I realize that this is going to make many eyes roll, and I don’t doubt that people will try to make the apolitical, political.
As my 4th aliyah anniversary approaches, my gift to myself is that I’m not going to care about any of the aforementioned facts.
Three years ago, after having been in Israel for just under a year, I wrote the following on a large napkin at Cafe Tamar in Tel Aviv while waiting for a friend.
For some people, joy and gratitude is a gift bestowed upon them from time to time. Â For me, it has become a state of being. Â In fact, on most days, I explode with joy, gratitude, and love because of where I live. Â It’s almost to an embarrassing extent, but that’s okay, because I’m not sure if anyone really notices. Â Nothing gives me a high like my people and our unfathomably profound ‘place’. Â For the first time in my life, I feel truly a part of something just. Something indispensable. Something grounded. Something rooted in love and faith and something sustained by love, faith, determination. Â Corny, maybe – but it’s the closest to truth that I’ve ever known. Â I don’t forget about the flaws and shortcomings of Home, and I live and breathe to deal with them rather than to run from them. Â This â€˜innate longing for Zion’ that they say is within all Jews, it didn’t stop when I finally got here. It intensifies everyday. Â The more I know it, the more I need it, the more I love it.
I wish that I could find a way to tell the world what it’s like. Lots of people around me know and I’m pretty good at seeking out these fellow freaks. Â Thank G-d I made it here, Thank G-d I have no desire to leave, Thank G-d for this love of home that to a large extent, sustains me.
I can babble about this for hours, but I can’t find a way to articulate even a fraction of this to so many of my close friends and family. Â Many, I’m sure, see me as an oddity – an escape artist, at best. It’s exasperating sometimes. I’m exploding with love and I have no words to explain why this place is such a rational miracle– and why it makes sense– and why it all matters so much.
I’ll never replace the people and places that were my life for 20 years. But my life’s work can’t happen anywhere else. Â One day, I’ll find the words.
Four years later, I’m allowing myself to say this to anyone and everyone, crazy as it sounds to some. Â Four years later, I’m still running on the same fumes, and I’m still without the necessary words.