Monday, September 1, 2008

First week

In just a few hours, it will be exactly a week since I landed in Israel. . . . . Only a week, and yet it already feels like this is home. . . . Was there ever a time when I did not make myself Turkish coffee every morning? When every meal I made did not have tomatoes and cucumbers on the side? When I carefully turned the water off after rinsing each dish and soaped up the next one thoroughly before I turned the water back on again? When I wore sandals every day?

And, yet, I very much feel like a foreigner here. . . . I look at the Israelis on the street and know instantly that I am not one of them. . . I am both a stranger in a strange land and as at home as I have ever been.

It was this way the last time I lived in Israel, and I think it is this way for so many other Jews. . . The amazing thing is it does not seem to arise out of anything intellectual, out of some kind of intellectual understanding of either a secular Zionism or a religious command to possess the land. . . . It seems to just arise from somewhere in my bones. . . Something that is maybe even genetically coded into me, or is a part of some kind of collective unconsciousness. It is so strong.

I know in my heart that I will not be able to stay, that in seven weeks or so I will have to return to the States and that it is unlikely that I will ever be able to live here for any extended length of time. All of my opportunities in life -- opportunities to make a living and to follow my call -- lie back in the States. . . . I accept that, but a part of my heart breaks over it. . . . . But for now I am so glad to be able to be here. What a privilege! I am in The Land!

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