On my desk, there are two “to do” piles. The first is those things that I can do right away. A doctor’s bill to pay or a field trip permission slip to sign. The second pile is the stuff that will take a little more time. Perhaps there is something that needs a notary or a trip to the bank — or the camp medical forms that cannot be signed because I still have to schedule the kids’ physicals.

Atop that second pile sits an Israel bond. Years ago, when I graduated from law school and we moved into our first home in Royal Oak, my mom delivered to me a pile of papers that I was now deemed adult enough to have. Most were gifts of treasury bonds that had been given to me at key milestones in my life — primarily my birth and my bat mitzvah. Staring down a massive amount of law school debt, I made the choice to cash everything in for a timely capital infusion that most new graduates desperately need.

But the one thing I didn’t cash in was an Israel bond. I could pretend this was a statement about my Zionist identity or my love for the State of Israel — or something about how if you will it, it is no dream — but in truth, it was because my mother was listed alongside me on the document, and I never got around to filling out the right paperwork.

The paperwork got more complicated a few years later when I got married and changed my name. At one point I sent something in, but it was rejected because, even with my legal degree and general ability to fill out forms, I could not figure out the administrative hurdles of cashing in an Israel bond.

So it sat. And sat. And sat. Through a move and the births of two kids, I have packed, unpacked, stacked and even dusted this bond. At one point, I did take a few minutes to confirm my suspicion that “bonds will not earn or accrue interest after maturity” — sometime in the 1990s. I thought, I should really deal with that. But I didn’t. I guess “interest” and “maturity” are relative terms.

As we approach this Yom Haatzmaut and the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding, the bond continues to haunt me as an emblem of my complicated relationship with the government of Israel — which I distinguish from either the people of Israel or the land of Israel. It was given to me, a legacy of my birth. I have held on to it all these years. But I am not sure I want it. I am not sure I want to be an investor in the current Israeli government. Or, if I am being honest, I am sure that the current Israeli government is anathema to all the hopes and dreams that I inherited about the promise of Israel.

But does that mean I can just turn in the bond, wash my hands of the investment that has been made by generations before me?

I am aware that the Israeli government does not require my support. It does not need the $500 I have inadvertently donated to them (or at least escrowed indefinitely) through my paperwork incompetence — approximately .000000001% of the government's 2023 budget. The years I have dedicated as an advocate for the State of Israel are are rounding error too. And there have been many times in recent years that I have been tempted to throw my hands up and join the legions that default to apathy when it comes to Israel. But I have never been able to choose apathy. My Zionism, like this bond, was a gift to me that I do not know how to give up.

So as Yom Haatzmaut approaches, I share the torment of millions of Zionists who both love the dream that is the State of Israel and are appalled by many aspects of its reality. I share the ache of American Zionists who are unsure of how to register our protests from the other side of the world. I remain in the camp that Doniell Hartmann calls the “troubled committed.” But each time I pick up my Israel bond I wonder whether the trouble is worth it — whether it is time to uncommit.

Then I put the bond back in its rightful place on the top of the pile. I can neither cash it in nor file it away as a birthright that I am certain I wish to keep.