Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Israel. And Why It Feels Right

I wish I had a really good answer to this, something that everyone could understand, like 2+2 =4 (ok, not everyone gets that, but most people do-- and it's something that's clear-cut).

I wish I could put into words the pride that I feel in knowing what Israel has done over the relatively few years that she has been a recognized state.
I wish I could explain amazing it feels to walk down the streets and feel a sense of family and community, and know that the person next to me might run me over as he's trying to get to the bus, but he'll also give me a hand to help me get up, ask if I'm okay.
I wish I could express my feelings of how right it feels there. And...it's not just having the holy sites there, it's the day-to-day life. It's the resilience of people there.
Not that it's perfect-- by any means. I think it's rediculous that there are people who will throw stones at you because you're not dressed to their standards.
It really bothers me that I can't follow everything.
I hate that there's always a fear of someone walking onto a bus or into a cafe and blowing themselves up, or driving a car into a group of people. But on the flip side of that, there isn't a sense of doom and that danger is everywhere is you can't leave your house without fear, which is pretty impressive.

At the beginning of the year I was talking with some of my co-workers about Israel, and their reactions were, "Isn't it dangerous?" So that got me thinking-- maybe it is dangerous, maybe I shouldn't make aliyah. It's not exactly known for being not a war zone there. I started thinking about Merkaz HaRav. I wasn't at Merkaz HaRav-- I was plenty away, and the other two recent incidents I wasn't even in the country for! I was thinking about it, though, and I talked to someone and he pointed out, "You're used to it." Which is kind of a scary thought-- "What do you mean, you can get used to the fact that there ARE people who DO want you dead, and there is the potential that when you go out, there might be a pigua. And you might be somewhere in the vicinity?!?!?!?!"

It's funny...I sort of feel like an Israeli, but not quite. On one hand, I get "Are you from there?" and that I seem Israeli, but I don't feel it. I'm not Israeli yet, but...somehow standing with my hand over my heart during the Pledge of Allegiance in my office or in a classroom feels...weird. But it's ok to stand in or front of the chet and sing Hatikva at 9 o'clock at night in the middle of a courtyard. It's weird. But I'm also proud of being an American. I say I'm an American. But it feels weird to be pledging allegiance to the US of A.

That being said, I'm still trying to figure out if I'll be able to make aliyah in July. It's completely dependent on my financial situation.
If I stay here until after August, I can make a lot of money working in the DOE over the summer-- getting my regular salary, in addition to what I'd be making for the work I do over the summer. Or take a per-diem job-- something. But then I don't want to wait until January to make aliyah...and the Ulpan that I want to go to starts in July and January. I'd like to go a little bit early and get settled, but I have to see how it works out. I also want to go on an NBN flight, not being the only olah on the plane. We'll see. July is a long way off.