Two Hearths, One Heart

We are getting organized, yet again, for a long and temporary move to our other home. It’s in Israel. The routine stuff like the packing is, by now, pretty easy.  It’s the feeling that we’re leaving home, when in fact we’re  going home, that’s so wrenching.  We leave family behind. Yet we go to family.  And when we leave there for here in New Jersey, the feeling is the same.  Wrenching.  A bit schizophrenic.  Actually, more than a bit.

The logistics are maybe no brainers. We put our newspapers on vacation holds in both countries. Here it’s our love/hate relationship with the New York Times. There it’s our love/hate relationship with Haaretz, especially Gideon Levi. We’ve actually canceled the Times numerous times and then, meekly, resumed our subscription. Haaretz is now out of the picture completely since I feel that, if they were published anywhere outside of Israel I’d be writing scathing letters to them just about daily.  Who has time for that? So now we’re with the Jerusalem Post, preferring it, but not always so confident that we’ve made the right decision.

We stop the mail, put the alarm on and off we go. The problem is that there’s always something going on in each of our countries. Somebody needs us for something. Or we need somebody for something. Or we’re worried about someone (always!). Someone is sick or someone is starting the army. We all love the feeling of being safe at home. But what if, like us, home is a pair and they’re about 6,000 miles apart?

And how did we get into this position anyway?

Our first extended stay in Israel was a 14 month consulting job for my husband which started in March of 1973. Which meant:  our family of six, plus ancient canine companion, lived in Jerusalem during the Yom Kippur War.  No one is ever prepared to be a civilian during a war but we were unharmed and perfectly safe while friends from the States nudged us to come back to New Jersey. I don’t recommend experiencing war but  we never considered leaving and our shared fears and prayers cemented our relationship with Israel.  Same with our kids.  We are, none of us, only Americans.

It makes things tricky.  Are we the people who are accused of putting America’s needs AFTER Israel’s? Yeah. Probably. We’re on David’s team and, luckily, America is usually on that same team. As to the hypothetical, what would you do if Israel were at war with America?: The question is ridiculous. It won’t happen. Disagreements yes. Arguments yes. But, we good guys are all on the same page and, God willing, we always will be.

So, twenty years ago, we both retired young and kept our New Jersey home simultaneously with setting up a home on Rehov Chana Senesh in Herzliya.  In Israel our neighbors call us the Americans (although we are only a couple of generations out of the shtetls near Bialystok, we are Yankees to them).  In America I don’t know what they call us.  Probably crazy!

And for these past twenty years we’ve been shlepping back and forth so often that we know the flight crews…….and they know us.  And now we do it again.  It would be impossible for us to pick a country.  Hence, we don’t. We love them both and they are both inhabited by lots of people we love very very much.

Shalom to all as we approach Independence Day in the land that we love and fly off to the land that we love!

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of two. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.