By: Leonardo “Coto” Leizerovith
I made Aliyah 13 years ago and ever since I always hear the same question about why I made Aliyah and what made me go live in Israel? This is a very difficult question when the answer is not the basic one that usually makes any young person leave their country which is study or economic situation. It is difficult to explain that the main cause is an ideology and the inexplicable desire to build a life there, in the place that I spoke about and educated to during my childhood and adolescence. How to explain the feeling that Israel is my place, a feeling that is very obvious to me but very strange to others.
Israel is not an easy country and even more so when considering its completely different culture from Brazil or Latin America. Yes, it is a difficult country with a culture very different from what we are used to, but it is ours.
In 1950, two years after the desired independence of the Jewish state, the first Knesset (parliament) enacted a law which is the “Law of Return”. This law not only makes it possible for Jews to emigrate to Israel but also strengthens the feeling of home even for those who do not decide to take advantage of this law. It was thanks to the “Law of Return” that I was able to make Aliyah, raise my family, study, live a full life as a Jew.
Each Yom Haatzmaut is an extremely special day and especially for those who decided to make this country their main home. It is the day we celebrate the existence, not at all obvious, of this country that constantly struggles to exist and be a democracy. Furthermore, it is a very significant day for all Jews in the world as well. A day where all the Jewish communities celebrate in a very significant way the existence of this country as if it was theirs, as if it was their own native country.
All these feelings of home and belonging that we have -which are enhanced during Israel’s Independence day- do not come from nowhere. They come from several reasons, but in this text I want to highlight a reason which is the Tnua. It is in the Tnua where we speak and hear about Israel from an early age. Every Saturday we sing Hatikva, we give countless peulot and machanot about this country that we were taught to love. This inexplicable love that is often kept in our hearts comes out on that special day called Yom Haatzmaut.
The Independence Day of the State of Israel is the day that unites the Jewish people for a feeling that everyone needs and that they often do not know how to explain, which is the feeling of home. And for many, of a second home.
Yom Haatzmaut is not only the day that we celebrate the independence and the existence of Israel but also the day of that feeling that we do not know exactly how to explain but that completes us in a very great way: that feeling of being in the right place and feeling complete.
Once I was guiding a group of Jews at the kotel and a tourist who was with me said the following phrase: “I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel like this is my place”.
I think this phrase sums up the entire sentiment of many Jews on this important and happy day that is Yom Haatzmaut.
Jag Sameach and may we continue to strengthen our relationship with this wonderful country that we can all find in Israel!