My husband and I debated what was best for the kids. We wanted to do whatever we could to keep them safe, but we also wanted to give them their best opportunities to grow, learn, and have fun.
As my kids and I have taken daily walks for a month now, it is not an exaggeration to say that we literally know every crack in the sidewalk within our allowed kilometer.
From our first appointment, which was with a social worker, I realized that we were going to be facing a challenging experience.
In the late 19th century, when the first aliyah arrived in Palestine, the land was a barren desert. Through hard work, sacrifice, and belief (not to mention a whole lot of hashgacha pratis), the land was transformed into the lush beautiful country we all enjoy today.
The items wouldn’t be replaced or refunded. I was informed that they had been delivered by their use-by date and that I could have frozen them.
Those large panoramic windows that facilitate cool cross breezes on hot summer nights? Now they facilitate a less pleasant winter wind – even with the shutters tightly closed.
Despite the chaos, it's clear that the government is committed to trying to keep us safe while allowing life to continue as much as possible.
Interviews in Israel are run more casually, and an interviewer may ask some pretty personal questions.
Throughout the city there are various historical and archeological sites connected to the Maccabee time period, and my husband and son were lucky enough to participate in a shul trip for the local kids to one of these sites.
Every gift came with a personalized note, letting the recipient know that her Secret Maccabee was thinking of her.
While I certainly don’t love giving my Adi too much screen time, I must admit that I found myself easily caving whenever he begged me to allow him to “review” the videos just one more time.
Growing up, I read Israeli papers to keep up on the matzav (situation) in Israel. These days, I find myself starting each day reading through the New York papers to keep up to date on what the matzav is there.
Think that despite it all, things are going fine? Perhaps you “chai b’seret,” live in a movie – i.e. not in reality. (Someone who is a drama queen is referred to oddly as “l’echol sratim,” someone who “eats movies.”)
Perhaps the hardest questions have related to the political issues here in Israel.
Unfamiliar with other parents in my daughter’s gan, we also didn’t have anyone to commiserate with during the long sleepless nights of my daughter’s illness.
Not a day goes by here in Israel that we don't think about water.
At a loss, I thrust my American credit card into her gloved hands and explained that we were new olim and did not understand. Could she please just charge us for the shoes?
Missing out on the candy bags? KDT had us covered. The shul set up a “pekalach swap” whereby every KDT family was tasked with delivering a candy bag to another family in the shul.
With Sukkot evenings as delightful as this, I no longer understand the age-old dvar Torah about why Sukkot is celebrated in the autumn instead of the spring.
In true “Big Brother” fashion, the Shin Bet finds contact points between Covid-19 patients and others using cell phone tracking systems generally employed for counterterrorism operations.
While my children and I did not attend shul this year (my husband attended a very small, very early morning minyan), we did manage to have a special davening experience.
While I generally had a lot of fun on these interviews, I still am embarrassed when I recall our first in-Hebrew television interview.
As I approached the school along with tens of other children and parents, the excitement was palpable. The principal stood at the gate of the school, greeting each child with an elbow bump and a smile.
There is actually a fantastic Facebook group – “LoveLoveIsrael-Tried and Tested” – where you can find everything you may want to know about visiting almost anywhere in Israel.
Before calling the municipality to arrange a special pickup of furniture or large appliances, residents often post pictures of these items on Facebook or WhatsApp groups with the simple message of "limisira b'ahava" (for donation with love).
We find daily excuses to run in to pick up just a loaf of bread, and leave with our hands laden with hot bourekas, pita, and lachmaniyot (rolls).
Here in Modi’in we have a wonderful Absorption Department, with olim coordinators that go above and beyond to help.
Admittedly, the lift included some items we had planned to leave behind and others that we had wanted on flight, but while packing had not gone as planned – a running theme in our aliyah – it would have to do.
While olim are offered a steep discount on taxes associated with purchasing a new car, it comes with many complicated strings attached.
As we’ve learned time and time again through this aliyah process, ultimately everything is in Hashem’s hands.