Monday, July 21, 2014


SPOILER ALERT: I'm not saying anything here that you haven't read in a million other blogs and posts.  But writing it out helps me deal with it. So this one is really for me.

I knew when we made aliyah that we would be living in a country where everything revolves around the army.

After all, everyone serves (well, almost everyone, but that's a topic for another writer, not me) in some capacity.  Every single man and woman I see here in Modiin has served in the army, and every single boy and girl I see will do the same.

In our everyday life - post office, mall, grocery - we see soldiers with their rifles slung across their backs doing everyday things. They are handsome/beautiful, strong, and my heart melts because they are our Jewish boys and girls.  Our children.  Babies.  Going off to defend our country, to be trained to kill if need be, but also to be full of mercy and caring.  Show me a picture of a soldier putting on tefillin and I weep. It is possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

And then they get sent off to battle sites.  And then they die. 

I see the faces of their parents and siblings and grandparents at the funerals of these young heroes and I can't even find a word for what it makes me feel.

We in Modiin have only experienced three sirens so far, and I thought I handled them well.  We even took a "selfie" in the safe room.  We heard the boom overhead, and knew that a rocket had been intercepted by our Iron Dome.

That was last week when it was just a rocket war.  Now it's a ground war.  And the battle site is about a 1.5 hour drive from my house.  Now I literally jump at strange sounds, and think every whine of a truck coming down the street is a siren.  I can't imagine feeling at ease ever again.

In America, "war" was a foreign idea to me - it was always somewhere else, and being fought by soldiers whom I admired but had no connection with.   Only those who enlisted voluntarily would fight, and it was rare that that was someone from my circle of acquaintances and family.

Here it's all not just people you know and see - it's your family.  Every face of a soldier killed in action could be the face of my child or grandchild.  You can't help but feel it.  It is in the family and it is raw, but raw is OK.  Raw is real.  It is not a game, it is not over there, it is right here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Come Home

The past almost three weeks has been something I never could have imagined.  Living here, seeing the pain on the face of every single person you come across in your daily life, the agony grew and grew.

And now, they are buried. Three boys gone, three families devastated, an entire country in mourning.

All we wanted was for them to come home.
There is apparently a phrase "Aliyah snob."  Meaning someone who has made aliyah and then throws it around among non-Olim, acting all superior about how they've "done it" and "you should too."

Well, you can call me what you like but here is my lesson from the past 19 days:  Please, please - come home.

Yes, I only made aliyah because my kids did.  Yes, we came when we, unfortunately, no longer had aging parents to take care of.  Yes, yes, yes.

But do you know what?  

We only realize now that the whole time we were living in Baltimore we could have been living a real life here.  Once we became Israelis, once we begain to live here and got our Israeli IDs and became a part of our homeland in the real sense, we realized that THIS was the life we had always been looking for.  It was here all along and we found every reason in the world not to come here.

So, let me just say this - THIS is the life you are looking for.  It is not "full of meaning" - it IS meaning.  I'm sure I'm not saying this very well, but our lives are so different now - our souls are so different - that I almost feel that if I don't share this I'm not fulfilling some task that I need to do.

So please. Please come home. Come live where you are meant to live, in the way you are meant to live, in the place Hashem gave us to live.