Habaita in Hebrew is a command word meaning home. As in go home. As in the name of this blog Habaita Y'all. I have always felt that Israel was my home. And for the last 20 years all I've wanted to do was to simply go home. If you've read my other posts you will know about the pull and love I feel for Israel. About the feelings I have of belonging here yet feeling a total stranger at the same time. About knowing that my past, my history is here yet not actually feeling that I've participating in said history and the guilt and confusion that it stirs within me.
For the last 20 years I have put Israel on a pedestal. It was a magical place. It was a place that I belonged. Not just because here my name is common. Not just because I am Jewish. Not just because the national language here is the language of my childhood. It was an indescribable feeling of simply belonging. Of knowing that Israel is the place I am supposed to be. It just felt...right. It was home.
But then something shifted (and my relationship with Israel shifted right along with it - a topic I will be exploring in a later post). I realized that part of the reason I so longed to be here all of these years was due to good old fashioned nostalgia. We all idealize that time in our lives when we were children and things were simple. So when we smell, see, taste, etc things from our childhood all of those memories of carefree summer days and slumber-party-filled winter nights flood our memories. The only difference for me is that I have to travel 5,600 miles to experience those sensory driven memories, whereas most of my friends still live in the same town where they grew up, or at least get to visit it more than twice in two decades. You see, for me, once I left Israel, eating a borreka while watching Alf with Hebrew subtitles wasn't readily available. Hearing Hebrew wherever I went wasn't a reality. Introducing myself without having to explain how to pronounce my name ("I-Yell-It, like I-Scream-It, Ayelet") was a rarity. Not to mention that my first month of being back in Israel this summer was like a honeymoon. I got to spend time with friends and really get to know my family. I got to go to the beach during the day, party at night and really relax. So of course when I got to experience all of these things I was overwhelmed with feelings of belonging and love and happiness. But then, after a month or so, the nostalgia wore off and the honeymoon ended and I was just another woman in another country. And I had no idea where home was.
So now what?
Now it's time for me to create my home, instead of going on an epic journey looking for it. Now I know that home can be anywhere in the world, as long as love lives there. Now I know that home is wherever I am happiest. Now I know that home is where I set my roots and create a family and community.
I think this song explains perfectly where home is. And when you listen to the lyrics of the chorus the "You" is my family, my friends, my partner (whomever he turns out to be).
I've been writing and re-writing this post for over a week now. At times the post got me down, confused, frustrated. Now I just feel ready. Ready to go home.