Thursday night, we drove to Ben Gurion airport with a family member traveling to the US for a few weeks. While waiting for her to check her bag, I saw a somewhat raucous group of American college students, joking around while waiting for their turn through security.  They were tossing around kitschy souvenirs from Israel and making jokes about what things cost in shekels.

Since Taglit: Birthright Israel season has begun in Israel, it''s not unusual for me to see groups of college students clustered together in touristy places in and around Jerusalem as I go about my daily errands. This time, in the airport, I had such a wildly novel thought.

I know these young people came from a US college campus and just spent 10 days exploring Israel. I know many, if not most of them are Jews with Jewish identities that are still in formation. I know that many of them came to Israel, in large measure, because it was a free trip.

I felt a new level of responsibility for representing Israel.  I felt compelled to go over to them, let them know that our family lives here now, that we are normal people, that we are Israelis, and that we hope that they had a positive experience here and, if there is anything we can do for them, please contact us. I so wanted to go over to them and say, in my American English, "I hope you liked my country."

Did I do it?


But I thought about it.  And in that thought, I realized how much I identify as an Israeli now.

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