Hi all! I am finally updating my blog. Here’s a little lingo for those not in the know- to “make aliyah” means to immigrate to Israel. An immigrant is an “oleh” or “olah” or “olim” in plural and a new immigrant is an “oleh chadash” or an “olah chadasha.” I flew over here on July 11 on a flight organized by Nefesh b’Nefesh, an organization that helps Jews immigrate to Israel. They help explain and streamline a lot of the paperwork and provide many resources in terms of adjusting to life in Israel. This flight was 100% olim. Can you imagine that? A flight filled completely with people immigrating to a country? It was really special. They had a ceremony at the airport before takeoff that my mother came to. Here are some of the pictures.
Here I am with my mother at the farewell ceremony. El Al is Israel’s national airline and “b’hatzlacha” means “good luck” in Hebrew.
The podium from the farewell ceremony.
They had a cake! How awesome is that?
After an enjoyable 9-10 hour flight in which I watched Israeli films and TV and slept only an hour, I landed in Israel where I was greeted by a welcome ceremony. When we took off in NY we were Americans, and when we landed in Israel we had magically become Israeli citizens in midair. There was a crowd of people greeting us and cheering with signs. A friend of mine and a cousin of mine both came with their children to greet me, which helped make the event really special.
Here we are disembarking the plane
My cousin’s children made me this poster.
My friend’s children made me this one.
Aren’t these adorable? It was a lovely way to arrive to a country. These two posters now hang on the walls of my little apartment.
Greeting us at the airport were representatives from the Jewish National Fund, an organization whose mission is to help built the state of Israel by planting trees. They gave each of the olim chadashim a little tree. I received mini myrtle tree, which smells lovely and now sits on my shelf. God willing I will one day be able to plant it in the backyard of my future home.
So that’s it for now. Last week I made a nice long post only to have it deleted at the last minutes, so now I think I will try to write shorter, more focused installments.
Next time on Adventures of a Zweig:
Where am I? What am I doing?
Pack your bags and get ready to rumble.
First blog post ever! I wanted to post before I left the country FOREVER. Jk. I plan on definitely coming back and visiting as often as possible, and I know that everyone reading this is going to visit me in Israel (Right? RIGHT????). My clothing is neatly folded and lined up in piles on the floor of my sister’s bedroom, ready to be placed in my two suitcases and two carryons. My flight leaves JFK on Wednesday, but my mother and I plan on going to NY early Tuesday morning to visit family. So shouldn’t I be all ready? Somehow there is always more to do. More people to see, more things to purchase, more errands to run, more research to do, more preparation to get out of the way. More cuddling to do with my dog. It doesn’t help that today is a fast day, so I am feeling less than productive.
Yet despite all I have to do, despite the fact that in approximately THREE DAYS I am uprooting myself from the place I grew up and moving halfway across the world to a place far away from my family and friends where they speak a different language, despite the fact that I don’t have a job lined up, despite the fact that I need to sign up for new health insurance, open a new bank account, and get a new cell phone plan, I am not really nervous. I have dreams about being there. Nothing exciting; mundane things like taking pictures with my awesome new Samsung Galaxy S3, walking around, cooking, breathing the air … needless to say, I am incredibly excited. The whole time I spent at college I was waiting for this. Counting down the years, months, milestones until I finally made aliyah. It’s wonderful to feel like you are finally starting your life. All these years I felt like I was waiting for my life to begin, for college to end so I could start over again in Israel, where I belong. To finally go home.
Yet I leave behind many beloved friends. That is where this blog comes in. I have never before kept a blog. I never even kept a diary. But I think this will be good for me. This will force me to take note of things that happen and reflect on them. Also, it will encourage me to take more pictures. I am notoriously lazy about taking pictures. Once I get my phone up and running I plan on downloading the Tumblr app that should make it easy to post pictures as soon as I take them.
So I prepare. So I say goodbye. Apparently my flight to Israel will be 100% immigrants, or olim as they say in Hebrew. Imagine, an entire airplane filled with people immigrating to another country? Apparently there will be a band at the airport and a ceremony before we board and another when we land. How will I manage the approximately 13 hour plane ride? Hopefully I will sleep on the plane. I have around 290 pages left in Moby Dick to read. Maybe later today I’ll update my iPod. I am less concerned about how I’ll spend my plane ride than about what I’ll make of my future.