Chronicles from Home

Part  4

"To Be An Immigrant In Our Land"

September 29, 2003

How sweet it is to be an immigrant in our Land!

The feeling to become a member of the family is overwhelming.  Yes, I am so proud to be counted as a citizen, so honored to learn with dozens of others how to speak, to understand, and to feel Eretz Israel.

Although we had our goals set, we needed a method.  Therefore we found our way, Rich and I, to an Ulpan.  I don't have the ambition to describe the place!  It is beyond imagination!  Everything is old, half broken and out of time.  And I will spare you the state of the bathrooms.  Let us just say that after two days, I found out that the area that seemed to have been an archeological find was actually the bathroom.

So, what is it with this country that makes us so happy when we would have been so upset somewhere else?  The only reasonable answer for me is that every single object here shares a role in the history of the Jewish People.

I have no need to close my eyes when, sitting at a table, careful not to get nicked by few staples sticking out of it, hearing through the opened door the voices of grown-ups singing Hebrew verbs with every possible accent on earth, to see others Jews at another time trying with the same motivation and inspiration to learn the basics of their new language.

I can see each one of them.

The pioneers came in the twenties from Eastern Europe with nothing but absolute faith in the Land or HaShem.  It was depending on who they were.  Their goal was to fight over the swamps, the malaria, the drought.  The pioneers won.

The refugees came walking, hiding, bribing, or simply trying to escape the trap set by the most civilized country in Europe.  The refugees' goal was to make it to Palestine, against all odds, which included the Nazis, the British, the Arabs and the self-conscious world.  The refugees won.

After them, the Holocaust Survivors came, with one thing in mind.  To leave Europe, its blooded saturated soil, its air filled with ashes, its sorrow, its anguish and its despair.  They needed to believe again, in themselves, in humanity, in the Jewish People.  The Survivors won.

This land is also fill with those who came from Arabic countries to flee tyranny.  They came on their own and on historic operations such as "Magic Carpet"and "Wings of Eagles".  Those Jews won, too.

And those who were not even in their 20s who joined the Palmach, the Hagganah, the Giladi Brigades, those who gave their youth and lives to create this miracle, the rebirth of an antique nation after 2000 years of exile.  They all won.

And those who came from the ghettos to learn how to plow and to hold a weapon at the same time, how to walk straight again, they also won.

Indeed, we don't feel lonely here, sitting on our broken chairs, learning our Hebrew verbs, because it is our turn, now.  We will all do our share, whoever we are, wherever we are, to insure the survival of the State of Israel, to build a better world, to become the Light of the Nations.
And we will win.

Sara Brownstein


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