beginning the search for my ancestors

Sitting at the Toyota dealership waiting for my free recall to be finished I remember that my maternal grandfather’s ashes are scattered in the grass behind the back parking lot.

I want to tell the story of my father’s first twelve months of life. Eleven of them with his own father. One of the them beginning a lifetime without his own father.

I want to know about my Orthodox Jewish cousins. Why do they wear wigs? Do they wish they could wear pants? What would they say if I told them I love women?

Maybe I can go visit them.

Who was lost in the Holocaust? What does it mean to be “lost”? Do we know where they were?

I want to know what I don’t want to know. How involved was my great-great-uncle in the formation of the state of Israel?

Maybe I need to go to Israel and meet my uncle?

I want to look at old photographs.

I want to hold the suffering on both sides of my family and find a way for me to keep hold while I study the horrific acts committed by the state of Israel.

I want to go to the West Bank and feel anything but guilt. Not because it isn’t there, but because it isn’t useful. And because this whole project needs to hold self-love and healing. Because if it doesn’t, I can’t do it.

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