What is “Home” to the Jewish People?

June 6, 2023
Reid Kaplan

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Class of 2024

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On June 27, 1976, an Air France Airbus holding 248 passengers, 100 being Israeli, took off from Tel Aviv. While in route to Paris, the jet liner was hijacked by two Palestinian and two German militants, demanding the release 40 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Later, the passengers found themselves taken hostage in the Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Although the 148 non-Israelis were flown to Paris, the IDF had to act as fast as possible to rescue the 100 remaining Israelis before July 4. Operation Entebbe took almost an entire week to plan, but it lasted a mere 90 minutes. Though three hostages and one Lieutenant Colonel Yoni Netanyahu, unfortunately, did not make it out alive, the mission was a success. This week is an infamous and shaky subject to the Israeli people and to several of us who share our religion and are aware of it. In fact, my grandfather could barely keep his composure when telling me the story. But the tears that streamed down his face were not solely tears of sadness toward the atrocities, they were tears of pride for the nation of Israel, a nation that warmly welcomed back those 100 hostages, which they, in turn, called “home.”

Since the dawn of Herzl’s Zionist movement in the 1890s, all Jews have been able to call Israel “home.” However, the Jewish people do not need to visit the holy land to find a safe haven. In fact, Israel has proven to be far from a safe place for the Jewish people, but so is any given place where we live. So, we surround ourselves with people that share common beliefs and ideals, people who make us feel safe and welcomed, people who provide us a home.

Next time you’re at a BBYO event or convention, look at the people to your right and left. How do you feel when you’re around them? Do they make you feel safe? Do you enjoy their company? Chances are, you and your peers have a lot in common and one another’s company makes you feel at home. While I have no doubt in my mind that I would feel welcomed and cared for when I finally get to travel to Israel, there are easy ways to mimic this feeling in your local Jewish community, or even when surrounded by 99 other Jews; 99 other Jews who shared the same level of fright, 99 other Jews who could find home in each other, even without being at “home,” or not knowing whether or not you’ll make it back home.

Reid Kaplan is an Aleph living in Dunwoody, GA with a great passion for BBYO, and is always willing to learn more about this organization!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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