The Author

Life Under the Evil Empire

I was born in Soviet Russia. My parents had applied for visas to leave the country before I arrived on the scene only to be refused like scores of fellow Russian Jews. They were known as “refusniks” because while Jews were at best third rate citizens in the USSR, the government refused to allow them to leave. The Soviets believed they had created a utopian society and that those who wanted out were traitors.

As the winds of change swept over the Evil Empire and Communism began its decline, we were set free. I was told we were moving to America, a place I’d heard of only in books, two weeks in advance. My parents gave me strict instructions not to tell anyone we were leaving out of concern for my safety.

Coming to America and Dreams of the Promised Land

We arrived in Chicago in the spring of 1989. While life in the US was good from the start and I’ll always be grateful to America for providing my family with a safe haven when we needed it most, even as a child, I knew America wasn’t my final destination. I knew I’d end up in Israel, land of my forefathers, of King David and King Solomon, a sacred Land my ancestors, persecuted and unwelcomed in foreign countries, had never forsaken.

At the age of 19, I told my parents what they had already guessed was coming: I was packing my bags and making Aliya. It was 2001, and the Second Intifada was raging. Buses and restaurants loaded with Jewish civilians were being targeted for suicide bombings on a monthly basis. I was coming home at last.

Israel – not a ‘Choice,’ but a Responsibility

Life in Israel has never been easy, but coming here is by far the best decision I’ve ever made. There were many who tried to pursue me I was too young to make such a life-altering decision, that I’d make more money in America, that it was “too dangerous.” Looking back on it 15 years later, I’m extremely happy I made the choice to follow my dreams.

As someone fulfilling the national dream of the Jewish people, I try to influence my family and friends to follow my lead. As I see it, anyone can support Israel, (and Israel definitely appreciates every bit of support we get) but it takes true courage, vision, and integrity to settle the Land we have been praying to return to for two thousand years. If our ancestors had the propensity to give up their lives so that future generations of Jews could one day return to our God-given Land, why can’t we sacrifice a little bit of our comfort to fulfill their dream? Don’t we owe it to those who came before us? Don’t we owe it to ourselves to do what we know is right?

My story is one of countless stories of Jews from all over the world returning to their beloved Land. God knows, many have made sacrifices far exceeding mine. (How many Israelis have died protecting Israel over the last month alone?) One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the laws of nature don’t apply when it comes to the Land of Israel. There’s a special blessing we receive when we return to our Land.

Don’t Wait – the Time is NOW!

My message to my fellow Jews in the Diaspora is: Come home and do it now before it’s too late God forbid. We’ve seen too many of our people massacred in places where no one ever imagined the scourge of anti-Semitism would strike. Most of all, come home because its’ the right thing to do and you belong here. This is your gift from the Almighty. Don’t waste it!

Article by Eitan Divinsky

Eitan Divinsky is the social media manager at United with Israel. A native of Russia, he grew up in Chicago and made Aliya in 2001. He has extensive experience in the fields of Israel advocacy, translation and creative writing.