Shalom and Merry Meet guys,
As I have been surfing trough both Pagan and Israeli blogs today a thought hit me: Perhaps one reason why I can emphasize with the Jewish – or Zionist, if you prefer that term – case is me being Pagan. No, not precisely me being Pagan actually. It’s sometimes, without talking about it a lot, secretly imagining a place where being Pagan was as normal as being a Jew is in Israel. Where at Beltaine it wasn’t only my own place that was decorated nicely with summer flowers but where every shop would have a small display in its window and everybody at work wold be that little excited as people use to be on a day before a holiday. Where I could just join in the common feeling instead of having to force it into a world where hardly anybody would even know that it was the day before Beltaine. Stuff like that, so small yet so powerful.
I hear those who say that Jews needn’t move to Israel and set up a Jewish State and all of that for they as well may have practiced their customs in the countries of their diaspora. Countries which for sure served as decent new homes to a lot of families. Sure enough there are sufficient places where Jews needn’t fear persecution because of their religion – or ethnicity – anymore. Just take New York City Jewish communities: From that point of view they might happen to be safer in the US then they would ever be in Israel where you could get killed for being a Jew while having a coffee with some friends way more easily.
Yet is that really all that counts? The freedom and possibility of performing your religion and customs as you are used to – as important as it is. It’s easy to say so if you are living your country’s mainstream religion and customs. If you never had to go through a Christmas eve with everybody else at work like on every other day. If you never had to do holiday shopping with no holiday-decoration and no holiday-related goods spread out all around you and no nice Christmas carols filling the air. Well, you might enjoy it the first time, but the second time? Or the third? And what about your children, wouldn’t you wish you could give them that feeling of a whole country – or continent – celebrating that great holiday with them? In the end there still is a difference between the possibility to do something and living in a place where it is joined in by everybody, even strangers. Where it is just normal. The feeling is a completely different one. I am so sick of may poles in basements.
We Pagans are likely never to get that place where we can have malls decorated for Beltaine. We are likely to have our kids being the only Pagan kids in kindergarten – which is a thing that scares the crap out of me – even if they hopefully will be strong enough to be rather interesting to others then the odd man out. Perhaps the truth is I envy Israelis for having that place I can only dream about. And perhaps that’s why I think it is worth it. Not displacing people, I mean, it’s another question how much about the „nakba“ is young Madinat Ysrael‘s fault and yet another one how those who, without doing anything wrong have been caught between the fronts of a terrible conflict between politicians can be reconciled. What I mean rather is it’s worth staying and fighting. It’s worth not giving in to terrorists and militias. It’s worth fighting the feeling that you are surrounded by enemies. If I had a place like that for my kids I’d definitely stand up and fight for it – with pen and sword if necessary.