The Conspiracy

Poem: You Have to Keep Swimming

When Oceans Stand Between You and Your Dreams, You Have to Keep Swimming

By Rachel Chabin, Stony Brook University

Our Exodus begins with water.
It begins with crossing when the water is over your head.
It begins with a decision, a conviction;
it begins with the choice to try to swim.
When we fled to the edge of the sea,
it dried up at our feet and swelled between us,
and we were safe on the bank at the other side.
This chronicle begins with a river,
the one we crossed to come home for the first time.

This story begins three thousand years ago.

Our exile begins with water.
It begins with a people driven out of their country and into a new land.
It begins with an edict, an order;
it begins with the need to drift away from home.
When we watched the Temple burn at foreign hands,
it burned too the safety we once had in our country,
and we could not stay in our home.
This book begins with unfamiliar waves,
the ones caressing our shores, but never pushing us back.

This story begins two thousand years ago.

Our vision begins with water.
It begins with a man and an idea and a will to make it reality.
It begins with a commitment, a fervor;
it begins with a passion stretching across the globe.
When we realized we were not complete without a home of our own,
we brought people across the world to design their country anew,
and we were already bringing an age-old dream to life.
This page begins with a humid sea west of a desert,
the water cresting at the shores of a new Jewish land.

This story begins sixty-seven years ago.

Our journey begins with water.
It begins with a plane ticket and a late-night flight in a freezing cabin.
It begins with a mantra, a refrain;
it begins with learning to love the unknown.
When we lift into the air and watch our skyline fade to nothing,
we dream of the tiny desert country of myths and legends,
and we awake to see it for ourselves.
This sentence begins with tears,
the ones catching in our throats as the plane brings us home.

This story begins ten hours ago.

Our future begins with land.
It begins with Haifa and Eilat.
It begins with Tel Aviv and Yafo;
it begins with the shimmering stone of Jerusalem.
When we look at a country of people like us,
we see what it means to defy expectations,
and we see what it means to survive.
This saga begins with power,
and the will to swim until we reach the shore.

This story begins today.

Rachel Chabin is a sophomore at Stony Brook University.

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