Why Would Anyone Move to Israel?

So this post is for everyone who wants to know why I’m going to Israel and for how long. I get asked this question a lot. I’m moving to Israel because I love Israel, and feel I must be there. I’m going because many experiences in my life have prepared me: teaching Dr. King’s writing about nonviolence, living in diverse places (most of them slums), and making peace in my own heart despite intense provocation.

I’m going because I’m a descendent of Holocaust survivors and refugees. I’m going because a romance ended and I need to heal. I’m going because I’ve always had past-life memories, and a feeling of connection to the Divine, and my soul has lived in Israel before, so I’m going home. I love America and I feel at home here, too. Most of my decision has been made in my unconscious… on a level that doesn’t crunch numbers and analyze facts.

Do I hope I can find a place to live? make a home in a country composed largely of desert? A place that is routinely attacked, and about which much grotesque and untrue propaganda is written? Yes. Do I have an Israeli address? No. Do I even have my bags packed? No.

Do I even know exactly what I’ll be bringing? Not yet, though I’m leaving VERY soon. I’m selling and/or giving away almost everything I own, and will try to store and/or ship a small amount more, but my focus has gone into finishing the best draft of my novel and sending it to the brilliant poet who also happens to be my literary agent. The novel feels “right” on an earthly level, and this novel has always felt right in other ways.

The journey feels “right” in other ways, too. Another way to put this, is to say that I’m going to Israel because I love poetry and I love love. Poetry and love are the only things that really make sense to me. Feel free to share this post if you want, because every sensible person on earth is probably wondering why Israelis live in Israel. To be perfectly honest, how much of our lives can we plan, even when we try? Here’s Roethke’s brilliant poem, “The Waking.”

The Waking by Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Theodore Roethke, “The Waking” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. Copyright 1953 by Theodore Roethke. Used by permission of Doubleday, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Doubleday, 1961)


About the Author
Sari Friedman's short stories appear in the Beloit Fiction Journal, Blue Lake Review, So It Goes, Satirist, Daily Freier, Ilanot Review, Huffpo Canada etc. The first chapter of her (not yet published) novel appears in the November 2020 "Woven Tale Press."
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