Ein Li Eretz Acheret (I have no other land/country)

It’s the eve of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) as I write this. My Facebook timeline is filling up with blue and white, with photos of memorial candles, and pictures of Israeli soldiers. There is also video footage from various wars Israel has fought, and from the declaration of the State in 1948.

Every year, since I left Israel in October of 1998, I find it so incredibly hard to be out of Israel on these two days. Nowhere can recreate the feeling of being in Israel on Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Independence Day). No matter how moving a ceremony you participate in, it cannot compare with the ceremony at the Kotel, or on Har Herzl. No matter how fun the local celebrations are for Yom Ha’Atzmaut, it cannot compare with the fireworks, the flyovers, the barbecues that clog up the medians, and the hiking throughout Israel. If I ever question my Zionism, my commitment to the Jewish State, these are the 2 days that have reminded me constantly, for 16 years, that Israel is still my homeland, and that I will go back one day.

This year, it’s no easier, except for the fact that G-d Willing, this is my last time being out of Israel for these two days. If everything goes as planned, next year we will be in Israel for Yom HaZikaron & Yom Ha’Atzmaut. My children will experience the sirens of Yom HaZikaron for the first time in real life (as opposed to on a screen). They will hopefully be incredibly proud to take part in Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebrations, as new Israelis, maybe even Hebrew speaking Israelis by then. I look forward to barbecuing with new neighbors, watching fireworks, going out on the town, and watching the Israeli airforce fly over the country.

As our time draws closer, people keep asking if I’m excited. I answer no. They ask if I’m nervous, I answer no to that also. They ask how I do feel, and I can’t answer truthfully. My emotions are mixed. On the one hand, I am going home, back to the land that truly allows the Jewish people to live Jewish lives. The calendar is based on Jewish holidays. The week is based around Saturday being the Sabbath. On the other hand, I’m leaving the placed I’ve called home for the past 13 years, the friends I’ve made, the house I love (and yes it’s on the market, if you know anyone looking for a house in a fabulous neighborhood in Boca, put them in touch with me!), the conveniences that make the US such a great place to live. I’m moving to a country where no one will argue that life is easy. I’m moving to a city where I know very few people. I’m moving from a house to an apartment, leaving a pool & a backyard, my fruit trees, my two car garage. I’m leaving many comforts, and an easy way of life. So how can I be excited? That’s a lot to leave behind.

So why am I not nervous? Should I be nervous? After all, starting again gets harder, the older you get, and this time, unlike the other 3 times I’ve moved to a different country, I’m doing it with 3 kids and a dog in tow. I’m not nervous, because in my heart of hearts I know, and Keith knows, that we are doing what is best for our children. There is no better place to raise Jewish children than in Israel. This is not about education, contrary to what some people have said to me. We are not moving to Israel because of the cost of tuition for Day School in the US. If that was the case, we’d have moved years ago! But to have my kids grow up Israeli, with that special brand of independence, and, dare I say, arrogance that is unique to Israelis, that is a gift that I can give to them. It is a gift that they are currently not excited to receive, but G-d Willing, in time, they will thank us for it.

For now I leave you with the song that for me, and so many others, epitomizes how Israel makes me feel:







1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Going home, back to the place where I belong | Vanessa Brooks CEO Blog

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