April 26, 2007
An inadvertent gift
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Having searched the place, he and the other soldiers he was with took a moment to rest. Then as they were leaving, he was killed by enemy fire. Nahor's boyfriend, a fellow immigrant, gave his life to his new country. And like any soldier, like all Israelis, Nahor had time only to take a short breath and move on.
She says she got "a couple of days off to recover," though she said she prays for Zervib every day. Tears poured from her eyes as she told me the story.
Yet a few minutes later, as she looked out The Federation office window toward the Hollywood Hills, Nahor was pinching herself at where her life has taken her. She smiled again, looking like a fresh young girl, and while it's obvious that her scars run deep, she laughs easily and talks of going to school soon.
"I want to study helping people," she said. "Helping my country and my people."
She kisses the mezuzah each time she enters a room, the only overt sign during our conversation of her strengthened faith -- Nahor considers herself to be Orthodox -- and she said she now knows more about Judaism than most of her friends who are Jewish. She exudes a resilience that inspires hope. A sense of belonging that has come from facing obstacles and grabbing opportunities offered to her.
Perhaps inadvertently, that Israeli bureaucrat gave Nahor a gift. It was a challenge to learn and embrace the heritage she thought she already owned. To earn her place in the world.
Today, Nahor is not just running away. She's found a home, and unlike so many her age, she knows exactly who she is.
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