|This is the Iron Dome- Gd bless the Iron Dome|
My mother calls me in a panic, wants to make sure I did the siren the right way. In the fortified room, in the basement, stayed there an extra 15 minutes to be safe. I didn't but I say "yep!" I take care of myself pretty well. It makes me laugh to think she's worried about me, here in the Jewish state. I face the enemy we know, in this case Islamic Jihad who are angry we've killed a leader of theirs. Meanwhile, my family sits in New York City, often referred to as Jew York City for its enormous Jewish population, now facing religious threats much like the rest of the country where I once lived.
I recently went to NYC to visit my family and meet my new baby nephew (he is SO poopoopoo I literally can't even!) and my mom and I went to shul for Yom Kippur prayers. My mom kept glancing at the door, which made sense because she really can't wait to get out of shul. We were in the basement group service, whereas the other two services were upstairs near the front entrances. My mom turned to me and said "I don't like how that entrance isn't guarded" like the other two upstairs were. "Doesn't it make you nervous?" Now, by nature, I'm not a worrier and my mother is the definition of one (Jewish moms, yadda yadda) but for once I thought her anxiety might be founded.
I left America, the goldene medineh- the promised land for a people that was tortured by every country in the diaspora where they fled. Europe, North Africa and the Middle East all became inhospitable to their Jewish populations and it seemed like America was the first country to break that mold. And honestly, I would never compare America to what Jews are facing elsewhere in the world in 2019. I don't generally worry for my family's safety. But I do hear about a new incident (or ten) every day- a swastika on a synagogue, a vandalized cemetery, a beating of a Hasidic-looking Jew, a BDS resolution, a bomb threat, an anti-Semitic outburst on a subway- that makes me wonder if the clock is ticking on our time in the US.
|Jewish cemetery in Nebraska vandalized, November 2019|
I hope not. I don't want anyone to feel scared to threatened, least of all my family and friends. I don't want anyone to have to hide their Jewishness or their support for the Jewish state. And as much as I want people to make aliyah and come home, I don't want them to do it because they have to. I love my family intensely, but they don't want to move here (try as I might to badger them about it in nearly every conversation.) And if they ever do come, I want it to be running toward, not running away. So as I sit here on my unexpected Siren Day off from work, I think about how funny perspective is, with my mom terrified of rockets falling on Tel Aviv, and me feeling like I'm living in the safest country in the world to be Jewish. Perspective.