You Don’t Get It

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When my cousins were in the army, my aunt refused to leave the country. For years, she made sure to stick around just in case something happened to them.

Aside from the level of devotion this demonstrated, which I can only be jealous of, it’s illustrative of something that few Charedi mothers have to deal with.

When my mother would get dressed during my childhood, she’d consider what underwear she was wearing so that if she was caught in a terror attack she’d remain modest on the way to the hospital.

These were the stories my mother would tell at the Shabbat table. Aside from the lovely experience of hearing your mother talk like that as a child, it’s illustrative of what few Americans have to deal with.

So when people blindly encourage Aliyah. When the wave flags in support of Israel. When they remain “staunch advocates for Israel,” hear this: you don’t get it.

My brother lost comrades from his military service. Go explain to someone that their friend got blown up because they were born in Israel, but if they were born in the US they’d be deliberating over which university to go to.

Even my parents, who chose to put themselves through that shit as adults, do not understand.

What it’s like to grow up in Israel as a child, surrounded by constant struggle and strife. Swapping the innocence of your formative of years of your life for trauma. In school, in the army, walking down the street.

And if you don’t get it yourself, if you haven’t done it firsthand, then you are treating others like cannon fodder. Pawns in your own plan.

The freedom, expansiveness, and opportunities available in North America and Europe are unparalleled, despite the many issues that are still prevalent there. They are a rare privilege that many people would cut off their right arm to experience.

To leave that because you are restless, want something more, want to belong, is your prerogative. Go add trauma to the gaping hole in your heart.

To make that other people’s reality, including your children’s, is outside your right.

Americans cheering on Israelis.

Fathers cheering on their sons.

Ba’al Teshuvas cheering on their FFB children.

Don’t push others to places you’ve never gone.

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