‘Fraidy Cat

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m in the process of falling deeply in love with a man I met a few
months ago. The story is funnier, because five years ago I saw an
article about him in the paper and told a close friend, that’s the one for
me! I recently met him while visiting another synangogue and things
progressed very rapidly. We see each other five nights a week and
look forward to traveling together. The problem: He has lots of family
in Israel, where I have never been. And, where, if truth be told, I have
always been more afraid of going than longing to. I have an
unreasonable fear of crowds even in America, and the idea of random
violence scares me poopless. I haven’t ‘fessed up my concerns
because I so want him to love me. I know what an important year this
is because of Isreal’s independence, and he’s starting to talk about
introducing me to his family there. Gulp, Now what?

‘Fraidy Cat

Dear ‘Fraidy Cat:

As the recent horror in Boston has painfully shown us, no one is safe
anywhere, if people with evil intent are determined to do harm to
someone, any one. You could also get hit by a truck crossing a parking
lot at your corner market. Nothing can keep you safe, even staying
indoors 24/7, because you’re likely to eat or worry yourself to death. I
think you need to go to two places with him: Israel and
Dachau, for the same reason, to share your roots.

Every Jew I’ve ever known who’s gone to Israel for the first time says
the same thing: There’s noting like being and living daily life in a
culture that has Judaism as the prevailing culture. Forget for a
moment the fights between the Orthodox and the secular, or even yes
the threat of rockets or bus bombs. Imagine a place where Shabbat
means Shabbat, where a whole country dresses up for Purim, and
where you can stand in olive groves and on hillocks where the stories
of the Torah itself took place. That’s not something you can replicate
on youtube or with a travel montage. It’s visceral. Having someone
you love as your docent, and his family as a landing zone so you can
eat, sleep, and worship among locals is a rare opportunity. And if you
cannot risk challenging your fears when you are open and in love,
when are you likely to do so? Go with an open heart and come back