“I chose a bad time to make Aliyah”
“Every time is a bad time to make aliyah”
I told a friend that I chose a bad time to make Aliyah, and she responded that there is never a good time to make Aliyah. Thinking about that statement, I truly don’t believe that there could be a time that would make my Aliyah any easier.
I’ve been so excited to make Aliyah for so long, yet when the moment came I felt totally unprepared.
A a week after I made Aliyah, my gum puffed up around my replacement less baby tooth. Just to make matters worse, this was during Sukkoth when almost everything is either closed all week or closes early all week. I hate going to the dentist but I dragged myself there for him to tell me what I already knew. I needed to get my baby tooth extracted. I planned the day for the extraction and have since gotten my tooth yanked and I’m waiting for my gums to finish healing.
Since, I’ve been able to finish most of the bureaucratic motions that new immigrants have to go through ranging from making a bank account to setting up my arnona (taxes) account.
I’ll be ever thankful for the role that my girlfriend played in my Aliyah process. And tooth extraction process (I cried a lot. I also made her poke my gum multiple times to make sure that it was numb after novocain but before the actual extraction). And my crying about missing my family all the time healing process. When I landed in Ben Gurion Airport and became a citizen I was incredibly tired and worn out. Flying and crying both take a lot out of me. Luckily, Arielle had already visited apartments and we had a new little home to start our new lives in. She deserves a blog post of her own, but this paragraph is what she's getting until next time.
I’m completely in love with our apartment. There is storage space everywhere, something that our last apartment did not have. There are wood floors which makes vacuuming after the cats very quick and easy. The bathroom sink is decorated with sunflowers, the shower floor is a blue mosaic. Our apartment faces out to a limestone mountain. We have a porch with a bench. We even have windows lining our wall which lets the sun stream in all day.
There are also some adjustments. When I wash my clothes I carry it from the washing machine to the drying rack and usually soak whatever clothes I’m wearing in the process. I have a granny cart to lug my groceries home in instead of a car. I’ve replaced my car keys with a rav kav (bus pass). I walk up four flights of stairs (16 stairs each) to get out of my apartment each morning, then cross the street and walk up another five flights of stairs to get to the bus stop. I’ve also been practicing my Hebrew every chance I get which leads to a lot of blunders. As an Israeli citizen, I’ve also felt reduced to my ID number. Everywhere we go requires my ID number from buying museum tickets to ordering anything online to going to the bank or the health care center.
I’ve been starting every day with a hot tea with mint which I cut out of my new porch garden. Something that I have always wanted and never been able to have until now. I generally have a bureaucratic or exploration task a day. Arielle took me to a film festival and we were able to see Etgar Karat speak which was amazing (and so Israeli). We’ve been to the Maritime Museum and the City Museum so far. I also discovered that as a new immigrant my admission to all of the city museums in Haifa is free for a year. I really feel like I’m getting to know this city in a way that I really only know Jerusalem and Yerucham. Granted, Yerucham doesn’t have much to get to know.
I am incredibly lucky to know people in Haifa. My favorite teacher from high school invited Arielle and I over for the first night of Sukkot. This teacher instilled a love in Talmud in me. I really learned how to grapple with the Talmud and Halacha in her class while applying it to my every day life. Wearing Tefillin in the morning, debating validity of certain Conservative teshuvot, and lighting the Chanukkah candles while knowing why we light them 1-8 and not 8-1. Expanding to study Talmud in college once a week with the Rabbi at Hillel. These were all skills that I learned in her class. In a way, that night felt like my Jewish education had come full circle while I sat in her sukkah and explained the reason for Sukkot and the Shalosh Regalim to Arielle.
During Sukkot, spent a day making yet another Aliyah, this time to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is my favorite place in the world and I’m so blessed to be able to live in the same country as that city. I took the three hour commute and spent the day with a close friend who I met while I was on Nativ. We explored the old city. Walked 11 miles. Visited the Old City, Kotel, Ben Yehuda, Shuk, and, of course, Marzipan for their rugleh. That day was the first day that Aliyah felt the way that it was supposed to feel. How special to visit the Kotel during one of the Shalosh Regalim.
There might not be a good time to make Aliyah, but I’m thankful that I’m chose the time I chose.
The view from our apartment
Exploring the Old City
Making dinner in our new apartment
Haifa City Museum's collection of early postcards
My granny cart/car replacement