‘Living Openly as a Jew Isn’t Easy’

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Pro-Israel supporters

Since my last update, I have traveled thousands of miles, visiting and sharing personal stories with thousands of Christians who love and support Israel. It’s been very hard being so far from home, in every time zone across the U.S., especially as the war still rages.

Over and over, I have been overwhelmed and overcome with the dual emotions of not being at home, but by feeling very much at home among brothers and sisters who care deeply for Israel, unconditionally. If I have to be so far from home at a time like this, I couldn’t think of a better place to be and better people to be among.

It’s not possible to thank everyone individually, but please know that each of you have touched my heart and have affirmed the importance of my traveling at this time.

So, how are we?

I have been addicted to the news, seeking out every opportunity to learn up-to-date details of events taking place at home. I realized how hard it is to be in the loop and up to date on current events when being so far away and traveling, but also because there’s an instinctive reaction in most of the media overseas to try to find balance in presenting the situation in Israel which, while complex, has never been more black and white.

 Sometimes, “balance” gives way to perverse moral equivalence. Understanding that this is the same for most who see the news, whether Jews or Christians, I understand how it’s that much harder to be well informed and have accurate information to sustain an instinctive inclination to be pro-Israel.

On one flight, I sat next to a teenage girl, returning from summering with her father in one state and going home to another. After mild chit-chat, she asked me where I was from.

“Israel,” I said.

“Oh, where’s that?” she asked.

I took out the airline magazine and attempted to find Israel. It’s so small on a map of the world that I circled “Tel Aviv” on the map, out in the sea. She nodded, but seemed clueless.

“Do you know why Israel is important?” I asked her.

“No.” she answered meekly, as if not knowing the answer on a test in school that she really should know.

“Israel is where the Bible took place.” She nodded. But I was not convinced that it meant anything to her.

So as much as there is horrible press blaming Israel, I was heartened, I think, that not only does not everyone have a negative association, but also some don’t even know where Israel is or why it’s important. I saw it as an opportunity and a challenge.

While I have been away, hundreds of rockets continued to be fired at Israel. My “Red Alert” app continues to remind me that Israelis are running for cover in dozens of places, when I am in some of the most unique or remote places far from home.

Recent rocket attacks have impacted my family with another air-raid siren followed by an explosion in my community, my daughter being awakened at 2:30 in the morning by a siren in Rishon LeZion where she’s been living, and a relaxing outing to the pool that turned into  trauma when my wife took the kids out for the day, and while driving home an air-raid siren went off causing her to pull the car over and get all the kids down on the ground, lying in the gravel on the side of the road covered in thorns.

For those following the trauma of my 8-year old son, you can well imagine this did not contribute to his sense of security and peace of mind. As my wife told me, fortunately he was eating an ice cream, and she was able to distract him by having him continue to do so. Three loud explosions later, they got up, pulled out the thorns and brushed off the dirt, and continued home.

The ride home was interrupted by a road closure near an Arab village whose residents have been throwing rocks ant Molotov cocktails at passing Israeli cars. Think about this the next time you take your kids for a ride to the pool or beach.

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