When we assumed the soldier we did lay aside the civilian
My take on George Washington's famous decree about the life of a soldier
How is life in Israel? To have made aliyah? To be Israeli?
I am asked these questions all the time. Despite having made aliyah fifteen months ago, I really have no answer. The reason is because I have yet to live in this country. I stepped from my aliyah flight (give or take a bizarre few weeks in Beijing) into a kibbutz devoted to preparing me for the army that has been my life since December 2009. The realities of living, of finding people and places to live, work and play, has never been my task in Israel. Instead I have had the army. Always, the army.
Until this past September. The day I was binned from my former unit, I was also cast out of the only life I knew in this country. In the weeks since, as I drift through army purgatory, it has been difficult, if not impossible, to figure out where I am. Without a home in the army, without a purpose during my hours away from base, I find myself floating through Israel like a ghost. Hello working people. Hello, young students. Do you even see me, soldier folk?
My brief trip to America reminded me of the value of friendship. True friends, who have been through a shared experience or two and are the numbers to call when conversation is required. Too many of my friends are in the States. Too few of those in Israel are out of the army or not engrossed in the realities of work/study to be of much help. Too minus too and I am left with that same feeling, that my path as of late has separated me from the rest of the world.
"I know you're lonely," a wise friend told me while I was in America. "But you're fulfilling your dream, or at least you're on the road. And that's a lonely road indeed." The irony is that I was always aware that pursuing my dreams could lead to periods of loneliness. Except I was sure that China, and not the Jewish homeland, would be the setting and cause for slipping on the guise of the invisible man.
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