Israel activism runs in my blood. Literally. As the daughter of an Israeli living in New York, my parents instilled in me a core value from a young age: While making Aliyah is the dream, advocating for the Jewish state while living in the diaspora, is the next best thing.
My parents always put their money where their mouths are. For 14 years, they served as Chairpersons for the Concert for Message in Central Park, which follows the annual Celebrate Israel Parade. They are also actively involved with various Jewish causes and Zionist organizations including Ateret Cohanim, Migdal Ohr, and Chazaq.
It has always been important to me to take part in this activist mission. While pursuing my law degree at The University of Pennsylvania Law School, I founded Penn Law Students for Israel – a platform where experts in a variety of fields could speak openly about Israel and correct the many misconceptions floating on campuses about the Jewish State. I always defended Israel with pride and rose to the occasion to join more and more causes. I became involved with many organizations including AIPAC, Our Soldiers Speak, The Conference of Presidents and was elected as an alternate delegate to the World Zionist Congress. However, every so often the reality dawned on me: I was not in Israel. And every time I visited Israel; I was reminded of the simple fact that I’m not really living in my home.
Last year, while in Israel to complete my LL.M. (Master of Law) in International Law and Human Rights at Hebrew University, I came to the realization that now is the time to start the next chapter of my life— in Israel. While my decision was made in a pre-Covid reality, many of the aspects that drove me to make this decision are still evident in this Corona-infused world: the warmth Olim have for other Olim, the sense of community from family, friends and neighbors alike, and the sheer fact that I am a Jew living the Jewish State. Even though I came to Israel by myself, from the moment I landed, I never felt alone.
As for coming during the pandemic, I feel even more proud to stand by my country during this time of crisis. So this Hanukkah, while I may not hop from party to party, I will enjoy every bite of every sufganiyah, I will proudly light my menorah and I will sing all the songs commemorating the miracle that happened to our people in this very place. And best of all, the Kotel is just a stroll away, serving as a strong reminder that I am another Jew who has returned home.
If Hanukkah is a celebration of miracles, I truly believe that I am already living one. As a passionate supporter of Israel, I have the unique opportunity to combine my professional aspirations with my personal ones. As a lawyer, I hope to use my legal skills to fight for Israel whenever she will need me and as a Jew I will do so with my whole heart.
The last time I was able to experience the exhilarating high of combining my personal and professional aspirations was when I was on the White House lawn in September for the historic signing of the Abraham Accords. Seeing Israel make such momentous strides toward peace filled me with so much pride. I feel lucky to have taken part in such meaningful experiences throughout these challenging times.
So, while I appreciate the complications this year has brought, for me 2020 will be the year of the miracles both big and small and for that I will be forever grateful.
Dana Aderet Brody made Aliyah from Great Neck, NY on November 17, 2020. Since its inception in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel and JNF-USA, has facilitated the Aliyah of over 65,000 North Americans to Israel.