Pioneer in the Swim — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

I am standing on the edge of the pool, in my Speedo swimsuit, feeling like a Second Aliya pioneer determined to speak only the language of their forefathers. It’s Sunday night, Masters Swim Group, Jerusalem Pool. I’m about to swim three kilometers. My swimming is as bad as the typical pioneer’s Hebrew was, but I’m going to do it anyway.

<em>Brenner in a tense moment</em>
Brenner in a tense moment

I have an acquaintance who teaches meditation. She once suggested that I join the group she conducts once a month before Saturday morning services at our synagogue. “Mediation relieves stress,” she advised me. “Relieve stress? What’s wrong with stress?” I answered blankly. I go to shul on Saturday mornings to get stressed out. I’m not very good at praying. I go to Masters Swim for the same reason.

It’s like those yeshiva dropouts and intellectual women who arrived in Palestine in the 1910s to break their backs at manual labor and tie their tongues trying to make Hebrew their daily language. Imagine trying to express your innermost thoughts and feelings with a preschooler’s vocabulary and grasp of linguistic nuance. It would be like a 52-year-old klutz doing the breaststroke….

Read the rest on the Jerusalem Report website–come back here to comment!

2 thoughts on “Pioneer in the Swim — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report”

  1. As an oleh myself, I recognized myself in your writing.

    Hehe, “I recognized myself” is only the imperfect translation of my original thinking in Spanish: “me sentí identificado”…

    יהיה טוב.

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