Because my heart beats a little faster when it’s pressed up against a 2,000-year-old stone.
Because my heart beats a little faster when a circle of people link hands and sing an anthem of hope with so much passion that their voices tremble.
Because my heart beats a little faster when I see a mezuzah on every single door that I walk past.
Because my heart beats a little faster when I hear a woman scream or see a teenage boy run.
Because I can find meaning in a language that I don’t understand.
Because I can find comfort in the sight of an olive-green uniform.
Because I can find prosperity in a city that makes art out of rockets.
Because I can find faith in a person who would seemingly have nothing to believe in.
Because my brown hair is naturally curly.
Because my big nose and mouth make up for my lack of height.
Because my family makes enough food for one holiday to feed a small nation.
Because my six-pointed star is on a chain around my neck that I wear with pride, and not a yellow badge on my chest for you to use against me as a label.
Because this is my identity.
Because this is my history.
Because this is my destiny.
Because this is what it means to be a member of the Chosen People.
There’s no need to ask me why I travel 6,000 miles as frequently as I do, for as long as I do.
There’s no need to ask me why one day, I’ll book a ticket with no return date.
There’s no need to ask me why I fight for a piece of land that only 0.2% of the world can refer to as their homeland.
There’s no need to ask me why I want to live in Israel, because now you know.