My Aliyah Part I

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I grew up in a very traditional, non-Orthodox, non-Zionist family. After being active in NCSY I studied here for a year after college and came back to (secular) college pretty frum and giving lip service to the idea of making aliyah, but I wasn’t entirely convinced. My future husband was though, and after two years of marriage and a baby I found myself (with them) on a plane to Tel Aviv. We came at the height of the Russian aliyah, when “direct absorption” in city apartments was encouraged as opposed to aliyah absorption centers. Fortunately my husband had a job. Our standard of living went up when we made aliyah, because we now had a 3-bedroom apartment, a washing machine, and an all-expenses paid car courtesy of the company at my disposal. Too bad I had never driven a stick shift. . . We moved to an apartment near my husband’s relatives. They equipped us with furniture and we waited for our lift to come, naturally several weeks after we got here despite having travelled for a month after we packed just so we wouldn’t have to wait. I started to meet some people and get acclimated. Let’s admit it, I was in total shock. Aliyah involves complete emotional upheaval, and I know we had it easier than many. The hardest part for me was the language, even though I was fairly fluent, and having to make friends from scratch. Six weeks after we arrived, I got a phone call in the middle of the night from my sister telling me that my mother had died suddenly. She didn’t wake up one morning. I had just spoken to her a few days before when she told me she was planning to come to see my son’s first tooth. I exempted my husband from returning with me for the funeral; heck, I didn’t want to go either. We called our friend the travel agent, who told us to go to the airport at 4am as there were seats on the 6am flight. We had forgotten my son’s passport and my husband had to go home to get it (fortunately there was no traffic). Now, the travel agent had told us that she wasn’t sure whether we would need to pay the newly implemented travel tax of NIS250 so I forgot all about it. I bought the ticket and after saying good-bye to my husband went up the escalator to check in.At that point they asked me to pay the tax but I didn’t have enough money on me. I thought they would waive it, under the circumstances, but instead they took me all the way to the other end of the airport, leaving my sleeping baby in the care of I don’t know who, where they had one of those presses for a credit card.
Part II

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  1. […] She is a wonderful and generous writer – and also happens to have grown up in the USA (she made aliyah a long time […]