Religious. Jew. Verbal redundancy. Again. Whereas Israel harbors a minority of Muslims and Christens alongside of its Jews, Jewish souls harbor only their home, Israel. Accordingly, the question as to whether or not a Jew considers him or herself to be Israeli is moot. Israel is the motherland.
Before my recent illness, I was asked to move my blog from the Lifestyle category to the Judaism one. Initially, I was surprised; I struggle to hold the Torah knowledge that is mine and consider myself, as suggested by the name of this blog, a commentator on domestic topics and on topics otherwise dear to those of us passing through midlife. However, I accept that my perception of myself, as made manifest through my writing, is not necessarily other peoples’ perception.
Happy to be in accordance with a pleasant editor who was seeking balance among her offerings, I agreed. I settled this matter with some measure of hesitation, though, since I am daunted by the notion of “writing about Judaism.”
Friends and family laughed, pointing out that Shabbot, Hagim, i.e. holidays, Jewish identity, tefillin, and spirituality, the sorts of concepts about which I often write, do sound like Judaic topics. Go figure. I thought I was just sharing observations about my life in The Holy Land.
I had considered that because some of my posts are political and because others of them are concerned with mundane goings on, such as bug invasions, I was a lifestyle writer. I had lost sight that writing about dwelling here, in Israel, is writing about life as a Yid. The two remain inseparable.
Not much will change with this blog except for its intentionality. In the past, I took for granted, i.e. I accepted without providing verification, what it is to live as a Jew. I fashioned vessels into which to put my words accordingly. These days, I need, more so, to celebrate what it is to live as a Jew.
I am glad of the opportunity. We Jews have too many distracters; we need to “come to the mat” to extol our land and our people. If we wait until all of us are housed in Israel or until all of us have ‘enough” Torah to honor our home and ourselves, then we will wait until we are dust.
Mind you, I harbor no delusions. Even though my purpose has shifted, I remain a middle aged mom, and former secular scholar, known for her writings; about raising children, about critters, about nature, about societal shortcomings, and about the ethics of communication.
When, in 2005, my family and I were blessed to relocate to “the other side” of the world, I was told to: keep my hot sauce to myself, realign my skirt, and think about buying a pair of larger earrings. There existed a limited audience for tall tales about falafel balls, about preteen fashion sense, and about “special American pricing.”
And yet, in balance, I do write from Jerusalem. The very air here is purer, is holier, and is more awesome than is the air anywhere else on this globe. The mysteries twine and untwine here. The cosmos kisses the Earth here. People come from the world over, to here, to pour out their hearts to our Creator.
Simply physics? No. While it is true that the more elevated the lift, the greater the amount of potential energy gained, it is even more accurate that our souls can’t reach higher, in this world, than The City of Kedusha. With ascent comes obligation.
I still struggle with Hebrew. I still bombard my Rav with questions that other people might find laughable. At the same time, all the same, I protest the “sacrificing” of even a single additional dunam of our land, of a single additional child to our enemies, of a single additional utterance of capitulation to nations, which wait, popcorn in hand, for the latest desert dust to clear so that they might crown the winners that best suit them rather than give deference to justice. There can be no more horrible atrocities in the Jewish Homeland or forced upon the Jewish People!
So, I guess I do, after all, have, as a Jew, as a Jewish Israeli, and as an Israeli Jew, something, in fact lots of something, more to the point, many, many, many somethings, about which to write under the rubric “Judaism.” Please join me as I share, in this blog, a new series of essays, “Grateful to be a Yid.” Beyond the introductory piece you are reading, I will post: “Why Aliyah,” “It would Have Been Enough: Gratitude for Learning Partners,” “Self-Improvement,” “Dropouts” and “Neither Location nor Hashgafa.”
If one waits until one is ready, one will never attain height. If one climbs and falls, climbs and falls, and climbs once more, one might just achieve altitude, anyway.