Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The American Legacy


Dov was rummaging through some old papers this morning and came upon this gem of a cartoon, drawn in a childish hand.
It's an honor, Mister President. I'm a huge fan. 


We think Yitzchak drew this one, not sure when. We'll have to wait until he comes home from school to ask him.

But aside from making us laugh and providing parental joy over the cleverness of our child, Dov made an interesting observation: All of our children were born and raised in Israel and yet the flavor of their humor is American. That is after all, the legacy we handed down to them, without even trying.

To someone else, it may seem like forsaking America to come live in Israel is like us turning our backs on our Motherland. But it wasn't, isn't, like that at all. Dov and I love America. So much so that sometimes the title of a certain awful, awful song comes to mind:

I can't speak for Dov, but I often feel torn between the country of my birth and my new love: Israel. I have never stopped loving America, but I love Israel, too. I had to choose, you see, and so I chose Israel, because she needs all the love and support she can get. But still, Dov and I are as American as apple pie and Mom. Irrevocably so.

I'm glad my children identify with their American heritage. I can feel good about that because I am proud of my American heritage. America is a beautiful land that gave sanctuary to my ancestors. In America, for the first time, they were able to get ahead. I am proud of my American work ethic and so many other aspects of the gift that is my American heritage.

In the final analysis, there is another reason I don't mind my children giving honor in their everyday lives to the land of their parental heritage: I know that deep down, NONE of them want to leave Israel for the largesse of America, at least not for the long term. Once upon a time, we thought about leaving during a time of financial distress. At the very suggestion of leaving Israel, my eldest daughter burst into a very different song than the one cited above:

This song is called "Kan" which is Hebrew for "Here," and is poignant like no other Israeli song I know.

Here

Kan beiti, po ani noladeti Here is my home, here I was born
Bamishor asher al sfat hayam On the plain by the sea
Kan hachaverim itam gadalti Here are the friends I grew up with
Ve'en li shum makom acher ba'olam And I have no other place in the world
En li shum makom acher ba'olam I have no other place in the world
Kan beiti, po ani sichakti Here is my home, here I would play
Bashfela asher al gav hahar In the lowlands by the mountainside
Kan min habe'er shatiti maim Here I drank water from the well
Veshatalti deshe bamidbar And I planted grass in the desert
Veshatalti deshe bamidbar And I planted grass in the desert
Kan noladeti, kan noldu li yeladai Here I was born, here my children were born
Kan baniti et beiti bishtei yadai Here I built my home with my own two hands
Kan gam ata iti vechan kol elef yedidai Here you are also with me and here are all of my thousand friends
Ve'achrei shanim alpaim, sof lindudai And after two thousand years, an end to my wandering
Kan et kol shirai ani niganti Here I played all my songs
Vehalachti bemasa leili And I walked on a nightly journey
Kan bine'urai ani heganti Here in my youth I defended
Al chelkat ha'Elohim sheli My own God's little acre
Al chelkat ha'Elohim sheli My own God's little acre
Kan noladeti, kan noldu li yeladai Here I was born, here my children were born
Kan baniti et beiti bishtei yadai Here I built my home with my own two hands
Kan gam ata iti vechan kol elef yedidai Here you are also with me and here are all off my thousand friends
Ve'achrei shanim alpaim, sof lindudai And after two thousand years, an end to my wandering
Kan Here
Kan et shulchani ani arachti Here I set my table
Pat shel lechem, perach ra'anan A piece of bread, a fresh flower
Delet lashchenim ani patachti I opened a door to the neighbours
Umi sheba, nomar lo "Ahalan" And we'll say "Ahalan" to whoever comes
("Ahalan") ("Ahalan")
Umi sheba, nomar lo "Ahalan" And we'll say "Ahalan" to whoever comes
Kan noladeti, kan noldu li yeladai Here I was born, here my children were born
Kan baniti et beiti bishtei yadai Here I built my home with my own two hands
Kan gam ata iti vechan kol elef yedidai Here you are also with me and here are all of my thousand friends
Ve'achrei shanim alpaim, sof lindudai And after two thousand years, an end to my wandering
Kan gam ata iti vechan kol elef yedidai Here you are also with me and here are all of my thousand friends
Ve'achrei shanim alpaim And after two thousand years
Achrei shanim alpaim After two thousand years
Kan noladeti, kan noldu li yeladai Here I was born, here my children were born
Kan baniti et beiti bishtei yadai Here I built my home with my own two hands
Kan gam ata iti vechan kol elef yedidai Here you are also with me and here are all of my thousand friends
Ve'achrei shanim alpaim, sof lindudai And after two thousand years an end to my wandering
Kan gam ata iti vechan kol elef yedidai Here you are also with me and here are all of my thousand friends
Ve'achrei shanim alpaim And after two thousand years
Sof, sof lindudai An end, an end to my wandering

Translation by Tamar Leachtman.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Varda, I'm a big fan! (I loved the cartoon)....

    ReplyDelete