Feminist Wife

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A (69)I just read an article posted by Bust Magazine called “15 Ways to Have a Feminist Wedding”. Some of the points the author made did not pertain to me because the traditional wedding ritual in Israel is very different from the one in the States or other countries. The rest of the points I found to be complete and utter bullshit. So here is my response to all points:

Proposing is an equal opportunity event
My husband didn’t propose to me and I didn’t propose to him. One day we talked about it over dinner and just decided that this is what we’re gonna do.

An engagement ring for all or no one
I wanted a ring and he didn’t. Where is the problem?

Pass on the bride’s parents permission
If my husband had asked my dad if he could marry me, we would have had a good laugh. We’re not orthodox and we’re not in the 1950s. Nowadays, I doubt anybody does it in Israel.

Everyone pays for the wedding
Nope. My parents paid for the Hinna. My husband’s parents paid for the wedding.

It’s the groom’s day too
It’s also the day of the parents of the bride and the parents of the groom. We all planned the wedding together.

Invite men to the wedding shower
Showers are not a thing in Israel. Wedding showers or baby showers. So irrelevant.

Have diverse wedding parties
Not sure what she means by that… we had a surprise engagement party at Blaze and a Hinna. Neither of us had bachelor or bachelorette parties.

Drop the terms bridesmaid or maid of honor
Again, no such thing in Israel. My “maid of honor” was my dog.

Don’t let your father give you away
I wanted both my parents to walk me down the aisle. So that’s how it was. My parents walked me, and my husband’s parents walked him.

Ditch the garter and bouquet toss
Yet another tradition that is not practiced in Israel.

Cut a rug with any parent
Whatever you say dude. I’ll dance with anybody I want.

Name-change is a two-way street
That was the point that pissed me off the most. Name-change is anybody’s choice. I wasn’t going to make my husband change his name. And the reason I wanted to change mine was so that I could have the same family name as my fucking family! My husband and my kids will be Bar Lev. I want to be that too. What’s so wrong with that?

Ditch the term Mrs.
I’m not Mrs. or Ms. I’m giveret. So fuck you.

Replace the terms “husband” and “wife”
Yet another pisser-offer. I LOVE it when my husband calls me his wife (or rather isha) and I love referring to my husband as my husband (or rather baal). There is nothing that keeps my husband from using “isha” and “feministit” in the same sentence. Nothing wrong with it either.

Don’t let him carry you over the threshold
Not usually done in Israel. In fact, I don’t understand how anybody can do that. This is supposed to happen AFTER the wedding, right? When both of you are shitfaced and sore all over from dancing like maniacs. So how exactly can your husband carry you anywhere when he can hardly hold himself up? Ridiculous.

One of the comments on this article was “How to have a feminist wedding: Be a feminist. Have a wedding.”

Seriously. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Peace, love and next stupid article from Bust: “How to be a feminist mother”

 

 

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Pride in Jerusalem

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I think that everyone around the world already heard about what happened in Jerusalem yesterday.

I was there. I’m still trying to process what happened. The same thing happened in 2005, by the same guy who did the stabbings yesterday. It seems as though no lessons were learned in 10 years.

The march started out at Independence Park. Everyone started marching with a drum circle, music, laughter, dancing, waving flags while shouting and chanting slogans for tolerance, love, diversity and equal rights.

Suddenly, police cars and ambulances rushed through the crowd. Cops on scooters and on horses, or in police units, vans and cars, and on foot urged people to the side and proceeded to the scene of the incident. As word passed down, within minutes everyone knew that a man with a knife stabbed some of the marchers. The music died down almost immediately, the chanting, the dancing and the laughter too. The rest of the march took place in absolute silence. The thousands of marchers were all in shock. Some scattered marchers tried chanting “A gay person marches and is not afraid,” but these were all drained out by the screams of the sirens.

People talk and they say that now that the community knows that being proud and “flaunting it” is dangerous, we would know better than to take it to the streets and instead stay at home, in the closet, in the dark, and let all these hate mongers drag  the rest of this country into the dark as well. This was not a parade. Jerusalem has no floats with half-naked men dancing around. This Pride march in Jerusalem is there for the very struggle of the LGBT community. The only thing being “flaunted” is diversity, beauty, light, courage, pride and love. Lots of love.

I, along with the rest of the LGBT community in Israel, say fuck that. These incidents are exactly the reason why Pride must keep going, year after year. This was the recurring message in the speeches given yesterday. We must fight darkness with light, and we must fight hate with love. A former Knesset member, Nitzan Horovitz, came out a few years ago, and has been a supporter of the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights ever since. He was one of the speakers yesterday. His words were so powerful and resonated so much with what I was feeling, that I couldn’t stop crying during his entire speech.

This is not democracy and it is not Judaism. The Goddess does not create people to kill and be killed. The Goddess loves us all, and She is the only one who has the right to judge us. I don’t care about the abomination statement in the Torah and how homosexuals should be killed. I care that we are human beings, and all we want to do is love. And I also know that if the Goddess was a person, She would march right alongside us.

And yes, I am straight and yes I do say “we” because this is a struggle that we must all take part in. We must recognize our privilege in this society as heterosexuals and join the Pride march as a march for tolerance for all people, all races, all genders and all sexualities. Nitzan Horovitz also said that we must fight this aberration because this affects us all, Israeli Jews and Arabs, black and white, religious and secular, gay and straight. The stabber did not discriminate either. He stabbed anybody he could reach, regardless of whether or not they were gay. I saw one of the injured people in the hospital today. He’s straight, he went to the march with his girlfriend to support this struggle. This is a “we”. We’re all in this together.

The LGBT community in Jerusalem is made up of Israeli Jews just like the rest of us, and they are deserving of equal rights, human rights, love, health services, tolerance, respect and justice. This is not just a struggle for survival. It’s a struggle for the preservation of democracy and against the people who supposedly do these acts of violence in the name of religion.

One of the marchers said in an interview to the press that this is something that happens on Tu Be’Av, a holiday of love, a few days after Tisha Be’Av, a day of mourning the destruction of the Temple, where Orthodox Jews fast as a sign of mourning. She said “This fast is worthless.” Because if the Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam, hatred between Jews, this is what is still going on today. This act of violence carried out by an Orthodox Jew, who may have very well fasted on Tisha Be’Av, completely obliterated any hope of reconciliation between Jews. This fast was not worth shit.

It was wonderful to see the new group of religious homosexuals marching along with us, and even arguing with the other religious Jews standing on the sidelines. While the sideliners were screaming and spitting at them, the religious homosexuals stood their ground and bravely fought back.

Diversity is what characterizes Jerusalem. The rainbow flags that painted the streets of Jerusalem yesterday proudly represent this diversity. So why did these colors all fade to blood-red? We all saw the blood on the pavement. This is Jewish blood. These are innocent people. The only abomination in this march is the terrorist who infiltrated it. You cannot be a hater and call yourself Jewish. This is not Judaism. I refuse to accept this monster as a member of the Jewish community. Whatever happened to “love thy neighbor”? Why can’t these assholes live by that?

When I came back from the march, my husband said he was practicing Queen’s “We Are the Champions” on guitar. And this was totally fitting because despite the rampant homophobia in this society, the LGBT community will keep on fighting to the end.

Peace, love and Ahava Ge’avah

PS – I am currently selling some Alternative Jerusalem postcards on my Etsy shop. The ones that were made about Jerusalem Pride are sold as a fundraising effort. All proceeds will be donated to the Jerusalem Open House, the LGBT organization in Jerusalem. Please support this initiative and buy the postcard.

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All I Leave Behind

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I had great plans for the Passover holiday. One of them was rereading all my old diaries to find entries that I could include in a new split-zine I will be writing with my friend. This was an activity that I underestimated in terms of just how long it will take me to read all my diaries, which was basically the entire week. So all my other plans fell through, and I just kept on reading, marking pages, highlighting, noting stuff down…

I also underestimated the emotional effect that rereading all this shit would cause. All the corpses that would resurface. It was a rollercoaster of emotions – some parts made me laugh, some inspired me to no end, some parts even turned me on. But some parts were also shocking and terrifying, confusing and utterly heartbreaking, mainly because I couldn’t believe that this was once me. That I would express myself this way, and that this was how I thought I felt and how, in some instances, I completely misled myself. In 2003, I spent half a diary talking about my boyfriend of the time in excruciatingly graphic detail. Not one page would go by without my mentioning how much I love him and all that shit. After a hiatus of at least a year an a half (about a year after he broke up with me), I wrote an angry entry, in big capital letters:

“[name] is a motherfucking shitty asshole! The only good thing he ever did was reveal his true colors when he broke up with me.” Then I went on to say how guys are only good for one thing and that’s fucking. Then I wrote a note to myself to read this entry a couple million times before ever allowing myself to fall into the abysmal hell also known as love.

Although I knew this before, it was only after I read this entire diary that I realized how true this was – I was never in love with this guy. I was obsessed with him. None of it was true, none of it was real. I was misled into thinking I was in love. I was blind to that until I went through therapy and learned to love without killing myself and without focusing my world around “him”. It was only when I met my husband when I learned what true love feels like. And I wrote about that too in my later diaries, when I first met Elad and felt true love for the first time: “I still feel like I come first. Like my inner child comes first, but I love the shit out of this guy – how is that possible?”

I told my husband about the journal entries I wrote when we first met. It turned both of us on. When I put all these experiences in perspective, I suddenly became more attracted to him, even more than before.

Later on I also wrote about the horrible job I had for two years and how I was struggling to keep myself sane by keeping a steady social life, hanging out with my boyfriend, and writing endlessly, even if it kept me up well past my bedtime and I woke up the next day feeling like a zombie. I was amazed at how strong I was and how I pushed myself to write even if I was beyond tired (or as I put it: “somewhere between excruciatingly exhausted and comatose”), and how I managed to overcome my fatigue with the help of my art.

As I read these entries, I felt overcome with a sense of inspiration like I haven’t felt in a long time.

I want to resume my journal writing and I think I’ll start this week. I’ve just been bogged down with zine plans and zine writing (which is no less awesome, I must say!), plus I have a contribution to write to this riot grrrl anthology, plus I have some letters to write, packages to pack, and shit to mail out, plus I have to start this split-zine as well… basically all the stuff I had planned for this past week and managed to do nothing.

AND, I just got word that I’m about to receive a new stack of Stephen King books… oh boy. You’re just gonna drown me in your prose again, Steve, aren’t you? And keep me from getting any decent writing done, isn’t that right? Why must you always be so fucking awesome?

The inspiration to read Stephen King somehow always demolishes my inspiration for creativity. Always. Without fail.

I feel so happy and so sad at the same time. *sigh*

Peace, love and Deicide show in Las Vegas. Can you dig it?

The Beautiful People in My Beautiful Life

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You know, I’ve heard of people talking about someone in their life who makes them into a better person or made their life better.

“I feel like a better person, and I enjoy my life a lot more when I’m around Mr. XYZ,” they would say. But I never actually thought that made any sense. You’re either a good person or you’re not. You’re the master of your own fate.

But then I met someone who improved my life so drastically that it did in fact make me a better person. I married him.

I know that sounds corny but it’s true. I just thought about my life before I met Elad and after I met him and noticed so many things that changed for the better.

The first thing I changed thanks to the man is my job. I had the most awful job on the planet. When I met Elad, he realized that not only does this job take up all of my time (that was a 50 hours a week job), and that I have no social life as a result, but that it also sabotages my psycho-emotional state because the boss was a verbally and emotionally abusive motherfucker, and I would come back home crying on a regular basis. Elad told me to quit on several occasions but I was afraid that I would not find another job and get into debt as I did when I quit that job once before and was forced to come back because I was flat broke.

“So go look for another job, and quit once you find one,” said Elad. “You don’t owe this guy anything, not even a two weeks notice.” Arch Enemy inspired me, but Elad gave me the final push, and I did indeed find a better job and I quit that godawful place with a self-satisfied grin on my face. No two weeks notice. Nothing. And now, I have the best job ever (20 hours a week), nice staff, awesome boss, who I actually invited to my wedding and signed as a witness.

Also, thanks to Elad, I get to travel more – Since we met, we’ve been to Belgium, Holland, France, Italy and Germany, and we also took a road trip to Eilat. This summer, we’re going to Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Montreal.

I go out a lot more – to bars, mostly on Metal Night, restaurants, parks, concerts, the beach…

I have more friends, most of whom I met through Elad and our shared love of metal.

I HAVE A DOG! Did you get that?! Thanks to my husband, I have a life and can finally afford to have a dog.

I have a rich and vibrant social life. My psycho-emotional state has never been better, not to mention my sex life. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve experienced things with Elad that I have never experienced with any other partner or even myself.

I take better care of myself, I cook more, I eat better, I exercise more, and meditate more often. I have become a better person.

I also have a chance to be more creative. Because my job is so convenient, and because it’s part-time, I have more time for my arts, crafts and zine production. Now I may sometimes get lazy on that aspect. I mean, since I started my PMS zine in 2010, I only released 10 issues. That’s two issues a year, which is nothing.

And that brings me to the next person who made my life better – my Salem friend. Because ever since I met her, which was barely six months ago, I already released two issues of PMS, one of which was a split zine with her, and we have plans for two more split zines way before this year is over, plus extra art projects that I made (postcard designs, button designs, a contribution for her zine, ongoing letters and packages we exchange back and forth), as well as the International Zine Month I am planning on doing this July including another 24-Hour Zine. So this year, I will have released at least five issues of PMS, three of which will be split zines with my friend.

Thanks to her, I feel more inspired and my creativity took on whole new proportions that I never even thought possible. Laziness is no longer on the bill. Seriously, I wish all my friends were as enthusiastic about zines as she is. Maybe if they were, we could finally have an Israeli zine fest that I am so longing for.

So corny or not, I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to my husband and my Salem friend for intertwining in my web of karma, thus improving my life as a feminist and as a person, and I’d also like to thank the Forces that Be for making our roads intersect.

You guys rule!

Peace, love and on a completely unrelated note, come on Summer! Get a move on and get here already!

No Need for Weed

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The wedding was awesome. Everyone said so. They all told me they especially liked the music, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve finally proven once and for all that Middle Eastern music is not the only genre that gets people dancing and one does not HAVE to torture people’s eardrums with this whiny shit all night.

And yes, we did have some metal tunes playing at the end. The metalhead group that we invited had the entire dance floor to themselves and went bananas, headbanging, jumping, circle pit, all the good stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I danced the entire time, drank a lot of water, sweat it all out in yet another frenzied dance, and drank some more. I sweat so much, I even felt sweat on my legs! MY LEGS! Who the fuck sweats from their legs?

I also tried drinking some alcohol, but for some reason, my husband forgot to order the Smirnoff Ice I like. So I opted for a regular grapefruit vodka cocktail. I took no more than two or three sips from it, and had to set it aside because I just wasn’t digging it. For the rest of the night, I was on a natural high, and that was good enough for me.

On Sunday, four days after the wedding, we went to our first metal night as a married couple. Then on Monday, we went back to the bar for the mock elections they held. That night was amazing. I was on a natural high once again, and when the “Sunday Metal” party won (by one vote, but still a victory), and they played some more metal, I headbanged like I could not headbang on my wedding, because my hairdo didn’t allow it! I went back home with a sore neck, but that’s the sign that I had a blast. Also, my husband got nice and plastered, but experienced no nausea and no hangover the next day. So we both enjoyed a swell buzz indeed.

That night, I got my period and the next day I wrote my contribution for my friend’s zine “After the Blood” which is a special issue on the period. I wrote all about my experience in the mikve and how this monthly ritual affected the way I view my body and my menstrual cycle. I was looking forward to writing it all week, so once I finally got down to it, I enjoyed it so much that I got into the Zone. I haven’t been to the Zone in a while, and it felt so awesome to be back. And yes, that is definitely another natural high I experienced. Boy, if I’m not careful, my endorphins are going to become my drug of choice.

What will be my next fix you ask? Why, zine production of course!

Peace, love and that’s Mrs. Bar-Lev to you!

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A Feminist of Valor

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Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and for the occasion, I wrote a status on Facebook wishing the female variety a happy day. Seriously, I did nothing that involves feminism and female empowerment except for that.

Since yesterday was Sunday, we had metal night at Blaze. I thought maybe I should put on a powerful song by a female metal band as a tribute to IWD, but nothing came to mind. And they already played Arch Enemy with Angela on the lead, so yeah. Nothing more than that.

It got to a point where I started fantasizing about one of the dudes there making some sexist comment, just so I can say something bitching like “Number one, I’m a feminist. Number two, today is International Women’s Day. Number three, I may be small but I’m much stronger than I look, and you should watch your mouth or you won’t have any more fucking teeth left in it!”

But the guys at metal night are nice dudes. And they know I’m a feminist. And they know not to make any sexist comments when I’m around because I could leave them as bloody as I get when I’m on my period.

Come to think of it, I haven’t done too many feminist things lately. There was a Vagina Monologues presentation by the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center on V-Day, but I didn’t go because I was out of town. So instead, I called up the JRCC and donated the equivalent amount of a VM ticket price, 80 NIS, so that even if I didn’t go to the show, I could still contribute to the fundraising efforts.

That was it.

Right now, I’m reading a book about Witches. I don’t mean a horror story. I mean a book on the actual pagan faith. It’s got a lot of feminist elements in it, and I find it utterly inspiring. So if that also counts as a feminist thing, then I’m also doing that.

RosiePlus, I’m also going to my very first mikve (ritual bath) today as a prerequisite by the Rabbinical Council for having a proper Jewish wedding. I promised my penpal friend, who is writing a comp zine on periods, that I will contribute a piece on the mikve once I experience it. I will write it in conjunction with my feminist beliefs and how this holy monthly ritual can be seen as a tremendous source of female empowerment. So I guess that’s another feminist thing.

While I’m on the topic of religion, my husband-to-be and I received a wonderful gift by one of the people who will not make it to the wedding. It was a Sabbath set including candle holders, a kiddish glass, a couple of prayer books (including one called Eshet Chayil – A Woman of Valor – with chants and hymns for the woman of the house. Yes, still totally feminist!), and my favorite – a cutting board for motzi bread! This last one is a super fancy board with a bread knife on the side and a tiny built-in bowl for salt. I’m so excited about it, I can’t wait to invite some friends over for a Sabbath dinner, and get a chance to use all that awesome stuff.

And since my man always relegates the kiddish and motzi to me, this soon-to-be-married feminist will be the one to do all the chants and all the prayers for the Sabbath dinner, and this time with a headscarf.

May be kinda reform, but you don’t get any more feminist than that!

Peace, love and Wednesday, March 11, 2015, Kaf Be’Adar, Tashaah.

Engage the Metalhead Within

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20141116_225604Well, I had plans for a new tattoo, and I had plans for a new zine, and I had plans to not have another surgery at least until this year is over. But plans are made to be changed. So here it is.

I am set to have another surgery on November 30. It will be my fourth one this year but it will be relatively minor… I hope. It has nothing to do with my elbow injury or my cataract but I won’t detail this procedure beyond that, considering its sensitive nature.

Onto more happy plans, I plan on getting married! My boyfriend and I got engaged last week. We went and picked out a ring together and we’re starting to look at wedding halls this evening. I hope to set a date for early March, but my boyfriend is leaning towards the end of June, so we’re still undecided on that.

Last night, we went to our weekly ritual at Blaze Bar – Sunday Metal Night. A night of good company, drinks, face-melting metal tunes and intensive neck breaking. What we didn’t expect was the surprise the Jerusalemite metalheads had in store for us. They ordered cake, balloons and champagne to celebrate our engagement, and their plans on that night was no doubt to get us completely wasted. They managed to do that with me, but seeing as I went a little overboard a few weeks ago and spent the rest of the night being tortured by stomach acid wreaking havoc on my throat and nasal passages, I took it easy this time around and stopped when I felt I had enough – two glasses of champagne, one very very light cocktail and two very very light chasers.

As for my boyfriend (I hate the term fiance), he got the old stomach utterly upset. Mr. Stomach then decided to pull a Jim Breuer and kicked all the ingested guests right the fuck out. So said plastered boyfriend spent his night as I did a few weeks ago, then he had to be carried out of the bar and back home by cab who had to be paid twice the amount of cash we usually pay, because the driver was reluctant to take in a guy who might very well vomit up and down the car.

So the night ended in disaster (I was pretty upset too seeing my boyfriend in that condition) but the night itself was fucking awesome! They played the best metal tunes, I got my headbang going at full throttle the moment all the “congrats” had passed around, we had about two or three dozen l’Chaim’s throughout the night, chasers and hugs on the house… it was quite possibly one of the best metal nights Jerusalem has to offer.

After the wedding, we plan to go to North America for a couple of weeks. And later on we also plan on having children, but that’s still a bit far off. And if the metalheads throw us a baby shower, the bar ought to be smoke free and alcohol free… not much of a party, eh?

Zines and tattoos will eventually be done, but with all the wedding arrangements, they’ll be on hold for now.

Peace, love and SLAYERRR! \m/

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