Israel at Sixty

Arielle - North Palm Beach, Florida
Entered on March 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

What Israel means to me is a home, a place where I feel belonged, a place of worship, and a place where I can get spiritually elevated. Most people see Israel today as a war zone, or an unpleasant place to be. Those are the people who do not know what it means to be spiritually connected or what it means to feel true love for one’s country or religion. I believe in the state of Israel.

As a young child my whole family, including my parents and grandparents, encouraged me to love Judaism. We went to shul every Shabbat, kept kosher, went to Hebrew school, celebrated every holiday to the fullest, and much more. Now that I am a young adult I am the one who decides to come to shul, I make sure that I am keeping kosher, I decide to come to Hebrew school, and I deicide on my own, to celebrate each holiday to the fullest possible. In other words, the training wheels are off, and now that my parents have steered me in the right direction I can continue on my own path that I decide but with the foundation that my parents laid for me.

The most important layer of this foundation that my parents created, is the love and belief in the state of Israel. When I was little we always traveled the long tedious journey to the country that I could call home. Now, as a young adult, I still call Israel my home. I would not say it is a second home, as others might, but I say that it is my first home. The reason being this: In Israel I have my religion, my extended family of Jewish people like me, a place where I feel like I truly belong. Israel is the home of my soul. Florida is my second home; I go to school here, my

friends are here, and I live in a house here. Florida is the home of my physical being.

Every other summer our family makes a trip to Israel. As soon as we land every passenger, young and old, begins to clap. I believe that the reason for this is that as soon as the wheels hit the ground in Israel there is an immediate connection to the country everyone can call home; this is especially true for me. The moment we step outside into the Israeli air I take a deep breath and take in my surroundings which seem to scream to me “Welcome home”. Israel is like my lifelong friend that I only see periodically but every time we see each other, we can pick up right where we left off without any gaps.

Israel is the place where I can truly be myself and express myself in the way that I

cannot in any other place in the world. Even when I am not there, my soul is. My soul longs for that pleasure that Israel gives me and when I give it to my soul, the “spiritual high” that it longs for is achieved and every trip to Israel makes the goal for the next high even stronger. Seeing Israel at sixty gives my soul a whole new level of elevation which only strengthens my love and passion for it. I believe in the state of Israel, this I believe.