Looking back and thinking forward

Month: May, 2008

Moving on

Twenty years ago I left Israel for America with a vague outline of what lay ahead. Central to the purpose was accessing a higher education. At a subconscious level, I had set out on a journey to the center of my self. While I have returned every three years or so to visit with family and friends, this time is different. Indeed, it marks the twentieth anniversary of my emigration almost to the day, short of one or two weeks. As I observe and listen to family members or old friends, re-connecting and sharing stories, I realize that changes within me are deep and permanent. They have taken place at different levels: emotional, cognitive, and physical.

Physical is easier to see. Simply. I am older, wider, grayer, not quite as lithe or flexible. Not as tanned or supple. Emotionally and cognitively is more subtle to behold, and takes time to emerge. I find, that as I had felt when I first emigrated to America, I experience now back in Israel: anonymous. For, much of what I feel and think has changed profoundly. Perspectives are broader and confidence stronger. It would take time to unfold and uncover the me of now with people who knew me then. And, who knows? We might not suit one another any longer – having moved in different directions at all those levels. Interests and needs have changed along with ideas and opinions. And, oh dear – perspectives – these seem to have changed most of all.

I feel at home here. No doubt about it. Smells, tastes, sights, all are comforting to my senses and I sleep deeply, waking up to each new day refreshed and excited. But, at the same time I yearn for the New World. For, there I grew up. Became mature, found my core, the essence of who I am, and strengthened the Bambi-like shakiness I had been experiencing for thirty eight years prior. There, I found peace of mind, self acceptance – self acknowledgment.

There are stories I could tell about how I am arriving at these conclusions, this early Saturday morning as I rise out of my slumber, breathing in the Middle Eastern air. More important, however, is the discovery that I have, indeed, moved on. Although, pieces of my past undoubtedly make up who I am today, I am no longer the person I once was. Most exciting of all is that I think I am starting to like who I am now. And that is the most profound difference of all.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Losing my voice to find it again

Traveling Obama Mama

Well, I'm on my way. Packed up and ready to travel.

I have my button that JJ made me for my birthday:


It is three years since I was in Israel to see family and friends. If you can't remember so far back, I suggest you read these past posts from my old Tamarika blog:

and also,
So much has changed since I was last there:
  • For one thing, I am closer to being 60. On Saturday my family will be celebrating my 59th birthday with a Saturday brunch.
  • I have reached new heights and depths in my self-exploration, self-understanding, and self-alteration work.
  • These past three years I have suffered some losses, re-established my professional life, and written a book.
  • I have made and lost a couple of new friends, and renewed and strengthened old friendships all around the world.
  • I discovered the land of my forefathers and found some new cousins.

And even my blog has changed, for the last few months it has become the Obama Mama Blog!

And so, dear readers and all those who stop by from time to time, the next time I write here will be from the Middle East, and when I return the election primaries should be over and … well … surely, by now …

you all know who I will be hoping for, eh?

Hope is on the way! (Update)



Largest crowd yet – 75,000 today:


A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Almost hiatus or sporadic

Tamarika’s Op-Ed

It has been hard for me to be a Democrat these past eight years. I have had to watch helplessly while criminals in the White House invaded Iraq, ruined American leadership in the world, destroyed the education system, and divided this country deeper and wider. My Democratic Party sat apathetically by and allowed it to happen. Worse than that, supported the situation with mealy mouthed platitudes and sometimes even voting alongside. I have to say that "hard" is an understatement. Indeed, it has been excruciating.

Last night I watched as Hillary Clinton deepened and widened the racial divide further – apart from that token brown skinned man they had placed in the background during her "victory" speech. While driving to work yesterday I listened to the BBC interviewing various people from West Virginia who were openly and proudly declaring they would "never" vote for a black man. I thought to myself, "Wow! What must people in England and Europe think when they hear this?" If Clinton wants to display pride in winning over a huge majority through bigotry and ignorance – well, good for her!

But what dismays me is that the Democratic Party stands silently by while she does it. Where are all those mealy mouthed Super Delegates? They should rise up in indignation and make a stand. As a woman and a feminist, Hillary Clinton does not represent me. She is divisive, privileged, and power hungry – and right now she is playing the race card in a way that causes me pain – personally, intellectually and physically. Pain in my brain, pain in my heart, pain behind my eyes, pain in my guts, pain in my soul.

I cannot believe that I am actually thinking of withdrawing my Democratic membership and becoming an Independent. How naive and ignorant I feel. How sad I am this morning. White privilege sickens me to the core of my being. And last night as I watched Hillary’s deluded victory sermon, she represented everything I deplore, everything I have stood against since growing up 58 years ago in racist Rhodesia.

People are giving Clinton "her space" out of respect for her. I think of African American people watching and listening in silence while West Virginians declare their racism publicly and Clinton glows and coos to them, thanking them for it. Shame on you, Hillary Clinton.

But, more than that: Shame on you, Democratic Party for standing by in silence. I read somewhere that Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The silence of good people is worse than bigoted acts." As I stand by helplessly on this dark day, alone and hurting, I cannot be silent. I will not be silent.

Hillary Clinton. It is time for you to go, and, if I was a Super Delegate, I would stand up and say loud and clear today: "no, I, a tax-paying, Democratic dues-paying, woman, feminist, do not want you anywhere near the ticket."

Faces and ages of me

Today, I was over at PureLand Mountain and enjoyed his "RetroBrady" idea. It reminded me of Ronni Bennett’s panel of her faces through the ages.

So, I played around with my own version of it in a photo album which I uploaded to the right hand column of this blog. The Faces and Ages of Tamarika . I get a kick out of seeing how I’ve changed through the past 58 – almost 59 years of my life. I intend to relish my 59th year which begins in about 12 days’ time – starting right now.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Yom Ha’Em

A Day for Mothers


This weekend I received a gift. It was the copy edits of my new book. Before I sat down to go through the editorial suggestions, suddenly I discovered there were chores to be done, tasks to be completed. I circled the apartment like a restless tiger, eying the computer as I passed by my study door on my way back and forth to do laundry, water the plants, wash dishes … anything rather than face the book. On the other hand, there was an excitement, an exhilaration accompanying my restlessness as I prowled around alone in my home – life partner away at a conference – with only Ada Mae asleep, curled up in a ball on my desk waiting for me to take my place next to her and the computer. It was almost as if my second child had come home, for Mother’s Day. I seemed to be putting off the best part of the weekend to last. Holding it out there as a prize to be savored and cherished, a back drop for the mundane, ordinary, lonely moments of living the day-to-day constantly, solidly.

This is new for me – the feeling of a second child coming home to visit. After I had my one and only son I often wondered how I might have embraced a second child. I could not imagine that I would have any love left in me, for I loved Gilad so much from the very instant I saw his face, as he lay in the crib by the side of my hospital bed almost 35 years ago. We seemed to stare at each other for what was an eternity, as he sized me up. I imagined him thinking, "Hm … I wonder what she’s like? I wonder how it will be, living and growing with her?" I stared at him in return amazed at how much he resembled my father, seeing the generations of his father’s and my families in his eyes, nose, and the shape of his lips.

Oh, how I wanted to give him everything I never had! On the day of his birth, I had plans and dreams as I realized that my own body had been in some way responsible for that incredible human creation lying by my side, waiting on me for love, warmth, and kindness. I have never, before or since, experienced such an awesome moment in my life.

Five years ago my first book was published, and while it is not to be compared with the feelings I experienced on Gilad’s birth day, there was something similar. A creation from my mind, put out there for the world to read. A piece of my inner self, thoughts, ideas, opinions for others to share. And, once again, the emotions were so intense, I could not imagine being able to embrace a second one.

Indeed, I discovered, writing a book is as intimate an act as it is public.

This weekend, here it was, my second book waiting in my inbox on the computer. My next "mind creation," anticipating the massaging and readjusting I might do within the coming hours, days ahead. Finally, I gave myself permission to sit down and read it through. I was humbled and oh, so grateful, by the way the editors had allowed me to tell my story, artfully preserving my voice while, at the same time, making the book stronger with their suggestions and probings.

I awoke this morning after working on the book all day yesterday, the air was clear and crisp, robins and cardinals calling out energetically, brilliantly, as the sun bathed the rain drenched woods, trees, blossoms, and earth. I reached my arms way up to the ceiling breathing deeply in a wide yoga-type stretch, and stumbled out onto the patio with coffee mug in hand. A twinge of longing for my son this Mother’s Day morning was quickly overcome by the excitement that I could read my book again today, to tweak and finalize the edits.

It felt like a birth day.

How apt, I thought. A day for mothers, a day of birth. Just a couple weeks shy of my own birthday, which I will be celebrating with my own ninety-one year-old mother in Israel.


My mother, who gave me a type writer when I was sixteen because she wanted me to write! My mother, who hated my first book but allowed herself as she told me recently, "to learn new things," and work through the pain between us to the other side, closer, brighter, stronger. My mother, to whom this second book is dedicated thus:

To my mother, Beryl Kate Salis Liberman,

who wrote to me a few years ago:

I always knew you would be right there,

From your mother who always loved you.

For, even as we have struggled to find a way to express our love for one another, so have I discovered her strength, courage, humor, and love of life within me.

Happy Mother’s Day to Beryl and Happy Mother’s Day to me,
alone, but oh so happy at my computer, sharing this day with all the
readers who might stop on by on the way to the rest of their day.


But, most of all, Happy Mother’s Day to my darling son, whose journey began with me over three decades ago.

As I complete my second book, I am most grateful to realize just how much his and my relationship is threaded through the fabric of my story, and all I have learned so far about being a mother.

[I dedicate this post to David Heath at Redleaf Press]

Oh yeah!

Quote of the day:

I didn’t get into race thinking that I could avoid this kind of politics, but I am running for President because this is the time to end it. 

We will end it this time not because I’m perfect – I think by now this campaign has reminded all of us of that.  We will end it not by duplicating the same tactics and the same strategies as the other side, because that will just lead us down the same path of polarization and gridlock. 

We will end it by telling the truth – forcefully, repeatedly, confidently – and by trusting that the American people will embrace the need for change. 

Because that’s how we’ve always changed this country – not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up; when you – the American people – decide that the stakes are too high and the challenges are too great.

The other side can label and name-call all they want, but I trust the American people to recognize that it’s not surrender to end the war in Iraq so that we can rebuild our military and go after al Qaeda’s leaders.  I trust the American people to understand that it’s not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but our enemies – like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.  Barack Obama, May 6, 2008

Rock those cynics.
Yes we CAN!

The difference between …

Quote of the day:

Campaign issues come and go, but this is a thread running through the race. One believes in the raw assertion of power, the other the power of communication. David Brooks, The New York Times.

This morning, David Brooks describes, in his way, what I have been trying to say for weeks. I understand it as Hillary Clinton: the gate keeper of Patriarchy. He refers to it as the difference between Combat and Composure. After reading his Op-Ed piece today, I wonder how anyone votes for Clinton. And then, I remind myself, once again … this is a nation that elected George Bush – twice!

This contrast between combat and composure defines the Democratic race. The implicit Clinton argument is that politics is an inherently nasty business. Human nature, as she said Sunday, means that progress comes only through conquest. You’d better elect a leader who can intimidate. You’d better elect someone who has given herself permission to be brutal.

Obama’s campaign grows out of the longstanding reform tradition. His implicit argument is that politics doesn’t have to be this way. Dishonesty and brutality aren’t inevitable; they’re what gets in the way. Obama’s friend and supporter Cass Sunstein described the Obama ideal in The New Republic: “Obama believes that real change usually requires consensus, learning and accommodation.” David Brooks, The New York Times, May 6 2008

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Age, age, age …


As if I was tagged

Taking a break from the subject, I wandered over to Winston‘s site and discovered a meme! Although he did not tag me, I decided to take a breather and answer the six questions, perhaps trying to return myself to me, me, me, meme …

  1. Sc00078bae_2

    Ten years ago I was … in Buffalo New York and completed my Doctorate. The graduation ceremony was very exciting for me. Surrounded by dearest friends and Tom’s family, I walked onto the stage to become hooded and felt enormously proud of my achievement. Indeed, it is a day that I will always remember and cherish.

  2. Five things on today’s to-do list … Water the plants, edit a book for my publisher, submit a proposal to present at a conference next spring, work out, and go out to dinner with friends to celebrate Tom’s birthday.
  3. Things I would do if I was a billionaire … Create a special commune-orphanage for unwanted children with state of the art, aesthetic grounds, educators, facilities full of love, love, love …
  4. Three bad habits … Adoration of rich chocolate cake, always trying to understand the other person’s point of view or feelings – often to my own detriment, and making a mess of relationships because I really do not know how to get it right!
  5. Five places I’ve lived … Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Manchester, England; Raalte, Holland; Jerusalem and Ramat Hasharon; Israel; Kibbutz Yizrael, Israel; Buffalo, New York; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania … and that’s already more than five, I know, I know … sorry …
  6. Five jobs I’ve had … Caregiver in a Children’s house on a kibbutz; Preschool-kindergarten teacher in Israel; Librarian in the ESL Library of the British Consul in Israel; Director of the University at Buffalo Campus Child Care Center; Assistant professor of teacher education.

Seeing as I was not tagged, indeed, "stole" the tag, as it were, I am in no way privileged to tag another. If you, too, decide to steal a meme, do let me know, so that I can learn a bit more about you – hoo!

Tom Hanks weighs in

From: Ben Smith at Politico.