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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lots to Report Tonight

Well, it's been busy the last day or so. Last week the Israel Aliyah Center shipped my passport back to me with the immigration visa contained within. They sent me a tracking number for FedEx. They shipped it 3 day service on Thursday. The online tracking system showed it to be delivered before 4:30 on the 24th. When I checked yesterday morning it showed that it arrived in Columbia Saturday morning. I was like cool, it'll be in my office later today... wrong... So, this morning, I figured when our normal FedEx delivery showed up it would show up... wrong again... So, when did it show up? around 3:15. So, FYI, when you use 3 day service from FedEx it WILL be 3 days. Well, it did make my day. Even though I knew what was in the package, it was still gratifying to actually see the visa in my passport. So, now I get on the plane... OK, not yet, but in about 14 weeks, but who's counting?

Well, it was also the day I got my letter of acceptance from Nefesh B'Nefesh to utilize their services and join their charter flights this summer. Basically it means they will get me there, help with my integration into Israeli society, the workforce, and such. This organization has streamlined the process and goes to such lengths to make sure your integration is successful. I know that reading about and seeing pics about their initial flights, less than 7 years ago was a major contributor to my decision, obviously if I hadn't gone and volunteered with Sar-El then I might not have considered it, but with the seed planted, I was ripe to feel the pull and follow the path laid out by Nefesh B'Nefesh. A little early yet, but I want to thank them for all their support to date as well as the assistance they will provide in the very near future once I really get on that plane.

The online processing system that I mentioned in an earlier posting, allows for the tracking of any needed information as well as instructing me when I still need to be doing something. The site suggests that I check back regularly to see if there is anything new on the site. I was online late last night and there were new questions and such. They wanted to know if I was bringing a pet, what (if any) special needs I might have on the flight, etc. So, I filled in the missing information. there is a place to select the flight choices, but it just has a message stating that the information will be available shortly and to check back. So, it looks like they are about to put dates up, but not quite yet... There was also a place to let me know when they received a copy of my visa. I scanned it in around 3:30pm and e-mailed it in. When I checked online around 6pm it had already been updated. Since Israel is 7 hours ahead of us, I was impressed as it was between 10:30pm and 1am when they actually did something with the e-mail I sent them.

I came home and shared my days accomplishments with Emily and she looked at the visa and said "This is good, right?" and I laughed and said "YES" She also, said "Cool, there's Hebrew in here"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

True Inspiration

I mentioned in an earlier post of my viewing of the arrival ceremonies online. Each ceremony includes dignitaries and guests. Nefesh b'Nefesh has made note of some of the guests with plaques and awards. They have each made a contribution in time, effort, belief and in some cases financial resources. Some of the presentations made it obvious as to the contribution of the individual(s) but one was always vague to me. I admit I didn't take the time to research who this person was so I just accepted that he was an honorable individual that did something wonderful for Nefesh b'Nefesh. What I didn't know was that he is a man with a mission and truly committed to Judaism and Zionism. I just read an article and watched a video about Guma Aguiar that left me feeling both small and empowered. Here is a man that embraced his roots and began a journey that he thought might have destroyed his life, but in reality has strengthened it, his family and the future for them and the many individuals that he does not personally know. He gave up his past life in the commercial world to "go up" to Israel and its future.

I may not have the financial resources as Guma, but I can understand his heartfelt desire to improve Israel, its future and the reality of aliyah, not just for myself but for Jews in the diaspora and the ultimate destiny of Israel. I will be there and will be a not so quiet advocate of what people like Guma, organizations such as Nefesh b'Nefesh, Arutz Sheva and Ohr Olam and programs from United Synagogue and others have figured out: Israel is where I am supposed to be. Israel is where you belong. Join me...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Passport Pictures and More

Another milestone started today. I received the paperwork to complete and send in with my passport to obtain the immigration visa. I completed the paperwork and I had my 3rd set of passport pictures taken today. I wonder if they get kickbacks from the photo places for all those pics... Once completed and pictures obtained it was off to the post office to overnight the documents to the Shaliach's office in Maryland. While I stood in line to pay the fees I would have to say I felt a surge of emotions and I arrived at the window. I really had a shock at the window after the agent took my envelope. She asked I wanted to buy several Obama first-day covers. Why would I want to commemorate the administration that will devastate the American economy and the American way of life? Well after saying no thank you, I refocused on why I was there and left feeling satisfied. I guess in the next couple of weeks I'll get my passport returned, visa and all.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Yom Rishon

Today has been a typical Sunday. I got up early today and went for bagels with the girls like we usually do. We had to go early because the repairman was coming to do some work at 9am. We made it home in plenty of time and then we did some things around the house, stuff on the computer, posted to my blog, and watched some TV. Emily went to work and Kaitlin and I went to work on her parallel parking, but the lot was closed. We stopped at the grocery store and picked up some things for lunch. We came home and ate while watching a movie. After the movie, I packed my first box for Israel and cleaned up some in the garage. I then came back inside to document this momentous day... did you hear me? I said I PACKED MY FIRST BOX FOR ISRAEL!!! Obviously I didn't pack my socks and underwear yet but my first box is packed! Since I intend to only end up with six to ten boxes, I am pretty far along in my packing... No?

Well I guess I'll explain my plans and logic for the quite limited number of boxes I am taking. I look around my house, as for furniture there is nothing I have of any sentimental value. While I like most of my furniture most of it is too big for Israeli sized rooms. So I am not taking any furniture. Appliances and electronics are more of a pain than anything else as the power standards and the TV broadcast standards are different. So, I am not taking any appliances and most of my electronics. So you ask... What am I taking? I will max out what I am allowed to take with me on the airplane with mostly clothing and immediate items I will need upon arrival. I will take my computer as I only need to purchase an adapter to be able to plug it in as it does work with both US and 220v power sources.

As for the boxes, I will pack my winter coats (just a couple not all 15 that I have now) along my Judaica items and a couple pieces of artwork. I am taking some books (not many) as I have to take my Hebrew Harry Potter books and a few others. I am going through everything I own and there are a few "treasure" items (only means something to me) that will also make the trip. I am going to bring my DVDs and my multi-region player (that is wonderful thing). It converts PAL to NTSC (Israeli and US TV standards) so I can watch my Israeli movies on my TV here. It works on both 110 and 220v. It also converts NTSC to PAL so I can watch my US movies on my Israeli TV. Since I like my movies and they won't take up much space once I take them out of the cases they are making the cut as well. The box I packed today contains my backpacking and camping gear. I am planning to take advantage of outdoor activities, so I don't need to be repurchasing the same I items I already own and don't really take up that much space.

So, you ask... What will you do with everything else? Well, as I go through everything I own I am dividing it into 3 "piles". 1st is the smallest pile, the stuff going with me. 2nd is the trash pile and it is the stuff that has no value, no one would want and is not going with me. the 3rd pile is the "disposal" pile. The kids will get first dibs on this stuff and the rest will either be sold or donated. As for the furniture and appliances, those are mostly being taken by the kids so I don't have to live in an empty house before I leave.

Once I have all the boxes packed, how will they get to Israel? I am going to search out a family that is making Aliyah around the same time that is taking a household of items. They will be using a shipping container to load their items for shipment. Many people do not have enough stuff to fill the container and are willing to sell some space to those, like me, that just need a little space. I am a member of an online group where I can search for people to help me out. If I can find someone in Atlanta I will take them the boxes, otherwise I will ship them to whereve the people are to add to their stuff. Once their shipment arrives in Israel, I can meet up with them and retrieve my things. This isn't too complicated...

They were teasing me, thought I knew the dates

Well I got excited this morning I saw and article on one of the Nefesh B'Nefesh websites entitled "Springing into Flight Season" and thought they finally posted the flight schedule. Well, they did post a schedule, but just through May... so, I'm still waiting to find out the charter schedule for the summer flights.