Everyone said Israel would feel different. That’s what everyone kept telling me when I decided to venture out there in 2006. But when I got off cranky and in pain from the long flight, I didn’t feel anything except crankiness and pain. They told me to go stand by a wall and that would help me FEEL it. I didn’t even know what kind of wall they were talking about. They all looked the same to me.
But it’s true. Once the jet lag stopped having its way with me and the water had tragically finished evisorating me and my need to say Asher Yotzar, I felt something. But I wasn’t even Jewish yet. I was a girl with roots on the other side of the world somewhere on a tiny little island nation (you pick, Manhattan? Dominican Republic?) and I felt it. It was in the air. The sun. The atmosphere. In the rugelach that melted in my mouth. In the constant barrage of Shabbat meal invitations.
It was astounding to feel more connected to a country in the Middle East than I had ever felt for America (maybe it’s because people keep questioning my Americanness). It was something like the connection I feel to the Dominican Republic. But it was very different. Now what’s a girl like me doing with three homelands?
I just finished reading Leil Leibovitz’s “Aliyah: Three Generations of American-Jewish Immigration to Israel”. I read it in two sittings. Blah, blah, blah, couldn’t put it down. And I didn’t except the tearjerking words after. If you’ve ever thought of aliyah, you might want to check out the book and this: Allison Speiser’s food for thought.