Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finally. Inspiration. Thanks, Baila.

Yom chamishi, 13 Cheshvan 5771.

This recent dry-spell was brought to you courtesy of technical problems, which took a few weeks to work out.  Then...  I just sort of got used to not writing.  After a while, I was sort of like a bottle of  ink someone left open on a shelf for too long:  a little dry staining on the sides of the glass, flaking at the edges a bit, but certainly not any good for writing.

So then I read my friend Baila's post.  She has been in Israel for three years now, and is making a trip back to America.  She is full of hopeful anticipation -- and the wisdom time gives us.

Baila and I made aliyah at about the same time; and the three-year anniversary is very significant to Nefesh B'Nefesh olim.  At three years, any loan they give you at the time of aliyah automatically becomes a grant.  It is a physical reminder of the law of averages:  Immigrants who stay three years have a highly-increased likelihood of "making it" here than those who leave earlier.

Baila's article inspired me, because while we are good friends, we have different views on the "homeness" of our two countries.  She has a big enough heart to call both countries home, I think.  I never felt at home in my life until I moved to Israel.  (Well -- that's not quite true.  I felt halfway home when I joined the Jewish nation...)

That is not to say that I don't miss people.  I miss the friends I shopped with and davened with and hung out with for 16 years in Baltimore.  But the US Army taught me the art of making friends and leaving them and still being close, even with oceans between us.  And my friendships and family relationships have even deepened, in some cases, thanks to modern social media, that allow great and frequent conversations with some people I never had the opportunity to know this well in person.

I don't miss stuff.  True -- Israel lacks Dunkin' Donuts, Target, authentic Slurpees, and a host of other products that my American friends and my kids remind me of periodically.

But I just can't get wistful about those things -- especially when Israel has the Temani restaurant on Emek Refaim, shakshuka and chumus, red rooftops on creamy pinkish-white houses of Jerusalem stone -- and the Kotel is available for a drop-by-when-you-want-to visit.


The point is, every country has her own unique gifts.  But for me, Home is where my people have their historic roots buried the deepest.  Theoretically, if our government ever starts worrying more about what G-d thinks than about what other countries who should be minding their own business think, our accomplishments as the Jewish People can be greater here than anywhere.  "Mom and Dad" are just down the road, buried at Hevron.  And the heart of everything I ever hope to be beats right here.
Glossary:
Aliyah: Jewish immigration to Israel
Nefesh B'Nefesh: agency responsible for increasing aliyah from Anglo countries since the 2001 Sbarro Restaurant bombing which inspired its creation
Olim: Jewish immigrants to Israel
Davened: prayed
Temani: Yemenite
Shakshuka: Middle Eastern egg and tomato dish
Chumus: chickpea paste -- a staple in Israel
Kotel: Western Wall, not the holiest site to the Jewish people, but as close as the world will let us get to it these days
"Mom and Dad": Sarah and Avraham, the patriarchs of the Jewish people -- the very first converts
Hevron: Hebron, one of the four holiest cities in Israel, and site of the Cave of the Patriarchs

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