Lotenschtein: Dispatches from Tel Aviv: Coming home from the other side of the world

After a summer working abroad in Israel, a DI columnist reflects on her time learning and living in another corner of the world.


Maddie Lotenschtein, Columnist

The minute I stepped off the airplane and into Omaha’s Eppley Airfield, I felt all the tension that I had accumulated in the Middle East dissipate from my shoulders. No one was trying to shove past me, and the terminal was comfortably small, buzzing with light conversation among travelers.

To be from a place that allows such a relaxed nature to be the prominent mood of the room stems from the privilege of living in a country whose borders have rarely been violated by war. Such comfort is only increased by living in a flyover state such as Iowa. In Israel, residents must be prepared for the worst to occur. While this does not indicate that everyone carries guns at their leisure, I did know the location of my bomb shelter and took the time to learn what to do if the sirens went off while I was commuting. Yet, Jews from everywhere immigrate to Israel, knowing the risks in full, because Israel is the only country that can be considered a true home for the Jewish people.

I was able to advance my career and live in Israel, which is arguably the most politically and historically enthralling nation in the world. I learned some Hebrew, observed the culture, and made friends through our love for Israel, John Mulaney, and antiquated Vines. Thankful isn’t a good enough word to describe my current conscience, though I feel that when words aren’t enough, you might be doing something right.

Although I’ve found myself missing some aspects of living in Tel Aviv, I have to admit how comforting it was to wake up to my dogs barking at nothing instead of the usual sounds of the city, even though I will never not be annoyed by their morning ritual. I’ve been frequently asked whether I would make Aliyah and the answer remains no, because my family and friends live in the U.S. The question of whether I would return has also intermittently been brought into conversations, and that answer is answered with a firm and unwavering yes.

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