Don’t Fence Me In!

Well over thirty years ago, when my husband and I were looking for a yishuv, a Jewish community in either Judea or Samaria to be our new home, I started to feel claustrophobic.  Every place we looked at was fenced in.  We Jews were imprisoned in our own Land.

One of the reasons that I just knew we had to leave Jerusalem’s Old City before the birth of our first child was because there were no sidewalks where we lived, Maon Betar-corner of Rechov HaYehudim and Plugat HaKotel, at the time.  And without smooth long sidewalks, how and where could I wheel my baby carriage?  At the time, the front door led to a rickety plank of wood, which had already broken under the weight of one of our neighbors.  That’s why we had bought an apartment in Jerusalem’s Bayit VeGan neighborhood, next to a lovely park with a winding path.

Even before we moved into our apartment, we knew that it would only be temporary.  After we returned from two years’ shlichut in London, we resumed our search.

Thirty-one years ago, on TU B’Shvat, friends took me to Shiloh, and I fell in love.  Wherever I looked, no fences blighted the view, and nothing has changed.

view west from Tel Shiloh

It was explained to us that from the beginning of the Jewish return to Shiloh, not being fenced in was a principle.  Please don’t think that we don’t have security. We do, but we don’t rely on a fence.  Fences are easily damaged.

And peaceful people shouldn’t be jailed. Only terrorists should be imprisoned.

About the Author
Batya was born in the USA and raised in NY in a rather assimilated Jewish home. In high school, she discovered Torah Judaism in NCSY, Jewish activism in SSSJ, and Zionism in Betar. Her and her husband made aliyah after their wedding. They first lived in Jerusalem, and moved to Shiloh in 1981. There, she began writing for various publications and blogs. Batya is the initiator of Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh.