While yesterday’s portion opened with instructions regarding taking captives during wartime, the first two words of the parashah, “Ki Tetze” or “When you go out…” captured my attention for most of Shabbat. After a year of commuting, of temporary housing in a lovely apartment hotel in Jerusalem, of having my “southern office” at the corner table at Grand Café on Derekh Bet Lekhem and Reuven, we finally celebrated our last Shabbat in the Lakeview Neighborhood. We were on the cusp of a different kind of going out: leaving our home in America to make a new home in Israel.
Sitting on the plane on our way to New York, I think about all the wonderful blessings I received during these forty-six years of life in the US, about the people who influenced me up to this point in my journeys, about the values I acquired growing up here and being an adult here. There are those who move to a new country because they are running away from something. That is not our case. I lived a life of nearly limitless blessing in suburban Chicago, New York, Atlanta and then in the City of Chicago. The debts of gratitude I owe to so many are too great to list here.
Among the many things I learned in America, I was introduced to…
The value of Democracy and of the First Amendment;
My faith, in the free environment that results from separating Church and State;
The importance of and passion for learning; as well as,
The centrality and challenge of equality and pluralism;
…just to name a few.
I was privileged to learn these values from so many incredible teachers, from Miss Habecost, my first grade teacher at The Willowbrook School, to my teachers at Columbia University and The Jewish Theological Seminary. To try and list all those who helped me along my Jewish journey would be virtually impossible. To all of you, thank you.
These chapters of life, making a living in the United States, now come to a close.
For us, Aliyah is about running to something: The State, the People and the Land of Israel, the greatest experiment in the modern history of the Jewish People. Making Aliyah comes as the result of years of experiences and multitudes of people influencing us. So this morning, as we get ready to board the plane. We are going out, out to a new chapter, a new adventure in Israel.
Thanks to our families for supporting our decision.
L’hitraot to our friends in North America – come visit us soon.
And to all our friends in Israel, from the shlichim we were so blessed to work with and learn from to the friends we have made during our longer stays – I simply say,
See you in about 14 hours!