Haaretz – Reflections from Germany on Indigenousness & Dispossession (Jul. 2015)

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Augsburg, Germany — I am indigenous-dispossessed here.

I was born in West Jerusalem and raised mostly in Southwest Ohio, and now I live in Jerusalem again. This is my second time in Augsburg, and my third time in Germany, and maybe my fifth or sixth time in Western Europe, but those were the words that poured into my head as I went for a run this morning: I am indigenous here. I am indigenous-dispossessed here.

Here, where there are signs for schuls everywhere, and the name of the forrest where I went running – siebentischwald – invokes Shabbat songs and Torah study. Here, where I know that schul is just “school” and the woods’ name simply refers to seven tables.

Here, where the street signs could have been copy-pasted from the roll call at any Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School: Freidberger, Singer, Kappeneck, Hochfeld.

Here, where the two young blond teenagers sitting next to us in the main plaza greeted their friend with “Shalom!” Perhaps they were members of Augsburg’s tiny Jewish community, but more likely, they were saying “Shalom” (spelled “Schalom” in their heads) the same way my friends and I, as kids in Ohio, raised our palms and said “How” to each other, sometimes sticking feathers into our hair to increase the Indian chief effect.

Here, in the plaza, where my German hosts tell me, “These stores used to be owned by Jewish families, before.”
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