Monday, November 5, 2012

Ten Month Report

We have been Israelis for 10 months now. 

We love living here, more than we ever imagined we would.  We feel like we are living the way Jews are supposed to live, in the country Jews are supposed to be in, and it is not a feeling I can adequately describe in words.  It just feels right in a way we never felt in America.  We are home, and it is a visceral feeling - way, way, down deep inside, that you don't get from a visit - you get it when you live here every day, when this is your home base. 

The bottom line is that we thought our life was great in Baltimore, and in many ways it was, but when we moved here, we realized what our lives had been missing, how empty they'd been in many ways, even with the wonderful community, learning, chesed, friends, etc.  It's like a big veil has been lifted from in front of us and someone is saying, "Hello, there, THIS is living a Jewish life."  And we're responding, with mouths wide open in awe, "Oh!  We get it now."

I'm not preaching to anyone about making aliyah - that's a very personal decision - I'm just telling you how we feel. Take it or leave it.

With all that said, it has been an interesting adjustment in many ways:

1. Culture - Israelis are a different breed, and it takes some getting used to.  This is a country where everyone has a military background, has seen profound loss, and knows that they are surrounded by countries that wish to wipe them off the face of the earth.  This makes for some very tense people, but people who are also very emotional, caring, and deeply, fiercely protective of the country.

2. Language - it's not easy being in a country where you can't express yourself easily. Where you have to think about how to say, "Can I have 200 grams of cheddar cheese?" without embarrassing yourself.  And where you do, actually, embarrass yourself on most days.  Which leads us to #3...

3. Humility - being in a new culture teaches you humility if nothing else.  You know that you can't speak as fluently everyone else does, you don't know the ropes yet, you are going to make mistakes, and you need to make new friends.    This especially comes home when you listen to your 3-9 year old grandchildren play with their friends and are jealous of their facility with Hebrew. Even 2 year old Nadav speaks better than me, and he isn't speaking in full paragraphs yet! It also teaches you that if you are ever in a situation with an immigrant, be kind, patient, and understanding - but most of all be respectful.  This person who can't get a sentence out in your language has a whole life, profession, and history that you know nothing about.

4. Schedule - my husband and I work, for the most part, from home.  We miss going out each day to an office with (other) people with whom we can chat, etc. We spend every. single. day. together.  And you know what?  It's really OK. Although he keeps mumbling about finding an apartment in Damascus, but I don't think he really means it.  Do you?

5. Kids nearby - awesomeawesomeawesomeawesome.  Being near two out of three children is a dream come true.  It does not get old, we do not take it for granted, and we get a thrill each time we see them.

Yesterday we met Leezy and the boys at the mall for an hour - Tani jumped into my arms like he hadn't seen me in weeks (it's been about a week since I last saw him).  Ariella comes up and lets herself in to our apartment, and is suddenly standing in my office with a big smile.  Nadav waves from the mirpeset below when he sees me peering over, "Oh!  Bubby! Hi, Bubby!" and when I'm with him he tells me to "Shev Po!" [Sit here!]  Amichai, the child who never stops moving, is able to make me laugh just looking at him, and Yaakov always looks at us with such true affection and leaps into our arms and offers big kisses - and he lives downstairs.

6. Kids far away - we miss our Chicago kids terribly.  Everyone here that is our age (we call ourselves the old people), seems to have at least one child/grandchildren in America, and we all discuss how hard it is to be so far away.  I don't think I'll ever get used to that - it hurts to be that far away from a child.

So there's my 10 month report. 



  1. when we moved here, we realized what our lives had been missing, how empty they'd been in many ways, even with the wonderful community, learning, chesed, friends, etc

    I feel the EXACT same way!