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.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dates, Dates and More Dates

Well, my waiting is over, well sort of, kinda, maybe... Nefesh b'Nefesh has released the flight schedule for this summer. It is comprised of 4 charter flights (the whole plane are new immigrants) and 4 US and 2 Canadian group flights (block of seats on regularly schedule flight). I was instructed to log in to the portal and post my requests (1st, 2nd and 3rd choices). I have done so and hopefully will get my first choice of the July 6th charter flight. I don't know how they make the determination - First Come, First Served - Based on when you started the process with them (December 2002 for me), When you completed your online application, when you were accepted to utilize their services or some combination of the above...

So, when I get confirmation the blog will be amongst the first to know...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Speaking Out

Today my rabbi contacted me to schedule a Shabbat morning for me to speak to the congregation. We selected the first Shabbat in May. I will share my story and hopefully light a spark for someone either directly or indirectly to affect some future aliyah. Now as for specifics I guess I need to start thinking about what I'm going to say and how I want to present it. Being Shabbat I won't have the luxury of visual aids, so I will have to rely on my ability to paint mental pictures.

I am also planning to start a monthly column in the synagogue bulletin to allow my congregation to share my experiences (in short doses, they can come here to the blog if they want the fully annotated version). This will continue for some period into the future and allow the congregation to have a connection to Israel, Aliyah and someone they know.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Arriving vs. Leaving

Tonight I was sending some e-mails and to a couple of the people I was updating them as to my progress towards aliyah. I am now counting in weeks instead of months. In conversation, people usually ask me "How long until you leave?" and thus I have answered "I will be leaving..." In sending my e-mails this evening though I chose to write "I will be arriving in Israel ..." It may be mincing words, but I don't feel as much that I am leaving, as I am arriving to something.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Been on a Deserted Island

Where is this island you ask? Where can one go and take a step back in time, have to watch TV and read a newspaper to find out what's going on in the world? Why, LA of course. I have been visiting my mother for a week and she currently has no internet access, and none of her neighbors have wireless access that I can "borrow". So, I had to give up access "cold turkey" for most of the week. My niece brought me her wireless internet adapter so I can catch up, and post to the blog too. So, I am off this island temporarily, until she returns later today to retrieve her adapter...

When I arrived in LA on Tuesday we left LAX and went to lunch in the nearby "Jewish" area of town with a host of kosher restaurants. I had Philly steak sandwich (pretty good I might add) before we went to the kosher market to get a few things for my stay, visited family in the area and ended up eating dinner at an Israeli place, thus avoiding traffic to drive home.

Before now, when I mentioned the possibility to my mother of her visiting me in Israel, the general feeling was that she wasn't going to make the trip. After this visit, I think she is considering it at some future time, so maybe she will visit. I told her just to take the direct flight out of LA, eat dinner, take a sleeping pill and wake up for breakfast and landing... in theory sounds good anyways...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A friend is beating me to it...

I realized at kiddush lunch today I haven't mentioned Shulamit in my blog. Shulamit belongs to my synagogue in SC and she has been talking about the possibility and desire to return to Israel. She didn't have a specific plan and has a daughter that has been living with her her while her son lives in Israel. She teaches school and has been wondering about her teaching contract and such and thus hadn't made specific plans. Well today she told me that she is going in June! She asked for my travel date (which I still don't know) so she can come to the airport and greet me. This is so cool , to sit a table knowing that in 4 months I'll be sitting with her again in the old terminal at Ben Gurion Airport after a long flight and excitement.

Tomorrow night is the beginning of Purim and I'll get to dress up one more time in the states and my costume will get retired as it won't be very unique in my new home. I'll be an IDF soldier and may even wear it on the plane and out to eat in LA while visiting my Mother as I leave early on Tuesday and will be in LA for lunch. I'll think about that one a little more...

Monday, March 2, 2009

You Never Know Where You'll Find Em

I spent this weekend in the Georgia mountains at our annual Men's Club retreat. It was a great weekend, even if the weather wasn't really cooperating. I don't know when I'll attend another, but one day a visit to the states will allow me to attend one in the future. Many of my conversations over the weekend focused on my aliyah. What caught me a little off guard (but in a good way) is one of the guys, Dennis, comes up to me Friday night when I was talking with one of the other guys and says to me, "we need to talk". Since I was not really talking about anything specific, I was like OK now works... and he then proceeds to tell me that he is making aliyah too. We ended up talking several hours over the course of the weekend. I learned he and his family are not going until November, so I was like: I'll be there and I'll come to the airport to greet you. So, I've now planned for my first greet at the airport! (and I'm not even there yet) This won't be my last, but if I know you and you decide to join us, let me know and I'll be there for you too. So, Dennis and I are going to be keeping each other up to date, and doing what we can do to help each other.