A letter to Israel on her 60th Birthday

May 8, 2008 § 3 Comments

Dear Israel,

I know we aren’t that close. I admit I don’t keep myself as well informed about your goings-on as I should, but I do hear about you around town. You’ve got quite a reputation, you know that?

It’s hard to know what to make of you being 60 years old. Some 60 year olds are grandmothers, and sometimes you feel like my grandmother. Like when you paid for my 10 day trip to come visit you, and then lectured me about marrying a nice Jewish boy the whole time.

My parents are nearing 60 years old now, and sometimes you feel more like a parent, in the way that I know you are there for me if I need you. If the worst should happen and I have nowhere else to go, I know I can count on you, and you alone, to you shelter me. I know you’ll take care of me because we’re family, and that’s what family is all about.

I have to be honest though, Israel. Sometimes you remind me of a teenager, a sister. I hear things, I hear about you fighting. From so far away, it’s hard to tell if you’re being bullied, or if it’s the other way around. Still, I can’t imagine it’s easy for you over there, surrounded by so many people that don’t want you there. I hope you don’t feel alone, because we think about you a lot, and it means a lot to us that you’re there.

We are all proud of you, by the way. You are so advanced for your age. We’re all so proud of what you have accomplished, and what you have overcome. You are strong, and you are brave. I sometimes wonder if I could be as strong as you, working my way up from nothing instead of starting with everything as I did.

I worry about you sometimes. I worry for your safety. Are you drinking enough water? I am worried that you might ruin things by accident – perhaps in a fit of passion, an overreaction. I know that you would never hurt anyone intentionally, but I’m more worried about all those people who wouldn’t understand.  The last thing we need is to give people more reason to hate us. Just be careful, okay?

We are trusting you to do what’s right.  I hate to lay a Jewish guilt trip on you, Israel, but we are all counting on you. The whole family is depending on you to do the right thing. You can’t afford to screw it up.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to end up giving you a harsh lecture in your birthday letter. You know I will always be there for you, no matter what happens. Even if I don’t always agree with what you’re doing, I will support you because we’re family and that’s what families do.

Happy Birthday Israel!

Love,

Leah

p.s. Did you ever get that tree I sent you?

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§ 3 Responses to A letter to Israel on her 60th Birthday

  • Eli says:

    Sadly my dear Leah you have been contaminated by that awful disease called ‘the apologetic Jew’. and while you enjoy the comfort of your nice home in suburbia or the Upper West Side, you really lack the basic understanding of what it means to be Jewish. as for Israel – who has so carefully carved the words ‘never again’ in the history books, she does not need your trees or support but thank you for the thought. and while you may think you will never stand in line or march along the marshes of death as your ancestors so quietly have, I guarantee you it will not be your children or grandchildren who will mark the existence of the Jewish people 200 years from now.

  • Leah says:

    I’m impressed by your ability to form such strong conclusions about me, my life, my future progeny, and my relationship with Judaism, off of one letter.

    It is too bad that you feel the need to divide the Jewish people further by determining who is “more Jewish.” Despite your determination to disprove my theory about Jews being a family, I still believe it is so.

  • Aviv says:

    I thought it was absolutely adorable.

    Got here thru Shahar’s site.

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