Five Years in Israel: What Does Aliyah Look Like?

On August 9th/10th, 2006, I did the craziest, boldest, scariest, and most exciting thing I have ever done: move to Israel. Where have the last five years gone?

I have been anticipating this day for some time now and I knew I’d have to mark it on my blog (if not also in real life), which also turned five years old this week.  To me, the “aliyahversary” is bigger than a birthday.  I didn’t really do much personally when I was born (aside from, you know, cry like a baby.)  But to uproot myself and leave the country I spent thirty or so years in….now that’s a big deal.

Last year, I put a lot of myself into this entry recounting each of my first four years and the rocky path I had traveled.  I’m happy, actually relieved to say that this year was far less stressful for me, and even felt, dare I say…normal?  Maybe that’s how you know you’ve finally started to fit into this place.

This came up on page 1 of Google Images for “normal”.
Either that or I accidentally typed in “Mt. Hermon.”

Year 5 was definitely unique and special in its own ways.  What did I write last year that I was hoping to accomplish?  A podcast….t-shirt sales…a children’s chug.  I didn’t do any of those things.  I didn’t even get them off the ground.  But you know what I did do?  I got some steady, paid writing jobs.  (People pay me to blog.  Can you believe that?  WHOO-HOO!)  I got paid to do stand-up comedy for Birthright groups, finally.  I took part in the ROI Summit, joining an unbelievable network of people.  After years of thinking about it, I finally hired someone to redesign my website and blog on WordPress.  (I hope I did more than that but it’s 3:49 AM and I’m not willing to drink another cup of nes.)

So my Hebrew hasn’t gotten better in a couple of years.  So I’m approaching my late 30s yet was caught eating my first mana chama (“hot meal”, or Ramen noodles) a few days ago.  So there’s a better chance of me French-kissing the male security guard at the bituach leumi office than getting myself to do creative writing on a daily basis. Guess what?  I know….you’re waiting for me to pull out the “yiyeh b’seder” line.  Not this time.  I think what I’ve learned from aliyah is that even if you only achieve 50% of your dreams in life, it’s a hell of a lot better than nothing.  I hope to get around to working on my Hebrew more, and I definitely hope to continue developing my career and doing all kinds of other stuff on my bucket list (ech omrim “bucket list”?)  But if I work hard and realize in twenty years that I didn’t “go all the way”, I think I’ll be able to live with it.  And why?  Because I’ve already done the craziest, boldest, scariest, and most exciting thing I’ll probably ever do. Everything else is gravy.

I’m cutting it “short” and thanking everyone who helped me along the way.  This isn’t the first time I’ve said this but possibly my favorite thing about living here is being part of the mammoth fraternity of olim from America and around the world.  I take a lot of pride in that.  I love you guys.  Without each other, seriously, wouldn’t we have all gone back by now?  And a special thanks to my friends Ziv and Jason for spending 45,000 hours helping me host this slideshow here once it was clear that Youtube might take it down.  Congregation Beth Schnitzel does a lipdub to “Bad Romance” and they bust my falafel balls?

If you’re an oleh, I hope this makes you smile.

If you’re an Israeli, welcome to our world.

If you’re thinking about aliyah….waht ahr you, crazeeeee??? No, seriously-prepare to laugh.  It’s better than crying.

To everyone else….come visit already.  And bring me deodorant.

Happy five years to me.  This is what aliyah looks like.

 

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