The day after Trump was sworn in I started asking folks where the best place to move would be. My friend Kathy said Portugal; no standing army, beautiful weather and cheap. My friend Paula said Uruguay; gorgeous beaches, good people, no army. My friends in Ireland said come on over.

This isn’t the first time I have researched leaving the country. Before Nixon got elected, my husband and I vowed we would emigrate if he won. He won and we stayed.

When Bush signed the Patriot Act, I started my application to citizenship in Canada. When Barack re-upped the Patriot Act, I was sure they were holding his children hostage. I went back to my bookmarked paperwork for the north of North America.

Recently, I was Googling New Zealand real estate and looking at pictures of white sand and turquoise water. But everything changed during my neighbor and friend Bill Gamson’s Bar Mitzvah — at 83!

I was happy to be among the many guests at the Hebrew Center, but not being a regular in temple I expected to duck out as soon as the service was over. I sat there remembering how much I had loved my own Bat Mitzvah, but how little meaning religious school in general had been. We learned Hebrew by rote, the Rabbi talked only to the rich kids, (which meant he didn’t talk to me) and the sermons were long and boring.

My parents were cultural Jews. Assimilation was the name of the game. We celebrated only the high holidays and Passover. Hanukkah was a joke, a pale competitor of Christmas. The biggest compliment you could hope to get was “You don’t look Jewish”.

I have had a love hate relationship with my Judaism. The things I have treasured about being Jewish are Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) knowing that as a people we are committed to the responsibility of helping to heal the brokenness of the world. There are many rituals I respect, like at Seder putting bitter herbs on top of the sweet Charosis (apples, wine and walnuts) signifying you can’t be completely happy until everyone (not just Jews) is free. I love our humor. I love our food. I love the fact that we can argue with God. I love that we argue among ourselves, heated passionate disagreements. I love the search for knowledge and the thirst for intellectual challenges.

But I don’t like what Israel is doing. I don’t like organized religion that claims God as their own, and I don’t like thinking of us as The Chosen People.

But at Bill’s Bar Mitzvah my ambivalence turned to pure love when Rabbi Rachael Cowan got up and reminded me what a miracle the light of day is. It’s hard to write the sound of her words so you can feel what I did while sitting there. All I know is I go to sleep in a very dark room and when morning comes I walk out into the kitchen and it’s light. And I make coffee. Rachael reminded me that every day is a miracle. Every day the sun comes up. Why don’t we realize that this is a miracle?

Rabbi Caryn Broitman sang like an angel. The discussion among the congregation about what to do in this critical time in our nation was like being in a graduate course.

I looked around and there was my pharmacist. And there were Vicky and Armen Hanjian, Methodist ministers and early friends whom I met the first year I came to the Island, and Sally Cohn, who the minute I see her silver hair, so like my own, my heart is happy. And there was Ewell Hopkins my precious friend, Kimberly’s husband, and there were Bob and Bonnie George, and Harriet Bernstein glowing in white, and Barney Zeitz (whose gorgeous windows grace the center) and Phyllis Vecchia, and my friend Jill Bernstein, and Avi and Lubja, and Rhoda Diamond, who I love driving to a few of her millions of events, and of course Z who had arranged the whole thing. And Lynn Ditchfield, an astounding human being and my old boss at ACE, and Nancy and Duncan, and Max Jasney and Marjory Potts who taught us how to use our video camera, and Nicole Brisson, the writer, and, and, and.

Maybe because I stood for the Mourners’ Kaddish (the prayer for the dead) and I spoke out loud my son Dan’s name (who died seven years ago), maybe subconsciously I never really wanted to leave my country, or maybe all this time I have just been looking for my tribe. But I couldn’t duck out. I stayed for the delicious lunch and for the beautiful toasts to Bill.

And when I got home, instead of emailing my application for citizenship to Canada, I closed my computer with the photographs of all the places I will probably never see. And I sat down and wrote the check for my membership to the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center.

Nancy Aronie lives in Chilmark. She is the author of Writing from the Heart: Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice (Hyperion/Little Brown) and teaches the Chilmark Writing Workshop.