I’ve now been in Israel for over a month and it’s crazy to see how much has changed since I got to Petah Tikva. I’m still not used to living here and I don’t know if I’ll ever fully be the complete sabra I had thought I could be before adventuring here. In a way I feel “less Jewish” after spending time in this country. Everywhere I look I see Orthodox walking around which makes me feel completely out of place, and I still don’t feel comfortable speaking the language of my ancestors at all. I blame the High Holidays for that and canceling ulpan. I also went to services on Yom Kippur and have never felt more alone in a synagogue before. I got there for the last service (Neilah) where you remain standing the entire time as the Ark remains open. I obviously couldn’t follow what was being said and remained silent the entire time.
It’s truly been an experience being in Israel and I’m glad I have this opportunity, but it’s definitely harder than I expected. I’m so blessed to get to see how Israeli Jews live, and to finally have an understanding of a different more traditional side of Judaism. I may not connect with the Orthodox line of thinking, and I still may not feel at home here, but this trip has given me a lot of perspective about myself. I know who I am, and I’m proud of the Jew that I know G-d wants me to be.