I have only moments to write – stolen moments before Elie and Aliza will come down and ask if I am ready to leave. I sit here in my nightgown – no, I’m not ready and no, I shouldn’t be writing but I’m afraid that the day will come and go and I won’t have time later.

We are going to the wadi nearby, as much of Maale Adumim is going to do – to have a barbecue with dear friends and celebrate the simplest of days – a day off from work, a day to enjoy being outside. The army has brought tanks and other equipment, the sensitive parts removed. Children will be allowed to climb in, on, over, and even under. Soldiers will be there to watch, to explain, to guard.

Last night fireworks – amazing, right over our heads. They scared Aliza a bit and so she half clung, half cuddled with me as we sat on the grass. But even with her pressed against me, I had a moment, as I do each year, to watch, to marvel. I love fireworks. And there, hidden in the noise, with all eyes looking up, I take a moment, as I always do, and whisper my love for this land.

Happy birthday, Israel. I love you so much. I love this land, this people. I love the society we have built and much of its values. I can join in and complain about so much but it is nothing to what I love. I look at each inch and marvel that I am blessed to live here and no, that is honestly not an exaggeration. I touch it with reverence – this land that God brought me to, this land that God gave me thousands of years ago and which is still mine.

What sets Jews apart, what much of the world doesn’t really understand, is this sense of connection we have with each other. A Jew can travel the world and always have a home to stay in, a place to get food.

If a Jew is hurt in Kiev or Paris, my heart aches and I am filled with pain, with anger. Israelis understand – it is our job to protect them, to be here so that they can come. That is Israel. If something happens in a far off land – we will send people to help, equipment, doctors, troops to dig through the rubble. And quietly, as we do, we will find the local Jewish population and make sure they are safe. We will send extra people to track down any Israelis and make sure all is well. It is what we do. That is Israel.

And the connection goes with the physical land as well. This is ours. Each time I hear of an arson attack – I know that if you love something, you do not burn it down, you do not destroy it. It seems that the huge Carmel fire was started by carelessness, but in its wake, as Israel fought the fires, Arabs deliberately set dozens of fires to make it harder for us – this is the land they love?

Last night, today, I will go to the land. I’ll sit outside and enjoy it with friends and family and somewhere, somehow, I’ll take a moment and whisper again to the land, to the State, to the people – to all that we have built here, and to God – thank you. Thank you for bringing me home, for giving me this land, making this mine.

May you be granted peace.

5 Comments on Israel

  1. Beautifully written and so very true!

  2. I join with you in wishing BEAUTIFUL ISRAEL a HAPPY 63rd…. I love Israel too! Such a beautiful posting by you, it brought tears to my eyes.

  3. Thank you Paula. So simple and so beautiful. May we all be zocheh to meet at the Kotel.

  4. You have a beautiful blog. As an olah chadasha I am still amazed that I have the privilege of living here. After reading this post I see that it is not only the feeling of a newcomer and I am glad to know that. And, yes, I know that feeling, that connection with our brethren worldwide. It often makes it hard to read the news.

    I quoted you in my last blog post about Yom HaZikaron. You explain life here so well. May Hashem keep you and your family, and all Israel, safe.

  5. Hello Paula,
    I have found your blog again after a very long time. The things going on here in the U.S. made me seek you out again. In reading your beautiful post I just wanted to say I can hear your heart for your country and it is lovely. As an American, and a Christian, I know that I do not have any idea what things are like there, but I do know that God gave you that land, and He is in control.
    After reading the posts from the person in Utah, I want to assure you we do not all feel that way.
    I too am a soldiers mother. I too love my country the way you love yours. I believe our nation will be judged by how we treat Israel.
    My prayers for you, your family and your country.

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