Living Somewhere between Fear and Freedom

Did you ever feel like your life was similar to the twilight zone? Uncertain? Unpredictable? Like any minute you’ll rub your eyes and you’ll be back to reality? Having just recently moved to Israel, I can tell you that my life has felt like that on many more than one occasion.

We made the decision to move to Israel for a number of reasons; most notably, because it is the ultimate place, homeland, for the Jewish people. And with that decision comes responsibility. Especially when children are involved. School aged children. They deserve to have stability, safety, and security.

Most of the time, they do feel safe and secure. They play outside with their friends, take the school bus to and from school, go to the mall or out to dinner with my husband and me. We walk through town, visit family and friends, and go on trips hours away. There is routine and structure. There are set bedtimes. And they still wake up at the ungodly hour of 6 am. Just like our life before we moved to Israel.

But then, there’s the aspect of life in Israel that we can’t ignore. It’s the part that we wish we wouldn’t have to deal with on a weekly, daily, hourly basis. It’s the side of Israel that causes our phones to buzz in our pockets. It’s the part that makes us close our eyes and wish and pray that life would just be normal. Why can’t it just be normal?

And that’s the part I don’t have answers for. I wish I did. I wish I had answers for my children when they ask me, “But why can’t we play outside now?” Or when they wake up in the middle of the night scared, the best I can do is reassure them that they are safe here, cuddled in bed. And we’ll talk more in the morning. If they want. And for now, that seems to be good enough. Because, honestly, I don’t have the answers. I’m learning how to live here at the same time as them.

And I hope I’m doing a good job at sheltering them as much as possible. But I’m not sure that’s the right approach either. Someone asked me, “How are your kids doing with everything going on?” I answered, “I’m trying to keep them in a bubble. Unfortunately, the bubble is clear.” So maybe that’s the answer: I’m trying to shield them from as much as I can. But if I can’t, if they find out about something scary, I will try to help them get through it by holding them tight and reassuring them that in the here and now, they’re OK. They’re safe.

And my hope is that we, Am Yisrael, will all be safe. That Israel will always be safe from our enemies. And we don’t have to live in uncertainty, between fear and freedom. We will just feel safe and free to live in the Jewish Homeland. Because, this is where we belong. That’s why we moved here. And we’re not going anywhere.

About the Author
Tova Knecht is a wife and mom of 3, living in Jerusalem, Israel. After living all their lives in New Jersey, she and her family made the ultimate decision to fulfill their dream of living in the Jewish homeland.
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