At the soul level we are all tribal people. As a species, we have a deep need to celebrate our joys and our sorrows in a community of kindred spirit. I am born into the tribe of Israel, and I am the son of Holocaust survivors, a history which has left a profound psychic imprint. I have always identified with the victimized, tortured and disenfranchised.
When I travel the world I often visit the old Jewish quarter’s, cemeteries, and synagogues because it always intensifies my tribal roots (at times it can get a bit heavy). I just returned from a visit to Spain and Morocco; in Toledo, Spain, one of the greatest centers of Jewish learning in the medieval world, It was also the center of the Inquisition. Spain’s Jews were expelled in 1492, many converted to Christianity but were accused of secretly maintaining ties to their ancestral faith and tortured. There is a museum in Toledo that houses those brutal instruments and of course my history is such that I visited it and left feeling sick to my stomach.
I went to Morocco to visit my granddaughter who has been studying and working there; visited the Jewish quarters in Fez, Rabat and Marrakech (also Mecca’s of Jewish scholarship in the Middle Ages). That was a far less heavy experience because in Morocco, I also participated in my other tribal tradition…I am also a member of the Clown tribe. The Clown/Fool/Jester has been an indispensable presence in every society, and since the beginning of time, has been allowed to break the rules, commit outrageous excesses, violate social norms, do things that lighten the mood reduce stress, anxiety, and lift the spirit..
My clown self gets me out of my head where my memories and preconceptions live, and into my heart, which is where my dreams and imagination live. When I put on my clown nose I connect with people from my most loving heart space. My granddaughter (also a member of the Clown tribe) made arrangements for us to clown in the pediatric oncology unit of the Hospital d’Enfants in Rabat.. We walked into the rooms where kids were getting chemotherapy infusions, and spoke the universal language of the heart, which is love. We touched, kissed, hugged, took pictures with entire families, the staff, the Medical Director, and made Facebook friends. It was such an incredible exchange of loving, healing energy and thinking about it still makes me glow.
Now, if you ask me what tribe I belong to say I am born into the Tribe of Israel, and live with the Tribe of Clowns. Find a tribe that makes your heart sing and let the love lift your soul.