Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Being a Jew in America right now is somewhat unsettling.
Okay, that's a major understatement.
Being a Jew with some sense of an impending geula is like walking around in weird, warped time, feeling that something big is coming, but not knowing exactly what or when. It's like peering through sludge with a twist of surreality.
It's hard to make plans when you don't know if you're going to be forced to leave your home on short notice in a matter of months or whether you're going to be able to live out the rest of your (hopefully limited) years in America in relative stability.
It's not knowing whether anything material that you have will still be with you in a year. It's watching what you saved for your children's education and for your retirement evaporate before your eyes. Talk about your fleeting transience. Hevel havalim indeed.
It's hearing yourself telling your first born, currently studying in Israel, that she's young and should think seriously about just starting her life in Israel because there's no future here. I said it. I believe it. But, on some level, I can't believe I actually said it.
On the economic front, it's reading lists of stores that are closing. Watching banks close, merge and morph. Wondering how to plan when even cash may be worthless soon. Watching the daily Dow Jones report awash in red. Wondering how all this is happening while gas prices are plummeting. Yesterday, I bought gas for $1.94. It's all just too weird to believe.
On the spiritual front, it's thinking about what it must have felt like in Egypt during the plagues. It's hearing and reading a lot more "Moshiach-talk" than ever before. It's saying over and over, "Hashem runs the world," because that's the only thing that makes any sense. It's appreciating that, for today, we have food, we have shelter, we have health (and health insurance), and, even though I haven't been able to find work in nearly 6 months, we have an income from my husband's job. So what's to worry about? Hashem runs the world.
On the emotional front, it's wondering how to take care of your teenage daughter, how to explain to her that she may not get to finish high school in the same stable world as her grandparents, parents and sister did. It's trying to prepare for who knows what exactly while trying to normalize life for her. It's convincing your friends with geula-opia that you are, most certainly, not nuts. It's wanting to slap people you care about, just to wake them up from their rationalizations and their slumber. It's asking everyone you love to get a passport. It's knowing that people might be rolling their eyes at your single-mindedness because it's just so important to make people notice what's going on.
There is also, without a doubt, a measure of joy and glee in my heart because maybe, maybe what lies inside of all of this conundrum-ian existence is that I get to live in Israel that much sooner.
A girl can dream.
Posted by Rivkah Lambert Adler at 1:03 AM