Today is my (ohmyGodwhendidshegetsobig) five year old’s birthday. This year, it happens to fall on the same day as Israel’s birthday, Yom Haatzmaut. For us, celebrating one birthday is quite enough, and since I’m sure Israel won’t cry if we ignore hers, the choice is fairly obvious.
I’m allowing this confluence of events to give me a bye for another year, as I figure out how to make Israel a part of my girls’ lives and consciousness. When I was a young child, our relationship with Israel was easy and also superficial. We had our blue pushkes, our Ktonton books, and our elderly neighbors coming home with terribly strange kibbutz hats. We learned to sing Hatikvah the wrong way, and practiced songs and and dances that no real Israeli had done in decades. We celebrated and loved an idea of Israel that was largely an ideal of Israel.
Since that time, my relationship with Israel has become far more complicated. I still love her, but in a very different and admittedly conflicted way. It’s hard for me to sort out the Land of Israel, the concept of the state of Israel, and the decisions of particular leaders and particular times in history. (It’s much like my feelings about the United States of America – but since we live here, my girls learn about the country, gradually and naturally.
I can manage being in love and also sometimes angry and disappointed (heck, I’m practically an expert at it in my personal life) but it makes framing it all for my children just a little bit harder.
For those of you living outside of Israel, how and what have you done to help your children build a relationship with Israel?