(Dean – this is for you! I don’t promise continuum… 😊)
At the end of "Fiddler on the Roof", a moment before they are expelled from their homes, the Jews of Anatevka ask – "What is this place of ours? Nothing much. A little bit of this, a little bit of that," they answer each other. "A pot, a broom, a hat…here I know everyone. This is my Anatevka: A little bit of this, a little bit of that..."
As he leaves, Tuvia is followed by the fiddler who dances around him, comforting.
In the reality of Anatevka, invest in what can be carried anywhere.
A minute before Pessach, the holiday of freedom, ended, there was a discussion about foreign passports.
"We must have one," someone said. "If necessary, there will be a way out."
Foreign passports have replaced the fiddle.
Full discloser: I don't have a foreign passport. Just an Israeli one. It's the result of decision: I never agreed it's still necessary.
I know there are many smart, good people whom I admire, who disagree with me. They're entitled.
Then, someone asked: "When do you really 'feel Israeli'?
A little bit of this, a little bit of that, I thought.
Humming an Israeli song.
Being excited because it snowed on mount Hermon.
Arguing with friends while eating fruit and cheese.
Worrying that the new brand "start-up nation" is replacing the values of "the people of the book".
Using that same new brand anyway.
Shaking off with anger any trap expressing racism and violence, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender or sector.
Alarmed and angry at myself when my thoughts sometimes fall into that same trap.
Saying about it "this isn't my country". Knowing it is.
Finding comfort in the fact that at least, we talk about it.
Feeling frustrated that the media doesn't talk about so many wonderful things that are happening here.
Feeling happy that despite everything, so many wonderful things are happening here.
Declaring "The state is dysfunctional!" for more than 70 years, regardless of who's in government.
Hearing someone say that "Other countries aren't any better". Answering – true, but here it's mine.
Thinking that the Yizra-el ('Jesreel' in English, but I speak Hebrew) valley is the most beautiful of all.
And the Kinneret. Rejoicing when she fills with water.
Being able to travel on the same day to the desert as well as the Carmel forests.
Having the nerve to call them forests. And the Tabor a mountain.
Inhaling the scent of lemon and orange trees in my garden. And the spices.
Waiting with excitement to see the shoreline from the window of an airplane, signaling that I am coming home.
Loving our soldiers, praying we won’t need them.
Knowing we still need them.
Explaining to a Jew from abroad that for us, "the terrible days" (Hebrew term for 'high holidays') don't begin at Rosh Hashana. They begin after Pessach.
Trying to tell that same Jew that there is no one moment when I 'feel most Israeli'. Stopping to try because it's too complicated.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
As Pessach, the holiday of freedom ends and we prepare for the days marking the events of establishing the State of Israel, being able to say:
This is the freedom that the descendants of Anatevka have earned: the ability to say all this, and carrying the responsibility to pay the price of making sure we are never again expelled.
With or without a foreign passport.