L’an Ani holech?

I always assumed, bascially since I returned from my high school fall semester in Israel two years ago, that I would return to Israel in the spring of my junior year of college. Now, I’m not so sure.

I wonder whether I liked the program I was on Israel or if I liked Israel itself.

I wonder if Israel is the be all and end all of Jewish existence.

I wonder if I should focus on trying to experience other worldwide Jewish groups. I want to go to Lithuania and Uganda and India and see those Jews!

I wonder if what I could spend next year doing here would grow me more than going to Israel.

12 Responses to L’an Ani holech?

  1. R. BDS February 24, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    It seems to me that if you were to go to Israel you would grow more deeply and meaningfully in areas you already have some experience, while if you were to study elsewhere, you would have new and wider experiences. Neither is better, it’s all a matter of what you prefer and can afford.

  2. Randi February 25, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    I wonder whether I liked the program I was on Israel or if I liked Israel itself.

    If this is a sincere question, then it would seem to me that the only way to resolve it is to go back to Israel. Of course medinat Yisrael isn’t the be-all-end-all of Judaism, but I liken it to neurology. Neuro is not my field, and it makes my head hurt to try to understand and diagnose neurological conditions; neuro is complicated and frequently uncertain and unsatisfying. But I must have some understanding of basic neurology to be competant in my field.

    Needless to say, this is ultimately only your decision. But since you seem to be kinda soliciting comments since you posted about it, I’m going to offer mine. BY ALL MEANS GO ABROAD SOMEWHERE if you have the oppurtunity. It only becomes more difficult to go away for an extneded period of time as you get older.

    If you decide not to go abroad, I will personally shake my head and give you a disapproving look when if I see you when I am at Kutz in May for Had’rachah.

    • davidamwilensky February 25, 2009 at 2:28 pm #

      Thanks as always for your brutal honesty, Randi.

      • Randi February 25, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

        Didn’t mean to sound so brutal. Sorry.

        Mostly, I’m envious because I have a mortgage to pay and a job that wants me to be physically present–it’s my wild fantasy to drop out for 3-6 months and study something completely unrelated to my profession. That shouldn’t be projected onto you…..

  3. David A.M. Wilensky February 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Yeah, well. A decision has been made. I’m going to go to Israel, but because of some extenuating circumstances, which are beyond the purview of this blog, I’ll be waiting until fall of my senior year to go back.

  4. Jesse February 27, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    I think one option IS better than the other. Obviously it’s your choice and you need to make the choice that you think is best for you, but hear me out here…

    A semester abroad in college is a formative experience designed to do two things:

    1. Provide you with an immersive educational experience in the field of another culture.

    2. Allow you to grow as an individual and in a collective. Expand your mind. Broaden your horizons. Yadda yadda yadda…

    Knowing you, David, you’re going to do #2 no matter where you are. And you’ve already done #1 in Israel.

    I think you should go somewhere else. You will always have a deep attachment to Israel and Jewish life there. Go expand your horizons and get in touch with something new. Challenge yourself. Jump into the fire.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… don’t go to Israel.

    • David A.M. Wilensky February 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

      I’m a pretty shocked to hear you say that, Jesse. But I don’t really wanna go anywhere else.

      • Jesse February 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

        Shocked? Hopefully not in a bad way. I mean… go where you want, of course! If you want to go to Israel, then the question is passé. But if it were still open, you know what I think.

        I need to get back to blogging now that my life has returned to some semblance of scheduability.

      • David A.M. Wilensky February 28, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

        forizzle. welcome back to the jblogosphere, man.

  5. Stephanie March 10, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    There aren’t really very many Jews left in Lithuania…but check out the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. I took some very enjoyable seminars there, and their full academic program sounds solid. Also, I know there are a few programs in Kaunas, but you’d have a lot more fun in Vilnius. If you end up there though, let me know, and I’ll introduce you to some Lithuanian college students!

    • David A.M. Wilensky March 11, 2009 at 8:46 am #

      Thanks, Stephanie. I’ll probably just go back to Israel, though.