Why this decision?

10:35 PM 0 Comments

Since making this decision, I continue to ask myself "why." Not that I do not have an inherent knowledge that our decision is right. Of course I do. I would not make such a decision lightly. It is a hard choice, yet the right choice. But I continue to ask myself what is the reason—put into words—for making this decision? And it is the words that seem elusive, not the correctness of the decision. How do I rationalize the decision? How do I explain it to others?

I am sensitive to the family and friends that are saddened and hurt by our choice. For you, and for me, I am attempting to write out my reasons, and explore the decision in this blog. At the least, I envision this blog being a personal story about a family of five moving from New England to the Negev. At best, I hope it can be a place for Rachel and I to explore ourselves and share our journey with the people we love. Maybe we all can learn something about ourselves in the process.

Before figuring out the "why", here is the "what" of our decision.

Rachel and I are making Aliyah to Israel to a small Yishuv (community) in the Negev desert called Kfar Retamim. I look forward to writing about Retamim and how we chose that community above anywhere else. We intend to make the journey that so many generations before us have been unable to do. We shall carry the banner forward, and partake in the historical story that is currently unfolding in the land of Eretz Yisrael. This has been a decision brewing for many years. We are just now gathering the courage to put it into action. It is exciting. Exhilarating. Overwhelming. Scary. Etc. Etc. Etc. Yet through all of the emotions, I keep coming back to the yearning, and the comfort of the decision. Despite not knowing entirely what to expect when we land, I am confident that Rachel and I will be providing a wonderful and unique opportunity for our children to be a part of something special.

To be honest, Israel was not important to me growing up. It was a place far away of which all I knew was based upon some dusty-looking photographs on postcards when I was a child in Hebrew school. What could I possibly care about a piece of land so far away? Yet, our decision today does not seem foreign to me. It seems natural, and it seems like it has always been a part of me.

The first time that I can recall actually thinking seriously about Aliyah was in law school. Who brought up the first conversation about it? I do not remember. Perhaps Rachel, perhaps myself. It does not matter. I do, however, remember the sense of duty and obligation that I felt, and that continues to drive me.

Perhaps what I find  most striking of all is the confidence that I feel that Aliyah is right for my family. Rachel and I want our children to grow in an environment steeped in our traditions. To be a part of a history and a something grander than the sum of its parts. An opportunity that we know we will regret if we do not proceed.

From where does the confidence stem? For a person who still finds himself on a religious journey, confidence comes from somewhere deeper. It comes from the cumulative effects of the people and events that have shaped my life. Good, bad, or indifferent. Never have I been so happy with my lot in life, and the direction of my future. And for this, I thank everyone who has ever contributed to my life. Our decision is not in spite of anyone or anything that has happened to us. Rather, it is because we feel confident enough in our decisions and our ideals that we learned and developed through life interactions with family and friends.

And in these days when Israel and so many of its people (whether Israeli citizens or not) are hurting, it becomes ever more evident that our choice is right. The irrationality of it all brings me back to the question of why, and the difficult nature of finding the right words. The issue is that our choice is not one of the mind. It is not one  of reason and purpose. We are moving to Israel based upon our emotions and our connections that exist outside this world. There is no logic. Or, if there is, it does not motivate us the way that we are drawn towards the fulfillment of the dream of the generations.

While the decision is hard, the choice is not.

Thoughtfully written by: