Israel, My Home.

Well, I did it. I made aliyah. I probably should have written this a long time ago but things pile up…. You get the point. So let’s start with where we left off: the airport.

On the morning of august 12th, I left my house with all my worldly possessions and we all packed up into the family car and headed to John F Kennedy airport. En route, my mother and I were interviewed by the Jewish radio show, JM in the AM. We got to the airport without an issue, and once we found the counter, we joined the line. Imagine 330 olim and their families, plus myself and my family, waiting for our boarding passes and various papers before checking our luggage. After that, we went to the synagogue area to get ready for the farewell ceremony.

While waiting, I was interviewed by several reporters, including reporters from Arutz Sheva and Ynet. The attention may or may not be due to the fact that I was wearing an Israeli flag as a cape. It definitely makes me easy to pick out in photos, which is a bonus.

At the farewell ceremony, there were several speeches and then they sang Hatikva. I cried, knowing that this would be the last time singing my nations anthem before arriving to our homeland. From there, we went to go through security before boarding the plane. After plenty of teary goodbyes, I waved to my family before I went to begin my life as an independent adult in the land of our forefathers.

Boarding was surreal. I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it! I couldn’t get enough of speaking to everybody and hearing different reasons why they had arrived at the same decision as I did.

The flight was for the most part uneventful, until the last hour.

The final hour on that plane made me put any doubts I may have had aside. I have never felt like I was doing something so right ever in my life, until that final hour. People singing, music playing, the excitement was tangible. I had an incredible urge to just get out of my seat and run around the plane yelling “were almost home, were almost home” but I stayed put, mesmerized by the other 330 olim chadashim waiting to come home.

On our final approach, the excitement in the air thickened. We had almost finished our journey! Never have I felt so happy and so nervous and so many other sensations all at the same time in ginormous quantities. And then: WE LANDED.

IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!! We had finally reached home. The land that our forefathers have fought for, have bled for, and have died for. AND WE STOOD THERE, ON THE TARMAC, OUR NATIONS NEWEST IMIGRANTS. It was one of my proudest moments. I got off the plane and instantly kneeled to the ground and kissed the ground of the holy land. MY land. I cried and yelled out the “shehechianu” blessing, which translated goes “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the
Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and
enabled us to reach this occasion”, which is said by Jews on special occasions, thanking god for allowing us to reach a special point in our lives.

We boarded busses to take us to terminal one, where thousands were waiting to welcome us. I was on the first bus to go to the reception. I stepped off, and the noise was deafening, there was a man there with a shofar, trumpeting in celebration as in times of old, there was two lines of soldiers smiling and waving Israeli flags, and behind the gates, among the throngs, I saw my cousin! I headed into the building and met my aunt, my great aunt, and several cousins, I was so happy! There were so many smiling faces and sounds of joy, I was almost overwhelmed. Thankfully, there were refreshments aplenty, so that was one thing taken care of. Then there was more speeches, which by that point I was quite tired of, as were many others. Just shut up and give us our citizenship already was very much my feeling at that point.

After the ceremony, we went to the offices to wait for our documents. It took a while but I got it done. It was a relief walking out of the airport with my family, knowing I had a fresh start in a new country.

Now, its two and half months later. What am I doing now? You may ask.

Well, I’m on an ulpan program learning Hebrew and working alternate days. I’m really enjoying it! I am trying to see as much of this country as I can, seeing as I am now a part of it.

From Israel, with love.

The little zionist

Mission: Israel!

So there is less than a week left until my flight and I am excited beyond words! I have almost all the packing done; all I need to do is wait for the flight. In the last month or so the amount of support I’ve received from friends, family, and various assorted people has been amazing. The amount of advice I’ve been given is staggering.

Just a small piece of advice: if you are making aliyah, make sure you take plenty of time to make some good memories here before you go. Besides passing the time, it’s great to leave on a happy note. Personally, I’ve started my goodbyes already and yes, it’s hard. To say goodbye to almost everyone you know and love is a big deal. Make the most of it.

So, with only a few days left as a “chutznik” (somebody who lives outside Israel) I am making memories, having fun and possibly even enjoying a shenanigan or two. Nefesh b’Nefesh asked me to make a small clip to say what I’ll be doing, here’s what I submitted:

Aside from me making aliyah, there are many many many more like me who are making this journey together with me. Each of us has our own story behind what we are doing, yet we all arrived at the same conclusion. THIS IS WHERE WE BELONG! And that in itself is mind blowing.

Less than six days left. This chapter of my life is over, and another, hopefully more exciting one is about to begin…..

IM GOING HOME

I’ve just booked my Aliyah flight!! August 12th will be the start of something new and wonderful, 18 years in the making. Words cannot describe this feeling I have knowing I’m out in 2 months. I’ve started packing already that’s how excited I am!!

These next 2 months will be incredibly suspenseful. I just cannot wait!!

THIS year in Jerusalem!

AND ON THE THIRD DAY, THERE WAS A NEW PLAN

Dear readers,
I know I haven’t been posting much recently as over the past few months I have not been sure what was going on myself, let alone sure enough to actually write about it. BUT, I have not abandoned my plan! just changed it slightly. For one reason or another, garin tzabar didn’t work out for me. At this point I was wondering what I would do. And today, after weeks of indecision I finally “think” I know what my plan is.

Later this morning I have an interview with the Jewish Agency For Israel in manhattan! To finally get my Aliyah approved and to fine tune many aspects of my plan. I will let you guys know just as soon as I know.

Garin Weekend: Take Two

This weekend is the second seminar for the North American garin dati. Yay!! What I know this means is spending Friday afternoon on trains, but I hope that it will be even more fun than the last seminar was, and that seems pretty hard to beat….
This weekend we will be talking with representatives from the IDF about army life and the various parts of the army, and if you know me, this is great news for me.
I’m so excited!! I really cannot explain how much I’ve been looking forward to this.
I will keep all of you informed as I can.
Until then, shalom and a fun Shabbat to all of you!!

First Impressions….

I am writing this as I am packing to go meet my garin (group) in Newark for our first seminar over this weekend. It’s quite exciting knowing I am about to meet the people I will be spending the next chunk of my life with. Well, I hope there are at least a few people that I like. 

I have to pack and get some sleep, as I hope that these people are interesting enough to keep me up late while we all get to know each other.

Hoping for some great stories to update you with after the weekend.

Wish me luck everyone!

Shabbat Shalom!

Side note: I just wrote an article for The Times Of Israel, check it out.

Caution: Big Year Ahead

It’s 2013!2013-Wallpaper-HD-10

Well, 2013 is finally here, and boy is my schedule packed with things to look forward to! At the top of the list is making the 6000 mile move from Spring Valley, New York to Israel, my people’s homeland. It’s pretty scary to think that in just eight short months I’ll be moving away from all that I grew up with, and moving to the land where my ancestors and their ancestors called home.

The Garin Tzabar Program, through whom I will be making Aliyah, has a series of seminars to help prepare young olim for life in Israel and in the army. The first seminar is only a few weeks away, and I can’t wait to meet my fellow crazy young adults who have decided to become my second family (whether they know it / like it or not).

For anybody interested in the program, please visit Garin Tzabar. Tell them I sent you. Or don’t. Your choice.

In addition to all these exciting events, I have been doing some research into cell phones in Israel. I have already found a decent cell phone plan, and I plan on buying an unlocked iPhone before I ship out. The plan is from Golan Telecom, a relatively new player in the cell market, and they have a plan for 99 NIS per month that includes:

  • Unlimited calls
  • Unlimited sms/mms
  • Unlimited internet browsing 3G+
  • Unlimited calls (53 Countries)

In addition, they will ship the SIM card to your house, and they let you pick your number for no added cost. Check this plan out at GOLAN TELECOM.

By this time next year, I’ll be a proud member of the Israeli Defense Force. What will YOU accomplish within this next year?