The term brings up all sort of memories of bearded men with broken english struggling to teach us Navi while we were up to all sorts of terrible classroom behavior. So it is no surprise that any time anyone calls us “shlichim” I deflect. Nah, I say, I’m here for the shopping or the library. Channan has this bit where he asks me why we’re here. “Why a year in Cleveland?” he asks. And I always answer the same way, “for the adventure.” (It’s ironic because Cleveland is perhaps not known for all the adventurous opportunities it presents.)
But in the past week, we’ve become shlichim. Suddenly, there’s this need to be a first-person narrative to the war in Israel (you may want to debate the term “war”, I think we’re past semantics at this point). We gathered about 30 kids from the High School to Skype with a friend of ours’ from the South (thanks Yakira), and suddenly things became a bit more real for them. Students stop me to talk about politics and military strategy and ask me to build Israel bulletin boards with them. We’re asked questions wherever we go.
Yesterday, I broke down during shiur. Mercifully, it was a shiur for women (I would have lost all my street cred if I teared up in front of High School boys). As I explained the experience my friend’s children and children’s friends went through as the siren went off in Gush Etzion yesterday, I became a shaliach for just a minute. To explain what it is like for a six year-old to climb off her school bus, lie down on the ground and cover her head waiting for a boom is to step into the world of Being Israeli.
I have mentioned a number of times what a great year this is for Yoni. He is having the time of his life. But Saturday night he sat down and cried and cried, “I just want to be home.” True that.
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