It’s Hard to Impress My Husband by Stacy Fassberg


People regularly ask me why I moved to Israel from Manhattan 20 years ago. The short answer is that when I started graduate school in 1993, my husband was the only single Jewish guy in the class so my dating options were limited. One thing led to another and we eloped in Las Vegas about one month before we graduated. On our very first date, he told me that he wanted his future children to go to "Kita Aleph," meaning that he wanted to raise his children in Israel. I was unfazed by the prospect, and in the summer of 1996, we made Israel our permanent home.

But there is a backstory: I first visited Israel in 1977 as part of a United Synagogue Youth Pilgrimage. I fell in love; not just with the country but with the soldier who accompanied our group. I was 14, and he was 19. We stayed in touch after the trip, relying on handwritten snail mail, and my parents even met him when they visited Israel for the first time. We ultimately lost touch. But when I returned home at the end of the summer, I announced very confidently that one day, I would live in Israel.

Back to my husband. He is skeptical by nature (some think that this is part of Israeli DNA). Sometimes he thinks my activities are “interesting.” I usually end up telling him about them after they are over since he travels extensively for work. But, because the JWRP trip involves me being away from home for eight days, I thought it best to tell him in advance.

First, I explained the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, which is my partner organization for the trip. He nodded in recognition, as his cousin’s daughter from Maryland participated in their Semester Program and spent many weekends with us. Then I explained the JWRP. His eyes got big as he took it all in, and he shook his head in disbelief. When I told him how many people have already participated in the program, he looked proud. He was grateful to all of the people and organizations who are making it possible for so many people to experience Israel first hand, and not just see the images posted by the less-than-sympathetic media.

With my trip less than two weeks away, I cannot wait to show 200 women the country I love and all of the reasons why my husband is so impressed.

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