Six months ago I arrived in Israel for a nine month gap year program and Israel quickly became my home. A place that is formed, for me, by people from all different places and backgrounds. The places where a man whose family walked here from Iran before the state was established watched as his father and brother fought for the homeland they so strongly believed, to the young olah who was raised in a reform community who how finds comfort in the the hasidic community; they have become the people of my home. The people who welcome me for shabbat dinner to the person that happens to strike up conversations with me while walking on Ben Yehuda.
Just like my family’s home back in the US, Israel has become my playground. It is where I can fall and get back up and keep playing. It is the place where, while some of the equipment may need repair, I believe we can all play side by side.
Yet, if we can’t find a way to appreciate those around us, how can we call upon a nation to do any better? We may expect it, out of the standards we set for our home, but our standards are rarely met and we are often left disappointed.
It is said that we are the chosen people. It is our responsibility to make Israel a home for people no matter where they come from. How can we be a light onto the nations if we aren’t a light unto ourselves?
It is easy to support Israel, but how can a country thrive if we do not all partake in helping it do so. While sitting back and watching as start-ups are sold and the headlines of entrepreneurs make way through the media, there is still work on the ground that is essential to both successes. We can only expect Israel to thrive if we do our part, if we take action.
I chose to intern at Jgive, a non-profit helping other non-profits, because Jgive allows us all to have a platform that expands the knowledge we have about Israel and Israeli giving. We must believe that our world deserves better, that Israel can be a light upon the nations and that we can achieve anything. Think of the places Israel will be once we all take it upon ourselves to ensure Israel is a home that begins with peace for everyone.