By Tziona Yehudit Garland
Just a few years ago, when I was a naive little child, I was raised to believe that far from my home in Hoboken was a wonderful place — a place where people like me could live and learn as God meant us to. I always dreamed that someday I would go there — and my little dog too.
Thus I came to believe in Oz. So did my sisters, my cousins and even my stupid little brother, Mikey. Mikey was such a fervent Ozinist that he even wanted to fly off to Oz to join their army. We knew that our parents believed in it too, that they would give their lives for it, if necessary. (Although they didn’t let Mikey go. He has to finish college first. And graduate school.) It never occurred to any of us that someday there would be people — people living in Oz itself! — who would question Ozinism.
It began slowly. A rebellious Munchkin here, a bitter Munchkin there, complaining about their lifetime army service, their taxes and pressure from the religious right to ban Shabbat broom-travel in Emerald City. As an American Ozinist, I felt I could roll with those punches.
But then came the surveys. First a sociologist talked to a kid on the beach; then whole squads of psychologists, rabbis and teachers questioned dozens of Ozian youth wherever they could find them. It turns out that there is not a kid alive in Oz who wants to be there, and not one who would stay there past his Bar Mitzvah year if not tied down. And all of them said they just want to live in a place that is “normahl,” like Disneyland.
So I ask you, calmly and quietly: Are these Ozinists?! Are they? Are they?
However, I think everything will be OK. Because surveys were taken in the States and it was found that there is not one kid who wants to live there, and not one who wants to stay if not tied down. Furthermore, their parents all decided that these rootless, ungrateful, confused American kids would turn into good kids if they all could be shipped over to Oz for a summer or two, so they can lie on the beach and absorb values.
So here’s my idea. We should exchange our entire teen populations. Fly all the Ozian kids over to the U.S., where they can be cool; and let the American kids get on the return flight to Oz. Then the Americans can come back here with suntans, values and lots of continuity. The only problem might be in getting the Ozians to go back because they don’t care about continuity and stuff. But we’ll figure out something.
It’s such a simple solution, that no adult would think of it. It takes a student like me — the only true Ozinist left (and proud of it) — to come through for youth, for Oz and for the future of our People. I’ve always known there’s no place like home.
Ms. Garland is an eleventh grade post-doctoral student in a yeshivah which has threatened to sue if the name is published. She frequently harangues her classmates on her two favorite subjects: Ozinism and pre-Columbian art.