From: LayaAt: www.jewlicious.com
Post subject: Some of the reasons I love living in Israel
Why did I come to Israel? I get asked this a lot. By Israelis who live here with me, and Americans who don't. Both, I suspect hoping for a glimmer of inspiration in my answer. Why would I leave everything I had going for me in The Land of Plenty and move to a perceived war zone?
Initially I came at the height of the intifada, with a newfound Zionism, grand ideas and dreamer's visions. I came to be with my people in their time of sorrow, with lofty ambitions of heroism. Since that time, all I can say is I've been humbled and I've grown-up.
But why do I stay?
It's as simple as this - because Love makes you do crazy things.
Sometimes I walk down the streets of Jerusalem singing love songs to it (even though we aint got money, I'm so in love with you honey?). Being in Love with Israel is like being in Love with a person; it defies all reason and logic. At some point the initial Zionistic honeymoon ends, times get tough and you go broke. Sometimes you might turn cynical and forget what you came here for. In terrifying, fleeting moments I have even considered going back to the land of hard wood floors, bank statements in English, and drip coffee.
But all the things I miss about America are superficial. Israel is real in a way America can never stack up to. Though I sometimes feel like "Laya Through the Looking Glass," this crazy foreign country has become my home.
Zionism, I've discovered, is a hopelessly romantic pursuit. This strange little tribe, after wandering around the world for two millennia, inexplicably surviving and having never forgotten about the land they once knew, finally gets to come home. They drain malarial swamps, make the desert bloom, and stand tall and tragically outnumbered in the face of those who consistently try to destroy them.
And simply by the merit of being born a 20th century Jew, I am somehow part of this narrative, this greatest love affair in History, between a People, their Land and their God.
So we return. And the whole nature of who we are as a people starts to change. We rediscover our strength, and realize that Exile is as over as we want it to be.
Everything is more intense here, the highs keep you floating for days, and the lows are mercilessly devastating, and they often happen simultaneously, but it's Real. It?s a study in contradictions. It's life with the volume turned back up, where every taste and smell adds to the vibrancy of existence.
I love living in Israel because it pushes me to know, at all times, who I am, what I believe and where I stand before God. It pushes me to be true.
Living here isn't easy, but nothing great ever is. It is the hard that makes it great. That makes us strong. I've grown to love this country precisely because it's so imperfect. Because it is still growing up and finding itself. The choices are either run away because its not yet what you want it to be, or stay and have a voice in what it will become.
North Americans in particular seem to want Israel handed to them on a silver platter, but the whole point is that it is not. The point is that you have to fight for it.
Sometimes I read the news about Israel, and it seems like the only thing that the whole world can agree on is that they hate the Jews. That they want to hate us so badly, in fact, that they will believe any propaganda telling them that we are evil wizards and perpetrators of the biggest social injustices the world has ever seen. While actual genocides still happen and dictators continue to rule elsewhere, the world's eyes, cameras and sanctions are still upon us.
But maybe that's how it is supposed to be playing out. Maybe this is our great chance to prove to the universe how badly the Jews want to be home and how precious this place is to us.
We will continue returning. And the desert will continue to bloom.
There was Black Panther song in the late sixties "The revolution will not be televised, the revolution will be live." You know what, the world being what it is, the revolution may be televised after all, but I don?t want to watch it on TV. I want to be a part of it.
From Solomon WeiskopAt www.opensourcejudaism.com
Post subject: America b'Aliyah
I believe that the creative genius of the Jewish people can be most fully developed and expressed only by realizing our millennia-old dream of ending our exile and returning to Zion.
If Judaism has within itself the potential for audacious new ideas to offer the contemporary world, ideas that genuinely flow from the Jewish soul and spirit (and I believe it does), then let these ideas be authentically developed and expressed within the fullness of a Jewish society and culture and language. Let this very society and culture and language be our canvas! Let our deep roots seek and find sustenance in our native soil. Let our new thoughts take form in our old language, Hebrew, and in turn, let these new thoughts form our old language anew. Let us take our whole life (family, social, political, religious, professional etc) into our hands, like clay, and make from it something whole and beautiful and new and Jewish. Only in Eretz Yisrael is this possible.
We, the Jews of North America, should set forth on a new Exodus. Our lives here in North America are sweet and easy. No external oppression, no external slavery, no external Pharoah confronts us or compels us. Yet, nonetheless, we must demand "Let My People Go!", demand it of ourselves! We must each look deep inside. We must each confront and reject the Pharoah within. We have been in Exile far too long. It is time for us to return, to our home, to ourselves.
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