By Gila Tuchman
Perspective of a Zionist mother, sending her son to Israel: People have been asking me a lot lately, “Are you worried about sending Coby to Israel? Is he still going to go?” Yes I worry – but the worries are ‘will he eat enough? Will he call me enough? Will he get all that he has hoped out of this experience he has waited years for?’ And of course he is still going to go. We never have doubted for one second about sending Coby to Israel after the tragic events in the news. Just the opposite, we look forward to him being immersed in the society to understand the day to day climate, struggles, perspectives, and complicated history.
We hope that he will learn enough Hebrew to be able to understand the TV pundits arguing. And most of all, we hope he will form a mature opinion on the situation based on his living in Israel (albeit somewhat artificial within the confines of any organized program compared with actually fully living there.)
And while the news focuses on the negative, we look forward to him living the culture and all the positive. The Shabbat dinners with his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The uniquely Israeli attitude of a store clerk. The celebrations at every holiday. The peace that descends on a Shabbat in Jerusalem, particularly after the hectic hours that precede it in the shuk. The masses that march on Yom Yerushalyim. The warm hospitality of Israeli families to guests. The slang of Israeli teens. Understanding the geography so he doesn’t need to look at a map when he hears talk of Rosh Pinah or Sde Boker on the news. The internal struggles of the religious vs. secular communities. Tel Aviv nightlife. The multicultural aspects of the Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Russian communities. I could go on and on.
I’m sure the doubt is a reality for some families, but not for us. I hope the tense situation quiets down soon, but for the sake of those trying to live their lives without disruption and threat, and for the soldiers I keep close in my prayers. And I hope when he gets there he stays safe, in the same ways I hope he is safe when he starts college in New York. This is the opportunity for Coby to form his lifelong connection in a meaningful way to Israel, and he is thrilled to get it started.