Over the last few weeks I've been seeing my name appear in the press. Ellen DeGeneres is NOT knocking on my door to hear what I have to say BUT many people are saying I'm not American and should renounce my US citizenship while others are telling me to leave Israel because I clearly don't care about the State of Israel. Where would I go? Canada? Probably not.
Today, I game across a blog post about me that really just bothered me. Feel free to read the post if you wish but it's a bunch of bologna. Seriously. This experience in the press taught me that I became a scapegoat for a cause the media created. I became the poster child for a cause that has no meaning. My name is being associated with all that is evil with the State of Israel. Rather than propelling the country to change how it handles marriages and marriage licenses, anti-Israel groups are saying "see! The State of Israel hates it's own!"
I wanted to be the face of what happens every day here in Israel when you try to get married. I wanted to put a face to the problem of religious in-equality in the country that I love so dearly. I wanted to show the State of Israel that it needs to change - no longer can you tell someone that it's OK for them to die in battle as a Jew but they aren't Jewish enough to get married.
Instead, I feel like I brought shame to my family.
This is the first time that I cried about this issue since we went to the Rabbanut in the first place. I let myself down. I let others just like me down. The media used me for nothing.
I will make two things clear:
1) I am a Jew - no matter what anyone says.
2) I have never and will never use my family heritage to make myself popular or famous. That's what my political career and published books will be for.
I lost friends because of this and, in all honesty, they weren't really my friends to begin with if they chose not to stand by my side. In reality, until they go through what I've gone through and what others just like me have gone through - they'll never know how terrible it feels to be in limbo.
In Israel, when you're going to get married, you have lessons with the Rabbi or a his wife (or a member of the community). They teach you how to be a good spouse - you can lean on them for support. A friend of mine will be married at the end of December and I am envious of her relationship with her marriage teacher. With all the other issues the man and I had to deal with while getting married - I needed someone there to hold my hand. Someone who understood. I didn't really have that. My friend is lucky - she has her mentor to lean on. I got to sit back and watch my husband's heart break as he walked down the aisle with his great-uncle instead of his father. I watched him sit quietly as my family was buzzing around me during our rehearsal dinner and he had no one there but a few friends. When my make up artist wanted to kick him out of the room so it'd be a surprise when he saw me for the first time - I said "Haim, where's he gonna go? The lobby?"
I needed that older Jewish woman to cry to. My family both in the US and in Israel didn't understand what we were going through. Regardless, some moron decided to write a post about how I am dissatisfied with the system. He's partially right - I am dissatisfied. The system itself is in place for a reason and I respect it - I am dissatisfied with how it was handled. I am dissatisfied with the people they put in positions of authority who can't read English or Russian - two of Israel's main languages. I am dissatisfied with the lack of accountability. This is not what David Ben Gurion envisioned and Theodore Herzl is rolling in his grave right now. This is supposed be the home of the JEWISH people. The home for Jews who seek refuge. I sought refuge and then was told I wasn't Jewish enough.