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Sarah Warshawsky Essay

My Connection to Zionism

To describe a connection to Zionism would be to try and describe the butterflies one gets when they see their lover approach. It is indescribable; it is a feeling, an emotion, or simply a connection with something greater than you.

Sophomore year of college, I was sitting in class while a visiting professor from Ben Gurion was giving the daily lecture. Mr. Maurice Roumani was a special teacher for me.  He taught all of my Middle Eastern political science courses.  He spoke about the trials and tribulations of many famous Israelis; he taught us how Israel became a state, how the Middle East’s boundaries became so misguided, the strength and endurance of a people that just wanted a homeland… It was there in class, that without even trying, Mr. Roumani taught me about my own Zionism. After growing up most of my life in Texas and always the only Jewish girl people knew, taking a course from an Israeli professor in the middle of Oklahoma ignited a fire inside of me.

Israel has held a special place in my soul since I can remember. I have grown up all over this country and in unusual places for most Jews. Houston, Texas to Austin, Texas to school in Oklahoma, I know what it is like to not be of the majority. My solace was learning, studying, and living Israel.  I felt a sense of urgency, urgency to get up and move to Israel right away. I wanted to fight for Israel; I wanted to become a part of the majority.

I define Zionism as the belief in the existence of a unified Jewish homeland.  In a world where we diligently fight for our right to exist and be legitimate in the eyes of States; Zionism is a belief in the Jewish people, the rights we have, the history we endured and the future we will aspire to.

My Zionism has led me to work for the Israeli foreign ministry at the Consulate of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico. I took this position without even knowing my title, I interviewed and told my previous bosses that any amount of money would do I just want to work. Everyday I get to work for the betterment of Israel. I make sure every day that our lawmakers know just how important we are to the United States and the world. Through my current role as the Director of Political Affairs for the Consulate General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico I get to sit frequently with newly elected officials and state the case of why Israel matters and how they can help. I help promote business ties between the state of Florida and Israel, I help legislators gain a better understanding to the importance Israel serves their constituency and the United States as a whole, and most importantly I get to create a positive image of the Jewish State to my fellow countrymen.

My time has come to live my dream of moving to Israel. I believe being a Zionist means understanding Israel from the inside out. Living and breathing what Israel is requires a period of time spent inside the country. Once the taste of Israel envelopes you, go forth and advocate. The best hasbara Israel can get is from the Diaspora. We must continue to educate ourselves on why Israel matters, both on a personal basis and a professional. Dedicating a part of my life to live within Israel will only strengthen my bond with the country and allow me to better understand how to advocate upon my return.