One of the greatest obligations we Jews have is to dwell in our homeland, Eretz Yisrael. Fulfilling this duty bring privilege. Yet, it’s costly to answer this calling.
In fifty essays, On Golden Limestone glimpses the Israeli people, their communication, their day-to-day goings on, and their momentous occasions. Living in Israel means embracing multiculturalism, joining in an array of lifecycle events, and easing up on relationship strictures. Although immigrants bring foreign particularities to this place of sand and sun, Israel pours an even greater depth of character into her newcomers. It remains important, in this unique quarter, to differentiate among: modes of gesturing, ways of bargaining, and avenues for seeking children’s spouses. Few geographies proffer enormity per parking tickets, dentists, or ethnic violence, concurrent with ascribing significance to aureate sunsets.
I used to harbor affection for all things blue and green. My world was one of ultramarine and cobalt, of viridian and cerulean. After making aliyah, I developed a new aesthetic. Now, umbers and siennas, cadmiums and ochres stir me. Where once woodlands and carpet-like valleys moved me to develop free verse or to reach for literal canvas, these days, sandy hilltops and burnt-looking wadis provoke me to write and to paint.
It is difficult to know whether I consciously changed to acclimate to my external surroundings or whether my external surroundings, without invitation from me, caused my metamorphosis. I dreamed of living in The Holy Land, but never thought that my desire would become actualized in my lifetime. I was a secular academic whose vision had been limited to two children and to tenure at some state university.
We often get bogged down with assumptions about what we ought to receive in our relationships with people and with G-d. In learning how to weave together needs of others with our own, and in learning how to accept, rather than to fight against, the measures that G-d gives us, we grow personally, parentally, and professionally. We become happier, too.