My Shnekel (My POV): Our Home Across the Pond

Who would have thought that it’s already been a year, and that September is already around the corner?! With Chagim, end of summer, and visiting home, September is going to be a very, very interesting time. 

September is a busy month as it is. My wife, Rotem, and I are already struggling with deciding where to go when we return to Israel, what to do, and who to visit… yet, there is still something magical about it. And then, there’s the preparations for Rosh Hashanah, family gathering from all over, and the new year celebrations. Now, add doing this as part of a short visit to Israel! Oy vey! Don’t you worry though, because we got married and moved to another country in two months… we’ve got this and we’re excited! Excited to visit home, to see all the family and friends who’ve been waiting for us, and of course, the food! Vegetables with flavor! Finally!

It’s also odd, the feeling of going back to where you grew up, only now as a visitor. That you’re there for a few weeks, trying to do everything, to accomplish as much as possible, and then, to again leave it behind for a while. Like taking a deep breath before diving back in. Too big of a breath and your lungs collapse, too little is not enough.

But at the same time, it’s so chaotic. It’s hard not to wonder how the passing year will shadow a year renowned as one of the most chaotic and divisive ones. Will there be protests? Has something changed drastically? How different will it look? In addition, September is filled with crucial political events, all of them happening while we’re there. I’ve been keeping up very closely with the happening, reporting, and covering as much as I could, but I wasn’t there, not in the flesh.

I’ve talked a lot about the polarity we’ve been experiencing here and there. About the ever-growing gap that divides us, making it harder to see each other. And I worry. I worry that my family will not act the same. That there will be no discussions around the Shabbat table. That whenever it will come to our shared future, it would be better to avoid that conversation. I worry that our rage and discontent will make it impossible. I cannot ignore that concern, but it’s not the only thing I am thinking of. 

A lot of different thoughts roam my mind in preparation for next month and our visit home. Excitement, concern, worry, homesickness, all of them mixed. Last year, we spent the high holidays here, in Virginia, as new arrivals. A year went by, we’ve settled in, and have gotten used to it. Now, it feels like it might be similar there, as tourists in our own hometown. And it’s not just about politics. A year gone by, people changed, events happened, and we weren’t there. But we’re still excited and grateful. We’re grateful for the opportunity to go back, even for a short visit. We’ve missed our families dearly. Even more so, we’ve missed our home dearly, our home across the pond.

Shanna Tova and Happy High Holidays!

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