Happy 7 year Aliyah Anniversary!

ImageI made aliyah seven years ago on September 5, 2005.  I will never forget this date because on most forms I have to fill in, in addition to my date of birth, identification number, and address, I usually have to also write my date of aliyah. 

Some reflections on this date which I do think of as a sort of anniversary – like a date marking the marriage between me and Israel.

 I love living in Israel.  The more I live here, the more I am happy that I have chosen this place to be my home.  I love my Jerusalem apartment which usually has the windows open, the flowers on my requisite porch and seeing the greenery of those flower-potted porches on the buildings adjacent to ours.  Most places I go in Jerusalem now, I meet people that I know.  I love the views of the ancient buildings and the new.  I love the Hebrew language which connects past, present and future, and I have found expressions that perfectly say what I want to say that I find it hard to translate. 

 I love the intimacy that permeates the society.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want my space as well.  I’m learning to not be afraid of arguing here and to not take it personally.  I love Shabbat here – cars or no cars, television or no television, touching light switches or not, Tel Aviv or Jerusalem — it just feels like Shabbat and I love it.  I love traveling within Israel and visiting all of the beautiful nature, culture, and historic spots, or just eating out at a restaurant. 

I love my work here.  I am constantly inspired by creative, driven people who want to make the world a better place. 

 I feel responsible here and always feel like I am not doing enough to help my fellow – the Jew (in all of his/her manifestations), the Arab Israeli, the Palestinian, the foreign visitor.  And there is so much to do – as there is in any other place.

 I love that people want so much to do it better here, to bring it to the next level, to bring joy to their children and grandchildren – and to quote the Bible and Jewish sources as they do it, and then point to the place where that quotation took place.

 I have an American accent when I speak Hebrew.  That will never go away.  In more than a few instances, native Israelis make a note of this with the notion that I’m not “authentically” Israeli or didn’t grow up with the right cultural context that would enable me to get what it means to be Israeli.  But then I remind myself of the others that have an American accent —  Golda Meir, Stanley Fisher, and so many of my esteemed and respected colleagues.  And of course, most dearly, those people with whom I work and play and those whom I am able to help and never make one mention of it.

 And I’m a bit worried about the state of public school education here, as next year my son will enter 1st grade.

And I’m concerned about rising costs, right-wing elements that border on fascism, racism, and violence in our society.

And I’m here to help.

Mazal tov!

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