if everything cannot but end up being ok no matter how little do I know about anything or anybody who lives in Israel. It doesn’t matter. I will have my cameras and my feet to take me anywhere I wish to go and I will live an unforgettable experience because I have no expectations and no knowledge of what will be good and what will be bad.
I am going to ISRAEL in one week and I feel FREE. I have butterfly in my belly and it’s not because I am in love *(well, hopefully by the time I get there I will have met a handful of incredibly attractive Israeli men and love will be all around me, but this is another story for another blog post!) because I am finally keeping a promise to myself of going, alone in a place that scares me to do something that scares me even more.
I am loving the jitterbugs I am having just thinking about being alone in front of the Wailing Wall at sunset right before Shabbat begins with my camera in one hand and a Hebrew sentence book in the other.
This is how life surprises you daily.
It would not have been possible without the support of my whole family **(even, and most of all, Nonno Vittorio who just recently past and whose 88 birthday would have been today, MAY 15 and I know he is looking from above in the clear, blue sky with a proud smile on his face) who have always said YES when everyone else would have said now, who have listen to hours of conversation over orthodox Jewish everything and who have come with me to meet some of the women I have photographed and interviewed and are now waiting for me to finish this project so they can stop receiving calls about “wedding proposal” from the Crown Hights HOT LINE.
But, most of all, I have to say thank you to ONE person: Israeli author Chaim Potock and his book “the Chosen One,” without which I would not have been “so obsessed” with wanting to depict everything there is to know about the orthodox jewish community anywhere in the world. His books where my own “bible” growing up and I am going to Israel in one week because I read them all several times and I never stop dreaming one day to be the one “insider” reporting live from within these community.
I am going to Israel in one week and I am going to fulfill just that.
Wish me luck, but do not wish it too loud, because I may never come back!