7 Shvat 5781 / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bo
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Welcome to Israel

My neighbors actively gave up the overwhelming physical pull of their respective countries in order to provide their children with a more wholesome upbringing…


I had a dream…not like a Martin Luther King, Jr., type-dream, but more like a June Cleaver-type dream. Back in Miami, I was blessed with every convenience: all appliances, a car, cell phone, and a computer. However, there was one thing I used to fantasize about- a second dishwasher. As I spent many hours meditating over my dirty dishes at the sink, my mind would begin to wander as the soap bubbles would float up and transform into a fantasy bubble over my head. Oh, my beloved second dishwasher, how I longed for thee. I was dreaming about the day I could shove my dirty dishes on your lonely racks, and enjoy listening to the shwishing sound of the water as you did all of the work for me. I dreamed about the extra 40 hours a week I would gain by having you as my constant companion. But, alas, you never did appear.  Maybe in my next house I would have better luck, I thought.
Then, reality hit- in my next house, which is this one, I have no dishwasher!
Welcome to Israel!
Thank G-d, I am thrilled to announce that we have finally made it home! After the endless packing, buying, unpacking, reorganizing, more buying, returning, shipping, haggling with car dealers, etc., we have finally managed to move to a place we never thought we would. I fondly remember that first conversation about aliyah. Imagine this scene…. My husband and I were on our honeymoon in Israel, having the most romantic time visiting mikvahs and holy gravesites. Seriously, who needs Tahiti when you can have Meron?! Anyways, we were spending a few days in Tzfat when my husband casually mentioned he’d like to live in Israel one day. My response was something along the lines of, “Not on your life!” Where did I get such an anti-aliyah mentality? From none other than my Israeli family, of course! Why live in Israel when you can have such a great life in America?
Fast-forward a few years to the second conversation about aliyah. It was late at night, and we were having our first meeting with Rabbi Brody after an evening event. We had spent some time together during the previous several days, but he came out swinging in this particular conversation. “Reckles family,” he said, “you need to make a 3-5 year plan for aliyah.” WHAT??!!! I just about fell off my chair! Where in the world did that come from? Well, the lesson I learned is – never say never. What I never imagined as a possibility has actually come true. Over the next few days, (literally days), my mind did a complete 180. Yeah, aliyah sounded good. The more it simmered in my head, the better it began to sound, until just a few months later I was pestering my husband like only a yenta of a wife knows how!
What came over me? The only thing I can speculate is that Rabbi Brody managed to pinpoint the needs of my soul with “Lazer Beam” precision. (Seriously, can I get any funnier/cheesier?) To make a long story short, lots and lots of nagging later, my husband broke down and let go of the whole “but he said 3-5 years!” thing and agreed to start planning right away. Just over 1 and 1/2 years later, we made it- jet-lagged and tired out of our minds. But we made it!
Welcome to Israel!
Where the customer service is top-notch and no misunderstandings or agruments ever happen! But really, I must share my feelings on being here, for the sake of those who are considering it and especially for those who are not. After a day of, “OMG what have I done?!!”, I quickly became comfortable here. I love the feeling of being here. I would describe it as a happiness that comes from my neshama, my soul. She is the one smiling all day long as I learn about the lifestyle here, even as I deal with daily frustrations and challenges. I don’t have a car, but I’m so much happier without one! I used to drive around all day back in Miami, from schools to store to supermarket to other supermarket and do everything in between. I never felt like I was enjoying every moment, or at least each day. But here, there is something so special. Just walking outside and breathing in the fresh mountain air is such a treat and so invigorating.
For me, one of the best things about living here is the environment in which I am raising my kids.  We chose a small town called Ramat Beit Shemesh, which is in the mountains. Most of the people in this town have made aliyah, and many of them from an English-speaking country. Most do not have a TV and many do not have a computer, and if they do, their kids do not have free reign to use it. There are no billboards advertising the latest diet or overpriced watch or latest plastic surgery technique. I remember driving my kids to camp each day in Miami and cringing each time we’d pass a billboard with a before and after shot of a completely indecent and slightly revolting example of liposuction. Too much information! Don’t need to be seeing that while I’m driving my kids around!
Here, there is a good chance my kids will grow up more innocent and sheltered than if I were to stay in Miami. My kids now live in a neighborhood of families who came here with a higher consciousness. They actively gave up the overwhelming physical pull of their respective countries in order to provide their children with a more wholesome upbringing. To me, this is priceless. Although there are some variations in their lifestyles, the bottom line is the same. They share a love of Israel and of the Torah lifestyle, and they are doing their best to provide a life with the proper values for their children.
Sure, aliyah has its challenges. But for those looking to live their lives with a more spiritual purpose, those challenges are worth the rewards. If you’re questioning the value system being pushed on you by your respective countries, now is the perfect time to consider aliyah. Your life can be better than you dreamed of! 

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  5 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  Kol Hakavod!
lauren zahavi10/14/2011 1:48:14 PM
Gila9/21/2011 9:04:41 PM
  Me Too...
Yael Kaner9/19/2011 10:27:09 AM
  Welcome to Israel Racheli and Family!!!
Yehudit9/19/2011 9:42:41 AM
  You're doing great!
Natalie Kovan9/18/2011 12:41:29 AM

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