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ISRAEL IS A BIG FAMILY
Moshe and I were not in a very good mood. We were walking out of the cemetery, after burring our friend and did not feel like talking as we went to our respective cars.
Suddenly Moshe turned to me and said: "We are returning to Israel."
Why, what happened so suddenly?
I thought about it for some time, Moshe answered. I want to prevent the American Disease in my own family.
What American Disease?
When the family spread out and you rarely see your kids again.
I don't understand. You have a lovely family, you have an excellent income, and you have here everything people want.
But, he said, this will not last. My kids are reaching college age. Once they go to a university any place over this vast USA, they meet someone there, get married, and stay there. And the distances here will kill this family. My family closeness is very important to my wife and me.
And this I don't have to worry about in Israel. In such a little country we are only hours away from one another by car or train.
And what if the kids object?
They can pay for their education themselves, he chuckled.
We hugged one another, probably for the last time, and I wished him a good life in Israel.
I knew very well about this sad occurrence, but not by its name - "American Disease." I have been experiencing it from the time my kids looked for jobs. Their university education was in California, so we saw them reasonably often. But once jobs started, they moved away. And phone calls are far cry from spending family time together.
My brothers and sister in Israel never faced that family separation. Through good and bad times, holidays and Shabat, they shared life together and are supporting one another.
Israel is a big family and that is one of the most important cohesive force helping Israelis overcome difficulties we in the US, most likely, would not be able to endure.