The Joys of Exile - Clips and Phrases A Personal-ish Sometimes Blog by Miriam Jayne
 
 
Last weekend Alan and I shlepped ourselves and everything we own (well, it kinda seemed like it) to Goshen, NY, the site of the up-and-coming Yiddish Farm.  Stereo Sinai had been invited to play on Sunday afternoon of their Golus Festival (there's a nice write-up about the festival with some pics here), and we decided to give it a shot for the whole weekend.  
"Golus" (or galut in Hebrew) means exile or, in some cases, Diaspora.  It's the term used for the state of being into which the Jews were thrown after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.  It's usually kind of a nasty word, implying lowliness and loss.  Forward-thinking Israelis don't typically use the word "galut" to describe Diaspora Jewry, favoring instead the word "t'futzot," or those of us who are spread out all over the place.  (That's the technical definition, I swear.) 
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And yes, we were in golus.  Especially to a city-minded, non-camper such as myself.  I was in golus from many, many things.  Internet, for instance.  Mattresses.  Air conditioning.  English.

But we were also in golus in other ways.  From denominations, for instance.  The battles among Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and other streams of Judaism are ongoing, bitter, and destructive (a friend wrote an interesting post about the end of this era that I recommend checking out).  Here there was no such thing.  Everyone from the most secular, strictly cultural Jew to a small crew of Satmar Hasidim gathered in our mutual love of all things Yiddish.  Men and women, young and old...it was surprising and beautiful.  

We were in golus from a sense of hierarchy as well.  I have to admit, I was skeptical as to how the festival would run.  But everyone pitched in and made it happen.  Leadership rotated, fluctuated, and rarely settled in one person.

There were some really incredible moments throughout the weekend.  Dancing with the Torah from one end of a field to the other.  Marveling at the great masses of hay that descended from the sky, refuse from the farm next door which we all interpreted as manna from heaven.  The moment we found out we were going to be in golus even from Golus because our camp site wasn't up to code for the number of people there (on Sunday morning we moved to another site for the music).  Dancing with new friends.  All these things and more.

Don't get me wrong, I will not miss the mosquitoes and eating mostly the same thing every day and the oppressive day-heat and the bewildering night-cold.  But I have walked away with a renewed appreciation for, and a new vision of, exile.  

7/22/2011 02:08:52 pm

Hi Miriam .. Boy, it sounded like Limmud ! There are so many creative ways for the community to be together without divisions. Might I suggest that the most creativity in Jewish thought and development of Jewish life occurred in the "diaspora", i.e. non- Holy Land places. I think it might take that kind of life "out there" to find, explore, create, experiment, nourish what Jewish life is and can be. No envy for the mosquitos, but it sounds like a wonderful time!

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AB FRIED
7/25/2011 10:36:12 pm

WAS REALLY BEAUTIFUL BEING AROUND ALL THE LOVELY PPL & THE UNITY, SINGING ALL THE SOUL FULL OF HEART SONGS ...WILL MISS IT ...LSHUNO HABO BE'YERUSHALAYIM

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Miriam Jayne
7/27/2011 11:06:39 am

Anita - You're right, it did have a lot in common with Limmud! And I completely agree about the Diaspora. It's been since the Jewish people have started living outside the Land that we have been the most creative, intellectually and artistically.

Avrumy - Amen amen!

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9/27/2012 09:09:00 pm

good deal over it.

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