Since December 15th, I have been in the magical place on Earth. No. Not Disney World. I've been in Israel. There is no other place that I feel so at peace and so welcome. I'm truly happy. This Shabbat will be my sixth and final one here, for now anyway. And I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. It feels like I just landed here. Yet at the same time it feels like I've been here my entire life. If home is truly where the heart is...then Israel is my home. And I'm proud to say that. More shocking to me though is how much sense Judaism has been making to me. The more I learn and the more I talk to people, the more my soul yearns for more. I turn 20 in a couple weeks. That's almost more insane than actually being in this country. I lived to see 20. And I'm happy. And I'm not harming myself. And I'm not starving. I'm alive. Truly and completely. I'm not saying that I have everything figured out but wow. Happiness is more incredible than I could have imagined. I want to end this post with some of the most important things I have learned this time around. And even though I learned them in a Jewish context.. They are universal truths. The first being that having self-respect is important. It is okay to value yourself. It is okay not to be perfect. Number two is that anything can be made special again. Just because something means nothing to you now doesn't mean it can't be the precious thing later. I.e. Shomer negiah. And lastly, trust yourself. If you don't think something is going to be good for you, then don't do it.
To everyone I have met in Israel, thank you for making me feel like I belong. And to everyone who helped me become who I am, it's because of you that I'm here. So thank you.