Monday, April 15, 2013

The Six Month Aliyahversary

The view from the garden. My neighbor's flag 
waves in the breeze against the clear, blue sky. 

On the Gregorian calendar, exactly six months ago, I hopped a plane to Israel, landing and officially making aliyah on October 16, 2012. That makes today's Yom ha'Zikaron (Day of Remembrance) and tomorrow's Yom ha'Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), two very significant days in my calendar. I didn't realize it when I made aliyah, but the lining up of my aliyahversary and the anniversary of Israel's independence speaks volumes to me. I can't believe it's been six months -- the past three or four just flew by, like a rug from under my feet, and I'm flying.

Ever since I arrived in Israel, life has felt right. The food tastes right, the air smells right, the quiet feels right, the relationships I've discovered and built feel so right. This rightness and light that I feel wouldn't be possible if there was no Israel, if 65 years ago a great struggle had not occurred, a struggle that is perpetuated every single day for Israelis and Israel.

At the same time, on these days, with the sirens blaring (which scared me because I thought we were under attack) to mark moments of silence, I'm struggling to process what it means to live in Israel. Having gone to the UK and returned recently, I was reminded of how different life is here. It's a more expensive life, a more complicated and frustrating life (bureaucratically and emotionally), a more uncertain life. I'm thankful for all that Israel has provided me, but what does it mean? What does it really mean? Israel isn't just another state, another country. It's unique because it's so young, so fresh, so torn between the past and present, between war and peace, between hunger and satiation.

On Yom ha'Zikaron, I personally honor Chaviva Reich and the 23,085 Israeli soldiers who have fallen so that I can become Jewish, live Jewishly, and be an Israeli. On Yom ha'Atzmaut, I honor the great struggle of those who have fallen and those who stood tall to make a state of Israel a possibility. Without Medinat Yisrael, becoming Jewish and living openly as a Jew would not have been as easy. Without Medinat Yisrael, I would not have obtained the support I did in making aliyah happen. Without Medinat Yisrael, I would not have met the love of my life and started building the kind of life for which I have so longed.

I have so much to say, but for some reason, in this moment, words are all clogged up in my head and heart and can't be painted in the colorful way I wish they could. I'm happy, speechless, full of love and appreciation, and eager for what tomorrow brings.

For the first time in my life, I think I'm unafraid of what the future holds, because I know I'm where I'm meant to be, where HaShem needs me to be. This is life.