Looking for the Right Community

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Jerusalem is not my forever home, my ultimate community.

It’s the place I’ve been living for the past 6+ years, and whereas good things have arose along the way, and I have had some positive experiences, I’ve known for some time now that I’m not where I want to be.

I can explain my reasons all day long, everything from the traffic to the high cost. But it won’t really convey the feeling in my heart that lacks a proper, decisive explanation.

When you know you’re not home, you just know it. You feel it in every inch of your system. I’m not where I’m meant to be, and when you feel this way, it seeps into everything you do.

We all should be able to find our homes. The community that is right for us. That place you don’t like leaving and you are excited to return to. The place in your life that just screams “home”.

Jerusalem is Not Home


And not only is Jerusalem not that place for me, but I have yet to find the place either. We’ve begun the search, but all beginnings are challenging. And can be frustrating.

It’s actually a bit similar to dating, in many ways. Generally speaking, you can’t know you’ve found the place of your dreams after just one visit. However, it often doesn’t take much time at all to realize you aren’t where you belong.

The process of finding the right home is daunting.

There are many things that I’m on the hunt for. Some are obvious, some a little less so.

I would like a proper home. I grew up in a nice-sized house with a yard. I had my own bedroom. And it’s hard for me to imagine a world in which my children don’t have the same privileges. They shouldn’t have to be cramped. There should be a place for all of us to go outside and enjoy some fresh air, with a bit of grass and a big grill.

Spoiled by Kansas City

Kansas City

And it would be nice if that little dream didn’t come at the expense of having to sell organs on the black market or creating a giant crystal meth cartel just to afford the down payment. Sadly, Kansas City has forever spoiled me. I now believe you can have everything you want in a home, and it can still be affordable. Is that the case in Israel? Well, yes and no. The percentage you need to pay for a down payment is outrageous, and in order to get even close to the aforementioned house description, you’re going to need to be pretty far from central areas.

But I’m keeping the dream alive.

Nevertheless, that’s all material goods. Just because I found the perfect house for the right price, does not automatically mean happiness is inevitable. It by no means signifies that “home” has finally been discovered.

After being around for a bit, and thinking way too much about my settings and the people around me, I’ve finally found a general description of what I’m looking for. I don’t know if it exists, or if it exists in the way I would like it to, but maybe if I put it into words, it will help me get there.

The Mixed Community


But first, I want to contrast what I’m looking for with something that doesn’t interest me very much. And that’s a so-called mixed community. What “mixed” usually means in this context is that different types of people live side-by-side. In Israel, more than anything else, it’s a reference to religiosity. In a mixed community, there are both religious and secular people.

As you’ll soon understand, this is by no means a problem for me. Quite the opposite, in fact.

What is a problem is what “mixed” means with a little further observation. A mixed community is one in which religious and non-religious folk live in close proximity, but often have little to nothing to do with each other. It’s like two different worlds living right there, but there’s no meaningful interaction between them. They are mixed like combining oil and water. Yes, they’re together. But they’re separating. They’re not actually one.

In a mixed community, at best they live in separate harmony. At worst, they spend their waking hours silently judging those different from themselves.

No, what I seek is something a lot deeper. I want an “integrated” community.

Mixed vs Integrated


I don’t just want religious and non-religious people living in close proximity to one another. I want them relating to each other as people. I want them friends with one another. Visiting each other’s homes, watching their kids play together.

I want religious and non-religious friends and neighbors engaging with one another in lively discussions, sometimes about their differences, and sometimes about soccer, their favorite Netflix shows, and the bastard who cut them off in traffic.

And I want it to be seamless. Obvious. We’re not friends with each other because we have an agenda or we want to proudly tell other people that we have such a great variety of people in our lives. No, we’re friends because we like each other, we’re not judgmental, and we try to relate to people for who they are, not because they fit into a certain demographic.

I don’t want an invisible partition fence separating me from people in my community, patting ourselves on the back and pretending like it matters that there are different folk around. No, I want people to relate to people as they should: As people. Never discounting each other based on outer appearance nor hyper-focusing on belief systems as a way to make decisions about who you want or don’t want to be in your life.

A mixed community is not a bad thing. Tolerance is definitely better than intolerance. And willingness to be exposed to things different from yourself can certainly be beneficial. But it’s just a first step toward a far greater ideal.

Tolerance is good, but it’s a fairly low standard. If someone described their marriage as tolerable, I think most of us would be worried about their future. True progress comes not from tolerance, but from love, integration, and communication.

If I find that, I’ve likely found my home.

Tolerance is definitely better than intolerance. Willingness to be exposed to things different from yourself can certainly be beneficial. But it's just a first step toward a far greater ideal. Share on X

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