Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I Can't Just Keep Quiet

So much is going on in Israel these days - so much violence, so many human beings injured in so many ways.

So much is going on around the world these days, so much that is so bad for the Jewish people.

I am not a Jewish leader, just a person who, for family reasons, found it a good time to make aliyah. But having made aliyah, I can't just sit back and enjoy my new life - I feel this deep desire to find a way to convince other Jews to do the same.

No, this is not "aliyah snobbery," a term I find extremely distasteful, and which to me reeks of "I don't want to hear what you have to say because you make me feel guilty."

This is coming from my deep, abiding love for my fellow Jews, something my parents taught me by example. I now know what this life is like. If you haven't lived here (as opposed to a year or two in seminary/yeshiva), you don't get it.  And I WANT you to get it.

Living here is authentic, and I can't find a better word.  For religious and non-religious alike, it is the place we are supposed to be. I can't tell you how many non-religious Jews, upon hearing that we made aliyah, have said, "Of course, you came home!  Why don't other Jews do that?  What's wrong with them?  How can they live as Jews anywhere else?"

So here is my plea - just think about it.  Yes, you will have to give up some things which you've gotten used to.  But this is what you get in return - the fullness of heart every time you look at the landscape, the deep satisfaction that you, yes little old you, are actually contributing to the future of our land, and that you have done what God told us to do - live in the land He gave us.

To parents of adult children who want to make aliyah, I ask you to encourage your children. Yes, it will be hard, and yes it's far away, but how can you deny them the chance to be part of this miracle?  I know that many people make their children feel guilty for wanting to make aliyah.  But what better sign is there that you've raised your children well than that they want to contribute to the future of the Jewish people in the Jewish land?

My husband and I recently entered into a long-standing debate about whether or not the State of Israel is the "beginning sign of the Redemption."  My husband has one opinion, I have another, and of course it is an ongoing discussion among religious and non-religious thinkers.

Personally, I have no doubt in my heart of hearts that the establishment of Medinat Yisrael is some kind of milestone for us as a people. This successful, living, growing country may have its problems, but the amount of knowledge that is generated in this tiny land mass, both secular and religious, is staggering.  The amount of medical research alone has probably saved thousands if not tens of thousands of lives worldwide.

As I sit in my modern apartment in my modern city, surrounded by Jews from all over the world who have come home, as I walk in the mall and hear about 15 different languages, as I see the Facebook posts from hundreds of new olim asking for advice, I feel so sure that the act of coming home to our land is deeply, innately rooted in each of us.

That's why I can't keep quiet.  I can't just live my new life and not let you know that it is a life like no other, in a place like no other, and with a people like no other.