Barzilai sent me this video link. It shows Sephardic history with pictures and a delicate moving song. Enjoy!
Sitting here on the bare, smooth hillside I contemplate. I see the vast, silent mosaic of vineyards, orchards, and scattered groves; there, at the end, as always, raises the rosy ribbon of mountains that separates the heaven from the earth.
It is the moment when the sun starts declining dressed in its golden robes as if saying: "don't cry for tomorrow I will be back and all of us will rejoice!" But then I keep always telling it "yes, sun”. You have seen from up there my lineages prowling about among these fields, hiding and appearing from the distant groves. You have seen them working on these fields under your light...and slowly moving their carts loaded with wheat or fruit, products of their Jewish hands.
Can you remember the days when we were expelled? They had to sell these fields and their dwellings at a loss because time was pressing. They took everything from us and left us with just some belongings that we loaded on our carts with our wives, some of them pregnant. Small children and our old people, some of them very ill...and started our journey towards the east, to the north...towards the sea...and who will assault us on the way? Who will perhaps kill us?
Look, sun! It's getting very dark! It is time to return home; to the east…it is time to return home! But...where is my home? Because the world has broken our hearts into two identical pieces though our souls remain one.
Poem: Flowing Waters
As the sun was setting, vineyard colors were changing with dark brown touches, and the pebbles among the grapevines were looking at each other and at me. The pebbles were sad and desolated. They were looking at the darkening sky, without saying anything, motionless, and eternal.
On the top of the hill appeared the ruins of an old village that had been made of bricks, and now being lonely slept. Its wooden beams were fallen down corroded by the insects, and by spent time. Its medieval tower standing on the highest rock was crumbling away in an invisible way.
The small river was whispering all the time something I could feel, but not understand. The river was flowing between the rocky walls on one side the bank, and on the other side were woods, and fields. Banks staring at each other over the centuries separated and united by the fast flowing waters of a river that never sleeps.
Up to here arrived a Jewish soul that unearthed the remains of a grave on the hillside next to the river. I was there, on the bottom of that hidden valley, where I ended up from the faraway Israel after so many vicissitudes...after forgetting now my own origin, my own identity.
I was observing quietly the water flowing peacefully in the ditch, and the cute water striders walking on the stream with fast, and happy movements. I looked and saw how the ditch got lost among brushes, and bushes were skirted by apple trees.
I thought that, somehow, that water flowing in front of my eyes was getting away from me to meet the whispering river that would lead it to the faraway sea. Then the sun would raise it to the sky, and the wind would push it to the east to finally fall down in the form of a gently, and mildly rain on the green hills of Israel.
I looked up and saw the silhouetted summits on the evening sky...soon would everything sink in the black light of the night.
Barzilai Benklawer Kellajer
LUCHANDO ENTRE SEFARAD Y ERETZ ISRAEL
Sentado en el parque, en un banco bajo las tupidas cúpulas entretejidas de los árboles pintados en diferentes matices de verdes...los niños corretean jugando a mi alrededor.
Una anciana de pelo canoso empuja un carrito vacío de bebé delante de sí. A mi izquierda una columna de agua trepa desde el estanque del jardín hacia el cielo azul y la brisa le toma algunas livianas gotas frías y acaricia suavemente mi rostro con ellas.
La brisa se desliza sobre el agua del estanque que ahora asemeja un pequeño mar.
De dónde viene esa brisa? Viene del Este? Porqué me ha acariciado con agua del mar?
El marrón verdoso de las palmeras alterna con el color púrpura de las mimosas bajo el azul pálido del cielo y ahora, la luz del sol iluminó todo impregnando el mundo con ardientes pinceladas. Las palmeras han sido iluminadas como candelas coronadas con fuego.
Es agradable estar aquí pero un dolor del pasado pugna por teñirlo todo. La formidable soledad en medio del Universo! En Sefarad está la fragrancia de la hierba. En Sefarad se trilla sobre las eras rodeadas de vívidas voces compartiendo el ritmo del trote del caballo.
Desde allí, desde Eretz Israel, desde el otro lado del Gran Mar, sentado frente a Sefarad oculto tras el horizonte, recuerdo las solitarias rocas, piedras y árboles tras las eras como testigos silenciosos del sufrimiento de un corazón Judío roto...
By Barzilai Kellajer
Poem: Close to the Monegros’ Desert
He stood with his arms crossed on the left bank of the small river. He was covered by unnumbered shadows falling down from the birch trees. He was looking straight ahead over the peaceful stream of water, while being told about the strength of his arms. While hearing those words, the sunlight started to fall on his eyes, and had to close them with a feeling of satisfaction.
Then in his mind’s eye, he appeared on an inhospitable terrain, on a desolate landscape of bare hills not far from where he was, and the scribe of his birth. Bare and stony hills traversed by veins of salt protecting dried up tortured stream beds.
Then the sky starts to get dark, walking among thorns, and isolated bushes dozing in shadows. Immersed in silence and nostalgia as if yearning for something unknown? He opened his eye, and the yellowy horizon crowned with rosy clouds draw a brilliant reflecting picture on it. The sun had been born in the east and was dying in the west.
Here there are no walls of a temple, or even a Temple, but an infinite sea of bared salty slopes and milky steep hillsides. The rain had dug a narrow and twisted gorge of abrupt walls in front of him. Definitely it is not the Jordan, but it is here, however.
The desolate mountains in the Neguev, the dried up streambed of the Nahal-Perazim, the Monegros' desert, and the Alcubierre mountain chain...the Ara wadi, and the Ara river, so far and so close to each other!
He was walking in that desolation at sunset. He was dragging his soul on that stony terrain. He was under the sky indicating the fall of the light and the prelude of darkness. He strained his eyes looking for someone across the overwhelming immensity, but nobody was there either close or far away.
Barzilia Benklawer Kellajer
UNA SUAVE LLUVIA SOBRE LA JUDERÍA DE LA ALDEA
Aunque es mediodía, el sol permanece oculto tras las nubes de gris claro. Me gustan esas nubes. Algunas de ellas estån decoradas con una cenefa de un gris más oscuro mientras otras tienen un corazón brillante. Las más cercanas a mí se apresuran hacia algún sitio mientras otras por encima de ellas permanecen estáticas allí arriba, en el firmamento.
Todas ellas juntas me dan la impresión de como si un triste pintor estuviera mezclando nerviosamente diferentes matices de gris en su paleta de pintor...pero de alguna manera me siento un poco animado observando desde mi pequeño ventanuco las diminutas gotas de lluvia cayendo suavemente sobre las tejas en los tejados de las casas más bajas en frente de mī.
Por encima de los tejados, los verdes campos me están mirando. Ellos están allí, dormitando al pie de las montañas, plácidamente como si estuvieran muertos.
Apoyando mis brazos sobre el viejo alféizar del ventanuco, no puedo evitar sentirme triste y abatido. Quién puede ver lo que yo veo? Quién puede aquí oír los cánticos de la Sinagoga? Recuerdo la mujer cubierta con modestas prendas que siempre se apresuraba cuando pasaba por delante de mi puerta; ella llevaba aceite para iluminar la Menora cuando la Kehila se había reunido.
Pero justamente ahora, mi estrecha callejuela está silenciosa y no puedo escuchar esos cánticos...
Hoy no voy a ser capaz de ver las tres primeras estrellas en el cielo pero debo apresurarme pues está oscureciendo rápidamente.
Mira! Ya está! Mis candelas sobre el alféizar! Y tras cubrirme la cabeza..."Baruj Atá...ner shel Shabat" una y...dos! Hecho!
Y ahora... mira! Mira qué bello el resplandor de mis candelas! Ellas resplandecen delante del mundo, le dan luz y le iluminan!
by Barzilai Kellajer
Hi and welcome to my blog. My name is Barzilai. I will share more of my story later, it's a long story!
First of all I would like you to watch this video and then ask you a question. After watching this video, what have you felt?
Indifference? Curiosity? Nothing at all? Anything special? What have you felt? Are you not sure? Maybe you would like to watch it again before giving me an answer? Ok, take your time. This is important because in this video contains much of what I would like to tell you. In this video there are many of parts of me, of my present... of my past.... and they both overlap each other each struggling for survival.
It is the struggle; the fight of one of those Jewish hearts, that one day was sitting on the ground next to the Kehila's (synagogue) woody door, waiting for the opening time while chatting with my haverim.
Two books where in front of me on the table. They were close to the table lamp that lit both of them at the same time. While outside it was getting darker and darker.
Getting up I went to the window and looked up to the lead-sky. Black branches of a pear tree were scratching while slowly crying.
It was cold outside and it was cold inside. The darker it was getting outside the brighter was the light falling on the two books. The darkness ended up covering the world outside while my light was shining the outside through the window. My light was weak and was incapable of reaching even the sad pear tree.
Those two books are the Tanaj and the New Testament. I read one and the other. There are beautiful passages in both of them. There are passages in both books that I didn't like.
How am I supposed to feel? What should I do? My soul opens the Tanaj and lit the Menorah. At that moment I ask Him: "Tell me about the Ahura Mazda".
With my heart I open the New Testament and I ask Jesus: "Tell me about the Zarathushtra".
I switched off the table lamp and the Menorah's candles lit both books. Someone called me silently from outside and I turned my face to the window. I saw my reflection on the window glass, my brighting Menorah, and my books as if on a black mirror.
by Barzilai Kellajer
Poem Title: Inside an old Philips radio model Voix du monde 335A, Röhre 1805 and from there to Israel.
Inside the old radio there were high buildings but the streets were always empty and dust covered almost everything. There were buildings in different shapes and made of different materials: iron, aluminium, thick glass and thin blown glass, plastic, bakelite, some find cord, lots of chiaroscuro and some starry hell brown fabric.
And I liked having a walk through those empty streets without shop windows or traffic. I liked the yellowy only one small light hidden sometimes inside a metalic skeleton in front of the glass in one of the corners. Sometimes I operated the nonexistent cable railway at the city's outskirt. But there was usually lots of things to hear in that town: music, news, interviews, stories and history, poetry and prose, comedies and tragedies always accompanied by the sprinklings of my mother's hissing iron in the long and peaceful evenings.
And I was fiddling with the dial trying to tune the radio to a station looking for my destiny, for my direction with the needle turning in a circular array arround the dial pointing towards the nothing that was surrounding me in my future, waiting for me without my knowing.
But now I am looking at the stones in these walls, fifty years minus seven and so far from the roman walls in my hometown. The Romans were able to make many beautiful things and many horrible things at the same time like the world today is doing.
I always kept looking at the walls in my room and I could see how the yellowy small light illuminated them in a dimly dreamily way making the dry hollows stand out, like the dry valleys in the Neguev.