I would like to begin this post with a truth: coming to Israel was the best decision of my life. Undoubtedly. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of academic accomplishments and general milestones, but, perhaps owed to my youth, nothing of my past speaks to me in the way this country has (and still continues to do!)
I was raised the daughter of a Christian mother and an ethnically Jewish father and, as I’ve found is the case for many young, secular, American Jews, really got the best of both worlds. In earlier days, my family would celebrate all major holidays, and I have fond memories attending both special Christmas Eve church services and the outrageous Purim Megillah readings that left the entire synagogue in an uproar. I got my first taste of wine with my Jewish brothers and sisters, and was baptized in front of a loving, Christian congregation at age 12. Regrettably, as I grew older, I seemed to lose track each year of my Jewish roots and gradually lived my life in absence of both religions. Of all things, it wasn’t until setting foot, bedraggled after my flight, in Herzliya, the gorgeous coastal town where I am living during my exchange, that I really began to feel that sense of infamous Jewish community (my mid-Shabbat arrival also helped with that) and was reminded of everything I knew I had been missing. Needless to say, in all respects, although probably an obvious mess, I was excited for the adventures I knew awaited me.