Last night I think the enormity of what is happening in Israel hit my nine year old son hard. While we were eating he looked at me and said,
“Mommy sometimes I think it would just be easier to not be Jewish.”
My heart skipped a beat. Usually I have a quick comeback for him. And this out-of-the-blue statement stopped me dead cold. I didn’t know how to respond because the truth is life would be a whole lot easier to NOT BE JEWISH. It would be easier to be able to vacation in France this summer and be oblivious to the very real POGROMS that are happening there. It would be easier to live in America and just blend in and forget. To stop fighting so much. To stop having to defend your religion, your right to exist, your right to have a homeland for your ancestors. The easiest thing would be to give up.
And then I think about my father and his family who fought like wild animals to simply EXIST and survive the horrors of the Holocaust. I think about those gorgeous, young, handsome and full of so much love and life Israeli young men and women on the cusp of EVERYTHING who don’t have the luxury to kick around after high school and find themselves. These KIDS- spend their 18th year fighting for their right to live and exist in a home. In Israel. As a parent this is not something I can even wrap my head around- how selfless these parents and their kids are to RISK EVERYTHING so that my kid a Jew who lives in America has a SAFE PLACE to go when there is no other place a JEW can be a Jew without being persecuted.
And this is what I told my son, “Yes being a Jew is Hard, It is painful. It is isolating and it is not the easy way out. But being a Jew is who you are, it is part of your DNA, it is in the blood coursing through your veins. You are here only because your Jewish ancestors fought like mad to live, and to honor them and their legacy it is our DUTY to not allow their deaths to be in vain. And you need to fight because we need ISRAEL like we need water.”