Israel, America, Home, and Homeland
The reasons that Sara moved there are some of the reasons that I would move there (I also have others):
And the reasons that she eventually came back to the States are some of the reasons that I think I could never live there permanently, at least not with a year or two back in the US every so often (I also have other reasons):
- "I felt more at home than I had ever felt before: in America I had felt Jewish; in Israel, I felt like myself."
- "Still, living there made me, if not a holier person, a wholer one."
Even if you can't or don't identify with these sentiments, you should read the article because it is beautifully written. It also might help you understand why other people feel this way about Israel and why they feel this way about America. Perhaps I will write more about Israel and America another time.
- "The longer I lived in Israel, the more I came to feel an odd mix of belonging and not-belonging. After years of living there, I felt both utterly at home and foreign."
- "But eventually, a part of me came to feel trapped. My world was small and circumscribed, and I started to wonder about all the parts of me that were going unexplored. I hadn't changed jobs in seven years because good English-speaking jobs are in short supply. I never found a group of writers with whom I could really share my work. I grew tired of everyone around me always talking about God and His books."
- "So many Americans come to Israel to do their seeking, but I was tired of seeking. I wanted to talk about other things. Living in Israel, I always felt I was part of Jewish history unfolding, but eventually I came to see I wanted to feel my own life unfolding."
That's one reason why Israel didn't work out for me. In America I feel like myself; in Israel I felt American and neither-secular-nor-Orthodox. (Yes, in America I feel Jewish, but that is feeling like myself.)
If I felt neither-secular-nor-Orthodox I'm sure that I would have a harder time in Israel. As it is, I don't identify with most religious Zionists (superficially the group closest to Modern Orthodox Jews in the US, which is superficially the group I am most like in the US), but I think there are enough almost-Orthodox, semi-Zionist Jews in Israel that I fit in with them just fine.
P.S. I went to elementary school with Sarah. She was an accomplished writer even back then.:)