I am on a journey, to make Aliyah, and want to share my journey with my family, friends and anyone that is interested. I made the decision to make Aliyah in December 2002 and now I am actually doing it. This blog will chronicle my story and adventures leading up to getting on the plane and then the continuing story of the beginning of my new life in Israel and what I experience once there.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More of the Same

Well today I received the original paperwork that Nefesh B'Nefesh requested. I have turned it around and mailed it to New York. They will then send it to Israel. Ultimately it will be received and documented, but they do have it as a scanned document. I suspect they have my pictures by now (just hasn't shown up in the web portal yet) so hopefully they have (or will have) everything they need now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Once you submit your application online with Nefesh B'Nefesh you get the automated e-mail that also tells you you'll hear from them in the next week. Since I submitted my application after shabbat began in Israel I knew I'd not hear anything for at least a day and a half. Well today I got my real confirmation e-mail telling me if everything was in order and if not what they needed. To top it off a couple hours later I received a phone call to make sure I got the e-mail and make sure I understood what I was missing. We'll I was close... they still don't have my 3 passport pictures and need an original document from from my CPA. Other than that everything was in order. I am happy to say I mailed the passport pictures on Friday and have asked the CPA to send the original. So, I am really close to having everything in order... They are really smart in that there is a special web portal for applicants to check the status of our applications, otherwise I bet we'd be e-mailing or calling a lot more often. The dream is getting closer.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Next Milestone Reached

Today I submitted all the required forms, paperwork and such to Nefesh B'Nefesh using the new online system. The only thing left is to mail the required photographs to New York. I stopped at the local drug store to get them made and their passport camera was broken. So, if I have time on the way home I'll stop somewhere else, otherwise it'll have to wait until after Shabbat, likely Sunday. A lot of the required paperwork is duplication of the paperwork that I sent to the shaliach from the Jewish Agency in August, but now that the process is combined and for new applicants they would not be sending to the Jewish Agency. Since I had all the documents already scanned all I really had to do was upload those and concentrate on the documents that were for Nefesh B'Nefesh.

It was kind of anti-climactic, I just clicked submit and it said basically OK. Well, it was more than OK, a whole page full of useful information and such. No music or bands playing... what did I really expect from a web page. I then received an automated e-mail congratulating me on reaching this point and to expect additional communications in the weeks to come. Maybe they'll have flight schedules soon and I can actually tell people what day I will be getting on the plane!

I guess I need to get with the shaliach and do whatever I need to be doing to get the immigration visa stamped in my passport. As it is mid afternoon on Friday, I don't think he'd be in, less likely that he'd still be working and impossible to think that this could be taken care of before the end of the day. So... I will wait until next week, and get to work on that. I can also check on the status of my initial residence reservation.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What War Zone??? Why you should visit Israel

My cousin Susan forwarded this to me. It is a great commentary as to why people ask me if I am still going and why my answer is yes. Read it and consider what it conveys... Just click to read:

What War Zone???

Sunday, January 18, 2009

California Here I Come...

It's time to spend time with my mother. She lives in California and I have been fare watching for several weeks and have just purchased my ticket to go spend a week in March in sunny California with her and the rest of the family out there. While I'll spend most of it with her it will be nice to see everyone and get to enjoy a kosher restaurant or two. This trip will mark the beginning of my "farewell tour" as I don't think I'll make it back out there before I leave. I will cherish the time with each person. I will also be encouraging everyone to plan to visit with me in Israel.

Al & Judy

My former in-laws, Al & Judy, have remained a part of mine and my children's lives after my divorce many years ago. They live less than 10 minutes away are always there if we are ever in need. When I moved back to SC we stayed with them for several weeks until we found a place to live and got moved in. Judy has been my most frequent visitor to this blog and she has for quite some time been trying to talk me out of moving. I'm sure I might hear a comment or two yet, but Al called the other night to let me know they had been talking and knowing that we would be "homeless" for a couple weeks in July leading up to my actual departure offered to let us stay with them during that time. I hadn't thought that far out yet on something that specific, but it did let me know that Judy at least now believes that I am getting on a plane in July.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The War in Gaza

I don't think it comes as any surprise that I am supportive of the goal to end the relentless attacks from Gaza. Who really wants to live with the threat of missiles and rockets crashing in on your head? The only saving grace is that they are not accurate even though targeted at civilian populations. I hate the loss of life (on either side) but if someone wants me dead, especially just because I am alive, that doesn't endear me to them.

You say what does this have to do with my blog? I have had friends and relatives ask if I was "still going". In a word - YES. Israel needs us now more than ever. The world views, mostly, have dismayed me. The world outrage at the war forced upon Israel by the thousands of rockets raining on southern Israel for years is hurtful. While the rockets fell, where was the world outcry on the pain, death and suffering of the people living under this threat for so long? I have been fortunate to have seen very little anti-semitism in my lifetime, however when I go to my shul now in Columbia, SC and there are policemen in the parking lot to secure the area for me to attend services. This should serve as a wake up call that all is not well in the diaspora. I got used to the extra security in Atlanta, but Columbia? I grew up here and felt safe here. Now I wonder what people think when they see my kippah... While not afraid, I do have to think about it daily.

While I loathe the violence and the hatred, I do see this unfortunate situation helping to awaken the desire in people to make aliyah. People returning to Israel, making her stronger and better equipped to be the eternal homeland promised to us by G-d, is a good thing that can come out of this terrible situation.

May G-d continue to bless Israel and the members of the IDF/IAF that protect her.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 has arrived too!

Another (secular) year has come and gone. I have spent my last full year in the diaspora. I begin a new year that will soon see all the changes I have been planning for so long.

Online application has arrived

Yesterday I visited the NBN website and found the new online application that combines Jewish Agency and NBN applications into a single integrated process. Since I already have my approval from the Jewish Agency, it doesn't change that process for me but the rest of the application process will follow the new process. Those that don't have their approval from the Jewish agency by March will be required to use the new process in its entirety.

I went through 92.5% of the process and have been trying upload the supporting documentation and will be contacting NBN today or tomorrow (depending on availability) to figure out why I am having difficulties (I suspect startup pains...).

One step closer...