Isramail - A Trip Home

Shalom Y’all! After a very hot summer, me and my Israeli emails are back. I just got back from Israel last week, after being sent by the J to search for inspiration in the Holy Land for my Isramails, and, of course, to see family, friends and enjoy the Israeli sun (not as bad as Texas, I promise you that).

I want to share with you three different moments to summarize my trip, all by chronological order.

Moment #1

Things are heating up with Syria while I enjoy a good cold “Goldstar” (Israeli beer) in the streets of Tel Aviv. Around me bars and restaurants are packed with people enjoying their day outside completely relaxed.

Close to me a woman is sitting, next to her cold drink on the table, a big brown box. In it is the notorious gas mask. She just came back from the gas mask renewal station like many Israelis did this week. She is not special in any way. She doesn’t seem stressed or panicked, and so are all the people around her. The Israeli reality in its best - cold beer in one hand, gas mask in the other.

All is good.

Moment #2

Things are getting even hotter with Syria and all my unit friends are being enrolled in reserve duty to go back to the army as a security measure if something is going to happen in our northern border. They are going to stay in a field in the middle of nowhere in sleeping bags instead of doing Rosh Hashana with their families.

All I can think is, even after not being home for a year, that I want to go there and be with them, help my country, help my friends. (The army won’t call me unless it’s an emergency, because I am in America for all they know).

But I am more afraid of my mom than Syria right now. If I will tell her I am going to miss Rosh Hashana dinner for canned food and sleeping bags, she might go into Syria and kill Asasd. And then me. Never mess with a Jewish mom in high holidays. Oi vey.

Moment #3 

I'm driving back after four days of scuba diving in Eilat with two of my friends, seeing beautiful fish and colorful coral reefs (highly recommended by the way). It's a few hours before Rosh Hashana dinner. We are stuck in terrible traffic for hours on our way back to Haifa, and my friends, angry for hours of being stuck in traffic, are starting to say that they don’t want to live in Israel and they are planning to go abroad as soon as they can. They are sick of the traffic, they are sick of the security threats, and they are sick of cost of living. I sit there and listen and completely understand them while staring outside at the non-moving cars.

Suddenly I see what for me is one of the main reasons why I will live my life in Israel. When I look out the window and see a non-stop traffic jam of cars, all I can actually see is a sense of community. All those people that are stuck with me are celebrating Rosh Hashana, like me. All of them are dressed as formally as Israelis can. All of them are using Waze (an Israeli GPS invention just sold to Apple, by the way). All together. All at the same time. All for the same purpose.

I see a sense of family. A sense of home. A sense of community.

A few weeks in Israel highlighted for me the issue of home. They highlighted that what matters is to find your home. Your family. Your friends. The place you feel connected the most, whether it’s Israel, Texas or anywhere else in the world. Every option is ok. All is right if it's right for you.

Have a great new year! It's great to be back to my home away from home, but don’t tell my mom!