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.