I have always been a bit of an idealist; a dreamer, if you will.
7 years ago tonight, I was sitting in the library of Yeshiva University, having just attended a tekes / chagiga commemorating Yom HaZikaron and celebrating Yom Ha'Atzmaut. It was my first year in University, after having spent the last year studying in Israel - a year that ultimately changed my life.
7 years ago, on Yom Hazikaron 5759 / 1999, I wrote the following letter:
Elliot, how are you? Chag sameach.
I just want to share some thoughts that are racing through my head as we speak. Have you done anything special for Yom HaZikaron / Yom Ha'atzmaut? I just went to hear Rav Goldwicht and a retired Israeli officer who fought in both the Six Day War and in the Yom Kippur War. I must say that I feel that the way I acted on this day a year ago, was, in a word, childish. Whether or not to say Hallel, with a bracha, without a bracha, tachanun... what I would give to be in Israel now, and being able to ask myself these same questions.
No matter how many speeches I'll hear, be it today or tomorrow, it doesn’t make up for not being there, in Eretz Yisrael. I honestly feel like there is something missing in my life right now - and I don’t think that the void can be filled here. Unfortunately I know, that within another day or so, this feeling will surely pass. That’s not to say that it will go away totally, but it will recess to the back of my mind, or back into my heart, from where it originated. It’s almost impossible to keep these sorts of feelings on an everyday basis - I guess that’s the challenge that we must overcome.
It’s almost funny, a year ago, at this time we were in Israel - at Har Herzl, at Castel... it seems like yesterday, but so much has changed since then, and life seems to have moved us much further away from that day. For better or worse, time stops for no one, and we have to make the most of our moments while we have them, because before we know it, all we'll have left are memories.
I wonder when I'll be able to go back to Israel, I miss it very much, and I think about it almost everyday, I really want to go back. But when...? Probably not until I finish college, and depending what I do about graduate school, maybe not until after that either. That’s so many years away. I've only been away from Israel for 10 months, and I miss it so much already, how can I be certain that these feelings will last me 3,4 or even 5 years down the road? I guess there’s no guarantee that they will - I'm sure you've heard this just as much as I have, that when we come back from Israel, we're on some big Israel high, and we all are certain that we are going to live there, but alas, people get side tracked, and they start to lose the feelings that they once had, and then it becomes just another dream that most likely goes unfulfilled.
I guess the best thing to do is to surround yourself with people who are like minded, and most importantly, when looking to get married, to find a girl who believes as strongly as you do about Israel, and to make sure that the goal of making Aliyah always remains as a reality, and not just another dream put on the back burner, hoping that one day, either you'll forget about it totally, or rationalize to yourself as many different reasons as possible as to why making Aliyah isn’t really as important as you once thought it was, when you were just a "kid".
I wish us both luck in the days, months and years ahead, may the feeling and hope inside both of us never dwindle. If we are to be called dreamers, dreamers by those who were once dreamers themselves, but who have long since tossed their dreams aside for "reality", then may it be His will, that we never wake up.
Well, I have to run, I'll talk to you later. Kol tuv.
Here I am, 7 years after having written the above letter, sitting in my very own home in the Land of Israel, overlooking the hills of Jerusalem and the Judean desert.
Here I am, 7 years after having written the above letter, sitting only a few feet away from my beautiful, sleeping daughter, who was the first member of my family to be born in Jerusalem in who knows how many generations.
Here I am, 7 years after having written the above letter, knowing that tomorrow, on my bus ride to work (working for an organization whose goal is to strengthen the connection of Jewish students to Israel), I will be privileged enough to overlook the Temple Mount, as well as pass Jerusalem's Old City walls.
Yet, here I am today, troubled by the unimaginable events of the past year, and concerned about what the immediate future holds in store for the Jewish People and State.
In spite of it all, today I am still a dreamer - just as I was 7 years ago.
I still believe in the dream of a Jewish State in which the Jewish People will be able to live in peace, as proud Jews.
I still believe in the dream of a Jewish State in which an exemplary society will be created by the Jewish People; one that will serve as a true light unto the nations and to all of mankind.
I still believe in the dream of a Jewish State in which Jews from the four corners of the earth will live together as brothers; as one nation in the Land, working in harmony to fulfill our collective destiny.
I still believe in the G-d of Israel, Who neither sleeps nor slumbers.
I still believe in the Nation of Israel, who throughout the 2,000 years of the bitter exile forsook neither the G-d of Israel nor the Land of Israel.
I still believe that in spite of all of the challenges that we are facing today, the re-establishment of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel, was the best thing to happen to the Jewish People over the last two millennia.
Lastly, I still believe that if we are to have any future at all, it is going to happen here, in a Jewish State in the Land of Israel...
And, most importantly, I believe that we can still make it work.
Ze'ev - formerly known as JasonIsraelZionismJudaism