The spark that lit the flame

Anat Gopstein’s latest column in Gilui Da’at:
The spark that lit the flame
“You’re not Jewish anymore”, he told her, “you’re Muslim”. Acknowledgement of this struck her like a bolt of lightening. “A Jew always remains a Jew”, she answered, but his pronouncement still caused her to ponder who she really is and what her identity is. She couldn’t sleep; thoughts, memories went through her head, how every night she always used to say the “Shema Israel” with her mother, and “the guardian angel”, where is this angel now, who’s guarding me? Her family disconnected from her, and ever since, she’s feeling empty, with nothing. She’s experiencing difficult days, feeling really confused. She recalls her past: How strong she was, knew what she wanted, she had friends, she succeeded in her studies, she had a warm, loving family… and she’s trapped. She was so loved until she crossed the limit, did something she swore she would never do, and went with an Arab. Her family did not know how to cope with this harsh news, with the bitter pill. They got terribly angry at her: “How dare she?”, they are a bereaved family, “how can she do this to them?”. They didn’t understand her, didn’t try to understand what was happening to her, they gave her an ultimatum and she did not agree. Afer she left everything, she was alone, she followed him through fire and water, and he tells her “you’re not a Jew”. She felt empty, discouraged, and mainly confused. She decided she would call me: “Anat, I got lost”. We had exciting conversations about Judaism, identity, and especially, about feelings. Because years later, something there got lost. She started developing self-awareness, what she is and what she wants, and what her destiny is in life.
On Rosh Chodesh Kislev, she sent me a message: “Chodesh Tov, how I love the holiday of Chanuka.” “Me, too”, I answered her, “but you know, Chanuka is not just lighting candles and doughnuts, Chanuka is also a holiday of identity, a holiday of culture. On Chanuka we celebrate the victory of the Torah of Israel over Greek culture. It recalls the struggle between holy and profane, between two world views, between the spiritual world and the material world.” On that holiday at the time, she was already lighting candles and celebrating the Festival of Lights with us, in Lehava’s mystery apartment.
Chanuka Sameach!

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