April 21, 2016

Nobody said it was easy

Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard…

This is the headline of a blog posting I recently read. It appeared on April 5 in the Times of Israel and was written by a woman who is 20 years old and who recently made aliyah all by herself. 

She writes about scrubbing the floor of her room when the phone rings. It's her younger sister calling and she knows the sound of her voice will make her feel homesick and alone. While her sister lives worry-free with with her parents, this young olah must buy groceries, do her own laundry, shop, make her meals and then deal with the idiosyncrasies of living in Israel. 

She is happy she made aliyah, but when she hears her sister’s voice calling from that cosy world of comfort, a place that is so known and predictable, spoken in a language she knows so well, she just has to break down and have a sob. Us olim, we all do at certain times.

But what was even more remarkable about this piece were the comments. Everyone who read this article could relate to the frustrations and hardships. They had been there and done that...and now they all wanted to adopt this brave young woman. From all ends of the country, Israeli olim offered to have her over for meals and for Shabbatot.

These are a few of the responses….

Hang in there! I'm going on thirty years and I'm still proud of myself. You are welcome for a meal any time...we are near Acco. Be in touch if you're passing through.

Hard but worth it. Closing in on 20 years now and it's definitely the best decision I've made other than my wife. Youre welcome to come for shabbat any time!

Dearest Yaf, I too cried when I read your blog. You have to be one of the bravest young people I know doing this all on your own. Hang in there it will get better - I have every faith in you. I am so proud of you and enjoy your blogs immensely!! Sending all our love

Maybe it is time to move inside Judea and Samaria, so the feeling of togetherness there will be stronger, because you will be part of something meaningful.

I blew it! Yup, in 1978...I could have stayed....and I'm so jealous of you. America is in the toilet now anyway, so stay, and hold onto your dream. It's a good dream and the right thing to do. We all have bad days, keep chugging. We are right there with you.

We are an English speaking family living many years in the far north. you are welcome to come for a Shabbat, a vacation break, or just to get away from it all/ let me know how to get in touch with you if you want to come/

It is an emotional test 100%. Not sure why, well the sages could tell us smile emoticon Hang in there, you are not alone. At least you have many years ahead of you for it to improve, and it will!!

I made aliyah over 20 years ago. There's a secret to staying in Israel...stay in Israel. You will change, slowly and become a person you never could have had you not stayed. It gets better if you can hold out.

I also happen to live in the student village. If you need anything- please let me know.
The messages here tell Yaffa and all olim that they must persevere and to stick it out. Scrubbing those floors is hard work, literally and metaphorically. 

Yes, it is hard work but every ache and stretch is part of the growing pains. It is worth it.

These heartfelt replies are reminders that we are all family here and that we do understand each other. As we enter into the holiday of Pesach, this message is loud and clear. We must think of the other and care for each other. 

Sitting around the seder table, we should keep this in mind. Our homes should always be open to all, strangers and family, newcomers, olim and vatikim. We once came out of Egypt and ventured through the unknown. We came to Israel and then, again, we wandered for millennia.

Now, finally, we are here in Israel, a unified and free nation. So stick with us, Yaffa. We are right there with you.

Chag Pesach Sameach

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