Bed of Roses

A favorite Bon Jovi song, frequently sung by Jon at concerts on a special stage, that extends way out into the front rows of seats, and leaves you (me) swooning and light headed.

Click here for the video of Bed of Roses

And yet, as much as I love it, I often wondered about the thorns on the roses. He must mean a bed of rose petals, but that means the roses are cut and already dead, with no way to grow more.

Recently I’ve spoken to a fair few people who want to make aliyah in the next twelve months. They are mostly people who I don’t know at all, or know very minimally, most certainly not close friends. They come to me, because a)I just made aliyah with my family from the US and b)Someone told them I’ll be brutally honest with them.
Most of them, when they initially contact me, are gushing with excitement about aliyah, pumped full of Zionism, longing for a return to the land of our forefathers. This is awesome. All Jews should be this enthusiastic about moving to Israel. All Jews should be talking about making aliyah. We all belong here. It’s our home.

I try not to be be too harsh when I talk to prospective olim. I would never want to deter anyone from making aliyah, but I feel that it is so important to be honest, and open about every aspect of living in Israel. Yes, it is wonderful to live in a Jewish state, where Jewish holidays are the official days off, and where kosher is standard, and synagogues are plentiful, and “have a good weekend” is replaced with “shabbat shalom”. It’s special to see the streets shut down on Yom Kippur, and to have jelly doughnuts in the shops from after Succot until Chanukah time. It’s nice to have people wish you “Happy New Year” at Rosh Hashannah, and for December 25th to be a regular working day.

But there are challenges, and there are things that are difficult, even if you speak Hebrew, are familiar with the culture and have moved to a place where there are a lot of Anglos. I don’t think it is fair to share only the positive aspects of aliyah with people. It will be hard. No matter how prepared you are, no matter how realistic you are, there will be days that you say “what have I done? I want to go home!” But you are home in Israel, like you’ve never been home before.

It’s just that the bed of roses has the odd thorn here and there. Once in a while, you’ll get pricked, and it hurts. Little by little, you learn where the thorns are, and you avoid them, while tending to the roses. You water them, you prune them, you take pride in the beautiful flowers. From time to time you’ll still get stuck by a thorn, but soon, you’ll ignore the little stings and just enjoy the fragrance and the beauty that surrounds you.

If you live in Israel, and you are speaking to prospective Olim, be honest with them, give them the thorns with the roses.
If you want to live in Israel, talk to me, I will tell it like it is, I won’t put you off!

Living here is fantastic, frustrating, amazing and annoying. It is wonderful, worrying, terrific and tense. I don’t miss the US, or the UK, or Ireland. I miss certain things about each of these places, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

Lay me down on that bed of roses, I’ll moan about the thorns with my Olim friends.

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