So on August 3rd, at 3:30am, in the middle of the night, my 20 year-old daughter and I were waiting for them at the Ben Gurion Airport when they arrived in the Holy Land. Doubling up my other children, we made a room available for them in our home. Before they went to sleep after their exhausting journey (they arrived at the European airport 20 hours before their flight and spent most of the time chasing around the terminal after the hyperactive 3 year-old), I explained to them that the first night a person sleeps in the Holy Land, he receives a new super-holy Israeli soul when he wakes up in the morning.
This time, they made it to the interview day and the psychological testing, academic exams, and signed all of the necessary papers, but we won’t know if Sarah is accepted until another week or so. Naale was considerate enough to wave the $500 interview registration fee because of the screw-up in Paris, and they will reimburse me for her one-way ticket if she is accepted. Meanwhile, we’ve been showing them around Jerusalem, and I’ve been taking the hyperactive 3 year-old to the playground a couple times a day so that he doesn’t drive my wife crazy – as if summer vacation isn’t enough with my own powerhouse kids at home and a long, ongoing heat wave, plus three starry-eyed visitors in the house who need a lot of attention at this giant crossroad of their life.
My daughter gave Sarah some of her spare clothing, and I found someone to donate a little money to buy Sarah the beginnings of a new religious wardrobe. Naale has programs for secular and religious students. The mother wanted her to enroll in the religious program, but she had been brainwashed by her father into believing that religious Jews were primitive monsters. Meeting my family, she was shocked to discover that religious Jews can be kind and loving. Also, she noticed that the religious students whom she met on the day of the interview seemed much nicer than the secular students, who seemed to be looking forward to a big party at school in Israel. So now that she has some new, modest clothes, she wants to join the religious program, thank God.
In the meantime, after making lots of phone calls, I found a rabbi I know who flew off yesterday to the former Communist country where Sarah’s great grandmother was born, and he will begin to search for some documented proof of their roots. The mother and boy fly back to Europe on Thursday. Sarah will stay with us until we know about Naale. If she isn’t accepted there, Rabbi Samson is happy to have her in his high school program, even though we will have some governmental hurdles to cross.
In the meantime, I have to pay the travel agent $2000 for the tickets, so if anyone can help with this mitzvah, as our Sages teach, when you save one soul in Israel, it is like you save the whole world.
If even 10 Jewish Press readers give a hundred dollars each by credit card, it will be a great blessing and allow me to take care of some other things that Sarah needs to start her new life in Israel. Please call the travel agent, Rachel, directly in Jerusalem, at Mona Tours, 050-7213376, and tell her that your payment is for the Tzvi Fishman aliyah tickets. If you would like to send a contribution in some other fashion, you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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