The past few weeks have been a bit stressful as our friends and community have started to realize that our time in Israel is going to be ending soon. I feel lately that I have to keep explaining to everyone that our plans to return back to the US are still in place, and every time I do so, I feel like I have to apologize that we haven’t decided to stay. I always have to explain that we do really like it in Israel, but we still have so much to do back in the US before we can ever make aliyah. Plus, we really miss our families.
I myself am feeling torn between my two worlds. Most days I am so excited to return to the US. To be surrounded by my native language, to be able to see my family more than once every year or year and a half, to have all of my stuff again. How wonderful that seems! These days I am also filled with a sense of guilt. How can I want to leave Israel? After all, we have met so many great people here. Oh, and this is Israel. People want to move to Israel, not leave…
Other days there is a sadness that I feel. Most of the time it hits when I am doing random errands. It is sad to think that in only 4 months, we won’t be walking these streets. Home won’t be our apartment, but rather it will be a different apartment somewhere. I will miss it so much despite the 54 stairs…
This past weekend I had a bit of time to reflect on why the thought of leaving is so hard. Part of it, I think it my sense of loyalty. By leaving, I feel like I’m letting people down. I hate to make people sad and create hardship, although it is a bit presumptuous to think that I am that important at my job and to our friends here. Either way, I don’t want to make things hard for people and that makes it hard to leave. While the intensity of the feeling was much stronger when we moved to Israel from the US, the feelings were the same. How could I abandon the science department at SHS? How could we leave behind Beth David? Now I ask myself the similar questions. How can I abandon the teaching staff at TRY? How can we leave Yedidya?
This past Shabbat we had a chance to get to know an amazing student at Pardes. We had met him before at our friend’s house, but this Friday night, we got to know his story a lot better. He has had amazing adventures as a member of the Peace Corp. He has spent a lot of time in Ukraine and is very connected to it. He has been many places and will probably visit many more.
While I was fascinated by all of his adventures, the part that struck me was when he mentioned that he has to move out of his apartment here at the end of the month. I asked him about how he felt, and he told me that he doesn’t really get attached to places. That’s when it struck me. I do get attached to places. That’s what makes moving so hard for me.
Thinking about this attachment, I realized that wherever we go, we put down roots. Even though we knew that our time here was temporary, we have really settled in. We have joined a community, and we have made friends. Every time we put down roots it makes it much harder to move to the next stage. As you know, to pull a plant out by the roots is really difficult. You pull and pull and pull. Yet, despite how hard it is, eventually it will come out, and you can relocate it.
Image source: http://webneel.com/tree-paintings
When you pull a plant out from the ground, sometimes clumps of dirt are attached to the roots. When the plant is transferred, it carries bits and pieces of its original home with it. We know it is true for us too. No matter where we end up, we will take pieces of Israel with us. Similarly, when you pull a plant out by the roots, sometimes some of the roots are left behind. Hopefully we have positively touched the people we have met here so that they feel like we left behind bit of ourselves.
Plants put down roots in order to survive. The same seems to go for Adam and myself. We obviously could function without becoming as involved as we are, but it would be functioning not living. To be happy we must become part of where we live.
No matter where we end up next year and no matter how long we will be there, I know that we will once again put down roots. If we have to move a year or two later, we will probably feel that ache that accompanies pulling ourselves out of our current home, but that ache is worth it. Every time we put down roots we are changed, and we create change To quote Wicked:
“…people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return…
…Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.”
Until next time…