Category Archives: Personal

Israel

I found a draft of a blog post I was beginning to write a couple of years ago, a few months after moving to Israel officially:

“Since coming to Israel, I’ve received some mixed criticism and confusion from my non-Jewish friends who don’t quite understand why I would come to such a dangerous and so very non-American country and decide to live here. As Oscar Wilde says, ‘The truth is rarely pure and never simple,’ and I’d like to use that quote as a disclaimer to my upcoming explanation which won’t be totally pulled together or comprehensive.

As I was saying before, I grew up with a deep love of Israel. Many of my friends, teachers, and community members were Israeli, I sang Israeli folk songs with classmates, and the Israeli flag hung in our auditorium. It might sound odd for a Silicon Valley upbringing, but that was normal for me. That was life.

I remember the first time I went to Israel – it was my 8th grade class trip, with five of my classmates (my school was very small – my 8th grade graduating class of 2007 consisted of eight people including myself). Certain memories are hazy, but mainly I remember the feeling that I was in the right place. I remember thinking that even the sun seemed to shine differently in the magical land of Israel. I remember weeping when I left (to be honest, it was less civilized than that and involved some messy bawling at the airport).

I remember that the Israeli security woman at the airport told me, in response to my tears (I was unabashedly crying the entire way through the airport, and even when boarding the plane), ‘You will come back.’ I don’t remember her face, her name, or any significant details about her, but she said that to me and to me alone, and it stuck.

So, here I am, almost a full eight years later, and upon first re-entering this country, I knew that I could never leave it. Not only did I fall in love with Eretz Yisrael all over again, like it was some long-lost love affair, but I met and fell in love with my soon-to-be husband, which I view to be a kind of confirmation from God that this was, indeed, where I was supposed to be.”

I now turn to you, the reader: pray for my husband and I, that we might return to our home very quickly, and not simply in the figurative way our people have yearned for home for centuries. We are willing, ready, but not quite able to make this happen yet. A few things must happen first, but if it weren’t for certain constraints, we’d be there tomorrow. Pray for us: pray that we will see our home again soon, and that we will merit to live there once again, and forever.

Expectations

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Can we talk for a moment about unrealistic expectations?

Whenever I do a simple job search, I find a laundry list of expectations: the degrees and certifications you should have, the years of experience you need to have, the very specific talents and abilities you absolutely must have.

Many of the job postings I read are the size of a novel, and for entry level positions! Who are they looking to hire — God? It certainly seems like it.

Yes, my complaints can certainly be spun as the quibbling of a ne’er-do-well, or the incessant whining of an unemployed “millennial” who is now crying and imploring the government for assistance. But I am neither of those types. I can’t accurately identify myself as a “type.” I’m not sure anyone should.

While I am definitely not saying that I am qualified to be a doctor, or a software engineer, or even a social media manager, I am genuinely wondering is whether we, as a society, have overemphasized the so-called requirements for being even remotely considered, and forgotten that many people can, in fact, be trained and taught (and oftentimes are) to learn on the job. What happened to people training as an apprentice or assistant with no experience whatsoever?

Jobs like those do exist. But they are few and far between. And we are increasingly forced to have to do curriculum vitae acrobatics and empty our wallets to gain more certifications, degrees, and licenses.

Don’t even get me started on the push for higher education and the racket that college has become. I say this, naturally, having already spent two years in the college system, and I return in the fall of 2017 to finish my half empty degree. But more on that later.

What are your thoughts?

Modernity

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What kind of world do we live in? Where sentiment is an emotion and a love letter is a text. When morals are subjective and change according to how one feels. Where likes and dislikes are black and white and we swipe right to find not a soulmate, but a one night stand. When sex becomes less taboo than kissing, and murdering a child in the womb is a woman’s choice. Where one fears to speak the truth or stand up for justice and readily embraces lies. When positive thought is exchanged for philosophy and exercise is the new Enlightenment. Where bloodshed and killing are only evil with select groups of people. When quiet is exchanged for music and booze and soul-searching is traded for soul-selling. Where the obscene is commonplace but anything sacred is ridiculed. When instant gratification is sought and relationships tossed away without further thought.

What world is this that we live in?

 

Exile

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“So do Jews hate Jesus?” a coworker asked me the other week. The question itself wasn’t particularly disturbing; I knew it was asked out of genuine curiosity and naivety. But the truly unsettling part was the remembrance that I was in exile. A stranger in a strange land.

I had gone from living in Israel – the Holy Land – the Promised Land – to living in מצרים, Egypt, the land of slavery. Yet, rather like the initial purpose of the descent of Joseph’s family to Egypt in search of food and bounty, I had come here willingly seeking much of the same. In my case, it was also for the sake of family.

It is a self-imposed exile. And with it comes the necessary evils that accompany all migrations, though my case is a strange one, for I find myself in my old “homeland,” the land that I was born and raised in.

I am reminded of a book I read some years ago called Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut. The protagonist describes feeling torn between two nations and somehow, simultaneously, nation-less. I, too, feel torn between the two countries of my heart – America and Israel. It’s hard to say whether I will ever truly feel comfortable in one place over the other. In Israel, I lack family. In America, I lack home. All these reflections have me recalling some thoughts I had while living in Israel: How could any Jew voluntarily live in exile, when Israel, the land of our ancestors, exists in the present?

It seems that, once again, God has given me the opportunity to answer my own – and perhaps others’ – question. It is self-imposed exile, yes – a seemingly ludicrous and nonsensical choice. But like Joseph’s family discovered, there is a reality that must be grasped, a truth which lies in a sometimes fickle reason: we have no other choice but to pursue greener pastures.