Oh Israel, How Can I Express My Gratitude?
By Phyllis Greenberg Heideman
Oh Israel, how can I begin to express my love and gratitude? You were the dream of a 13-year-old, the future of a 33-year-old, and the reality of everything I could want you to be.
You are a haven for millions of Jews who needed and deserved their homeland.
You are a beacon of freedom in a world that has lost its sense of justice and morality.
You are a living, breathing, caring place filled with people from over 100 countries who came here to be part of one family.
You are a symbol of innovation, intelligence, medical brilliance, cyber security domination, and grace.
You are a land like no other, filled with an eternal people who don't have the patience to wait for a bus.
You are Tel Aviv never stop, and Jerusalem's gentle touch.
You are the site of the Holy Temple, the place where the Western Wall still calls to us, where our holy forefathers (and foremothers) are buried, where Rachel still cries for us, and Joseph awaits the true fulfillment of our promise to him.
You are the coolness of the mountain air and the heat of the Dead Sea.
You are an eternal answer to an eternal hatred and have outlived every nation that stood against you for the last 3,500 years.
You are young and old together, with people of every skin color proudly a part of your past and future.
You are the young soldier standing guard dreaming of the next time he will go home and the mother waiting desperately to see him.
You are the people of Jerusalem, Sderot, Netivot, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Tel Aviv, and so many other places who have weathered tens of thousands of rockets and the horror of terror attacks yet we still come together to watch your flag fly with pride and love.
You are youth who hike your mountain trails, drive off-road through your wadis, and hug each other when they meet anywhere, including in foreign lands.
You are the new mother who brings her child home to a week's worth of delivered meals and the place that surrounds bereaved parents and never lets them feel alone.
You are 74 years old, 3,500 years ancient, and still you make a promise to remain our home forever.
Oh Israel, how can I express my gratitude that you became mine, called out to me and gave me, made me all that I am?
May the Eternal God of Israel always love and protect His people and may we forever be granted His Grace and love.
Am Yisrael Chai - Chag Samayach to the most beautiful country in the world, the most beautiful people.