I got married on August 17th. After the wedding, the sheva brachot, moving my life and someone else’s life into a new apartment, getting our wedding license, filling out all the paper work for our joint bank account, all our new billing information etc…life as a newlywed had finally come. It’s supposed to be paradise, they all say. We get to wake up and fall asleep next to each other, never having to say goodbye. When one of us leaves for school or work, it’s ok, because we’ll see each other at dinner. There is no care in the world because we are just so happy, so in love, on cloud nine.
But no. Not when you are living in Israel. My husband is finishing his first year of civil engineering at Ariel University. Ariel, the big Jewish settlement in Samaria, that borders Palestinian towns and villages Salfit, Marda and Iskaka. It’s always scary knowing that he’ll be driving through that area every day when he leaves for school. But hey, we’re both American olim who came to Israel because we are Zionists and are building our dreams. The young olim who aren’t scared of anything. I can’t be the one to worry when he leaves every morning. I’ll leave the worrying to my mother in-law.
But not these days. I have turned into a worrying Jewish mother. Instead of giving him a goodbye kiss when his alarm goes off, and rolling around back into my slumber, I wake with him. I wake up early with him, sit on the couch and watch him put on his tefillin, sit with him at breakfast, and spend every last second I can with him before he walks out that door. I give him the biggest hug every morning and the amount of “I love you”s that come out of my mouth are uncountable. I do this, because every morning when my husband leaves for school I am scared. I don’t feel the newlywed paradise. I do have every care in the world. I don’t just think to myself, “it’s fine, he’ll be home by dinner.” I sit there waiting for his text to tell me he has arrived safely to school.
And this has become my morning routine as a new wife. I worry, I cry, and I cry some more. I don’t want him to drive through those roads where stoning is so probable. I don’t want him to take a bus filled with all of our cousins who these days just walk around with knives. And When he gets home, and I take a sigh of relief and thank HaShem endlessly, I still worry. Because home isn’t even safe any more. There was a stabbing in Petach Tikva, a place I travel to at least once a week, by THE mall I shop at. There was a stabbing today in Tel Aviv, on the street I travel down to get to my dentist.
Instead of talking to my husband about our future honeymoon, and our hopes and aspirations for this exciting time in our lives, we comfort each other every 2 minutes when we read about yet another attack. We call each other endlessly, not to just hear the other say “I love you”, but to make sure the other is still alive and unharmed.
So I guess we are not your conventional newlyweds. What I can tell you is that I will not let these people ruin my new life with the love of my life. I will hug and kiss my husband every time he walks out that door, but I will let him leave. And when he leaves I will continue talking to HaShem. When he comes home, I will continue thanking HaShem. But we will live in this country with our heads held high, and we will do everything in our power to build our dream in this country, to build another Jewish family in our homeland.