A Year In Israel A psychological journey of discovery. Kenneth Sinensky
Photo Credit: Kenneth Sinensky
Table of Contents
6: Final thoughts
Ethnicity “In essence, an ethnic group is a named social category of people based on perceptions of shared social experience or ancestry.” (Bailey, Garick, An Humanity: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology pp. 389)
Ethnicity The biggest way I connected to my ethnicity while I was in the Middle East was through music. I listened to a lot of music that can be easily identified as “American music”. A lot of this music pertained to things I felt I connected to (and still do). Music really helped me connect to things that I felt disconnected from 6,000 miles away from home. I found it very difficult to connect to the Israeli culture and way of life and therefore needed something American to connect with and refer to.
These are pictures, logo and album covers from some of my favorite artists. These include: Phish, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and Neil Young
“The nation is conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately, it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willing to die for such limited imaginings.” (Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 6)
I would love to record all the ways in which I began to connect to this new nation and how I overcame my sense of American nationality, but I did that I would be lying. The truth is, I never really found a balance and never related to the strong sense of Israeli pride that many of my friends did. I would love to tell you that I went to Tel-‐Aviva and fully embraced Israeli culture, but I didn’t. I stayed in my homogeneous bubble of American friends and institutions, I was never able to appreciate or embrace Israeli culture and nationalism. If I were to pinpoint one thing I did connect to it would be the nature in Israel. I enjoyed hiking and experiencing the different terrains that Israel offers.
There are pictures from my personal albums that were taken from hikes all over Israel. These all show different hikes from different parts of Israel.
Adolescence According to Erik Erikson adolescents are concerned with who they are and how they are represented to others. This is the stage where one begins to think about and establish their identity. Erikson uses the term “identity crisis” to describe what an adolescent goes through. (Gross, 1987, Introducing Erik Erikson: An Invitation to His Thinking, pg. 39)
During my time in Israel I spent hours reading, writing and just thinking about who I am, what things define me, and who I can be. One of the most important things that really enabled me to find myself was writing in my notebook. I would spend a lot of time at night, sitting in my bed, writing in my notebook by the lamplight. I could write just about anything. But those journal entries weren’t things that were important for me at that time. I often look back at them to see how much I’ve grown and how I got the where I am now.
When going abroad or facing new experiences I find it important to write in a journal so that one has the opportunity to look back and reflect on their experiences. These are a few pages from my personal Israel journal.
Quotes These are some of my favorite quotes that I discovered last year. Some are from famous people and others are simply from friends.
The “A” shows the area in which I lived. This area is called Beit Shemesh. It’s an American community filled with people who have moved to Israel from America. This is referred to in Hebrew as “aliyah”.
Final Thoughts In the end this yearlong Israel experience was one that I will never forget. As I have portrayed in this Zine it was filled with things such as identification, self-‐reflection and belonging. Going out on one’s own to new places and nations is the type of experience that one should not want to miss out on. It is a time for real self-‐discovery and exploration. You get the opportunity to go to places you would not have otherwise and connect with people you never thought you would be able to.