What a wonderful Shabbat. Time to rest. Time to study. Time to just 'Be'. We hope all of our readers had a meaningful Shabbat also.
To get back on track with Aliyah thoughts, we would like to share part of a family's Aliyah story. They have been here 10 years and are adjusted to the life. Embracing the life. Loving the life. They had their rocky road and their initial fears. But we would like you to notice their thoughts about making Aliyah (the last paragraph.)
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Just weeks after we immigrated to Israel in August 2000, I was summoned to the principal's office of my daughter's elementary school. Two weeks earlier she had entered first grade, another big step on top of the many big steps it took to get us to Israel.
The principal neither spoke nor understood much English, and I neither spoke nor understood much Hebrew. But during our brief meeting, she managed to communicate to me that my daughter would not have as many hours of assistance during the school day as we thought. Also, the teacher was having difficulty teaching a child “fresh off the boat” who could not understand a word of Hebrew -- though she could read the language perfectly, having learned it in kindergarten at a Cleveland-area day school.
I left the school and began the mile-long trek back to our apartment (we would not buy our first car, which we are still driving, for another six months), when a car pulled up and offered me a ride. The driver was an English-speaking woman with a daughter in my first-grader's class who had made aliyah many years before us.
When she asked how everything was going, I burst into tears and spent the next half hour crying in the front seat of her car as she consoled me and promised that our life in Israel would only get better.
Ten years later, my youngest daughter has just entered first grade. She arrived in the classroom with her pink orthopedic backpack filled with the proper school supplies. Israeli born, she speaks perfect Hebrew and English.
My five children all started school this month with confidence and the proper supplies. This time, we all know what we’re doing. My oldest daughter, now in the 11th grade, speaks, dresses and acts like a native Israeli. Though she remembers the trauma of that first year, she is acing her studies and has a packed social life. And the woman whose front seat I dampened with my tears is now one of my closest friends in Israel.
As my family and I mark our 10th anniversary in Israel, I am overcome with mixed emotions.
It wasn't easy to pack up and leave our family and friends to come here, though we were greeted by both family and friends when we arrived. It was not easy to adjust to a new culture, a new language, a new way of life.
But we knew Israel would be the best place to raise our Jewish children, where they would learn about their Jewish past, participate in their Jewish present and prepare for their Jewish future, and where we would have a front-row seat to Jewish history.