Heritage: A Dilemma

Most students have an identity, an interest or a talent that defines them in an essential way. Tell us about yourself.

“Your dad was born in Lebanon? Wow, that’s so cool!”

I often hear this when I first meet someone. While my father was only in Lebanon for the first one and a half years of life, our family had a presence in the city of Beirut for many years before their departure. Ironically, about 45 years after my dad’s immediate family moved out of Lebanon, his son is back only kilometers away in the great State of Israel. I decided to come to Israel for my Gap Year rather than remain in the United States for my first year of college. Considering my heritage, it might seem counterintuitive that I ended up in Israel rather than Lebanon.

Lebanon, while not being the safest place for Jews to go at the moment, was a paradise back in the 1950s and 1960s. According to my grandfather, life was pleasant, and the beautiful weather and landscape contributed to Lebanon being a tourist hotspot during that time.His family used to own a tannery factory in Beirut (initially started in Damascus, Syria by his father) and were quite successful. The Jewish life in Beirut was terrific at the time --so much so that Jews immigrated to Lebanon to avoid persecution in neighboring countries! While a fair number of those people remained, a decent portion of them...

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