Israel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 6, 2008
Israel. The word sends sparks of emotion through my body. This one word holds a unique and intense significance like no other. The confluence of these six letters form a place. A place many call home.

The history of the Jewish people is full of complexity. They have experienced discrimination and anti-Semitism, constantly treated as strangers even in their own land. Although there are times when we feel assimilated and comfortable, we are still considered outsiders.

Israel is an important part of the Jewish people. It gives us something we can call our own. A place we can rely on, a land for us. A place that holds the roots of the Jewish people, that maintains our traditions and most of all, our identity. Israel is a ­necessity to the Jewish people. The ­security of having a home country is ­extremely important.

A Jewish homeland would have been crucial during World War II. At the beginning of the war, Germany wanted to deport all Jewish people. Unfortunately, they were not welcome in any country. Even the United States turned their backs. And so the Jewish people had no place to go. Perhaps if we had had a state of our own, more Jews would have survived. Although Israel would have helped the Jewish people in the past, it is also vital for our future.

As a girl growing up in a modern orthodox Jewish community, attending a yeshiva day school, I have learned about Israel and the history of my people all my life. Unlike the history of America, or other countries, the history of the Jewish people is my personal history and an important part of my past. The events I learn about every day are experiences that my ancestors survived.

Visiting Israel is not simply a vacation, or a tourist destination, but a place where history comes to life. Traveling through Israel is like putting pieces of the puzzle together. It is connecting parts of our past, present, and future to complete a larger picture. It transforms textbook facts from the abstract into reality, appreciation, and understanding.

I visited Israel in 2003, during the holiday of Sukkot. While there, my family celebrated my Bat Mitzvah and my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah. Not knowing when we would have the chance to return, my parents wanted to make this a memorable experience for us all.

Israel, for me, is all about experiences. I still remember davening at the Western Wall, floating in the Dead Sea, hiking at the cascading waterfalls of Ein Gedi, ­tubing down the Kineret, and walking on the cobblestone streets of Tzfat. However, there is one memory that will be ingrained in my mind forever: young soldiers carrying guns throughout Israel. Imagine walking into a restaurant to encounter armed guards on patrol. The citizens acted as if this was an everyday occurrence. I soon realized that in Israel, it is.

The time I spent in Israel was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. Although my visit was incredible, I have only begun to touch upon a larger concept. To me, Israel is like a box containing many secrets just waiting to be unleashed. It is a never-ending path of mysteries, a place full of surprises. I only peeked and received a small glimpse of the true spirit of Israel.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

matryoshkadoll97 said...
Apr. 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm

i loved this piece (:

the negative comments irk me though :P

Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 18, 2009 at 5:46 pm
Yeah, I bet it would be nice to have a land to call your own, only it's not your own, because the Palestinians were living there first. "Israel" belongs to the Palestinians and if the Israelis want to live there, then they should do it in peace, perhaps without killing the original citizens and allowing them to have a life. They need to give the Palestinians rights. I'm not saying I'm against Jews, so don't get me wrong. But Israel belongs to the Palestinians. It is... (more »)
Ashley Leigh said...
May 1, 2009 at 4:00 am
I don't support Israel.
bat hamelechyaveh said...
Oct. 30, 2008 at 3:17 am
Beautiful, I am Christian, and all through the Bible the Jewish homeland is sooo important, the last battle ever fought will even be fought there. I know a family who recently sold everything and packed up and moved to Israel. (did you know the word Israel means "He who wrestls with God"?) I get emails from them too. they were just in Jerusalem for Sukkot where they met many familys who came only for the feast. One of the girls was crying when they left, she said "I'm so glad we... (more »)
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