Monica Rozenfeld moves to Brooklyn with two roommates — a Catholic and an observant Jew — and they each seek understanding of what it means to be religious.
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I said goodbye to my Birthright group in Ben Gurion airport outside of Tel Aviv. I was a little sad to see them go, but happy to see my friends. I arrived at my friend’s apartment and after 10 days of already being in the country, that’s when a feeling of jet lag started to creep in.
Life got pretty normal. While many just assumed I was on vacation for a month, I dove into catching up on work and finding cafes suitable for the freelance life. Of course I went out, saw friends, ate my way through Israel, and eventually made myself talk to strangers to practice my Hebrew.
It was nice to be back, but I have to be honest – I didn’t feel torn the way I usually did. I was definitive about where I wanted to live. I missed Brooklyn. It had become home, and I missed my synagogue and my community. I missed my friends and the potluck lunches in the park and my bike. I missed cheap drinks and bars that weren’t pretentious. I missed bodega coffee for a dollar – in Israel my pockets were emptying from the equivalent of $4 coffee.
Friends asked me if I wanted to move back to Israel. It was nice to finally give a definitive answer. “No” rolled off my tongue like a reflex. I didn’t even have to think about it, but when I did I realized that no didn’t mean never. It just meant that I’m really happy where I am right now.