Midlife Crisis

I've been feeling for quite some time what I can define as "midlife crisis" now in retrospect. It's difficult to single out exactly when and how it started, but it's clear by now that this definition captures my feeling. A small doubt about the meaning of what I do at this stage of mine life (excluding marriage) seems to have been triggered gradually indirectly by my marriage, its difficulties, my attempts to struggle with them, and my concomitant soul search has grown into such a big one that I can neither ignore nor silent it any more.

This growing doubt mainly concerns one specific area of my life in which, unlike all the other areas, I've never had any doubt since I was about 20. As I (hopefully) awake spiritually little by little, I've started feeling slowly but surely that the purpose I set for myself in this area of my life about 34 years ago has been ceasing to have enough relevance and meaning for me.

Recently I've decided to pursue the path of "conscious transformation", so to speak, to update myself, bearing mainly this specific area of my life in mind. With the help of some amazing guide I stumbled upon some time ago I've just taken the first step of my new journey - visioning a newly updated purpose. I myself still don't know what road is waiting for me.



We moved into a new apartment (even on the same floor in the same building in Jerusalem) on the eve of our first wedding anniversary (according to the Jewish calendar) this Sunday. This is the 11th relocation for me. Though this new apartment happens to be the best of all 11 apartments I've lived in so far, the main reason why we decided to leave our old apartment, where I spent 12 years as a bachelor and we spent one year as a married couple, is to restart our married life in a new place where both of us have equal says.

From Sunday until Thursday this week we also happened to have the 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies here in Jerusalem, so we could host some of our common and separate colleagues from abroad in our new apartment. Those who were in our old apartment were also impressed with this new one.

Having talked to many people from various countries, including native Israelis, in our new apartment as well as in the venue of the congress in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Japanese, I've observed with great interest the default way of constructing discourse in each of the cultures represented by these languages. I've reconfirmed that it's the traditional Ashkenazi way of speaking in Yiddish (and other languages) that I feel most comfortable in. My impression is that it requires more mental efforts than the typical Israeli and Japanese ways of speaking.

As I don't always get along well culturally with many native Israelis, I'm glad our new apartment remains a Yiddish-speaking ghetto in the sea of the Hebrew- or English-speaking population. But we are planning to invite here even more guests, including not only Yiddish-speaking friends but also speakers of other languages. Hospitality may not be an exclusively Ashkenazi cultural trait, but both my wife and I have adopted it from our haredi mentors and friends here.