An immigrant’s journey is never fully completed, even a Jewish immigrant’s move to Israel.
There is no defining finish line when an adult, who moves to a foreign land, victoriously throws up his arms and says with complete satisfaction, “I have completely arrived, I am completely one – emotionally, mentally, culturally – with my new land.”
The immigrant may have native friends, native children, a responsible job, full command of the language and economic security, yet there will always be something that makes him feel like an outsider: an accent, an insecurity, a preference for reading in his mother-tongue, a physical appearance, a way of dress, counting in his native language, associating with people from his former country, an inexplicable longing for a certain sport, food, scent or vista.
Since the scenery of one’s soul is made up of the climate, jokes,
mannerisms, tastes, smells, sounds, cultural references and holidays
that one grows up with, there is an intense feeling of dislocation when
this landscape is replaced by another. The emotions that accompany
these stages are manifold: displacement, fear, insecurity, longing, joy,
This book, made up of columns that have appeared in The Jerusalem
Post over the last 25 years, records an American immigrant’s experience to Israel through each of the stages. It does so by tracing the four seasons, with each season representing not only a time of year, but also a stage of life or mental mood.
But this book is more than just an immigrant’s tale. It also sheds a different light on Israel, and portrays it as a land not only of endless strife and conflict, but rather as a real land populated by real people, who live and love, laugh and cry, give birth and raise children, emigrate from and immigrate to.
Indeed, despite the much discussed, documented and real problems
that Israel faces, the country still has something extraordinary that stirs people to move there and voluntarily become immigrants, a designation — and a feeling — that lasts forever.
This book looks at what that “something” is in a human and humorous way.
From never quite catching on to that metric/Celsius thing; to managing with a name unpronounceable in Hebrew; to struggling with whether a soldier/son needs to do household chores on furloughs from the army, the columns in French Fries in Pita will make those who have taken a similar journey nod knowingly at truths they recognize, and give those who have not yet undertaken this type of trek a better understanding of what is really involved.