My husband is in Israel this week, traveling for work.
Yes, I am intensely jealous. Not only does he get to go to Israel, but he gets to do it without kids. I love my daughters, but what I wouldn’t give for 11 straight hours with just my iPad, a pair of headphones, and an endless supply of Diet Coke. And that’s before I even get to the vacation part!
I am also incredibly anxious. I do get a bit nervous any time he travels, even if it’s just to Minneapolis or Jacksonville. But this time he’s traveling overseas, and to Israel no less. In my American mind, Israel is not only the land of my ancestors, of King David and Masada and the Western Wall and the best damn hummus you’ve ever tasted, but it’s also the land of bus bombings and kassam rockets and war and scary things happening without warning.
Maybe I’m worrying for no reason. (I certainly hope I am.) Josh and I went to Israel in 2006 during the war with Lebanon. We thought about canceling our trip, and we asked our family and friends for their advice. Without exception, our Israeli connections and anyone who had ever been to Israel said we should go. Our friends and family who had never been thought we were nuts for even considering the trip. We went, and had an amazing time. (Which, in itself, was a bit of a surreal experience—the country was at war, and we floated in the Dead Sea while people were dying just a couple of hundred miles away.)
But maybe I’m worrying for a reason. We’re lucky in that we don’t know anyone who has been injured or killed in Israeli violence. There are many, many others who aren’t as fortunate. My husband narrowly avoided a bombing when he was studying there in college; by some twist of fate, he and his friends chose a different ice cream shop for their afternoon snack. But I can’t think about that too much now, not when he’s still there.
And of course the stakes are higher this time. We have children. I worry about what life would be like for me and the girls if something were to happen to Josh (again—not going to dwell on that right now). On a broader level, I worry and wonder about what my girls’ relationship to Israel will be like, especially if the violence and instability continues. I hope they will have a connection to Israel that I don’t, one that I wish I did, and one that may yet develop. Josh and I will do what we can to encourage it, but safety will always be our first concern. I wish safety didn’t have to be the first thing I worry about when I think about Israel, but right now it is. Even in this time of relative calm, it is.
As I wait for Josh to come home, I’m saying a prayer each night that he has a good trip, and a safe trip. And as I watch my daughter chew on a wooden dreidel, I wish, and hope, and pray that Israel will find peace.