Today is a month since I made aliyah! Was it only one month ago that I landed in Ben Gurion, clutching my teudat zehut, excited and apprehensive about what this new chapter would bring? It has been both the longest and quickest month of my life. The beginning saw a whirlwind of activity- setting up a bank, a health care plan, and all that super-fun stuff. My entry also marked the beginning of the current “situation,” with Hamas.
I am often praised for being brave for making aliyah during a truly tumultuous time in Israel. The truth is, while I was in JFK, this situation hadn’t yet come to a boil, much less when I started planning my aliyah a half-year ago. This is not to say that my decision to move here would have been altered even a bit, had I known what this country would be going through. I feel so blessed to be able to stand with Israel in Israel in its time of need. I honestly think if I was in NYC right now, with all this going on over here, I’d be climbing the walls with fear, with worry (kind of like my entire family is now!)
There is a pang when I see my friends and family rallying for Israel in NYC, like I used to, but also a new level of appreciation for those Israel supporters abroad- you are rallying for us! You are supporting us- the Israelis! To be counted in number alongside Israelis who have been defending our homeland for decades is truly humbling.
I go about my life here in Jerusalem like it is totally normal. I know where I’m going, which buses to take, where to get the best waffles (it’s Babette btw). I feel as comfortable here after a month as I ever have walking Main Street or Union Turnpike or Central Avenue back in the Old Country. Granted, I have spent a huge amount of time in Jerusalem these past 10 years, but the “home” I used to feel when visiting can’t compare to the “home” I feel at this point in time. But it does come at a price. In my old home, I am missing engagement parties and bridal showers and weddings and happy hours. Life is moving on without me. Friends seem so far away (even with FaceTime) and conversations don’t flow as easily as they do when you’re having them over Facebook messenger, as opposed to over Buffalo fingers at Carlos and Gabby’s.
My niece and nephews delicious faces and voices over Skype tug at my heart, making our interactions as bitter once they’re over as they were sweet while we were chatting. I long to squeeze them, and my parents, and my sisters, all the time. I was told the separation would be difficult, but as is life, seeing is believing.
And so here I sit, preparing for another beautiful shabbat in the holy city of Jerusalem, a girl with 2 homes. One where I grew up, was so good to me for so many years, and where most of the people I love most reside, and the other where I pray for a beautiful future for myself and my family. I am so grateful for my home in NYC and so blessed to be in my new home of Jerusalem. One month down, many many more good ones to come!