Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I'm here. More later when I'm not absolutely wiped.
In short-- amazing. So excited. Totally exhausted.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So not packed

I'm leaving on Tuesday morning. I have to be packed by Monday night. It's Saturday night. That leaves me tomorrow and Monday. I'm running errands and whatnot tomorrow from about noon until probably 8 pm. That means I have Sunday morning and Monday to pack.

I've done the sewing I have to (I think...I hope I don't have any more to do!)-- hemmed pants, fixed seams, etc., and now I am watching the last 5 minutes of CSI:NY before I go pack.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I don't even know what to put in the subject line.

It's my last Shabbos at home before I make aliyah. I'm not sure how I feel. In a way it still hasn't hit me yet and in a way it's really hitting me now, like, "Last Shabbos here."

Sara pointed out last night that I wasn't leaving forever, that I'll be back in 6 months; she said something like, "It's like you're going on a trip, but instead of it being 3 months it's 6 months." It still FEELS different because I'm not going on a trip, I'm going to make a life there. It's really scary now-- I'm leaving my job and financial security and safety and my friends and comfort and knowing things here for a place where I will be making about 1/4 of what I make now, will be living on my own and responsible for bills and it's a language that I understand somewhat, but I'm not as fluent as in English and it' feels right there, but it's really scary because I'm leaving on my won for the first time, really on my own. I guess that makes me a grown-up? That's kind of scary. I'm really starting to "get" what Mom was saying about being lonely. I have Rita and Dov and everyone and friends and they will help me get through it and start my life there, but it's starting my...maybe that's what it is.

I'm not only moving, but I'm starting my life. I think more than the moving to Israel, it's the moving out and being so much on my own and disconnected from my parents that scares me. I know I have to do this, but I just...I never thought I would be doing this and it's scary.

Maybe the post title should be "scared"-- no, that's too negative and it's...I'm scared but I'm also eager and excited.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

בעברית "FREAKING OUT" איך אומרים

This is not good. I haven't packed. I have to take home all my stuff from my school today. I don't even know how I'm going to pack that, much less my suitcases! I don't think I'll have enough space and I don't even know what I need to bring. I don't have all my stuff and I have to do laundry.

This is when I start panicking. Panic/freaking out will now commence, re: packing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

one week...

Yeah. That. Right. I leave in a week. Have I mentioned that, um, I leave in a week and I haven't packed?

There kind of is a method to the madness, though. I have to do laundry. I don't like to do laundry (I like the result, just don't like to do it, and the Good Laundry Fairy is on vacation) so I try to do it as few times and as efficiently as possible. Therefore, I am going to do it Thursday, when I am off from school, and have a lot of time to do it. I also have to get some stuff from Chari and tovel other stuff. I don't know how much kitchen stuff I'm bringing either.

The apartments have burners, a fridge, a sink, I guess a few cabinets, and some counter space. I will be getting a toaster oven and a microwave (there). Oh, and a kumkum. The microwave will be pareve, and the toaster...will be determined. But I don't know how much cooking I will be doing at the ulpan. They feed us lunch and dinner; breakfast (and snacks) is (are) on your own, but I don't know how much I will like the food; it's basically Israeli mass-produced cafeteria food (with all the connotations therein) and I like to eat healthier than that (yeah, I say).

I don't know how much space I'll have in the kitchen. And when I come back over the summer I'm going to basically have to pack up the rest of my life in 2 weeks or less. It's really hard to do that when you really don't know what you're going to need!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Into the single digits

The countdown, not the temperature in NY, although it kind of almost feels like it when the wind blows. For those you who have not heard, there was a nor'easter last night (Motza"sh) until Sunday morning. It dumped anywhere from 6-26 inches (that's 15.2-66 cm for you non-Americans) on Westchester-NYC-Long Island. I have had my snow for the season, I am ready to come to Israel. It's supposed to snow-then-turn-to-rain on Christmas, which I will be in NY for. I will also be eating the gingerbread castle/palace/harem on Christmas Eve instead of on New Year's Eve, as has been the tradition for the past couple of years. Unfortunately, I won't be here for that this year. Fortunately?

It's weird...there are all of these things that I'm hearing about that I will be missing...because I'll be in Israel. It's starting to get more real. It's like-- no, I won't be there...I'd love to, but I'll be in Israel and I can't come in.

I know in my head and my heart it's the right thing to do, and I want to be in Israel...but I...I'm starting to get the "going to miss a lot of things."

I also saw the person who I broke up with today at my aliyah party. I was so excited to see him because he was one of my really good friends, but as I was walking to the subway on my way to go home, I started thinking about him and what I was giving up. I gave up someone I could have married...not definite, but a definite possibility. I was talking to Rabbi S. and I said something about that I was going out with someone for a little bit, but we broke up because I was making aliyah and he wasn't. Ever. Not like, "Maybe," but "Never." And Rabbi S said, "Hashem sees that." And that struck me. Not because I'm so, "Hashem this, Hashem that," and because "G-d" is every other word out of my mouth-- but the idea that this is something that is bigger than me. There's a mishna in Masechet Ketubot (I'm pretty sure it's Ketubot; not looking it up at the moment) that says that if either spouse wants to move to Israel and the other refuses-- that's [valid] grounds for divorce. This, moving to Israel, making aliyah, is so much bigger than me and it's something...I don't know. I mean, this was a relationship that I wanted for 3 years. 3 years! And to have it and then have it taken away/end because I'm moving to Israel? Not fair. But also this mishna says that one spouse wanting to move to Israel and the other refusing is valid grounds for a divorce is also like-- ok. I'm not crazy. I mean, I am...I gave up something I wanted for 3 years that could have been a marriage. But there's something bigger than that, which apparently is not new. And G-d knows that.

So here is to the countdown continuing; me getting more accustomed to the idea of not being around for everything; getting acclimated to my new life as an olah; and to finding my bashert (more on this later...yes, there's more)!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thing number 431284312 that I won't miss about NY

The freezing cold winters. It was 26 degrees F (-2 degrees C) and windy today. Not fun. Think warm, think warm...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two weeks exactly.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oofganiyot and other Chanukah delights

Who remembers Shalom Sesame's Chanukah episode? If you don't, oofganiyot are Moishe Oofnik (the Israeli version of Oscar the Grouch)'s version of sufganiyot. Just as an fyi.

It's Chanukah. Last year I was in America for half and in Israel for the other half. The day I landed I had sufganiyot. Mmmmmm.

This year I'm in America the entire time. It's different. I miss the overwhelming Chanukah-- my holiday-- feeling as opposed to so much being Christmas. Here the children in school color in dreidels and chanukiyot (menorahs, in English...yes, I know menorah isn't English. But it's how we Anglos call the thingy we light on Chanukah) and learn about latkes. It feels-- well, it seems weird to have all these kids learning about something that's not their holiday or, in America, kids in public school learn about ALL the holidays and color pictures of kinaras and dreidels and make christmas cards and ornaments. It's just...I don't know. It feels weird, and the more I'm in the public schools the same it seems-- you would think I'd be used to it from last year but I'm not.

I miss being in a country where it's my religion, my holidays, instead of my holidays being the non-standard. There is a giant menorah somewhere in the city, I'm sure, but the big attraction is the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center-- the tree lighting, the' I feel so much more right in Israel.

Friday, December 11, 2009


My yogurt's sell-by date is after I leave for Israel. It feels significant-- like, the yogurt's expiring then-- that's not so far away.
I don't feel it though. I'm sure it will hit me more once I'm not at work every day. Thank goodness for vacation.

While we're discussing yogurt, Israeli yogurt has so many more flavors I can have. And, it's one of those things that unfortunately does not go on sale, on a sale, you can get a Dannon yogurt for $0.50; stare brands you can get at that price normally. In Israel they just don't have that...and I like yogurt!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


It's the holiday season here, and I was watching the news this evening and a message from a local soldier came on-- he was from Long Island (I think) and he wished his family-- specifying the members-- a merry Christmas and said that he would see them soon.

Here, from NY, soldiers are in Penn Station. They're standing around with guns and vests and hats in twos or threes. They're sometimes on the subway, but that's one soldier going home (yes, there is Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, but you don't constantly see soldiers in uniform or the like) or something. Sometimes you see some soldiers downtown walking around-- but again, rare. And you don't know someone is a soldier unless he/she is in uniform. Our wars (US) are fought overseas and soldiers/military are not something that is so much a part of our lives, unless you are or know a service member. Soldiers are usually far away from their families and may go a year or more without seeing their families.

In Israel, soldiers are a part of daily life. Every child knows a soldier or (especially in the ultra-Orthodox communities) at least has had multiple encounters with soldiers. You see them all the time on the buses, walking around in groups of five, ten, fifteen-- in or out of uniform. But you know they are soldiers. Israel's wars are fought close to home-- very close to home, as in within a few miles, just over a fence, or in your backyard. Israeli soldiers are not nearly as far as US soldiers and may go a month without seeing their family (lone soldiers being the exceptions-- and even then, they often have adopted families).

It's such a radical difference, how different the US soldiers and the Israeli soldiers and the whole mentalities and culture surrounding the military are. It's so much more ingrained in Israeli life, and your army (being used to mean all branches of the military) service defines you in so many ways. In Israel, what unit you served in defines you and later can influence your job options. It means you were smart enough/strong enough/could finagle your way best/etc. into such-and-such a position, and you will forever be defined by that to some degree. In the US, you served in the army (again, generalizing to all branches of the military)? Thank you very much, now continue on with your education/career. No one, or very few people, who does/do not have a military background or an interest in the military will care what you did in your service. It does not define you the same way as it does in Israel, and so you were in Operation ___________, or served during the ______ War-- thank you for your service to the country.

Ask me how many American soldiers (people my age roughly) I know.

Come on, take a guess.

Ok, two. And one of those is through the one other soldier I know. Ask me what they did? Not a clue. What unit? that ended up in Iraq?

Next-- ask me the same question, but substitute "Israeli" for "American." -- Lauren, how many Israeli soldiers do you know?

Come on, take a guess

Ok, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten...I can go on. Oh, wait, I forgot some...I can still go on. Ask me what they did? I have at least a vague idea for most of them. What unit were they in? That I can tell you.

Reminder: I'm American, born and raised. The only soldiers that I know what they did are my grandfathers (side story: In third grade my grandfather came in to speak to my class about being a bomber (among other things) in WWII. He ended up having a whole side discussion with my third grade Hebrew teacher because they worked on the same kinds of planes in different armies.).

I wonder-- would I have gone into the army if I grew up in Israel?

Monday, December 7, 2009


1 packed...48.6 lbs (22.04 kgs). It contains:
1 garbage can (yes, a new, clean garbage can)
Tank tops
Short sleeve shirts
Shabbos dresses
Bathing suits
An apron
Long sleeve shirts
Shabbos shirts
3/4 sleeve shirts
Sweatshirts (2)
Chovesh vest
Textbook: OT for Children

And, yes, for those of you who are wondering how I can make such sweeping generalizations ("long sleeve shirts" vs. item-by-item description)...don't worry, I have an itemized list too)

Think positive...1 down, and it's under the size and weight limits so I'm good.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Coming? Going? Leaving? Arriving? And where exactly is home?

I just watched the NBN "Come Back" video on YouTube ( click here for the video). I feel both excited and also sad/get aliyah has always been tempered with "but my family..." That was the reason, almost four years ago, when someone asked me if I was going to make aliyah I said no. I said I could see myself living in Israel for 2-3 years, but not permanently because my family and friends are here (US/NY).

I'm really torn about this because I don't want to leave them. It is so much easier to keep in touch than even 4 years ago, but still...there is a time difference and they're not right there. I usually call Andrea on my way home from work, as I'm walking home. Yeah...not going to work so much anymore because my walking home from work (if it's close enough, or even to/from the bus)-- she's going to be 7 hours behind me. So if it's 6 pm when I'm getting home, it's 11 am by her-- smack in the middle of her day. And Sara-- I'm on the phone with her all the time now...again, won't be able to. It's the spontaneity that I won't be able to have that I'll miss; I can't just decide, "Oh, by the way, can I come for Shabbos?"...because it will be a 12-hour plane ride, plus to and from the airport as opposed to an hour on the bus/train. That stuff is really going to suck. And answering the phone, "City morgue[, you kill 'em, we chill 'em]!" It's just...and Elissa I'm going to miss like crazy. I mean, we don't see each other for a week and we're nutty. What's going to happen after 6 months? Although, with her crazy architecture schedule, this just might work...hmmm...

I'm going to be a wreck at the airport. I wonder who's even coming to see me off? The calendar in the kitchen says, "L-JFK- 10 AM." It's so surreal. This is actually happening, I'm making aliyah.

But I get what Mom said about being lonely...because I will be lonely for my family and friends here. I will have-- I already have-- people there. Rita and Dov and their kids who are somewhere between parents and aunt-uncle and siblings and cousins. I have friends who I haven't seen in almost a year but am just as close with as when I left.
When I'm there I have a feeling of...rightness, like it just fits. And that's why I have to be there. I broke up with someone who, if not for the fact that I can't not be there and he can't be there, I could have married. Married for pete's sake!

I can't prepare myself for when the lonely moments are going to hit because I don't know when they will. Probably once I'm in ulpan and...settled more or less. I know I'm just going to want someone to hug me and tell me that yeah it sucks, but it gets better and tomorrow will be better and I can always call them (people in the States) or talk to them on the phone. And then just hug me and let me be miserable and lonely but just be there.

I know aliyah is the right thing for me. But why does it have to be so hard, even before I leave?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

28 days
AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! ...maybe? Not really sure...

I have to have 2 suitcases packed by next Shabbos for Andrea and Yoni to take. I think that's going to make it more real-- you know, once I have something actually packed.

Monday, November 30, 2009

here comes them blues...

Really bad grammar, I know. Let's ignore it and move on.

I took the 2 home today because the 5 wasn't running between 149 and E180 (thanks, MTA. Love you, too), so I had to transfer at E180 for the 5. As I was waiting there, I was struck with a sense of sadness-- of leaving.

It's almost the beginning of December, but I count the weeks by Shabbatot-- this Shabbos I'm going to be here, next Shabbos I'm going to be there, the Shabbos after that...etc. And starting next Shabbos I'm going to be home until I leave for Israel.
This coming Shabbos is Lissa's bday; the Shabbos after that Andrea and Yoni (and Squishy) are coming, the week after that is the second Shabbos Chanukah and my parents want me home, and the Shabbos after that is my last Shabbos at home before I make aliyah.

I was at E180 and was sad...because I was leaving. Of course I'm going to be at E180 and on the subways over the next four weeks, and I'm sure that the 5 will not be running on weekends between 149 and E180, because this IS the MTA we are talking about/dealing with. But I am definitely going to miss the subway.

Told you this would hit me as it was getting closer. Welcome to my aliyah.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I spent a good part of my Thanksgiving Day putting aside stuff to take to Israel (see previous post). The evening before I had a Tweenties Thanksgiving with about 10 people which was so nice.
This past Shabbos was my last Shabbos in the Heights before I make aliyah. Kind of weird. I'll be back here, but not for Shabbos.

It's starting to come down to the "lasts"-- even though it's still a month away, it's starting to get into "last this," "last that" and I'm feeling it. I'm getting into "Will I need this for the next month?" and "What do I need until the summer?"

It's very weird-- packing up my life, 24 years of it. Technically-- but really, I've been cleaning out stuff every so often; most of my high school and college stuff I've gotten rid of. My OT stuff I've cleared out as well. Books...goodness, I don't even want to think about those...I have so many...I don't know how I'm going to decide what to take and what to leave here (at least until I ship stuff). And kitchen stuff! I cook! I bake! Am I going to be able to do this in ulpan?

I'm one of those people who had a blender (small), microwave, sandwich maker, toaster oven, cooking utensils, and service for 4 (dairy, meat, pareve) in her dorm. I am definitely going to be getting stuff when I move into Beit Canada. I have to remember to pack that stuff, too...

I have 5 suitcases:
1. Spring and summer clothes and shoes --> A & Y
2. Fall and winter clothes and shoes --> Me
3. Night stand (yes, "night stand"'s coming now if it fits in the suitcase), clothing overflow --> Me
4. Dishes (box maybe) and random stuff--> A & Y
5. Books (box probably), random stuff, and non-crucial papers--> Me

Note to self: Pack the dishes with soft stuff too, like towels and clothes...
Note to self 2: Do you REALLY need all those shoes?

Someone remind me to make a packing list of what I'm putting in each suitcase because I forgot to do that to the one I left by Rita and Dov last winter.

Bean and charger
American and Israeli cell phones and chargers, USB cable
Papers (originals-- NBN says bring original birth certificates, passports, diplomas, transcripts, as well as copies)
Clothes for the wedding (including shoes)
Extra change of clothes (including socks and underwear)
Toiletries: make-up, lenses, deodorant, mousse
Book or 2
Food. Yes, they feed you-- I'm bringing some of my mother's food.

Friday, November 27, 2009


just a bit of what's being set out to be packed...lots more to come as it happens...

Thursday, November 26, 2009


34 days including today.

It's Thanksgiving. What will my next Thanksgiving be like? Hell, what will my New Year's be like?

When we were little, my sisters and I used to go to sleep on New Year's eve and then my parents would wake us up to watch the ball drop. We would all be piled in their bed and we'd count down to watch the ball drop. We haven't done that in a while, but...this New Year's is going to be...well...different.

Past few years it's been a Tweenties-ish New Year's, and the past 2 years the tradition has been a gingerbread house/village-- with guard dragons. This year we might have a gingerbread village-- maybe not-- but um...I don't know when we'd do it.

Usually we would make it and then eat it New Year's. I don't know this year...Anyone volunteer their apt. for gingerbread house making?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Leaving, part II

I emailed my letter of resignation to my supervisor and...mmmm...not feeling it.

I went in to see the assistant principal at one of my schools and he said to me, "I'm sad." I said, "Me too." He said, "You know, we got someone good in and you're leaving." I know, Dr. T, I know...

It's a great compliment-- I really feel like I'm actually valued in the school. It is a great thing to actually feel like you're a part of the school; in my previous school, the only reason I spoke to the AP or principal was to get something signed or if there was a problem. I have REAL CONVERSATIONS with the AP and principal at this school. I have been at this school for 3 months and I feel like a part of a family-- the atmosphere there is just...positive and really working for the kids. Not that everything is rosy and perfect-- there are problems and annoyances, but there is still a feeling Which is nice. And now that I know that feeling, it's going to be hard to work somewhere without it because I know how good it can be. But that's not what this blog is for.

I don't want to leave. I feel like I'm leaving in the middle, and...I know there's never going to be GOOD time to leave, not while there's so much here for me. But I also know that if I don't leave I'll always be wondering and wanting and regretting. I can come back and work as a contract therapist a year later, even if I don't get a waiver which would allow me to "appear before the DOE" less than one year after leaving. But I really hope I get the waiver. Will I necessarily get the same school? No. But one of the things about me is that wherever I am, I do my best. Look, I knew I was leaving. But I still am doing everything I need to, everything I would do if I was staying in the school for 25 years.

No matter what I do, I'm not going to be completely satisfied. There is always going to be some amount of "I wish I was there."

darn it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two down, two to go

Told the principal and assistant principal about leaving at the beginning of January. The principal was so excited for me that I'm going to be going to Israel, the AP less enthusiastic. But...I did it. Now on to my other school...Friday. I won't be there until then because I have a course tomorrow and Wednesday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

6 weeks and 2 days

um...right? I think it's starting to hit me and I don't know how I feel about it.

The November Aliyah Coffee Group meeting went VERY well, if I do say so myself. There were 8 people, which was really nice. Missed Dara and Vered, but it was a good meeting. I think everyone there was new besides me. A lot of info exchanged, resources listed to post. I think we should make a guide to aliyah. There are a lot, but this would be more of a Single's Guide to Aliyah: Here's What We Learned When We Made Aliyah.

What else? I don't know.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

59 days

When you put it like that, it doesn't seem so long.

My mom called the people who deal with the headstones about my grandfather's headstone for the unveiling. She thought it would take about a month...and it'll take 3-4 months. This sucks. I'll be missing my grandfather's unveiling. When I said this to my mother she answered me, "I wasn't at my grandmother's funeral."
Me: Why?
Mom: I was going to Israel and Rabbi Bulka said I should go.
Me: Oh. But still...
Mom: That was a funeral. There's no halacha for an unveiling.

I know, but still...out of my sisters, I think I was the closest to my mom's parents. I think I'm the closest to my father's parents also. I'm not meaning to sound all "Wow, I'm so whatever" but I was the one who was always going over there, who helped them, who just...went and just goes. I know they like it and appreciate it, even just calling them if I can't get over there. I'm really not happy about missing this.

There's a lot of things I'm going to be missing. I don't like this game.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

OT Updates

The Ministry of Health put out a pirsum (publication) about the OT exam. It will be given in Hebrew and Arabic (...). There is a list of sources, because the way the law was written, there has to be a definitive source for each answer. The reference list includes English textbooks, some Israeli OT articles (Hebrew, of course), and a law or two. The good news is that I have some of the textbooks. The ones I don't have I will look into getting (maybe, maybe not-- but at least I'm in America so they're not more expensive than their usual. And I can write them off on my taxes because it's for work-- I'm doing independent contracting anyway :) ) The pirsum also included four questions.

The downside of the pirsum is that it is in Hebrew and it takes me a lot longer than it should to read it. Hey, it's good that I can read it but it's very, very, VERY frustrating to me that it will take me 2-3 times longer to read something than if it was in English. And I'm constantly looking up words that I know in English! Half of the words are English, transliterated to Hebrew's really, really frustrating.

I know that I'm not stupid and that I'm perfectly capable of being an OT-- but things like this, just the things you think you should be able to do and then aren't or doing and it takes you 2-3 times as long to do's really demoralizing and not good for self-esteem. It's also not conducive to feeling at home and comfortable. I guess this is where it starts to get difficult, being an olah-in-process.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Packing up my life

I started putting stuff to take in one place. I have some new shirts and tank tops and underwear that I'm bringing. I also put some summer clothes with those things.'s weird.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Holy cow

As I sit at my computer at 11:45- no, wait, 46- pm, I realized that there are a lot of aliyah blogs out there. The four ones I've discovered in the past 20 minutes include (note: there are more...I limited it to the most recent four):

This is in about 20 minutes, just from one blog. How many blogs do you think I could find if I actually looked?

Does the world really need another aliyah blog? Does anyone read this? (notice how I've asked the last question probably about 3 times. And I have yet to get a single response on my blog. Not that that's a hint or anything.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Maccabi Electra TA vs. The NY Knicks

Knicks beat Maccabi by 15 points. Not so bad.
What was interesting was that probably 80% of the crowd there was for cheering New York.

I called one of my friends after the game and was telling him about it and said, "We lost." He says, "Who?" I said, "Maccabi."

We. That word strikes me. I am a New Yorker-- born, raised, and will be until the day I die. And a Bronxite-- Yankees, not Mets, because I am from the Bronx and the Yankees are the Bronx team. And yet, "we" was Maccabi, like I was Israeli. I'm not. I'm still a New Yorker but...I was rooting for Maccabi.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Item 532897504 that I will miss...

Flour that you don't have to sift. Sifting flour is annoying, especially whole wheat. And now that I think about it, rye flour. I bake a lot. Meh.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vacuum Cleaners

I know that the way Israelis wash their floors is by sponja. I will get good at this; I have decided.

In the meantime, and for other reasons such as SpaceBags, I need a vacuum cleaner. Does anyone know where I can get one in Jerusalem, not crazy expensive (I don't need a Dyson, just one that works).

Friday, October 9, 2009

aliyah visa part II

Got it. My American passport now has a page that looks like an Israeli passport (I think. Either way, it's in Hebrew).

Ditto weird feeling.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

aliyah visa

The Jewish Agency just called-- my passport came back from the consulate and has my aliyah visa in it.

That weird excited-but-dreadful feeling...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Coming up on Y"K

Coming up on Yom Kippur.
Last year I thought the chagim were going to be the last ones here before I moved. Turns out I'm here still.

I know why I'm moving. Because my eyes tear up every time I see a video of Israel, I feel like I should be there.

I'm sort of dreading leaving. I'm excited, as we all know, but I also know that it's going to be hard at the airport, and I'm (most likely) going to be crying and so will my parents and Lis-- Lis, kind of ish. I don't know if my Bubby and Zaidy will be able to come. Andrea and Yoni and Squishy will be in Israel-- and will be getting ready for the wedding when I get in and therefore will not be coming to the airport to greet me. Rita and Dov and I'm not sure who else are coming, maybe also Oren and Tanya. Don't know who else. It's going to be more emotional on the NY side probably. I'll be choked up when I get there, but I don't think the full impact of making aliyah is going to hit me until I have my teudat zehut and am doing all sort of day-to-day things that I use my teudat zehut for.
It's almost 3 months until I leave. Three months and 3 days, if you look at the calendar, but that doesn't take into account flight times and such. But I'm calling just about 3 months.

I feel like I should be more...I don't know...feel more something. I'm excited, but it feels tempered, like I'm at the anti-climax almost. Like there should be more of an overt excitement. It's's been a long time coming and it's been a long journey, even though the decision to make aliyah came about 15 months ago.

I don't know...I just...I feel like this should be some huge deal, and I should be really excited about it, even 3 months in advance. It's only 3 months, after all, and I am moving across an ocean.

Maybe as it gets closer I'm becoming more aware of the full impact this is having and is going to have on my family here. Andrea said to me today that she looks forward to talking to me an hour or two before Shabbos. I told her that we can still speak to each other erev Shabbos, and she said we can, but it won't be the same. It's true.

There's a lot that I'm going to miss-- my family and friends and all the "little things." It's calling an hour or two before Shabbos. It's talking every day. It's being able to just...take a bus or train to see my family and friends. Calling my Bubby and Zaidy and having to try all 3 numbers before I get them, followed by my Zaidy going, "I'm in the middle of __________. Can you call me back later?" I might not be able to do that any more. It's going to take a lot more coordination to be able to talk to them. Right now I use so many Verizon minutes; I won't be doing that when I'm in Israel. There's a time difference. My non-grandparents family will be easier to coordinate. But there will still be that time difference and it's going to be hard. And Fat Tush. I might have to fly out to Chicago for, literally, a day to say bye to her. I miss her. I need to get a dog when I'm there. My parents, Andrea (Yoni, Squishy), Elissa-- I don't even want to think about it. Lis and I get crazy when we haven't seen each other for a week, let alone 6+ months. And when I don't come back for a year or more? Um... My parents. I'm going to miss them. My mom is kind of funny about this. Not funny-haha, but funny-odd. She wants me to stop thinking/talking about raiding the kitchen-- but then she says, "Oh, here, do you want this?" She tells people on the phone, "I don't want her to go alone; it's going to be lonely, but what can I do? I can't tie her up and tell her to say here, she's a grown-up." My dad doesn't really talk about it but I know that he's okay with it. I really don't know what my mom is going to do-- she says they'll manage, and I know they will, but there are a lot of little things-- schlepping, taking care of random things around the house, helping's also going to be hard for me because I know that I'm not there to do those things, and I was and I feel like I should.
Sara, Chari, VV people, Heights people, Einstein people. Some people in the neighborhood. It's just...I'm going to miss the get-togethers and the random hanging out and just being able to call them up pretty much any time. That is going to suck.

I know I'll make more friends, and be able to spend time with my friends in Israel, but it's not the same. It's not that I don't think I'll be happy there, but it's really starting to get me. Like a slow-motion, really heavy-looking...something. I'm not quite sure what I'm thinking or feeling.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The next step

Went down to the Jewish Agency and gave in my passport, passport photos (see previous post for passport photo how-to), visa application, oleh declaration, and health declaration. It usually takes about 2 weeks to get a visa, but it's the chagim so it might take longer. This is why I did it early-- because things will go wrong.
I also have to mail in my grant contract to NBN, passport photos (again, see previous post), and the flight ticket processing fee ($50).

Oh, and I emailed my supervisor. She did not respond yet.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The not-so-joys of passport photos and the joys of the Internet

I need lots of passport photos. Two for the Jewish Agency and three (four?) for NBN. Passport photos are very expensive-- $8 ($9? I don't remember which, but I think $8) for two. Since I need six and two come per set, that's 3 sets (Sara, aren't you proud of me? I'm doing math!). 3x$8 = $24-- for six photos. Really? Even Costco is what-- $5? But that's still $15 AND I have to get (read: drive 20-30 minutes) to Costco, whereas Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreens are within walking distance. I could print them myself, since my mom has a photo printer-- but it standardly prints 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, or a standard sheet of paper. Note how none of those are 2"x2" required for US passport photos or 35 mm by 45 mm required for the NBN photos.

Enter which is a wonderful website that lets you make passport photo-sized prints. You follow the requirements for a passport photo (see the US government guide here or the NBN guidelines here), upload the picture you've taken to the site, follow the instructions, download the picture (or they can print it for you/send it to Walgreens for printing), and bring it to anywhere that prints pictures and it's something like $0.18 or $0.20 per print. And you get 5 US or 7 Israeli photos per print. That would be known as a helluvalot cheaper. And if you sign up for their photo club or whatever you get free prints. And it's even cheaper like that! All you pay is tax!

I know how I'm printing my passport photos. (MLIA.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"One more star! One more stripe!"

Or one more checkmark. That might be more appropriate.

I got an email today from Ulpan Etzion that I am registered for the January session.
Once I get my visa and confirmation on my flight I will email my supervisor. Let the nail-biting commence (but not really because I'm trying to stop that).


I found this other blog, My Shrapnel, in the wonderful Blogosphere. And guess what? There is a stitch'n'bitch group in Jerusalem (I think. Or at least somewhere in Israel)! Yay! Social things that don't revolve around singles or MDA! And I'll meet people I don't know, which hopefully will help in the whole klita thing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Time's moving way too fast, I want to make it last"

In the past three days I have gotten:
-Aliyah approval (verbal and written)
-Instructions for getting my oleh visa
-Verbal confirmation of Ulpan Etzion registration
-Winter Charter flight info (after being told it won't be available until after October 1st-- yesterday) (NBN Charter flight, leaving JFK Dec. 29 afternoon and getting into TLV Dec. 30 morning. Exact info to follow. And of course, this could change-- last year's charter flight turned into a few group flights instead)

This is very overwhelming.
And this is actually feels very, very weird. Just about 3.5 months and...I don't think it's actually hit me that I'm LEAVING. Like-- actually going, for good. Yeah, I'll be back...but for me, it's not just moving somewhere else, it's leaving my parent's house. And also-- I've been waiting for this and it all just happened at once-- in 3 days I got aliyah approval, confirmation from my shaliach that I'm registered at Etzion (even though they don't send out the acceptance info and all that apparently until 2 months before), and NBN flight info-- I think this is the fastest things have ever happened in Israel.

Sara got a notebook for people to write to me in-- like a very long plane letter in a lot of parts. That notebook is going to go around the Heights-- it might go other places also, but it's primarily going to be in the Heights. I'm excited.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

becoming a student. again.

because I am registered at Ulpan Etzion for January.

Now all I have to do is get the letter about how to get my visa. And hear back from NBN.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

::stamp:: Approved!

I have been approved for aliyah! Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Hello?
Shai*: Lauren? Shai. You're approved for aliyah.
Me: Really? Yay!
Shai: Did you think you weren't going to be?
Me: No, but it's still exciting!
Shai: Get ready, it's just the beginning.
*FYI- Shai is my shaliach from the Jewish Agency aka the Sochnut

I should find out in the next few days about Ulpan Etzion. I really, really hope I get in because it would really suck if I didn't...I'm going and going straight into Ulpan ("straight" being within 2-ish weeks). I am not going to go, spend 5 months there, and THEN go to Ulpan. No. So I am waiting to hear back.

It's really starting to hit me...

It's really starting to hit me that I'm leaving in 4 (just under, but I'm calling it 4) months. Really leaving, and in a short time. Um...right?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Great post by another blogger

This post is actually from a little over 3 years ago. I found it when I stumbled on the blog from another one. The blog is called A Mother in Israel (homepage link here) Many posts on her blog are, understandably, related to motherhood, but this one is good for everyone: Unofficial Guide to Israeli Vermin

Sunday, August 30, 2009

and so the countdown continues...

4 months and counting.
Not that I've gotten any sort of approval or anything.

"That's what happens when we raise our kids to be Zionists and they listen to us."-- Arlene Smith, this Shabbos

There's a show called "Songs For a New World." It's not a play/musical with a plot, but what's called a "song cycle." There are 16 songs, and each one stands alone but they're all linked by their nature-- each as much as it is about a moment in time-- before, during, and/or after a big decision.

The opening song (aptly titled, "Opening for A New World")'s lyrics are here:

That's kind of the way I feel now...very excited, on the edge of something big, and scared and it's wonderful and intimidating at the same time. And you think you know how your life is going to go-- you plan it, minor changes along the way-- and then boom! You go somewhere for a few months and find out that you can't live anywhere else:

"It's about one moment
The moment before it all becomes clear
And in that one moment
You start to believe there's nothing to fear
It's about one second
And just when you're on the verge of success
The sky starts to change
And the wind starts to blow
And you're suddenly a stranger
There's no explaining where you stand
And you didn't know
That you sometimes have to go
‘Round an unexpected bend
And the road will end
In a new world"
You think you know they way your life is going to go-- I planned my life. And then-- "The sky starts to change/And the wind starts to blow/And you're suddenly a stranger"
Aliyah was not something that was a foreign concept to me. wasn't for me, I couldn't leave my family and it's hard to live in Israel. But then the sky changed and the wind started blowing and I became a stranger in this place called "AliyahLand," where things are unfamiliar and-- "There's no explaining where you stand." I can't explain so well why I need to live in Israel, but I know it feels so much more right and I feel so much more...completely myself when I'm there and I feel like part of me is physically missing when I'm not there. (as a side note, I think I just got the full meaning of " אם אשכחך ירושלים שתשקח ימיני -- Im eshkachech Yerushalayim tishkach yemini-- If I forget Jerusalem let my right hand forget [its skill]")
"And you didn't know/That you sometimes have to go/‘Round an unexpected bend/And the road will end/In a new world" Yeah, this is my unexpected bend. The new world being Israel. I always thought that I would live somewhere not in NYC, but nearby. Not Israel.

"It's about one moment
That moment you think you know where you stand
And in that one moment
The things that you're sure of slip from your hand
And you've got one second
To try to be clear, to try to stand tall
But nothing's the same
And the wind starts to blow
And you're suddenly a stranger
In some completely different land
And you thought you knew
But you didn't have a clue
That the surface sometimes cracks
To reveal the tracks
To a new world"
"It's about one moment/That moment you think you know where you stand" You finish school with your career planned. Plan a graduation trip and say, "Ok, so I don't stay for Purim meshulash." And you're okay with that because you'll have been away from home and yourfamily long enough-- 9.5 weeks-- and then you get there. You start living there-- taking the bus every morning, being a part of that society and life, make some friends, you're right there. You wish you could stay for Purim meshulash-- your mom will understand that you want to stay for Purim meshulash-- and then you get an e-mail from the travel agent that your flight has been switched and you are staying an extra day! Which means you get to be in Israel for another day (and celebrate Purim meshulash-- but you get to be in Israel an extra day!). And then you come home-- but you're not really sure if it's America or home or both-- can you have two homes?
So you decide to go back to Israel because you miss it too much-- and besides, your license paperwork will take time to process and there's really nothing else you can do in the meantime. What are you going to do-- sit around the house? You don't have a job for the summer-- it depends on you passing your OT Boards, what you do. So you might as well go back. And besides, you want to do course madrichim and the shlav bet course. So you book a ticket back for 6 weeks later-- my G-d, you've become one of those crazy people who goes to Israel and decides to go back because America sucks. Not that you think America actually sucks, but for some reason you feel out of place.

"And in that one moment/The things that you're sure of slip from your hand/And you've got one second/To try to be clear, to try to stand tall/But nothing's the same" So you go back. Because you find yourself miserable in New York. And you have, again, a really amazing time and you start to think, "Maybe I could live here? Permanently?" And then after those 8 weeks you know that you are going to be back for good. Probably in 1.5-2 years, but you're not really sure. All you know is, This was not the plan. Um...hello, G-d. Having a good laugh?

"And you thought you knew/But you didn't have a clue/That the surface sometimes cracks
To reveal the tracks/To a new world" You did not have any clue you were going to be moving to are the girl who, when asked if you were going to Israel for the year [after high school] said, said "No." You never had any grand dream to make aliyah and live in Israel. You were very happy to stay in the US and live there and visit Israel-- it was an important place, but you were going to live in America, thankyouverymuch. And then the surface cracked-- you were in Israel not as a tourist, but as someone living there for a couple months, doing the every day things that you don't do as a tourist-- getting around by public transportation, getting lost, navigating the streets, figuring out what to buy in the supermarket and which ones had the best prices. Which brands you like, which are okay. How to shop in the shuk. How to be a little more aggressive, not because people are rude, but because they will just...push. And also that fit in.

"Nobody told you the best way to steer
When the wind starts to blow

And you're suddenly a stranger

All of a sudden

You life is different than you planned

And you'll have to stay ‘til you somehow find a way

To be sure of what will be
Then you might be free

A new world crashes down like thunder
A new world charging through the air

A new world just beyond the mountain

Waiting there, waiting there"
"Nobody told you the best way to steer/ When the wind starts to blow" The wind of "I could" became "I have to. I don't know why or how, but I have to." And nobody told you, or can tell you, what is the right decision-- when to go to Israel? Get married here or go single? What about a place to live? A job?

"All of a sudden/Your life is different than you planned/"You make the decision that you are going to make aliyah in 1.5-2 years "And you'll have to stay ‘til you somehow find a way/ To be sure of what will be/Then you might be free" -- after you pay off your loans and save some money, enough to get you through the first year-to-year-and-a-half. "A new world crashes down like thunder/A new world charging through the air/A new world just beyond the mountain/Waiting there, waiting there" And then you ask yourself, "Well, why am I staying here?" And you decide to make aliyah in 9 months. And you're ready-- and then a monkey wrench gets thrown into your plans and you decide to push your aliyah back to the original date of 1.5-2 years.

"A new world calls across the ocean
A new world calls across the sky
A new world whispers in the shadows
Time to fly, time to fly


A new world calls for me to follow
A new world waits for my reply
A new world holds me to a promise
Standing by, standing by


A new world shattering the silence
There's a new world I'm afraid to see
A new world louder every moment
Come to me, come to me!"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mazal tov!

Mazal tov to Dana and the rest of the NBN August 25 flight!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"When did we meet?" "May." "Oh, that was a while ago."

That was the conversation between my Shaliach from the Sochnut (Jewish Agency, aka JA) today.

I've been calling to find out the status of my application-- I don't really care about the actual aliyah approval, they can give that to me the day of my flight for all I care, but you need to apply for Ulpan Etzion 3 months in advance (in Israeli terms this can also mean "the day after"). The next session starts Jan. 15, which means I have to apply by October 15, which is right after the chagim end, which means there's going to be a backlog of everything because during the chagim nothing gets done. My biggest concern

So I want to get that squared away-- at least to have my Etzion application in.

Bottom line: My application is still in process. He's going to get back to me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What would it take?

To my faithful (and maybe not-so-faithful) blog know how in my "About Me" it says, "This blog...evolved into my aliyah blog. It's as-it-happens and all the frustrations and good things that happen and go along in this crazy process... I'm trying to do this uncensored and let whatever come out, come out, but I might have to change or leave out a few details and names for other people's privacy"? Well, this is the "frustration" and "uncensored and let whatever come out, come out" part of things. And names are being left out or changed. I'm sorry if this isn't what you pictured as an aliyah blog-- it's not quite what I pictured either-- but part of aliyah sometimes (often) is leaving those you love and care about, and this blog deals with all parts of aliyah. I wish I could skip over the not-fun parts, but then that wouldn't be a true reflection.

This is the first time I've come up with/against something that has seriously made me stop and think, "What would make me stay/keep me in NY?"

I've already accepted that I'm going to be leaving my parents, Lis, Andrea, Yoni, and Squishy, and my Bubby and Zaidy. My aunts and uncles and cousins, too, but I'm not as close with them and don't see them as often. I also know that at some point, I have to leave my parents' home and go out on my own-- that's the way it goes: Child is born, Parents raise Child, Child moves out to Child's own apartment or Child gets married and moves to apartment with Spouse.

What would it take to keep me here-- and how strong do I have to be to make it there?

Now I'm thinking am I strong enough to do this? I want to, and I'm committed to it-- but what's going to happen when ח"ו one of my grandparents gets sick or worse? What if something happens and normally I'd be there for my family and taking care of things? If I'm 6000 miles away, I can't do that. I can come in, but I can't drop my life there and fly over every time I would normally come home...if I was close, I could go back and forth.

What if leaving and making aliyah is the wrong choice? I know I'll never know what would have happened if I had stayed, and I know that I'm going to Israel. But I wonder.

And if you're reading this, know that I am going to Israel, and also know that I wish I could stay here-- you have no idea how much I wish I could stay (and that probably doesn't help...I'm sorry)-- and see what would have happened with us. But I can't, and you and I will both move on, eventually. You told me, "...the possibility would have seemed to be nice, but that doesn't mean that other possibilities won't be nicer. Remember that everything happens for a reason, and the reason for this could just be for the knowledge that this possibility wasn't one sided, if you can follow that. ... It's strengthening." So here's to being strong.

G-d, I hope I can make it. And succeed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Not feeling very happy

This sucks. The last entry was nice and logical...but let's be real-- this sucks.

I'm glad I'm going to be making aliyah, but I'm not feeling very good at the moment because besides for me really wanting this to happen, someone is hurt because of me. And that's never a good feeling.

And now I have all Shabbos to think about it. Alone. Fantastic.

Friday, August 21, 2009

An aliyah engagement

(note: This is a serious entry. Many of the entries that I write are lighter, and even if they're about more serious things they're still kind of with a light tone. This one isn't.)

Someone said that (the subject) to me today-- I'm engaged to making aliyah. It kind of is an engagement in the sense that it's a commitment-- a big commitment, and it's a decision that I've made that I'm dedicated to and have been making other decisions around. And that decision can make for making some decisions that I don't really like or want to have to make.

I never really thought about it like that-- aliyah was...moving to Israel. But the reasons behind it and that decision is ultimately a commitment-- when I thought about making aliyah, it was a thought. And then I thought some more about it and it became a choice: Do I make aliyah or do I not make aliyah? And then I decided to make aliyah, that was a decision that I made and then started seeing things through that lens:
-When am I going to make aliyah? When do I want to, when will be a realistic timeframe?
-What job am I going to take? What kind of experience will this be? Will I be able to transfer the skills to Israel? Do I want to take a 12-month position-- what about a school? Then I'll be able to go back to Israel in the summer until I make aliyah.
-Do I need __fill-in-the-blank-thing__? Am I going to take it to Israel? Can I chuck this?
-Who should I date-- should I date here? Should I only date someone who is set on making aliyah? What if he says "maybe I'll make aliyah, but I don't really know." Or, "When I retire I'll make aliyah"?
-What stuff should I send to Israel? What can I send that I won't need here for the next year? What's worth it to send? To buy here vs. buy there?

And then something happened that made me stop. There was someone that I was interested in a while back and nothing happened. And then we sort together kind of. Sounds cheesy, but "it just happened." Neither of us had planned it-- I was definitely not looking to start anything so close to when I leave, unless it was with someone who was planning on making aliyah as well, and he knew that I was leaving which was why he hadn't started anything as well. But then it just sort of happened. We started by talking about Israel and agreed to see what happened between then and when I left for Israel. And then we talked about it again. And again. And again. And then we came to the realization that...I wasn't going to stay here and he wasn't going to move there. And we decided that we're going to stop it now before it gets any farther because we're just going to be hurt. It really, really sucks because we both want this relationship. Could we continue it until I go? Yeah, but there's no real reason to. We're both dating seriously, dating with the end goal in mind being mariage and this would be a relationship that would not be going there because we're going to be living 6000 miles away from each other, and that doesn't work for a marriage. Could we continue it, I make aliyah and be there for ulpan and then come back for the summer and we pick up where we left off? Sure, but then I'd be going back to Israel after the summer and that leaves us where exactly? Yeah, where we were before-- with me in Israel and him in America. Not so conducive to a relationship with the goal being marriage. So we decided to not continue.

I know that if I don't make aliyah I'm going to regret it, and I know that three years ago I wanted to go out with him, and I definitely wouldn't mind going out with him now-- I'd like to. But I know that if I go out with him I'm putting aliyah on indefinite hold, potentially forever if we were to get married. And I would resent not moving to Israel and while I know that it would have been my choice to enter the relationship knowing that he didn't want to move to Israel, I would still hope for it and would be upset that I didn't. So I realized that that relationship, as much as we both want it, is not going to be a good one ultimately and so we ended it before it got any further-- farther?-- nevermind, before it went anywhere else.

If we had been in a relationship when I went to Israel last year, would I have ended up feeling so comfortable-- or would I have gone in knowing that this was a vacation and it was temporary? I really never planned on making aliyah, but I guess I hadn't started my life here yet so I was open to the life there more-- I wasn't committed to staying in NYC. What if I had taken the Board of Ed scholarship and had a commitment here for 3 years? I would have gone knowing I couldn't stay. The only commitment I had when I left school was my loans, which technically could be paid off from anywhere as long as they got paid. So...nothing really holding me in NY. But if I did, I wonder how my approach and experiences in Israel would have been different.

Next up: Thinking about relationships in Israel

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mazal tov!

Mazal tov to Nachum Lamm (of The New York City Coffee Group fame) and all the other new olim, who made aliyah on the NBN August 18th flight. Jacob Richman posted pictures on his website and FB, but here is one of Nachum at the arrival ceremony:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last Shabbos in VV (I think)

This place is kind of like my childhood in a place. Yeah, school-- whatever. But this is where I spent all my summers as a child and it's really where I think of when I think about doing my growing up.

It's a place that I know like the back of my hand-- the shortcuts, where things used to be and aren't or are moved. The best places to catch frogs, watch sunrises, watch the stars.

I know that when I walk around at 1 am, I can go to the playground and sit on the swing and do nothing but...swing. And be. And just listen.

I'm really going to miss this place. I'm planning on coming back during the summer (or as many summers as I can), but I'm still leaving. I'm growing up-- I am grown up-- and moving on and making my own life, and it's sad to leave this behind. But all good things must come to an end, and that end brings a new beginning.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A new "perspectiva"

really exciting moment here-- I'm writing an email (in comment...). And I need to use the word "perspective." So I figured, "What the heck, "perspectiva" sounds like it could be the translation...I think I've heard the word...but it could have been someone just Hebreacizing (if that's a word) English. Let me go check." And it is "perspectiva"! And I even spelled it correctly. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it's really exciting. To me it means that I WILL pick up the language. I don't speak it much here, much less with English words. I'm excited.

For those of you who are wondering: פרספקטיבה

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'm here (not not Israel-here...just here!):

This is so weird...since the article was published in the Jewish Week, people have been telling me that I was in the paper. What do you say to that? "Thanks"? But anyway, now I'm on a list of the New Generation of Israeli Bloggers. Cool beans!

And as Ilana is on her way to Israel as I write this-- remember to look good for the cameras throughout the flight.

Friday, August 7, 2009

"תתחדש"-- or as Tzippy says, "Get new"

There is no word like this in the English language. It literally means, "you should get new," but it's what you say when someone gets something new-- doesn't really matter what, it could be a shirt, it could be a new computer. I just like the word.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Accomplishments for Today

1. Found out that I CAN get the Verizon phone unlocked, should I need to, provided my account has been active for more than 60 days (and it's not overdue, etc.). Mine has been active for about 5 years-- I should be good.
2. Finished putting my grad school papers into page protectors. I have 6 left; I started with over 300...I shouldn't worry, though-- I feel like I'm missing a whole binder of psych activities. But I can't swear to it. I just wanted to get them in because when I ship them I want to minimize the damage to them and I think that by putting them in these plastic sleeves, they will transport better. That's what I have to do! I have to finalize my מערכים, print them, and put them into page protectors and a binder. I have to get more page protectors-- I want to put my EMT stuff in them as well. And while I'm at it, I should probably put my מד"א stuff It's all on the computer. Speaking of which, I need to get an external hard drive. Three months ago. Oops.
3. I realize that it's bedtime. Good night all.

mazal tov! nesiah tovah! hatzlacha!

All of those were said today at the NY --> Israel Aliyah Coffee Group (now known as the "New York City Aliyah Coffee Group"). It was the last meeting before the next group goes off to Israel-- Ilana, Nachum, and Dana.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

to quote Ilana, "We made the cover of the jewish week!!!!"

It's an article about the NY --> Israel Coffee Group. Only correction: I pushed off my aliyah by 6 months, not 6 years...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

getting cold feet

Let's go over that list of concerns-- you know, the one that seems to stay the same, no matter how many times I go over it for no good reason (because there's nothing new added and nothing taken away)...let's try it like this: concern-reason-solution (if applicable)

1. Money (biggest concern) - Because I need money to live on and I won't have an immediate income. Yes, I'll have sal klita, but that's not so much, and sal klita stops after 7 months (8, if you count the housing assistance grant) and then I don't have an income. Yes, I can get unemployment, but I don't want to and can't necessarily count on that. And Israeli salaries aren't American salaries. I want to live in Jerusalem, at least initially, because that's where my chevre is mostly. Things are expensive there, though. Even though rent is, say, ~$400-$600, and I could easily pay that on my current salary, I have no clue what my Israeli salary will be (once I start getting one).
Fixed expenses: Rent + arnona + va'ad bayit, inner-city bus transportation, internet, landline phone (if applicable), extra medical coverage
Unfixed-But-Will-Be-Pretty-Much-The-Same-Each-Month expenses: Cell phone, grocery, electricity, water,
Completely Unfixed expenses: Eating out, out-of-city transportation, bank fees

2. Job (ties into #1) - I need money to live off of - No answer. I have to take the OT licensing exam, except it's in Hebrew...which sucks, because my Hebrew is not good enough yet. It takes me about three times as long as it does in English, and I have to look a lot up. Not going to be able to do that on the exam...And I know there are other jobs I can do, but...I just...maybe it's the overqualification and pride. But I can't see myself working as a cashier or cleaning houses. That aside, I can't even speak Hebrew well enough for those. And I'm not a salesperson to work as HAS. I really don't know.

3. Missing family and friends - Because most of them are in the US - Skype is a possible solution, and an okay one. But there are things I won't be able to do, such as physically be there and help. Like now-- I'm spending about 1.5-2 hours at the hospital with my Zaidy every day. When I'm in Israel, I won't be able to do that. Even if I could "visit" him over Skype, there's things I can't do through the computer. I can't help my mom schlep through the computer, or help my dad with household things. It's things that they can do but me being there makes it easier. I talk to Andrea and Yoni on the phone more, but Squishy hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet. I'm going to miss her a lot, seeing her do things and just...her. Elissa-- I don't even want to think about it; we're scarily like 1 person in 2 bodies. And I'm leaving Sara and Chari. This sucks. And I don't know how often I'll be able to come in-- I'd like to come in at least for summers, because that way I can work here for the summer and get to spend 2 months with my family. But I don't know if I'll really be able to.

4. Living Arrangements- Because I need somewhere to live after ulpan and don't want to live in a merkaz klita - I want to eventually move up North. I know I don't want to live in an Anglo enclave/mini America. It's going to be much more expensive in terms of everything, and it's not exactly conducive to klita. If I'm moving to Israel, I'd like to move there. I want to live in a place with other olim, because that increases the availability of things for olim and I will definitely be taking advantage and using whatever I can, but I don't want to be in an American bubble. I want to be in at least a mixed area. Most of my chevre is in Jerusalem, and really if I want to get married, the places with the most singles are Jerusalem and TA. And I have more friends in Jlem and the merkaz overall.

What else? Of course I'll miss Wal-Mart and Jack's World and JCPenney and the subway (don't even get me started on how much I'm going to miss the subway) and real ziploc bags. But I'll have the shuk and the crazy Israeli drivers and...salad at every meal-- actual fresh veggies. And fresh halva, which I can get sick on. And, well...I'll be in Israel.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


So my MDA stuff does not transfer to NYS. I'm not too offended, because NYS doesn't really take anything else...
Apparently my EMT-B certification (assuming I get it) won't transfer to Israel. Which is understandable-- chovshim do more. But I'm hoping something will transfer and I won't have to do the whole course again...on the upside, I'd get to work on my Hebrew...

Friday, July 17, 2009

More monkey wrenches!

Apparently the merkazei klita are ALL getting closed as of August 1? Does anybody know anything about this? I can't find anything on the Jewish Agency website or Google.

I want to know what they're going to do about Ulpan Etzion...I might have to get an apt. immediately, which would definitely change my plans. But I could definitely live with Vered. But I think that does take away from the absorption experience, if you're not in-house. Wait, re-phrasal-- not necessarily take away from, but significantly change what I was expecting. But I suppose I should expect that-- it's Israel.

Shabbat shalom!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

מזל טוב!

Mazal tov to Allison Teitelbaum, Sarah and Noam Greenberg, and all the other olim from the NBN flight on July 7!

(5.5 months-ish... and counting down! (and waiting for approvals and such) )

Friday, July 3, 2009


So when I was in Israel I would convert prices into dollars. I never thought I'd be converting into shekels-- and DEFINITELY not in America. Well, guess who did just that in Farmer's Market (a small grocery store in upstate NY-- like all good New York City Jews, my family "goes upstate" for the summer/Shabbatot).

"Now why would she do a crazy thing like that?" you ask. The answer is-- they had Israeli ice cream...and it was good stuff, too...I saw the price listed in dollars and cents (because we are in America, after all, despite the abundance of Israeli products in even places like random small supermarkets and Wal-Mart). And I immediately converted it into shekels to figure out how much it was. I think that's a very big sign of identity confusion (wait 'till I get to Israel! Then I'll really have issues! I should write a post on all the cross-cultural confusion in my life, and then once I get to Israel see what happens).

If anyone has any suggestions for un-confusing yourself, please let me know.

Whoever said patience is a virtue--

was probably around a lot of impatient people in his/her lifetime and just got frustrated.

I do not have enough patience, especially when it comes to Israeli things (okay, in general big things that have a significant impact on my life...right now it's mostly aliyah...). Really, things can get done quickly-- IF someone is inclined to do it. But there seems to be a laid-back attitude of, "It will happen when it happens/all in good time" there, and it's very frustrating. Very frustrating. Respectful, curteous, timely customer service is one American thing I'd like to see in Israel (they've got enough America there-- what, they can't bring this? No, that would just be...well...nice. Not that Israelis aren't nice. But more on that in another entry; this is getting rediculously off-topic).

Also, the "if it's not due tomorrow, I'll handle it tomorrow" approach. For example, if I was making aliyah in the summer, my paperwork would be done already-- signed, stamped, approved, I'd have my oleh visa...but since I'm going in the fall, they're not going to do anything until after the summer olim.

There are a few things that need to happen before I know anything definite:
1. The Sochnut needs to approve my aliyah (except my shaliach is out of the country)
2. I need to get my olah visa from the Consulate (dependent on 1)
3. I need to apply to Ulpan Etzion (also, dependent on 1)

There are things I need to know for me:
1. When the NBN winter flight is going to be (except they're not going to know that until after the chagim. Which I don't really get-- why are you waiting? ElAl already set its flight schedule. Maybe they're waiting to see if they can get a charter flight vs. group flights?)
2. When some people are getting married (one friend already has her date set, and I'm waiting to hear about...2? 3? something like that others)
I really want to go on the NBN flight, but it depends on when people get married...the friend I know about's date doesn't conflict-- I'll be in the middle/end of ulpan (minor detail that I have to work out)

I just like knowing big things in advance. Advance notice for my future husband, whoever he may be: Surprise me with the engagement. Make it some time that I won't even think about-- like when after a hike when we're all sweaty and dirty from the hike and just enjoying each other and the country. Or when we're relaxing and I totally would not expect it. But not the "dinner and a carriage ride/picnic at sunset/other romantic-y thing, because those are overrated and (much as I like the romance) I'd rather it be...more us...and-- well, cliches aren't me and I hope aren't you either. (this is an Israel blog, ok? And where better to think about marriage than Israel when everyone and their mother/father/cousinS/neighborS/etc. tries to set you up the second they find out that you're single? And if you read this and want to set me up, leave a comment and I'll get back to you)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

TA in NY?!

I forgot-- this past Sunday there was a "Tel Aviv Beach" in Central Park. It was a "beach" (read: large sandbox) with chairs, umbrellas, and matkot. There was a DJ and some live music, info about Israel and TA, and free popsicles!

The NY --> Israel group had out monthly meeting there instead of Starbucks.

Look-- pictures!

On the way to the "beach"-- lots of people already

The sun trying to come out, sort of. The rain held off until the event was pretty much over. Thanks, G-d!

Dana and Ilana posing by the giant arrow (it was right before you entered the case you missed the people or music or got lost between there and the entrance 10 feet away)

The skyline

Obligatory NY protesters-- at least there were no Neturei Karta this time

A small version of the plane I will be on when I make aliyah

The Tel Aviv sandbox beach in Central Park

In case you thought you might actually be in TA (you know, with the skyline and beach), they put up a sign to let you know where you are

One of the early bands

Classic photo-- middle-aged Israeli woman sitting in a beach chair under an umbrella, holding a cigarette

they had no chocolate-banana anything :(

The girls-- Me, Dana, Ilana, and Vered

This was cute-- my popsicle dripped in the shape of a smiley face. Could not have done it if I wanted to or had tried.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spoke to NBN today. They said that they won't have the NBN December flight date until after the chagim.
I also checked my NBN application status and there are still a few things pending JA approval. I emailed Shai to see what's going on with that and Etzion.

Monday, June 22, 2009

סיכום, המשך מ-04.06.09, ועדכון

סיכום מלפני: דברתי עם הסופרויזר שלי--מארי-ג'ו--

המשך: ואמרתי משהו בקשר ללימודים לתואר שלישי-- שיש לי פקרופסור שרוצה שאני אעשה את התואר איתו, אבל הוא בארץ. והיא ענתה, אבל זה לא בעיה בשבילך, נכון? אמרתי לה שאני צריכה לעשות קורס אינטנסיבי בעברית לפני הלימודים-- נסיתי להכנס לקורס שבקיץ הזה אבל לא הצלחתי, והקורס הבא בחורף אבל אני לא יודעת אם יקבלו אותי. היא אמרה אוקיי, ולעדכן אותה מתי שיש לי עוד אינפורמציה.

עדכון: אני מחליפה בתי-ספר. יש בעיות עם הטיב של האויר ובגלל זה יש לי (ולאחרים) כאבי-ראש שנעלמים שעה אחרי שאני יוצאת מהבית-ספר. נסיתי מאפריל להחליף לבית-ספר אחר לכמה ימים. לא נתנו לי. אבל במאי שלחו הסופרויזרים פירסום של מקומות פתוחים, בחרתי כמה מהם והיו לי ראיונים. התקבלתי ל4 בתי-ספר אבל קבלתי כאב-ראש מאחד, יש הרבה לחץ באחד, ויש עוד שנים שאני רוצה. יש לי עוד ראיון ביום שלישי-- אבל זה לא קשור לנקודה של הפוסט הזה.
אמרתי לסופרויזר שלי שיש אפשרות שאתקבל לקורס האינטנסיבי בעברית-- ואם מקבלים אותי, אני עוזבת באמצע השנה. היא שאלה אותי מתי אני מדברת לעזוב, עניתי לה שבקורס מתחיל בינואר, אז אחרי החופש בחורף, אבל לא אשמעה עד הסתו. והיא אמרה שזה בסדר, כי יש מרפאים חדשים שבאים בינואר, ולעדכן אותה כאני יודעת.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

real quick note before I type up the posts that I have to continue...

from A Soldier's Mother: beautifully written post about what Israel is really like...for those of you who think Israel is this horrible, war-torn country with people waiting to blow themselves up and constant rocket sirens-- it's not:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Warning: Emotional Girl Ahead...

This sucks.
As it gets closer to when I planned on leaving, it gets harder to be here...I had wanted to go at the beginning of July-- about a week before Etzion starts the summer session. That would have been the July 6 flight. And now I'm not.
I miss it...6 more months, that what I keep telling myself...but it feels like it's been 6 months for ages and ages...which it has...since I decided to push it off by 6 months! That doesn't change!
I don't get it...why do I miss it so much? I never missed NY this much when I was in Israel-- and I'm from NY!
I was interviewing somebody yesterday, and he said something about Israelis being tough. I said Americans aren't always so easy to deal with either. But then I said, "But Israelis will help you." And that's what it is. I miss the sense of family, of caring, of everybody looking out for you and being willing to help you.
One of the amazing things that I am discovering is that the second I identify myself as in the process of making aliyah, it's like-- "Mazal tov, when?" And then I ask a question and get answers and references...I mean, I went to get stuff translated and notarized. I was talking to the lawyer who did them (because in Israel only lawyers are notaries-- and the fees are insane, but that's another story) gave me the name and number of her friend who is a veteran olah and also an occupational therapist. I have somewhere around 10 occupational therapists that I am in touch with. I have met most of them once or maybe twice. And all of them, both the native Israelis and olim, are willing to answer any questions I have and give me other people to contact-- even the lawyer I went to for document translation and notarization says, "Oh, I have a friend who's an olah vatikah [veteran immigrant] who's an OT-- here's her name and number, call her." Really? That's amazing. It's a country made up of immigrants that did not exist 62 years ago.
People say, "You're making aliyah? From America? You crazy?"-- and they say this in English. Translated it means, "You're crazy-- welcome home, you'll fit right in to this place. When are you coming for dinner? [if you're single, this next sentence applies as well] I have a boy/girl for you."

It's a jumbled mix of emotions...hang on

Monday, June 8, 2009

I know, I have to continue my last's on my to-do list.

But before that, a couple quick sentences about where I will be living: Beit Canada. It sounds like a shithole in the middle of nowhere...really. Everything ends with, "...but you deal." Not so optimistic...oh, Ulpan Etzion, I wish you were still in Baka...but I'll deal...יהיה בסדר...oh I wish I was there.
ששה חודשים!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Sorry, this one needs to go in Hebrew...if you want a translation, let me know.
דברתי עם הסופרויזר שלי היום-- היה לכל הבתי-ספר בעיר ניו יורק יום ל"התפתחות פרופסיונלי" --אז הסופרויזרות (?) לברונקס עשו פגישה למראפים בעישוק-- היה ארוכת בוקר, נתנו לנו הערכות לבתי-ספר שלנו-- היה סתם פגישה רגוע לסוף השנה-- ממש נעים, ואלף-אחוז יותר טוב מלהיות בבית-ספר מ0810 עד 1520-- התחלנו ב0900 ויצאנו ב1200 -- איזה יופי , נכון?

to be continued...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When I Grow Up

or at least get married and have kids...not that that's in the immediate future. I'd like a guy first. Anyway.

There's a blog that I found called A Soldier's Mother written by a woman who made aliyah about 16 years ago. She knew then that her sons, at least, would serve in the army.

I'm not there yet, and please G-d, there will be peace before then and my children won't have to serve because there won't be a need for an IDF. But realistically, there probably won't be peace and there will be a need.

Is it fair for me to do that to them? Is it fair for me to move to Israel, knowing full well that I intend to raise my family there, and that my children will be going to serve in the IDF and protect and defend Israel and Jews all over with a chance that, G-d forbid, they will get injured or killed? Is it fair to impose that on them? It's my choice to I'm in the US, a country that has a volunteer army (generalize it to mean any branch of the armed forces). If I stay here, my children will not be drafted; if they want to join the army , it will be their choice; it will not be forced on them, and no one will think them any worse of them or look down on them if they don't. But in Israel it's not really something that they will have a choice about. Yes, they will somehow be able to get an exemption if they really want to...but I'm not going to encourage it. Is that fair?

And on another somewhat related note, is it fair of me to leave my parents and family to move to Israel? Not like my mom doesn't worry here, but there she's more worried, more nervous. Is it fair to make my mom worry more? This is the part that really sucks...leaving family and worrying about them. Forget them worrying about me, I'm worried about them. What's Lis going to do? Yeah, she says she'll just have to learn to manage on her own, but it's going to be harder. It's little things I do for her, like making her food when she's running late or her laundry when I do mine even though it's more or letting her vent or running small errands...just little things.
And my mom. I'm really worried about her. Not that she's not worried about me, but as much as she's worried about me, I worry about her too. I help her a lot with things like schlepping and running up and down to get things or bring things and helping her with the computer, switching laundrys...just things that don't seem so big, but help her. My dad I'm not as worried about, but still. I help him with things like fixing things around the house. He'll manage-- they all will...but it doesn't make me feel any better.
I'm not the savior of the house-- by no means do I think I am. But I am home a lot, and am capable of doing things so I do.

Man, this sucks.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"...feelin' groovy..."

Not really. But there's a many of my posts...

Like any good child of the 80's, I had parents who raised me and my sisters on their music in the car. That consisted of a lot of tapes (made from of records, because cars came with tape/cassette players and not record players) and the Oldies station-- 101.1 CBS FM (New York...I can't read/write/think that without hearing the tune in my head). " My mom likes Simon and Garfunkel (see their official website or the Wikipedia page for more info on them). So you would think that I would know their songs and recognize them when they, you know, were played on the radio and stuff.

Close...I knew their songs-- except I knew them in Hebrew. Do you understand how confusing it is to learn a song in Hebrew, think that that's the song-- it's in Hebrew, not English-- and then hear it on the radio IN ENGLISH?! My little brain was going"wtf?" (except not in those words because I didn't know them yet, and "wtf" wasn't an expression then). It took me a while to understand the concept of "covers." So, yes, I learned Simon and Garfunkel songs in Hebrew before I learned them in English.

Now why is this relevant?-- or in Hebrew-- ?איך זה רלוונטי-- "aych zeh relevanti?" Because I spent Shabbat reading words like:

(just like that-- no nekudot (vowels) the dots and lines under the letters, which make it easier to read)

Normally it's not so bad trying to read Hebrew. But here's the catch (and there's always a catch, especially when dealing with Israel or anything related)-- these words? ENGLISH! Watch:
טמפורטורה - tem-pu-ra-tura - temperature
סימפטומים - seemp-to-meem - symptoms
רלוונטים - reh-la-vahn-teem - relevant (plural)
דפורמציות - de-for-ma-tzee-yot - deformities
קונטרקטורות - con-trac-tu-roht - contractures

Do you see anything the same about these words in Hebrew and English? It's a hell of a lot harder trying to read English in Hebrew than it is trying to read Hebrew in Hebrew (on the plus side, I'm learning to type in Hebrew). And that my friends throws your brain off, much like trying to understand that the songs you learned in Hebrew are American songs, and makes your brain hurt.

Friday, May 22, 2009

And the step after Approval is...go back and re-submit stuff!

The pictures I gave in were blurry...well...I'm sorry...I didn't think they were...

So now I have to go get them redone. Rite-Aid printed one of them with a bright spot on my eyebrow, so I have to get them redone. Man!

Monday, May 18, 2009

I feel like I should be typing this blog in Hebrew, because it's out on the Internet and very, very public...which means anyone, including my coworkers and supervisor(s?-- כן, כולל ה---בלייפפפפפפ(how do you bleep something out in Hebrew?)), can read it.

I sort of worry about that-- as in someone's going to go, "So I heard you have a blog and I checked it out...aliyah (pronounced like the dead singer)? What is that?" And I'm going to go, "Shit." Like happened today, sort of. My on-site supervisor wanted to speak to me and I thought, "Shit, someone said something to her about me moving to Israel." No, she wanted to speak to me about something else.

But really, how do you explain aliyah to people who have never even heard of it? Everything I think of just sounds falls short.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Next step-- approval!

You thought I was going to say I got approved for, not quite.
I did, however, get my documents checked by Shai (the Jewish Agency shaliach), gave in my financial affidavit and passport pictures (printed earlier today) to NBN-- see this entry for a bit on that; I decided to practice being Israeli and ignore what they said. Worked out nicely-- now let's see if they don't lose the documents...
I should hear back about approval and Etzion after the summer, but Shai doesn't think there will be a problem (Hi, Murphy, because I said something. I should go back and erase that and bite my tongue. But I'm not-- which may come back to bite me in the tooseek (thank you Benji Lovitt of "What War Zone"-- see my oleh blog links-- for the spelling. Not that he knows who I am, but I found his blog and think that spelling is great. Benji, if you would like to link to my blog, feel free))...but-- back to the mother of all Israeli phrases-- "יהיה בסדר"-- "y'hiyeh b'seder-- "it'll be ok/fine." (I'm just full of cliches tonight, aren't I? And parentheses.)

But back to the meeting. I met with Robin Berman, who works in the employment dept. of NBN. Really, I don't think I need to have any more "pre-aliyah meetings" unless it's for a very specific purpose, like this was. This one was to get my documents checked. I don't need employment meetings, unless it deals with OT specifically. I don't need "community meetings" because I know where I'm going to start out and have some ideas-- and I'll go away for Shabbatot, so I'll see what communities I like. I know that the large populations of singles are in Jerusalem (Anglos in Katamon, Rechavia, German Colony, etc.) and around Bar Ilan (Givat Shmuel-ish area). I know that I want to live up North eventually, but there aren't really singles up there. Which limits my dating pool...If there's the word "informational" in the meeting-- odds are I don't need it. I have the information, I know where to find the stuff I don't have, and I know how to use my email to email people questions. I'm really good at that.

If I haven't heard back by September, I'll email NBN and Shai. Because really, that's only 4 months. I mean, it's Israel and I could do this 4 weeks before and no one would say boo-- Shai goes, "This is for the summer?" ...which is in about 6 was funny when Robin went upstairs to get Shai. I had my meeting with Robin-- she gave me a few tips about employment and then went to check about my affidavit and if someone could come look at my documents. So Shai comes in and goes, "Hey! How are you?" Robin goes, "You know each other?" It was a "you-had-to-be there" moment, I think.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Here goes nothing

Meetings with NBN and a shaliach tomorrow...wish me luck.
I have 5 copies of everything, except passport photos...those I have to print.

I went to RiteAid today to get them done. They print. There's a bright orange spot on one of my eyebrows...I didn't have time to wait for them to redo them, so I'm going to have to get them redone on Sunday, I'll find another RiteAid in the city. But in the meantime, NBN still wants 3 passport photos. So I'm going to print up a page-- well, 2 pages. Passport photos are standardly 2"x2". NBN's site says 35 mm wide x 45 mm high with the face being 25 mm wide and 35 mm high. So I have 3 photo pages to make:
-one with 2x2 photos
-one with the picture 35 mm wide x 45 mm high without the face being 25 mm wide and 35 mm high
-one with the picture 35 mm wide x 45 mm high without the face being 25 mm wide and 35 mm high

I think I get 16 photos on a page...makes 48 photos. Problem with printing one whole page at a time is cutting it. Ew. And, NONE OF THE PRINTERS THAT I TRIED WORK! AND I TRIED THREE OF THEM! THREE! THREE! (and once more for good luck-- three!)

Here's hoping I can print them tomorrow in school. If not, I is screwed. And that is bad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

!במירון רבי שמעון, אדוננו בר יוחאי

Lag BaOmer! Yay!
In Israel it means medurot (bonfires) and the whole freaking country smelling like smoke. But it's fun. מדורות (bonfires), על האש (BBQs), chilling. It looks like the whole country is going up in flames, there are so many fires. I spent last Lag BaOmer at the Kaufmans; they organized a מנגל and everyone brought food (there was far too much), we played Banagrams, Elinor and Yehuda played the cello, Arie made THE tea, and we roasted marshmallows. And there were bonfires ALL OVER.

English-date wise, it was my birthday! Well, now it's still May 11 in the States, but in Israel it's already May 12. Eden and I slept over by Hannah's the night before, we broke out the cookies early, I opened on of my cards, had an interesting texting conversation with Shloime because I couldn't sleep, and then the next morning Hannah, Eden, and I went to Bayit Vagan for shlav bet. More about that tomorrow.