Actually, it might be possible to survive being Conservative and Jewish but adding in Zionist and you have a wholly different kettle of fish. One thing is fairly constant, tell people you are Jewish and they immediately assume you to be a Liberal, or Progressive as they now like to be called. This causes friction with any fellow Conservatives when the realization that you are a Jew is revealed, or the discomfort is obvious if you, upon meeting, try to explain you are Jewish and Conservative. Unfortunately, that is the least of the problems for Conservatives tend to give the benefit of the doubt and will hear you out and allow you to show the truth; Liberal or Progressives, not so much. Much is not the same in way too many Jewish congregations. The two subjects that will get you the permanent cold shoulder, or even the eternal silent treatment, is not supporting the Democrat Party and admitting you actually own guns and have shot them. Truth be told, more Jews own guns than will ever admit to it. Another truth is more Jews are Conservative than the polling information shows, especially exit polling on Election Day. If you just voted foror third party against Barack Obama and your friends are within earshot when you are polled leaving the voting area, to save difficulties and severe loss of friends, you claim to have voted straight Democrat ticket. Unfortunately, I have never learned when to keep my mouth shut and, as will not be a surprise, do not have many friends. (Note to friends, the ones I have are the most trustworthy and best people anybody could call friend.)
I have actually been asked, never by the Rabbi or officers of a Synagogue, but just the same asked to find another congregation where they might appreciate my kind of people. Luckily, I have found a congregation here in town that has thus far tolerated me and in some ways is accepting that I am most definitely different. I’m sure being a dark blond, blue eyed, Nordic looking person, especially in amongst a group of Jews, has made some question my origins. Surprisingly enough I am from a mixed family, one parent Ashkenazi and the other Sephardic, which further begs the question of how the blue eyes and light complexion. The Rabbi occasionally will enjoy a joke when during his sermons he will relay any reaction I might have to the subject, all in good fun. Rabbi has learned that I will disagree with his views and will question them during service when he allows open discussion and otherwise have been known to politely make my questions or views known after services as we all mingle. Rabbis must be trained to tolerate and make the owner of every view comfortable in that differences are allowed. If you have yet to guess, I like Rabbi. It is one of my hopes that he will come to find a greater level of comfort with me before my time to leave comes.
And that takes me to the last subject, Zionism. My reasons for not having acted on my Zionism are my reasons and hopefully that will be unquestioned and respected. The time is nearing when I will make Aliyah and return home. In a strange way, it is expressed in asong, though he is referring to Colorado, returning to Israel is “going back to a place I’ve never been before.” One would think that Jews would find another Jew being a Zionist would not be that unusual an event, but it seems it is. The first response is often, “Oh, well, ummm. That’s nice, good luck.” Then they usually turn and try to get away without further discussions. If the conversation is continued, then next come the questions, “Why would you want to do that?” “What, you don’t like America” or “America isn’t good enough for you?” and my favorite, “You do realize it is dangerous over there, right?” It usually shocks these last questioners when you inform them that even including terrorist attacks, you are safer in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, or other major Israeli cities than in any of the twenty five largest cities in the United States from crime. Some will say, but you barely speak Hebrew. Truth be told, I can read Hebrew but know very little of the translations. What they do not realize is that I do not care and I will learn and a majority of Israelis at least understand English, also French, Arabic, Russian, and a myriad of other languages. I have learned that somebody who is not a Zionist will seldom if ever understand somebody who is a Zionist. My promise goes back to when I was a child when I made myself a deal that upon a certain set of events, my work here would be done and I would go home at last. Zionist and conservative, not the easiest path to take if you want friends, but then again, a path where your friends will be real, few, but real.