Monday, August 7, 2017

The Vortex

Shalom! I have not been back to Israel in over a year. What happened? Oh, the Vortex. The Vortex is a private joke between me and a good friend. It's about what happens when you say, I'm leaving the Holy Land for just a little while to go back to the old country to earn some money. And the next thing you know, a year has gone by. Sucked in by the Vortex.

Naomi Litvin, self portrait 
Many of you know that I returned to the USA during the Gaza War and then returned two times to try again to get settled. What was actually more harrowing for me than the war, was my attempt to get settled: four moves, four cities, three roommates. I have been both excoriated and congratulated for leaving Israel. No, I did not 'give up' but do admit that settling in Israel by myself is harder that I could have imagined.

And much to my chagrin, I had fallen in love with Tel Aviv, the most expensive city in Israel to live in.

A side note: I was happy to read that the Knesset voted to allow Olim (those of us who have immigrated to Israel, made Aliyah, to receive Israeli Passports immediately. When I made Aliyah in March of 2014 the rule was that I'd get a temporary passport after five months. That I did but it has already expired. So now when I go home, I will get my full passport. Hooray!

Funny thing about me... many would describe me as a secular Jew. I tweet and carry a purse on Shabbat, and even eat treif (Yiddish for un-kosher) if I feel like it. But where that rebellion ends is in how I feel about appeasing the Reform Jews in Orthodox settings. Lets all face it. The Kotel is Sacred Orthodox Ground. Just because you attend a synagogue which you call a temple, and may listen to an organ at services and have women on the bimah, don't think that I agree with you. You are starting a new religion. That's ok, enjoy. Build your temples! But leave our holy spots holy! And boycotting Israel because you can't have your way?

You see, I grew up in a dichotomous atmosphere as an American Jew. My Russian-American Zeide was the Mechitzah Warrior of Mount Clemens, Michigan who fought the Reform that wanted mixed seating of men and women and sought to change our synagogue. He was Baruch Litvin and he took it all the way to the Supreme Court of Michigan and won. The majority did not have the right to change a synagogue from Orthodox to Reform if there were those that wanted to keep it Orthodox. The founders made our little shul Orthodox and as long as the elders were alive it would stay that way.

We need to keep our traditions and honor the Orthodox even if they are in the minority. Israel does not need to be watered down. No argument, no boycott, no appeasement.

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