These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Diversifying the Meaning of Home

Posted on February 28, 2017 by Carrie Watkins

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A Seven Word Story: I am diversifying the meaning of home.

I feel at home
In this homesickness, finding
Comfort in longing

I travel onwards
Metaphor and love guiding
Water after rain

I have diversified the meaning of home

In the taste of kedem grape juice on shabbat
In the moment a friend told me the smell of the earth after rain is called PETRICHOR
When I crawl into my sleeping back, alone, at the end of each long summer day

A word that hit me like a poem
Reverberating and bouncing off my ribs, filling my lungs
Vibrating like a hummingbird’s wings

Home is my body when I reach the top of a mountain.


The man who shouts “welcome Israel” as we land
The smell of bourekas
The simple hebrew that rolls off my tongue
The sheirut driver who answers in a sweet, old israeli man english
The bamba in the vending machine
The trilingual signs – hebrew, arabic, english
The impatient italian diplomat’s father as we wait for the shirut to fill
The bunch of long deflated balloons, hanging in a tired welcome from the high rafters above
The industrial fans as i step out for air that turn my hair to glorious chaos and cool my body
The full sheirut! The rumbling engine
The diesel fumes. The soft, reassuring metronome of the turn signal
The excitement, the nerves, the anticipation, and the absence of doubt that’s only surprising upon reflection.
The burgeoning feeling of home

Sometimes, when I’m really happy, people tell me to calm down

I am diversifying the meaning of home

The rain answers our
Prayers, cleanses, and causes
Wet, disgruntled cats

Dash out across
The sand, running to the sea
Joining the sunset

Thoughts worth remembering always come back

Words I have heard more times at Pardes than any other time in my life: heretical, paradigmatic, ex post facto, antinomian

Adam, from adamah, earth, from dam, blood. Adam. Why are we called adam and not the animals? Are they not more dirt and blood than we? Because we will forget where we come from unless reminded by our name.

Home is my body when I reach the top of a mountain.

Home is the first letter of my name.

Tsim tsum- the constriction of the infinite that allowed for the creation of an other. Why would God do that? What is the only thing Hashem was missing in the infiniteness? Otherness. What is the only thing otherness can afford that infiniteness doesn’t? Love. Even self love. The idea that I can love myself or not love myself, there’s a relationship, an otherness. So the world was created for love. That’s the only thing I can know. And it’s the only thing we can’t explain.

A quick gaze that held
In focused softness and a
Deep recognition

That happy, nervous
Love feeling like my heart wrapped
Up in a sweater


The small circles on the linoleum floors, presumably remnants of the last generation of chairs. The semi circle remnants of the folks who couldn’t keep all four legs on the ground.

The first home, Eden, we were kicked out because God asked ayeka and we didn’t answer hineini

I am diversifying the meaning of home

Carrie Watkins