Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Advocacy Israeli Cool

Coming onto this trip, I excepted Pro-Israel advocacy training. Not the roots from my heritage or a closer connection to my Jewish identity. 

Yesterday I watched three young Haredi boys playing in the streets in the Old City of Jerusalem right outside my hostel window. They appeared so happy, lively, and unconcerned with the chaos going on in the surrounding Arab towns. 

After leaving Jerusalem we drove into the ‘c’ section of the West Bank that is under israeli military and civilian control. I saw Israeli flags, beautiful homes, and people going about their day as if I would back in the States. I saw Jewish people hanging their clothes on hang lines with fearless faces and smiles that were evident from a drifting bus. 

Today we traveled North to a small Arab village called Peki’in. Quite the opposite of Jerusalem there are only four Jewish families residing in this part of Israel. Margalit Cinati, who is a descendant of the Cohanim who fled Jerusalem during the Roman diaspora. Here she maintains the home she grew up in and the synagogue built over the ruins of a destroyed synagogue from when the Cohanim fled Jerusalem. Inside contains ruins from the old temple destroyed 2,000 years ago and the front of the synagogue is printed on the 100 shekel bill. 

Prior to both we attended a tour at Yad Vashem on Mount Hertzel. Here the Blue Star group as Christians, Catholics, Jews, Sikhs, and Atheists walked, listened, and fell in deep sympathy for the lives of six million Jews who were victims of ignorance. Although stated by our museum tour guide that the Holocaust is not the reason the State of Israel was given to the Jewish people, I came up with this information on my own. It was clear to me not by the pictures of these targets of genocides but from the children playing in the streets, the elderly woman maintaining a historical synagogue, and the Jewish West Bankers. All these people share one thing in common: pride. Proud of their country, proud of their religion, and the pride of maintaining a moral and ethical life in the land that was given to them by G-d.  

As a Jewish person living outside of Israel with no absolute family connection to the State of Israel, I feel it is my obligation to continue my Israel advocacy. Sharing this trip with native born Israelis has shown me that I may not call this home because familiarity but I recognize the place that I’ve read about in the Torah my whole life and I feel like I’m home. 

K. W.

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