Monday, February 17, 2020

Successful Aliya

Aliya -- to rise up. 

For a Jew, moving to the land of Israel is considered rising up, going home.

Recently someone asked what constitutes a successful aliya.

Often people come from America, England, or other countries, and end up miserably regretting their decision or even leaving Israel and returning to their country of origin

That's obviously not a successful aliya, but what is? How do you define success?

So here's my definition: 

It's successful when you've finished the honeymoon, been through rough parts, and are still happy to be here and wouldn't prefer to live somewhere else.

Someone responded that they'd never seen an "aliya honeymoon" so I described my experience, one which resonated with many of my friends. 

Have you never talked to a new oleh "fresh off the plane" who thinks that all the eligible singles in Israel are more attractive, the food tastes better, and even the air is sweeter here? Who still cries every time they hear a child speak Hebrew. Who gets weepy just thinking about the kotel? Who looks like Maria about to sing "the hills are alive" on erev Shabbat when they're walking to shul?

Because I've been that girl, and I've seen it many times.

And then reality sets in. And you would give your right arm to visit your friends/family back "home" and a root beer or a Snapple makes you so homesick it literally tastes like longing..

And you actually miss Christmas Carols, even though they used to bug the heck out of you.

and then... there's stage 3...

When a root beer tastes like childhood memories, but it doesn't overwhelm you, and you can imagine it might be fun to take a vacation someplace other than your country of origin. And when the cheese and bread and vegetables here seem normal, and the fruits and vegetables back where you came from seem weird... and you realize that you're a tourist there, and an immigrant here, and that you're never 100% going to be Israeli, but you belong to Israel more than you belong to your old country.

Pass the falafel. I'm home.