Today I would like to address a question I am asked when conversing with Israelis: “Why did you choose to leave America where your life was easy and move to Israel?”
Regardless of the countless number of times this question is posed, I am continuously caught off guard and unable to formulate a comprehensible response. Why would I leave America where apartments are cheaper, summers are cooler, and people are polite?
My response can not be expressed in one sentence, nor one paragraph. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate today’s blog post to answering this question.
September 11, 2015 was an important milestone for me, signifying three years since my immigration to Israel. I was presented with the perfect opportunity to reflect on my new life here.
My educational upbringing has embedded me with strong values and morals along with the capability to differentiate right from wrong. Before my immigration to Israel I was a naive, easy-going American. I believed that customer service was meant to provide service for the customer and I relied heavily on others for assistance. However, three years in Israel has changed my perspective and opened my eyes to the world around me. I have become politically aware, emotionally stronger, and more self-confident.
As Americans we feel that asking too many questions may be seen as impolite or even rude. However, experience in Israel has proved to me that asking questions is the key to understanding Israeli culture.
During my initial years in Israel, I would become frustrated after realizing that I had been misinformed. I would blame myself for not realizing the mistake sooner, become frustrated with the other side, and insist that the matter be dealt with immediately. Unfortunately, this method proved ineffective in solving the issue.
Gradually I realized the importance of not blaming others or feeling guilty for my mistakes, and instead began learning from my errors. To solve future misunderstandings, I would accept that a mistake had been made and approach the other side in a calm decisive manner.
My greatest accomplishment was my newfound inner strength and realization of the true meaning of independence: Nobody expects you to be perfect, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be confident in yourself.
During these past three years I have experienced a roller coaster of trying situations. Challenging landlords along with periods of tension in national security haven’t made for an easy ride. However, I have also accomplished much; I have worked for three different employers with no periods of unemployment, rented two apartments and independently paid all my expenses, and maintained weekly communication with my family in the United States.
Many of you are surely still anticipating an answer to my original question, so here is my response. My participation in a five month volunteer program prior to my immigration proved to me why Israel is my home. Bargaining at the local market, watching the sun set over the water, and lounging on my beach towel during the hot summer made me fall in love with the land. During the following six months in the United States I missed Israel and felt as if a piece of me was missing. Physically I was in the United States, but my heart was still in Israel. As a result, I decided to live in Israel for a trial period to determine if I could make it on my own. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I felt complete again and knew I had returned home.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and feel free to check out my website to learn more about my background, skills, and goals.
Meirav Ben Moshe