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.