“Next year in Jerusalem.”

Originally featured on Arutz Sheva.

I used to say that automatically, without much thought. Sure, I had been dreaming of Israel since childhood, but the concept of living in Israel was still a nebulous thought, a reality that seemed far removed from this bastion of Western Civilization, the United States.

Fast forward to Pesach of 2013. I had solidified my plans to study in Jerusalem for 10 months, and I was basking in the mounting excitement of returning to my homeland. Up until that point, it had been another facet of my religion. That Pesach, the proclamation, “Next year in Jerusalem,” was real. I would, indeed, be in Jerusalem the following Pesach.

When I landed in Israel at the age of 19, I was naive and misguided; my Judaism, though considerably more entrenched in Israel than in America, still reeked of an American mindset. I was lucky; I had grown up surrounded by Israelis and accustomed to the Israeli approach. But my “religious” point of view was still significantly entrenched in Americanism. My concerns were economic; how could I make a good living in Israel? Maybe I could be in a Jewish community in the United States and it would achieve the same effect? I pondered these questions during my two and a half years in and around Jerusalem, and ultimately made the fateful decision to return to the United States… Continue Reading on Arutz Sheva

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