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Thursday, June 08, 2006

To Be Or Not To Be... That's the Israeli (Part Tre)

Anyways, at the end of August of '04, my husband proposed to me. I was going to stay and go to grad school for a semester and then transfer to Israel. He left 10 days after we got engaged, to go back to Israel and start school. But, I couldn't start school. Things were too complicated, and I was afraid that if I started then I would feel compelled to stay in the states and finish. Again, all the complications were making me ill. I had to go to Israel now, but I was too afraid, and everyone was putting doubts into my head. But, as G-d usually does, He afforded the answer. At the beginnin of November of '04, Nefesh B'Nefesh announced a new program. It was called Express Aliyah. It was for North Americans living in Israel but hadn't made Aliyah yet were thinking about it but because of all the beurocracy didn't know how or have the patience to go through with it. This program allowed those people to make Aliyah with them as if they were doing it with NBN from America. It was quick, easy, and most importantly painless as NBN covered all the beurocratic leg work for you. All you had to do was fill out some forms, show up a couple of weeks later to sign, and they would take care of the rest.

Now, this seems so simple to many, but when my husband told me about this, I didnt speak to him for a day and a half. I had told him repeatedly that I didn't know if I was ready yet, and here he was trying to make everything so easy for me. I resented it. Funny, eh? Even more fortuitous than that, his sister was coming to visit for a couple of weeks after her army service at the end of the month, and he said that I should go back with her, so I would have support. All the pieces were falling into place, and I was upset about it. I had already been accepted into Hebrew University's Graduate school, and all I had to do was get on the plane. So simple, yet it was the hardest part of all. I couldn't believe it was actually happening, so I made a conscious decision not to tell anybody about it, not my friends and not even my parents or family. I knew if I would, they would ask all sorts of questions and bring doubts into my head, or, even worse, what would they say if I wasn't able to go through with it. When I discussed Israel with my parents, it was that I would visit and see how things were for a few months and then decide. The ironic thing is that this is exactly what my husband's parents did when they moved to Israel. They knew what their parents would say if they admitted that they were actually moving to Israel. Instead, my father and mother-in-law told their parents that they were going to Israel for a few months in order for my father-in-law to do some research for his Ph.D dissertation. It was only after they came to Israel that they called up their parents and told them that they had actually made Aliyah.

So, on November 28th, I got myself, somehow, on an El-Al plane with my future sister-in-law without anyone being the wiser. When I arrived in Israel, my then fiance and I called my family when it was 8:30 AM their time. We had a VOIP phone with the same area code as my parents, so I was afraid that when my mom picked up the phone, she might see the area code and think that I was in Detroit and was surprising them with a visit. Luckily, she didn't look at the area code, and I said, "Mom, I have something to tell you. I'm in Israel". She kept asking, "What?!? No, you're not. You're lying!" With me replying, "Mom, I'm not lying, I'm looking at Jerusalem right now, and I'm really here". When it finally set in that I was telling the truth, my mom wasn't upset, she just started crying and said, "Thank G-d, it's about time". Of course, then we called everybody and went over that same spiel a few times. After the surprise set in, I still hadn't told them that I was actually making Aliyah. I still let them think that I was only going to be here for a few months. But, later that day, I filled out all the Nefesh B'Nefesh forms. The next day, my future husband took them to their offices.

Two weeks later, I went in to sign all the necessary forms with the representatives from the Ministry of Interior. Oddly enough, one of my very good friends was there too taking part in the the program, becoming a citizen in a few weeks after going through the process for over 3 years. NBN is a god send in my opinion. One week later, I got my Teudat Zehut (Identity Card), and I was a full fledged Israeli citizen. Only took THREE weeks!!! That night, I again called home and informed my family that I had officially made Aliyah. The same dibeliefs came through, but at the end, everyone was happy for me; albeit a bit confused with the whole thing.

So, there you have it. The long version of the events in my life that led me to sitting on my couch, in Jerusalem, typing my Aliyah story next to my husband while he eats Shavuot lasagna left-overs for lunch. Isn't it interesting where the different paths, forks, and twists and turns of life takes you? You just never know where you're going to end up. I sure as hell didn't think it was going to be here. Who knew?!?

9 Comments:

At 5:28 PM, Blogger amechad said...

You still have leftovers from Shavuot? Invite me over and I'll take care of those :-) Dude, I haven't seen you in over a week!!!!

It's so interesting that those who sort of made aliya on a whim (that's not the right term here, but sort of quickly, unlike me who had planned it for over a year) are, in some ways, better off (emotionally re: life in Israel) than those who spent a long time planning it.

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

I've been waiting to comment on this story, but now, all I can say is: Wow. That's awesome.

 
At 12:02 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

am, I agree with you. After all the stress, actually being here seemed pretty easy.

ez, thanks a lot.
-OC

 
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At 8:50 AM, Blogger Jerusalemcop said...

great ending to the story OC. The twist and turns in life take us where we least expect to go.

J.

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger westbankmama said...

Great story - so many bumps on the way! I hope to post a roundup today.

 
At 1:46 AM, Blogger Emah S said...

GREAT STORY!!! Thanks for sharing! :)

 
At 12:00 PM, Blogger Askinstoo said...

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At 12:50 PM, Blogger Jerusalem Joe said...

wow! such a beautiful, inspiring story!

 

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