Coming home to Zion

Michael Freund,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Michael Freund
Michael Freund served as Deputy Communications Director in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Binyamin Netanyahu during his first term of office. He is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that searches for and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other "hidden Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and authors a popular blog on Middle East affairs, Fundamentally Freund. A native New Yorker, Freund is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Israel for the past 19 years and remains a loyal New York Mets fan....


Yes, I have indeed truly come home.
Fifteen years ago this week, my wife and I, together with our young son, embarked on a fateful journey.

Leaving behind friends and family in New York, we boarded a flight and fulfilled our dream, along with that of our ancestors, by making aliyah and settling in the Land of Israel.

I still remember the heady feeling that I had, walking through the streets of Jerusalem in the initial days after our arrival.

As much as I had enjoyed visiting the country as a tourist over the years and seeing the sites, there was nothing quite like the emotion that gripped me as I took in my surroundings as a proud new resident of the reborn Jewish state.

From waking up to the sounds of Hebrew on the radio, to catching a glimpse of the walls of the Old City at sunset, I could sense my soul stir in a way I had never experienced before.

Yes, I thought to myself, I have indeed truly come home.

I'm a little older now, of course, with less hair on my head and a bit more cynicism under my belt. But I still look back on that moment as one of the proudest of my life, when I inextricably tied my fate, and that of my family, with the unfolding destiny of the Jewish people.

By its very nature, immigration is a form of transformation, one that involves a profound yet paradoxical mix of uprooting and planting anew. But the act of relocation is far more than merely a matter of geography. It goes to the very core of a person's identity, forcing one to confront who they are and who they wish to be.

I am still grappling with many of those questions, and perhaps I always will. That, after all, comes with the territory.

But as I consider the momentous times we are living in, and the fulfillment of G-d's promises to His people Israel, there is no place I'd rather be. Right here - in the center of it all.