Saturday, March 10, 2012

Real Life

Shabbos is the one day each week I get to read newspapers.  In Baltimore I was a newspaper junkie, loving to read the NY Times every day, but here newspaper delivery is really expensive, so I wait for Shabbos, buy a Jerusalem Post and Haaretz and catch up.

Today I was reading some letters to the editor in the Jerusalem Post reacting to an article about the difficult and sad situation in Beit Shemesh which you have all read about.  One of the letters really got to me.  The writer mentioned that when one makes aliyah, one can try to "recreate" one's hometown/home country life in Israel, or one can learn about Israeli life and adjust one's lifestyle to match what Israel is like.

I think that thinking "how am I going to have this American life in Israel" might be what makes some poeple hesitant about aliyah.  It certainly made me hesitant.  When we first started visitng on a regular basis after my daughters arrived, I'd think, "How do people live here?  It's dusty and everything is dirty, and the stores are tiny and it's like small time America of 30 years ago.  I could NEVER live here!"

And then we kept visiting and visiting, and slowly I realized something - it's not about living an American life in Isarel, it's about living an Israeli life.  If you are going to recreate America in Israel, why come here?  You have to be open to that, which I became slowly, over time.  The last few visits we had, I left feeling sad - not only for leaving my kids but because I stopped thinking about what Israel WASN'T and starting loving what it was.

What it is is, and I've said this before - home.  It's home in a way no place else could ever be.   I grew up in Baltimore and love Baltimore and love  my friends and family there.  But living here just feels all kinds of right. 

In a way I feel like my life just started - my real life.

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