Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just some thoughts on being a Jew in Israel

We live in a country that is always on the brink of war. This is not something I usually touch on this blog; I try to stay focused on homemaking, family life, and motherhood, and see no contradiction here. I feel it is especially important to try and create a secure, comfortable environment for those who need it the most, in a country which doesn't and cannot offer real stability.

Some days, we forget. Some days, reality hits me full in the face and I feel like I can brave anything. Some days, I feel like taking off and going to spend the rest of my life in Lapland. But I know that wherever we go, we will carry our destiny with us, and there wasn't, isn't and never will be a place in the world where Jews would be immune to persecution.

Sometimes I feel like a coward. I can understand those who have made different choices, who chose to stop being what they are rather than suffer the risk of death. But there was also divine promise given that some of us will always keep. What else is left to us? We have shouted ourselves hoarse talking of our innocence, trying to make the world love us, but it won't do. 

I know that our place is here, in these ancient hills that have been the home of my people so long ago. Here, even the simplest, most ordinary acts are filled with meaning. Our whole life, our very being is a statement. Here, every tree and every boulder is our friend. If we run we are lost, so we must stand firm, vouchsafing our right to live in the country of our fathers.

Who must we defend ourselves against? The whole world and some, it seems, enemies within and without. So sometimes I might sink into dreams of a different, easier life, a different destiny, that would allow me to be free and safe and pursue whatever makes me easiest and most comfortable. But like all my people, I was created for a different calling.

Nevertheless, my life is essentially the same as the life of anyone, anywhere; my days start in the morning, end at night, and contain work, leisure, meals, laughter, tears, diaper changing, working in the garden, joy and sorrow, love and anger. And I hope that someone, somewhere, somehow through reading this blog, has gotten a better glimpse of what it's like to be us. Politics set aside, we all want essentially the same thing - to live quietly, to keep our children safe, and to be able to guess with a fair dose of certainty what next day will bring. 

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian so I imagine it will mean little to you but I want to say G -d is with you. And you even have the most important book of all time that says so!! Maybe a tiny bit of encouragement , from me. Your history and future all written out before you!! And the excitement (and fear) of how you will be used to fulfill it.

Rachel said...

Aw....that's why I love your blog. Where I live, Jewish people are like a myth.....you know they exist somewhere, but you don't actually know any. I think I've seen one Jewish person in my entire my life. Reading your blog has been a fascinating glimpse into another culture. Everyone, regardless of religious beliefs, should be able to live safely and freely in their own home and country. I hope you and your family stay safe and are able to live in freedom as you choose. And if you ever do decide to leave Israel, I would be happy to call you my neighbor =)

Rebekah said...

Dear Mrs. T,

These are the times when the words of the Torah and the Prophets, the Word of G-d, can be a real comfort to us.

No weapon formed against the people of Israel can prosper. Every mouth that speaks against her God will destroy. May you be stilled in your soul with shalom and never cease to trust in hashem. Those who trust in haShem are like Mount Zion which cannot be moved be abides forever.

If haShem had not been on the side of Israel, she would have destroyed. But He is your G-d to protect and preserve forever.

Much love!

The Stay at Home Wifey said...

I just wanted to say how much I have learned from reading your wonderful blog. While we may come from different cultures and belief differently we are actually coming from very similar viewpoints. We both want to live a life that is pleasing to our Creator. We seek Him to guide us in being a keeper at home and raising the blessings He gives to us. Knowing you through your blog has enriched that experience for me. Please do keep on keeping on.

Mama Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us. Your peace and faith come through beautifully-- it's so refreshing to hear!

I really like how you talk about your calling and that of your people. It's a great reminder for me. None of us should run from our challenges and trials. We should face them courageously, and with God's help, we can find peace and joy in our lives, wherever we are and whatever we face.

Thank you for inspiring me today. Love and blessings to you!

Sara said...

How do you feel about the Palestinian/Isreali conflict?

Kim said...

Amen.
Above all else that is what mothers especially want. I am going through a painful seperation from a verbally abusive man, but I want the same as you for my child. Our situations are very differnet but yet we have this in common. Keep writing, keep loving your family. God Bless.

Kim

Muriel said...

I am a French reader of your blog and I am so sad about what happened to those 3 children and this man in Toulouse.
The murderer is dead now and we will never know why he really choose to take those innocent lives...
I hope one day Israel will live in peace !

Liora said...

Anna--this is a very beautiful post and should be published everywhere. You touch upon the basic plight of the Jewish human condition while illuminating why we become religious; everything from eating to going to the bathroom has prayer, holiness, purpose in it. You correctly observe that every plant and rock in Israel is holy...anyways, best of luck to you and your family and be proud of being a mother in Israel! It is the mothers of Israel who add more links to the chain and who keep the links strong and tied together! Yasar Koach!

--Liora

Anonymous said...

Anna--this is a very beautiful post and should be published everywhere. You touch upon the basic plight of the Jewish human condition while illuminating why we become religious; everything from eating to going to the bathroom has prayer, holiness, purpose in it. You correctly observe that every plant and rock in Israel is holy...anyways, best of luck to you and your family and be proud of being a mother in Israel! It is the mothers of Israel who add more links to the chain and who keep the links strong and tied together! Yasar Koach!

--Liora S.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Sara, I refer to it as the Jewish/Arab conflict.

Anonymous said...

I am a finnish woman, who enjoys reading your blog. Reading your blog post today with the reference of Lapland in there reminded me that I should not take for granted the peace and safety that I get to enjoy in my country. But I can tell you that there are many people in Finland praying for peace in Israel. In grocery store I like to choose israelian products for support. Have a safe and blessed sabbath!
mrs. Hanna K.

Ganeida said...

As a Christian the Jews have a special place in my heart. Out of Israel came the messiah & none of the promises given to Israel by God have ever been rescinded because God is not fickle. What He has promised for Israel & the Jewish people He will bring to fruition. Bless You & all who shelter under your roof.

Rose said...

One of the greatest strengths of your blog Anna is your presentation to us of living a daily life as a Jew in Israel. The occasional reaching out and touching on wider events (such as this) are important, very important, but the mainspring is day to day life as we all live it -- everywhere.

I'm feeling sad yet again about persecution, the events in France are another reminder.

Be strong Anna dear, one day one day surely, peace must come.

Anonymous said...

You could come live in New York. There are actually more Jews in the NYC metro area than there are in Israel and no-one is persecuting them. When there are crimes in the Orthodox Jewish communities they are always committed by a Jew against his own people. There is public support from everyone, Jew and non-Jew, for the victim. New York is a good and safe place to be a Jew.

Miriam

Mrs. Anna T said...

Hanna, I had no idea israeli products are even sold in Finland. I'm sure I never saw any Finnish products here!

Miriam, I'm afraid you are missing out the whole point of my post. As to the technical details: no, we could not come and live in NY as residence permits are not automatically given in the US. Furthermore, at one point there were more Jews in Germany than in Israel, and no one was persecuting them - until one day that changed.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping I was missing the whole point of your post, because I found it incredibly self-pitying. I had hoped you were being objective rather than wallowing in a persecution complex. It seems I was mistaken.

As to immigrating to the US, it is no more difficult than immigrating to anywhere else, difficult as that may be. You expressed a desire to live where you would be free from persecution.

I am not Jewish, I am Roman Catholic. My mother and her 6 brothers and sisters ended up in a concentration camp because my grandparents turned their house in France into a safehouse to sneak Jews out of the country during WWII. They were caught by the SS. The Jews they were sheltering escaped. My grandfather was executed. You may be persecuted, but you are also protected by people who do not share your faith. Your post seems ungrateful to those who made so many sacrifices to save "your people."

Miriam

Anonymous said...

My husband is Palestinian, it's rude on your part not to even to call the conflict what it is.

Marie

Mrs. Anna T said...

Miriam, the point of my post was this: for centuries, Jews have gone to great lengths to avoid being persecuted. They fled from country to country, outwardly and sometimes inwardly giving up on their identity. Nothing helped, for even assimilated half-blood Jews were sought after to be murdered during WWII. So, the answer is not to run from our destiny, even though it may be more complicated that that of other peoples.

Marie, your comment is precisely the reason why I usually try to stay well away from such topics on this blog. I leave it for my husband to discuss.

Joluise said...

Even though I am Christian, my fathers family immigrated from Germany in the 1850s along with many other families to start a new life in Australia and to escape religious intolerances. I often wonder what would have happened to them if they had not. They were jewish.

Anonymous said...

The problem, Anna, is that, while you have been very discreet about where in Israel you live, it is clear that you live in what most of the world knows as the Occupied Territories. No amount of self-mythologising will change the fact that some Orthodox Israelis claim to want nothing more than peace, but in fact they want peace on land that does not belong to them. Israel--modern Israel--has borders, and Haredi settlements that seek to encroach on territory containing other human beings who have a right to be there. I'm sorry--I genuinely don't want to be unkind, as you are clearly a fine, intelligent woman, and a lover of peace. But this disingenuousness does not suit you.

The things on top of this that I could honestly never fathom is that Haredi refuse to serve in the Israeli armed forces--refuse to serve and protect the country that makes their homes possible. I'm sure there's some logic behind that, but it escapes me.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon, newsflash: the *Arab* world knows ALL of Israel as "occupied territories".

"but in fact they want peace on land that does not belong to them"... well, here I suppose we come to a dead end, because the Bible says it's ours, and you either believe in the Bible or you don't.

Oh, and clearly you've got your terms confused because only a very very VERY small portion of the settlements is Haredi. Most of them are best defined as Modern Orthodox, and not only do the men serve in the army, they serve in far larger numbers and more zealously than some wishy-washy inhabitants of the Tel Aviv bubble, who love Arabs so much but would never want to live across the street from them.

Federica said...

Anna, I have loved and enjoyed reading your blog throughout the years, from when you were a single woman, to the birth of your children, to your homemaking tips, to when you share your stories about your home, your beautiful country, etc...up until now.

I have a strong and profound love for the country of Israel and its people, I have lived there for extended periods of time, some of my closest friends live there and I still go back from time to time, with pleasure. I have studied the economics, the politics, the language, and while I am by no means an expert, I have and always will defend the right of Israel to exist and to thrive, as it is a truly exceptional country. I have unfortunately also experienced the loss of a dear friend, mother of 4, who one day left her house, boarded a bus, and never came back because some criminal blew himself up.

Nonetheless, on two points we disagree - I actually agree with the anon commenter who said that modern Israel has defined borders, and I hope that, one day, Israelis will be able to live alongside their neighbours in peace. It's hard with those neighbours, sure, but certainly, living outside the borders of the country does not foster cooperation and peacemaking in my opinion (nor do terrorist attacks, which are always to be condemned and persecuted!).

Secondly, I am sorry, but "because the Bible says so" is an argument that should have NO BEARING on politics - beliefs are private and personal in my opinion, but the reason we are in this predicament and many more wars throughout the war is because people base their political actions on religious beliefs, and they all think they are right and everyone else is wrong. I say this as a believer, but until there are people who, in politics and international relations, insist on saying "because the Bible says so" or "the Quran says so", or "the flying spaghetti monster says so", and everyone else is wrong, there will be no end to wars.

So, I wish you and your family all the best, and that you may be safe and happy, but I check out of your blog now.

Mrs. Anna T said...

"I am sorry, but "because the Bible says so" is an argument that should have NO BEARING on politics."

In that case, we should all pack up our stuff and go wherever we came from, because the only REAL reason for Jews to live here is because the Bible says so. All the blah blah about "hystorical connection" etc is only embellishment.

SJ said...

You know what's mysterious? Arabs live all over Israel, and prosper. And yet no Jews live in any Arab country. Hmm . . . why could this be?

I think it's because Arabs expelled the last of the Jews, Jews whom they had allowed to live only as second-class citizens.

Anna lives where she lives. No one promised Arabs a Jew-free world, not in Gaza or anywhere else.

Rebekah said...

The Jewish people have had little peace or safety for the last two thousand years. We shouldn't ever judge them or tell them how much they owe us.

There are so many Palestinians who live happily and prosperously in Israel, enjoying rights and serving in the Knesset, even. They are not even forced sing the national anthem if they chose not too.

If the terrorists would put down their guns, there would be no more war, no more refugees, no more trouble. But if the state of Israel put down her arms, there would be no more Israel.

A nation has the right to defend themselves against people who swear to tear them down and turn them into lampshades, again. It's not just a few refugees. It's twelve powerful states who are the sworn enemies and whose goal is annihilate them. The Jewish people are in great danger. Missiles are pointed at Israel every day.

When Jewish soldiers are murdered, nobody cares. A family, with the baby, stabbed in the heart, nobody cares. An Orthodox woman, permanently in a coma with a young child who has to live such a mother because of terrorist bombs. Nobody care. Only Israel has no right to defend the women and children?

Let's pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

A christian who loves the Jewish people said...

Israel is NOT occupied territory. It does not and belong to anyone but the Israelites. It was given to them by God. It is their promised land the land that God promised to Abraham and to say otherwise is to go against Scripture and God. Just a reminder to any one to feels it necessary to speak out against the Jews. God's promise to Abraham. "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Anonymous said...

The land that is Israel and Palestine belongs to the Jews, it was given to them by God and the Jews are not the occupiers.

Katy said...

"Because the Bible says so" isn't a good reason. Wait, wait, I am on your side Anna. The real reason is "because God said so". And yes, in politics, that's a very fine reason. It always has been and and it always will be. The Bible records the words of our Creator. So, in essence "the Bible says so" really is a good reason because it's the physical recording of the real reason, His words spoken.

But, if you don't believe in anything the Bible says, you wouldn't agree that it's an acceptable reason. That's a monumental difference in view point there that can never be overcome unless the unbelieving party changes their minds and beliefs.

another christian who loves God's chosen people said...

The children of Israel (Jacob son of Isaac promised son of Abraham) are not the ones who are the occupiers. They are living in only part of the land promised to them by God and someday it will be returned to them by God.

Margaret Mary Myers said...

I found your post enlightening and positive. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for Anna here because as soon as she mentions anything about the situation in her country and what happens there on a daily basis then lots of different views are shoved down her throat by others. This wouldnt happen to anyone else except a Jew living in Isreal! Why is it such a big problem for Anna to speak freely about how she feels? Of course many people dont agree with why the Jewish people should be living in Isreal and others can go on for hours about the Jewish/Arab conflict. That wasnt the point of her post! A woman should be allowed to speak her mind on her own blog regardless.

Well done to you Anna for talking about it. I pray for many blessings on you and your country.

-J

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, why do you refer to it Jewish/Arab and not Jewish/Muslim conflict? The man in the article was French of Algerian origin, but was Muslim. It seems like Muslim nations all over the globe are eager to support the destruction of Israel, though I do acknowledge that the European persecutions of the last century were not perpetuated by the Muslims. Is it understood to be traced back to the promised son Issac and the son of the handmaid, Ishmael? That angle is rarely talked about here in America. Im genuinely curious. I spent some time studying in Israel but because of our own terrorist activities (I was there during the 9/11 attacks), I didn't get nearly the time I wanted to try and understand the people.

Betsy

Mrs. Anna T said...

Betsy, I believe you are correct in this instant - I do have some Christian Arab friends here in Israel who would not at all appreciate being heaped together with the Muslim agenda. However, Jewish sources state is a spiritual law that Esau (the Western world, our sages interprete) hates Jacob just as Ishmael (the Muslim world) hates Isaac.

Anonymous said...

As a christian and german I do believe bible prophecy and I totally agree with Anna that there is no place to hide for jews, that they have a destiny that is completely different from any other ethnicity in the world. Satan will always be after Gods people, may it be bible believing christians or jews.

For those who wrote negative comments, does anybody realize how small Israel is in space? It is only a small fraction of the state of Texas. Does it not surprise you that anybody would make such a fuss over such a tiny country? It is irrational and just pure hatred and meanness that Arabs continue to fight for this small piece of land. I am telling you the true reason for all this bloodshed is a supernatural one. It is eventually the devil who upsets people against Israel.

Naomi said...

Anna, thank you for sharing from your heart. I know you have had much encouragement so far, but I want to speak again.

Because the Bible said so is a fine answer, and God knows it. Bravo to the commenter who reminds us all of God's promise to bless Israel, those who bless her, and curse those who curse her.

As another commenter said, keep on keeping on, because God will bring to fruition what he has promised your people. It has never been the best answer to run from our problems. This you know, and are setting an example of. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you.

This is your blog, and you have all the right in the world to pour your heart out on it, and share it with the world if you so desire. Those who so vehemently disagree with you will see the truth of your words one day.

Bless you dear woman!

- yet another Christian woman who loves Israel