_(excerpted from original article)_
I thought the Jewish community would want to hear my story, but they wanted the aliyah story, the brave soldier boy story, the now-I’m-religious story. Not this one. _”He was…Jewish? He wasn’t Arab? It happened in Jerusalem?” “Rape? That’s not rape, it’s simply a bad experience. What are you trying to do, ruin his life?” “Why are you making this film? Israel has enough problems!”_ This last remark in particular stung, as it was from a female rabbi. Another rabbi I spoke with sexually harassed me when I told him my story, taking great delight in discussing which of my body parts had been violated.
I didn’t hear these kinds of comments from the Israelis I told. A shrug of the shoulders, a smirk, a look of disappointment, but certainly no idealized notions of what Jews do and don’t do in Israel. The mythic hero is gone in the land of milk and honey: Israelis know that Jewish men rape Jewish women.
I hung onto to the bad memories of Jerusalem, hoping they would erase any lingering love I felt for it. I reminded myself of the putrid rot of Old City alleys, the black smoke from the buses on Jaffa Street, the endless rains of wintertime. But no matter how hard I tried, I also remembered the quiet mornings when sunlight poured into my kitchen on Havazalet Street. I missed the towers of fruit at the market, zatar sprinkled on my bread, and fresh pomegranate juice. I missed having long, intense conversations on Tel-Aviv balconies, and riding beat up scooters to the beach. I missed the teetering old ladies and the quiet you only hear in Jerusalem. I learned that after a rape many women lose a sense of safety, intimacy and trust. I had lost Israel. If I didn’t go back, I’d be letting him take something very special away from me.
It was raining when I landed at Ben Gurion. An American-Jewish woman with her head covered was swaying her baby side to side saying “_Geshem_ . Hashem sent rain for Israel.” Clutching my rented cell phone and my notebook full of phone numbers, I knew I needed to face him and ask him why he did it. I realized that like the characters in my film, my journey could only take place in Jerusalem.
Between Us _is an hour long documentary-in-progress directed and produced by Nancy Schwartzman. To learn more please visit_ “www.nancyschwartzman.com.”:http://nancyschwartzman.com/