My 1st Lecture in Front of a Male Audience
Up until now, my public speaking experience has been limited to female audiences, but this morning that’s all about to change.
In honor of Israeli Independence Day, Yaakov’s teacher, Ganenet Ruchama, invited me to address her class of 3-year-old boys about my personal experiences growing up in the United States and then making aliya to Israel.
And here’s what I’m going to tell them:
“Yeladim, in Gan Ruchama, all the children have some things in common. You are all boys. You are all Jewish. You all wear kippot and keep mitzvot, but when I was growing up in America, my gan was very different from Gan Ruchama!
We didn’t speak Hebrew, we spoke English!
We weren’t all Jewish, even our teacher, Mrs. Purdie wasn’t Jewish!
And when I was in gan, I didn’t even know what mitzvot were! I didn’t know about Shabbat Kodesh, or eating kosher, or praying like you do.
As I got older, and went to school, I felt sad. I felt like something was missing.
When I was 20, I came to Israel for the first time. For the first time in my life I learned Torah, and saw Shabbat Kodesh and Jewish holidays! I felt like Israel was my home, and I loved it here!
So I moved to Israel.
There were things that were difficult about moving to Israel. I didn’t have any family here. I didn’t speak Hebrew. Someone once asked me, “Mah Shmech? What is your name?” and I answered “8:30 AM”!
It was also hard that in America people knew that I was a person who was good at certain things, but in Israel I didn’t even speak the language. I felt like people thought I was dumb, and I agreed with them!
But b”H, right after I got to Israel, I met my husband. He also doesn’t have any family in Israel, and Hashem did a great kindness for us and gave us each other so we wouldn’t be alone anymore!
There are still things that are hard about living in Israel. Our families are still very far away. So on Rosh Hashana or Seder night, when most of you are with your Saba and Savta and aunts and uncles and cousins, at our meals we just have Eema and Abba and the children and our guests. Always.
But b”H, our families come to visit. And we love Israel so much. And we have such wonderful friends here.
But the thing that makes us happiest about living in Israel, and helps even when it is hard sometimes, is that I remember how much nachat I have from my Israeli children, like Yaakov, who gets to go to Gan Ruchama, and not Mrs. Purdie’s kindergarten, and learns how to be a Jew!