I had a very interesting and meaningful Yom Kippur, thanks to the wonderful Chabad of RaleighÂ (special thanks to Rabbi Herman & his amazing wife). I was nervous about spending YK alone, but felt right at home in North Carolina. True, it was difficult being in services without my family, but I met a warm group of Israelis and Jews who made my fast easier (but not too easy â€“ itâ€™s not supposed to be too easy!) and more significant. Rabbi Hermanâ€™s sermon was inspiring and uplifting, and I hope this year I will be a better daughter, sister, friend, cousin, American, Israeli, Jew and all around person (startingâ€¦tomorrow).
Now that I have spent over 25 hours praying, and apologizing for all my sins and wrongdoings, itâ€™s time to take a moment to appreciate what Iâ€™m not sorry about. It seems as though the world has gone mad: being patriotic is a political statement. Loving where I am from is wrong! Iâ€™m sure if I were Italian and openly stated that I love Italy, Italian food, people, language and culture, that nobody would consider that a political statement. Iâ€™m not Italian; Iâ€™m Jewish, Iâ€™m Israeli, and Iâ€™m proud. And Iâ€™m not sorry:
For being a Jew
For being Israeli
For being a Zionist
For being proud
For loving the US and Israel, and everything they stand for
For believing in a Jewâ€™s right to build land in his or her own country
For not comprehending words like â€œsettlementâ€ or â€œoppressionâ€ the way you do
For expressing that Judaism and Israel are important parts of my life
For feeling a strong connection to my homeland
For getting excited every time I hear Hebrew outside of Israel
For instantly wanting to befriend, help, and invite other Jews and Israelis
For encouraging Jews to marry other Jews
(Yes, I just went there. Get over it)
For believing in Israelâ€™s right to exist
For believing in Israelâ€™s right, and duty, to defend herself
For having American, Israeli, Mexican, Italian, Irish, Lebanese, Indian, Australian, Venezuelan, Japanese, Moroccan, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, French and Palestinian friends
(Yes, I have very dear Palestinian friends)
For wanting to raise my children in a Jewish home
For feeling sad when people are Jew-ish
For feeling lucky to be a Jew
For having a â€œJewishÂ mother From the UES of Manhattanâ€ in me every once in a while
(Put your jacket on, itâ€™s freezing outside)
For being pro-Israel
For not being anti-anything
For not teaching or spreading hate
For seeing the good in people from all walks of life
For being an unapologetic Jew.
In case you are dumb, blind, ignorant, in denial, or any combination, what Iâ€™m saying is just what Tzipi HotovelyÂ from the Knesset has said time and time again: I am not willing to apologize for doing and standing up for whatâ€™s right.
Shabbat Shalom, and donâ€™t forget: tizremu!