Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aliyah Journey

Several years ago my daughter Chloe returned to the States from Israel. She had just spent a year in Israel, learning at Michlelet Orot. When she went, my husband Barry and I had encouraged her to consider going, and staying. I never really believed she would. Our idea was that she would go, stay, and then we would follow. But it was really just a germ of an idea, a dream. We did not know if it would really take root.


She returned and said she was going back, she was making aliyah. She applied to Nefesh B'Nefesh and she made aliyah. I was so very proud of her. I was in awe of her too. Here was MY daughter, all of 18 years old, making a life altering decision, going off to a country far away from the only home she has ever known, to live for the rest of her life. She went with three suitcases, a carry on, the clothes on her back, and the promise of money from Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

It was not always easy for her. Thank G-d, she had some good friends and thus a decent support network. She went to school and made a life for herself. In so doing, she met a wonderful young man, Jonathan. They announced an engagement pretty quickly and I found myself in the midst of planning a wedding for my daughter in Israel. On January 20, 2008 they were married. It was a beautiful wedding. Chloe got pregnant pretty quickly. The baby was due in early February. Barry and I were planning our trip to Israel once again, this time for the birth of the baby. But Hashem had other plans. On January 20, 2009 we buried my beloved Barry. Two weeks later, Gavriel was born.

The past two plus years have been not such good years for me. But I knew almost immediately that making aliyah would be the only thing for me to do. And so now, I am finally planning it.

I contacted Nefesh B'Nefesh and applied. I applied for the Go North aliyah program. After all, my daughter lives in Haifa, which is the North and they live there because Jonathan is learning at Technion. We have decided to move in together, to make life a bit easier and more comfortable for ourselves. We get along and in a way this makes up to me for the past couple of years in which I rarely got to see them or my grandson.

I created a book, binder of all the things I need for my aliyah. All my important documents, all the information I need, etc. I am itching under the skin to do this, to make my aliyah. I have been waiting now for over two years to do this. Nothing is going to stop me now.

But I am terrified. Some of what I am scared about is the practical stuff: will I be able to live in Israel? How much of a drop in my standard of living will I experience? How low will I have to go? How low can I tolerate going? I have always prided myself on being flexible, on being optimistic, upbeat, on being tolerant and accepting, and being able to just let things roll off my back. I pride myself on being a nice person, a good person, one who does the right thing. How will I fare in Israel? Will I be able to retain all this? Or will Israel make me cynical and negative? Will I become a majorly stressed out person?

I am also scared a bit of never meeting someone with whom to spend the rest of my life. On the one hand there are more eligible men here in the States than there are in Israel. On the other hand they are HERE and not THERE. If I meed a man there, then I do not need to be concerned with whether or not he is willing or able to make aliyah. Oh, such things to be concerned with!

I read all the blogs and email listservs that have to do with aliyah, the NBN yahoo groups lists, the Tachlis list, various blogs, I read everything. And I worry. Most of the people that I know who have made, or are making aliyah, are in much better shape than I am financially. It makes me crazy to hear THEM whining about things. They BUY homes in Israel (I can only rent), and they have AMERICAN kitchens with all the AMERICAN sized appliances (fridges, ovens, ranges, washer/dryers, dishwashers, etc). I am NOT going to have ANY of that.

I do not consider myself to be much of a "chalutznik" -- technically, a "pioneer" -- or one willing/able to live under tough conditions in Israel. I AM pretty used to the conveniences and comforts of living in America, and I do like them. I know I will be giving much of that up. I only hope I CAN, without it being too difficult for me.

I pray to Hashem to give me the strength to do this...

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