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Come Home

I know I don’t write very often these days. Partly, it’s because I’m finishing a new book, and partly because of how really terrible it is these days to express an opinion, any opinion at all. The idea that we can be civil to each other, respect differences, listen to each other, has somehow disappeared. I think it began during the Obama-Jon Stewart era, when anyone who didn’t toe the line about his “wonderfulness” got a Jon Steward eye-roll. The ammunition of ridicule and vicious back-stabbing against those who disagree with the mainstream agenda has been picked up – to a lesser degree albeit – by conservatives as well. But I’d still rather open my mouth in a room of conservatives than an Antifa rally, where I might not escape alive. I mourn for the freedom of speech that I was brought up to cherish as a United States citizen. Those who cannot hear their opponents and try to silence them, are only creating weapons that can so easily be turned against themselves at any time.

But that’s just my introduction. This is what I really wanted to tell you: I was walking down Prophets Street in Jerusalem, thinking how lucky I was to be living my life in a place that has such a street. I was thinking how short life is, and how we live in such an incredibly special era, a time when miracles and prophecies are unfolding before our astonished eyes. You have only to read the Torah to see all that God predicted would happen to the Jewish people has happened and to realize that the time we are living in is when the good things that were promised are now coming true.

We are living at a moment in Jewish history when before our eyes the in-gathering of the exiles is taking place as Jews from all over the world flock towards Israel. I don’t believe that it is a coincidence that anti-Semitism is forcing many communities to rethink their commitment to remaining in the Diaspora.

And so, if you can only live once, for such a short time span, and you are living in this miraculous age, how can you deny yourself the great and powerful joy of living in Israel?

It is out of great love that I write this to all of you. I wish I could bring everyone of you here to live your life, to participate in the great rebuilding of our nation, to experience that wondrous sense of blessing that comes with participating with your whole heart, and mind, and body in God’s will to bring His people home. I wish you could experience miracles, as I do, every, single day, without fail. Even in our tragedies, there is the comfort of living in the embrace of family, millions of hands outstretched to share their caring compassion and genuine concern.

If you are a Jew, this is your place on earth, for the time you have to live, be it long or short. It is a time for return. This is God’s will, as the tides of history turn in His hands like the potter’s wheel. If you shake off the ceaseless onslaught of electronic media that pollute our minds and blind our eyes and deafen our ears, the true picture of what is happening is so clear: planeloads of Jews from every corner of the earth coming home.

If this opens your heart to think about it once again, then that’s all I can ask for. For your own sake.

My heart goes out to everyone who wants to come and for so many difficult reasons, like earning a livelihood and supporting a family, find that they cannot. But to those who can come, and who want to come, I want to encourage you. You cannot imagine what it is like to live in Israel, to walk the streets of Jerusalem, the hills of the  Galilee, the desert sands of the Negev.

I came to Israel in 1971, and I can honestly say that all the blessings of my life – my success in my writing, my wonderful children and grandchildren, all flow from that fateful decision. I have been blessed. And everyone I know who made Aliyah with me back then and who are now matriarchs and patriarchs of beautiful families, can surely say the same.

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16 comments on “Come Home”

  1. Dorothy young

    Dear Naomi,
    I am in the UK and am in my my mid 70’s.
    This is the first time I have come across you.
    My history.
    In the 1960 i was part of the Zionist youth group Habonim and had my year out on their farm in England. There I learned Jewish history, Israeli history, kibbutz, Hebrew ,
    etc. And my first visit to Israel. Jerusalem was in Jordon and we could not cross the border. We traveled the length and breadth of the country as it was then. I signed up with Habonim to make aliyah to kibbutz.
    However, my family decided to move from outside the community to the Jewish
    community of Southend on Sea . There I met met my boyfriend now husband of 52
    years. Along came 4 children and parents getting older..
    2 boys and their families now live in Israel.
    A while ago we decided to make now make aliyah. However we started we began dealing NBN. Then I had health problems. Heart and walking and hospital. Now I am
    in a Jewish care home in London.I have a bed sore for of over a year. When it is healed,
    I can sit up, I can get out of bed ,sit in a wheelchair and get on a plane to Israel.
    One son has bought a ground floor flat over the road from hin. So all I have to do
    is to get out of bed.
    i hope this gives you another view of things.
    By the way my web site which was set up when I did a computer course c.2000.
    I had started because in 1963 because I was bored staying at home all day with
    a new baby. Husband at work all day. I had use of a phone. Evenings, weekends,
    use of a car and babysitter. I sold Books, Israelie giftware and religious items.
    Shalom,
    Dorothy.

  2. Iris Sapovits

    And yet the Jews(to my dismay) supported the anti Semitic Obama with his friends Rev Wright and Farrakhan. Worst yet, they still support him. Will never understand my fellow Jews. Will never understand there lack of support for Israel.

  3. Roberta Berenson

    Naomi,
    It’s called free speech! You have a right to support tRump and his ignorant rants against immigrants, women, and journalists.
    I have a right to NEVER buy your books.
    Time for you to watch MSNBC instead of Fox News.

    I guess I sure hit a nerve for you to continue this tirade against me.

  4. Alana K

    “I mourn for the freedom of speech that I was brought up to cherish as a United States citizen.”
    Me too! But the American president seems to be defending the murderer (bin Salman) of Khashoggi? Do lucrative military contracts and condo sales matter more than freedom of speech? Appears so!

  5. Pingback: Come Home - Israel News

  6. Craig Oknin

    Trump has not muzzled the media or removed civil liberties of any kind (apart from imposing tariffs, which interferes with our right to purchase foreign goods). Even if he is all the things that the critics say he is, I’m just as free now as before he took office. As far as Israel goes, I haven’t been for 40 years, but I’m glad, as a Jew, to hear that it is a good place to be, despite being in such a dangerous neighborhood. Naomi is right about free speech in the U.S. – the campuses muzzle it, the progressive corporations muzzle it, etc. There is a problem.

    • norma amigo

      I have been to a Trump. It’s scary. There is nothing gracious, kind or compassionate about Trump, especially when it comes to (non-Fox) the media or anyone who disagrees with him. Regarding foreign goods – it seems you will now be able to purchase elephant tusks! Enjoy! In this day and age of evolving diversity, college campuses are struggling to find proper lines of respect between civil liberties and free speech. Kids! They will learn and evolve. Trump? I doubt it. His self love leaves no room for humility or empathy.

  7. Roberta Berenson

    It is amazing that you still support tRump after watching his racist views against women and Jews. He continues to divide and continue hatred to all the people who are not rich white men.
    I will never read or buy one of your books again.

    • Naomi Ragen

      People who read this column and responded with hate mail against Trump (and me for simply daring to suggest not everyone was convinced of our last President’s wonderfulness) ignoring the great bulk of my article are either illiterate or deranged by hate, which is now commonplace among Americans in general and a certain type of Jew in particular, illustrating so well the truth of my statement that freedom of speech is no longer a cherished value in America. Do I agree with everything President Trump says and does? Of course not! Did I agree with everything Barack Obama did? Of course not. It’s called expressing an opinion about a certain subject. You want to excoriate Trump? Be my guest. Just don’t attach your hatred to my article which had nothing to do with Trump at all. There are plenty of other places to post this which are more relevant. Those like Ms. Berensen who continue to threaten me with a)not buying my books b} boycotting my speeches, etc. etc. ? That’s your right. I’m not writing or speaking for people like you anyway. So go ahead, don’t put your name on the waiting list at the library. I’ll go broke. You are the new Jewish Brownshirts thought-police who swallow all the propaganda in the Israel-hating media as if it was champagne, then vomit it up. Such liberals! So compassionate! You’ve stopped acting like Jews long ago.

  8. Diana

    Naomi you deserve any respect since you show no respect for women by supporting the low life misoginist
    Trump! By doing so you also disrespected Dr. Ford a woman who was sexually assaulted and then mocked by your “hero”!
    You have become a pariiah by those who once admired you

    Your

  9. Diana

    Naomi you deserve any respect since you show no respect for women by supporting the low life misoginist
    Trump! By doing so you also disrespected Dr. Ford a woman who was sexually assaulted and then mocked by your “hero”!
    You have become a parishy by those who once admired you

    Your

  10. Alana K

    From Trump’s call for the death sentence of the Central Park 5 boys without evidence to his lack of apology after they were found innocent, it’s ironic that his continued support for Kavanaugh relied on “no evidence”. His rallies are filled with name-calling, ridicule, and violent chants. Since taking office, he has never attempted to unite America. In his hit reality show, “The Apprentice”, his M.O. was to foster division, back stabbing, gossip and hatred rather than healthy competition… and the blood loving fans ate it up! Do your research on the Trump backed conservative movement in America please!

  11. Paulette Woolf

    Naomi. Beautiful description of our lives. My husband and I made Aliya two years ago and it was the best decision we ever made. Of course it was difficult to leave two grown children in the states but this had been our dream forever and we finally fulfilled it. Thank you for expressing so eloquently what we feel every day!!

  12. Joel Laker

    Your post sounded like you had turned a positive corner and understand the divide until you had to put in “But I’d still rather open my mouth in a room of conservatives than an Antifa rally where I might not escape alive”. Perhaps you’ve forgotten Charlettsville where the Chant was “Jews will not replace us” and your President’s condoning of this and the death of a young woman who was run over by a person who Trump said “there were good people on both sides. You inspire the divide under a cloak of your interpretation of the Torah. God said ” He would not bring another “Mabul” – Human decency has deteriorated ever since – You have people of the “Egel” running the USA and though the greed an ignorance creating chaos. My Parents had to live through Hitler – Depression – and it is now what we have to live through since your country of origin started slipping into the black hole. You continue to disappoint Naomi, I’m glad you don’t post that often and I’d still never buy a book of yours on principal. Joel Laker a Canadian one of Trump’s enemies.

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