Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Honey... Am I Home?

Recently a fellow blogger Irina talked about her experiences of visiting Israel. Even though it is her first visit she talks about amazing feeling of returning home, one that cannot be matched by any other place in the world, for there can only be one home. I was surprised to hear this because I myself always had the same, very unambiguous feeling about Israel, but always though it was just my imagination or a consequence of growing up in Israel. Of course, I had this feeling even when I just came to live there, so I guess you caught me. Now not only I hear the same sentiment from someone else (not for the first time too) but turns out many readers of Irina's blog had the exact same feeling. I am amazed. What's going on here? Does it works the same way for all Jews? Only Jews? What is the reason? Genetic memory? Some sort of collective magnetic field created by the people who live there? I know that whenever I am in a large Jewish crowd, even in United States, I get a glimpse of that feeling again.

Something is going on, but that is not the subject of this post. Instead I want to pose a simple question to all the people who feel the same way, and in particular to Irina's readers since they already expressed their opinion, and of course to myself. If you are so in awe of the land, if it is such a great experience to even visit there for a short while, let alone for a long while... What are you all doing in diaspora? Seriously, what? Is it money? Is it comfort? Is it security? Is it "I will get there eventually, just give me 2.. no 10... no 20 years" ? If it is Home, how can you live away from it? Who are you kidding? Remember, today you can go ahead and feel all you want at home in Israel for one reason only: some people are already living there, and making it feel home for you. But if they fail, if they fail because so many of us chose to be guests in our own home, we will loose it. This time maybe forever.

23 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

Hmm, look who's talking! ; )

As for me, right now going there is just not a reality. I want to finish my education and have something to contribute. As in, influence the course events.

By the way, a book I'm reading right now has a very interesting excerpt dealing with that "genetic memory" you're describing. It's small, and I'd recommend it very strongly - Milan Kundera's "Ignorance". (In Russian - "Nevedenie") Read it in Russian, if you can.

Yury Puzis said...

You right, that's why I said the question is for me as well.

It makes sence what you say about the education. However, I doubt many people can make the same argument. I am curious what's their excuse. I can make an excuse that I want to finish my education here because in Israel I doubt the education I can get will be as good. But who am I kidding? It was true when I was fresh out of highschool, it is probably not true anymore.

Thanks for the recomendation, I will look it up.

Irina Tsukerman said...

Hmm, you can still apply to Technion. ; )

Yury Puzis said...

I just might! ;)

Tobie said...

Just wandering over from Irina's link... The main reason that people do not make aliya is because it is incredibly hard. It's not just the fact that you're going to be earning less and have worse conditions. It's that you're going to be leaving your community and your family and uproot yourself to a foreign country, whose language you may not speak and whose society you may not understand. It's that you're going to see parents and nephews and siblings once or twice a year instead of weekly. It's because you're going to spend the rest of your life feeling a little bit like a foreigner.

That said, I am currently in the process of filing my Nefesh B'Nefesh application, planning to start an Israeli college in the fall.

Yury Puzis said...

tobie: I understand what you are saing, and it is all true. However, this is how we explain why the rest of us are not making alia (swapping ourselves under the same rug along the way). My question is more personal, for each person's own reasons. It is harder to answer that way because it is harder to get away with a generic answer. And that's the point. As to feeling foregners: I don't think it is going to be a problem, particularly not in the long run. Trust me, been there, done that :) This is true especially for people that say they felt like at home from the first visit. If all goes well Israel will seem less foreign then the town you were born in.

That said, since you are about to study there it is all the answer I need. Good luck with your studies! Which college are you going to attend?

Kate said...

Puttered over here from Irina's blog.

Why am I still in the Diaspora? Mainly it's because I promised my parents that I would complete my education before gallivanting off to places unknown. I'm only the second generation in my family to attend college, so I feel it's an obligation to get my degree. After that, who knows? I have been quietly looking into the Mahal2000 program, making contacts in Israel, and studying Hebrew for some time now, but I am still a little unsure about the future at this point. So much can change in two years, you know?

K.

Tobie said...

Going to Bar Ilan. I think that the reasons I gave were the ones that would have kept me from making aliya, if anything would.

Yury Puzis said...

kate, thanks for your answer. It seems like so far of the four answers (including mine) all 4 are study related, but not all with the same conclusion. maybe we could all just study in Israel :)

2 years is a lot of time it's true, but I hope you will end up in Israel after all ;)

Yury Puzis said...

tobi: Bar Ilan is a nice place, although my friends that study there tell me that math courses are not on top level there compared to say Technion.

Oleh Yahshan said...

Toby,
"The main reason that people do not make aliya is because it is incredibly hard. It's not just the fact that you're going to be earning less and have worse conditions."

As I type to you on my wirelessly connected Laptop overlooking the great city of Jerusalem, with my Voip line (both Israeli and American), with my cable tv on in the background, I try to wonder what it is that my life is in worse condition than it was when I was in the U.S. for a year.
Now I will admit I am a flaming Zionist, but still.. using the excuse of worse conditions was a good one 20 years ago. And even then there were nutcases (see my parents on the nut case file) who decided that Israel would be better off for them. Today that is simply not true.
...sorry I have to answer my cell phone...

Yury Puzis said...

I have to agree with Oleh yashan on this. Yes alia is not all that easy. But same is true for moving from Dallas to Chicago. Find a place. Find a job / get into college. Meet your new neighbours. It is harder when you come from a country such as Soviet Union was - different economy, social and informational isolation from the world, no money and familys to feed _today_, language nobody (outside) knows. English? Even the bus drivers get it. Economy? Not as powerfull, but otherwise very much on par.

The truth is that the main reason people don't make alia is because it is percieved as hard. In reality, especially for people our age, it is not a big deal.

Spill The Beans said...

Let me offer an alternative perspective. I'm part seminole. I've known this since I was 22 and did some research on my adoption. I don't have a lot, but it clearly says I'm about 1/16 seminole. Not a lot, but enough.

When I moved to Florida, I had this sense of coming "home." I can't explain it. I'd visited the state, but never the area in which I live. However, this area is part of me. It's part of my very being.

I wonder how much of our identity of humans includes our genetic memory, as a people, of places. After all, some animals find their way back to their genetic home every single year, places they've never been.

Yury Puzis said...

Trouble in Shangri La:

This is very interesting. If I am not mistaken Seminoles are a mix of several native tribes, not all of whom are from Florida. Have you ever visited other places your ancestors can be from?

With animals it is even more complicated - to find a way they need to know how to navigate to it, not just recognize it.

Spill The Beans said...

I haven't. Yes, Seminole is a made up term that was used to refer to a bunch of different native tribes, most of whom were from Florida: Miccosukee, Creek, etc.

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