Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Israel's Allure....

There's something very 'Billy Joel' about this Land.  I have a feeling we all know why She goes to extremes and like the lyricist sings, there seem to be no in-betweens.  I told someone earlier that Israel can be the most amazing place on the planet or make me wanna kill myself; the timing is the only thing that separates the two!  Enigmatic, seductive, full of profundity, simplicity, and sometimes Itself, Israel is in so many ways, a place unto its own.

I said once before that I don't know how a physical space can be so utterly magnetic.  Living here is sometimes akin to being a religious voyeur or a masochist
.  There's always a fight or a struggle, always something to keep us entertained and give us reason to grab our chests.  We're always in the news, whether its because of another political tragedy, technological advancement, or latest holy battle.  New York may think It's the city that never sleeps, but this li'l country gives NYC some stiff competition for that title.

A few people have told me they think I'm sad, upset about
being here.  I like to think I'm insightful, but no, I'm not sad.  If there are those who wear their hearts on their sleeve, I tend to wear mine as a full outfit; anyone who knows me well knows that's my standard modus operandi.  So when I share my thoughts and feelings, even admit that I cry like a big 'ol baby, it doesn't always indicate sadness. 

Before we moved, many asked me why.  Why now, why there, why, given how established you are, the friends and family you'll leave behind, yadda
, yadda, yadda.  I was, frankly, embarrassed that I could never seem to articulate THE reason for our move.  I wondered, "Am I faking it?  Do I not *have* a real reason?  Am I being pretentious?  Do I even know why we're leaving?  Should we just be committed, medicated, and call it a day?" And particularly for someone as ever-so-slightly verbose as I (Oh, I can hear the laughter from here...), not being able to tell someone THE REASON was a little scary.

In discussing this with one of my trusted and beloved co-workers, for whom moving to Israel is probably as likely as say, moving to Timbuktu, I learned why I was leaving. She listened as I spoke dreamily and said, "Its because you want to live an authentic [Jewish] life."  And there it was.  Boom! No fuss, no muss, no need for a thesaurus
(I wasn't planning on making that rhyme, but I like the Dr. Seuss flow).  I'm going to live in Israel so I can live my life as an authentic Jewish woman, mother, and wife.  Ta-da!  The reason was born.

There have been moments since we landed at Ben Gurion
that I have loved beyond words, as well as those I loathe to give voice to.  But let me clear, THIS is where I belong, where my family belongs, where my soul and heart belong.  When you're at peace within yourself, everything, and I do mean everything, falls into place.  They may not fall where you thought they would, or land in the spot you prepared, but when your kishkies ('guts') are at peace, so is the rest of you and all you're a part of.  Living in Israel, as an old time Olah (someone who made Aliyah) told me all of 5 days after our arrival, is a privilege.  Seems funny to think about living in a place where you can find Jews who hate other Jews and Arabs who insist we stole their land in this way.  But to be a part of our authentic history, to be able to go on a tour of biblical sights that make the Torah come alive, to be in a Land where you're wished a Happy New Year on soda bottles, where the words "holiday season" do not mean "we're trying to be PC but you know we're talking about Christmas," IS a privilege.  There's no panacea here or in the States or Timbuktu (I should tell my friend in case she somehow does decide to head there).  But Israel is as close as I can get to G-D and with that, I offer a prayer, a very Rachel-esque prayer.

Dearest G-D in the heavens, my heart, my soul and my home....

Please watch over all Your people, no matter where they live, the name they give You, the color of their skin, their past, their present, or their future.  Please help us keep our intentions pure as we interact with the world You've allowed us to be a part of, so that we may know You in the most blessed of senses.  Please watch over our children and our spouses and help each of us be the best 'us' we can be for all of them.  Please allow us to flourish and not flounder, to seek You and find You even when we don't know how much we need You.  Please help us unite for causes
that are good and not destroy ourselves from within.  Please encourage us to use the brains You've given us so we may think for ourselves but also know when we simply can't do it alone.  On this Rosh Hashanah, please help us get over ourselves so we can do what is right in Your eyes and not everyone else's.  Please help us be a Light unto to the nations- including our own.  Please help us be the 'stand up' people we have the potential to be and let all egos, power trips, hatred, and sheer stupidity be alleviated from this world.  Thank You for all that You are and all that You continue to do for us, including giving us the ability to create tangible peace and true respect.  Dear G-D, thank You for being in my life and holding the lantern by my side particularly when it feels a bit heavy.  Thank You for being You and encouraging me to do the same."

May we all have a Shanah
 Tova (a Good Year) in all the ways we hope and pray it to be.  Chag Sameach L'Kulam (Happy Holiday to all)!

1 comment:

  1. Our party in ulpan today had me choked up and this made the waterworks break free. Rachel, you somehow know exactly how to convey my feelings. I am so glad we did this together! Shana Tova to your whole family!