A few months ago I had attended a film with one of my close friends from high school, someone whose interests remained in the realm of my own as I gradually made a split from my younger identity into what I am passionate for today. The film was a more rational, somewhat inaccurate take of the story of Pesach, and as two with a heart for ancient near-Eastern study and history, we critiqued and marveled at Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings”.
My friend was, within a few days, bound to study internationally in Israel, Palestine and Jordan, and I hastily wrote a brief prayer on a wastingly large piece of paper (a plea, really) for him to tuck into the Western Wall during his time in the Old City in Jerusalem, a tradition among its visitors for belief that the Holy Presence rests on top of the wall, answering prayers.
And I wonder when the plea will be answered, or realized.
A person will often ask me, “what do you do?” I will always feel a quick hesitant restraint, a glimpse into the dark shame I have wrestled with that I have no viable education nor an adult’s job…
“I’m trying to leave” I’ll say.
“Oh yeah? Where’s that?”
“Israel.” The plea. Take me.
And I will always receive mixed reactions. Most will respond with a distant awe, as if trying to remember where Israel is on a map. Some nod and continue, while a few will respond more negatively. One man has called me “crazy” with a hostile tone of discouragement, another girl refused to carry on the conversation; as though I was wearing a Magen David armband on a field of crimson, a silver skull on my cap. I understand the negative perception toward Israel, I am aware of her criticizers; I am tired of the passive, armchair-born resentment toward Zionism in our age of passive-aggression. A schlepper generation, what are they doing to help?
And lately I have been assimilating myself with this behavior; I am no man. Not yet. I haven’t proven my worth in dirt as I flip the pages of a biography on the new Jewish dream; the fighters, the paratroopers and kibbutzniks who would throw themselves over an Arab marauder’s grenade to save their wives and countrymen, only to muster the strength to shoot back. The Tsabra generation; the strong, initiating, native Israeli who I will never be… but for whom I want my children to be.
So my boiling motivation has taken a plunge forward. My drugging thoughts have disappeared behind the scenes; I need to begin answering my own prayers. I need to start giving my objective my all.
I will be applying for the Sar-El program, a volunteering opportunity to serve alongside Israeli soldiers to help ease their burden. I have a contact and the chance is an optimistic one, I have an interview planned with a local community center regarding the position.
Perhaps with the push of hard work augmented by the trust I had written on paper, in the ink of my very heart’s blood, which my friend had placed in that Wall… maybe this is the answer I’ve always needed.