These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Big Questions

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Jackie F.

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I wrote this upon exploring the Israeli narrative with Perspectives Israel:

I made aliyah 2.5 years ago. Someday (G-d willing) I will be a mom – a mom to sabras. It will be my turn to directly shape the next generation of Israel.

What will I say when they ask about the Separation Barrier? What will I say when they ask about a 1 or 2 state solution? What will I say when they ask me to recall my thoughts on the disengagement to Gaza and what happened to the former residents of Gush Katif? What will I say when they ask me how I felt about the Kasam rockets that fell on Sderot? What will I say when they try to understand why we need a fortified room built into our home and to know where a nearby bomb shelter is? What will I say about the people of Gaza and the West Bank and the concrete slabs separating us? What will I say about traveling in Gush Etzion?

Will my children be safe? Will my children have a stronger connection to their Judaism because I chose to make aliyah when I was 25? Will the violence of my nation’s country jade me? Will there always be a Jewish and democratic state? Will there continue to be mistrust and hate and war? Will I always have hope for a better future? For peace? Will I be as strong and hopeful as the voices I heard on my Perspectives Israel trip in March 2012?

How will I raise my children to understand nuance? How will I raise my children to keep opening their hearts in the face of adversity? To be strong? To have faith? How will I be a contributing member of society and help shape Israel – the one and only Jewish state, that I happen to love – for a better future?

All of these thoughts whirl in my mind as I walk home from Havdalah at shul starting my next week after a Perspectives Israel trip and a lovely Shabbat with my love in his childhood neighborhood of Gilo -overlooking Bethlehem. Contradictions, hopes, fears, and harsh realities hit me as I grapple with my recent experiences. Experiences that I hope will only be another important step along my journey of becoming an educated, impactful citizen of Israel.

-Jackie Frankel, Pardes Year Program 2011-2012