11 months have passed by, since we left behind America, boarded an El-Al charter flight and came home to Israel.
11 months have passed by, since we said goodbye to friends and family, and drove from Boca Raton, Florida, to New York City.
11 months have passed by, since we left the comforts and ease of life in America, and landed in the fast and furious Middle East.
I planned to blog for our one year “Aliyaversary”, but I quickly realized that the kids would all be home, as their camps are almost over (and there’s still a whole 5 weeks of summer vacation to go!), and the chance of me having time to sit and write was slim. It seems appropriate to write the blog post today, 11 months and 1 day after our arrival, as the Nefesh B’Nefesh summer flights have just begun. In fact today, in JFK airport in New York, some 220 people are boarding a flight, right about now, much like ours from last year. Tomorrow morning they will arrive at Ben Gurion airport, they will have their welcome ceremony, similar to that which we had last August, and they will start their new lives as Israelis.
It makes me really happy to say that I know 3 families on that flight. One from Florida, one from Virginia, and one from Colorado. As everything is still so fresh in my mind, I have tried to help each of them as much as possible plan for this move. Whether advising them on what to stock up on for their lift, recommending crates for the dogs, or simply explaining to them some of the “shouldbesosimplebutisnt” things that they will have to deal with upon arrival, I’ve attempted to cover it all.
With their arrival tomorrow their dream will be fulfilled. The days, weeks, months, and often years leading up to making aliya are a work in progress – so many things come into play, faith, beliefs, emotions, money. Once you finally arrive here at your destination, it’s difficult to know what to do next. The first weeks (months) are a mess of bureaucracy, something that many find difficult to deal with – especially those coming from North America. Once all of that is out of the way, your dream is now your reality.
Our reality here in Israel is good. It’s wonderful. I’m not one to tint things with rose colored glasses – you should all know me better than that by now. There are things here that will never be easy, and many people allow those things to become an obstacle to their happiness. In order to be happy here, you simply have to “Let Go, and Let God”, as a well known rabbi from South Florida once said, while sky diving somewhere in Israel. I try hard not to let things get to me. Like waiting almost 5 hours at the driver’s license bureau in Holon, simply to get a piece of paper stamped to allow me to take a test to switch my license over. Yes it was frustrating. No it was not fun. But it was part of the first year full of things that just had to get done. Once it’s done, you never have to do most of those things ever again. (Ok, so grocery shopping, dealing with the bank and post office, are things we kind of have to always do, but you get used to it…)
Tomorrow morning, an airplane full of people will become the newest Olim in Israel. As of tomorrow, the Olim of 2014 become the “vatikim” – the “old timers”. We will always be immigrants, as I wrote a few weeks ago, but we are no longer the newest crop. We still have so much to learn about our new-to-us homeland, and yet we have learned so much that we can impart to the newbies.
I wish all the olim arriving tomorrow hatzlacha raba – much success – and a klita kalla vene’ima – an easy and pleasant absorption. May you enjoy a wonderful first year in Israel, and may it also be your worst year in Israel – let each year get better, and let our love of Israel only grow and strengthen our reserve to stay here, in our homeland, our country.