Mar 1, 2021 By Dar Nadler Category: Travel,
Moving alone to the place that feels most like home - Israel
Two years ago, I left home. The Homeland. I landed to a new reality not even remotely alike the one I came from. I started a new and exciting job and was fully invested in my career leap and the Jewish people of course. Sharing my life in public is not my comfort zone, but as they say “nothing great ever comes from comfort zones” so...
In the past two years not only have I realized that my story matters, but I realized that I am “telling” it every single day with my words, actions and interactions. It almost tells itself. It’s a story about making a bold (or perhaps foolish) decision of relocating as a single woman in her late 30’s with nothing but her brilliant dog by her side and JNF on her mind.
This is where I’m sharing in public that I came here alone, by myself, not that conventional, I guess. In a foreign country. With a different language. In a different culture. My god how different the culture is. As an Israeli, you grow up thinking that Israel is a lot like America. Well, no, not really. Not at all. And not only that I’m here solo, I’m also experiencing for the first time what it’s like to be a minority. Minority state of mind if a tough one to adjust to, coming from the exact and extreme opposite. Who knew how intimidating and palpable is the sense of being a minority. Most people here are not Jews if you can believe it. They are not Arabs either. The bus driver isn’t Jewish, and neither is the cashier in any store. And although it sounds like stating the obvious, try telling that to my brain that still doesn’t comprehend how can there be cars on the roads on Yom Kippur, who allowed that?
There is SO much and SO many of everything here. The place is gigantic. The feeling is both empowering and paralyzing at the same time. Adrenaline and cortisol are celebrating in my body at the same time, true co-existence. The sense of conquest is often being replaced with the sense of alienation and vise versa. Some days I feel like I’m at the exact point that I need to be and some days I’m thinking to myself “seriously, what were you thinking coming here all by yourself” (and the dog, we must not forget the dog).
Nevertheless, there’s one thing that remains constant all the time and that I feel in every cell of my body: I’m on a mission for my homeland. I was always on that mission and most likely always will be. Because it’s my generation’s turn to lead, it’s my responsibility, and it’s how I was brought up. This sense of mission is what connects my personal life to my career and makes the story of me. It’s why I’m never really alone since I have so many beautiful people around me sharing my conviction. It’s also what enables me to do what I love while loving what I do. And frankly, this is the only way I know to go through life.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that there is a lot of strength in finding our life mission, our fulfilment, what makes us feel strong passion. Founded by people with vision and passion, Jewish National Fund-USA is the perfect venture to execute passionate dreams and visions. And passion is something that transmits naturally and effortlessly. This passion brought me here to a foreign country, to a different language and to a different culture all by myself terrified but fearless. And it’s this passion and the people it attracts to my life, that makes me feel that even though I’m so far away from the homeland, I am indeed very much at home.
Author, Dar Nadler is Jewish National Fund-USA's Israel Emissary out of New England.