why I made aliyah and G-d willing, will again...

As per West Bank Mama's request for people's stories on why they made Aliyah, I am honored to be included in the group, even though after four years in Israel our family made 'yiridah' back to the States. So technically, we are currently not living in Israel, although four of our children are.
OK, here goes. Here goes a feeble attempt to verbalize and express a lifetime of hashkafa, a lifetime of an inexplicable love of Ivrit, a lifetime of longing and yearning for - I still can't put it into words; a certain hagshama of everything I had been taught in school and raised on at home.
Let me begin by saying that I remember as a small child, my mother's stories of her childhood in Poland; how she would have to bring bouquets of flowers to the Christian bullies down the block on her way to school in order for them to allow her to pass without beating her up; how she was once chased by such anti-Semitic youth - thugs and fell down a cellar staircase in her attemps to escape them; and how she would look up at the [ubiquitous - every Jewish household had them] blue-and-white Keren Kayemet tzedakah box hanging on the back of the kitchen door and tears would roll down her cheeks. My mother and her family always yearned for that special place, that Holy Land given to us by Ribbono Shel Olam, that mystical area where Jews would be at home; where they would be safe.
All this, plus my father's love of Ivrit and Hebrew scholarship, his gift for writing Hebrew literature and poetry, and his Jewish teaching at Teacher's Seminary in New York, and finally my schooling in the Ramaz School in Manhattan, which only confirmed and reinforced my Zionist and Hebra-ist upbringing - all of this was a major factor in my Aliyah in 1977. Hebrew was my first language. My sister and I spoke it at home. We were saturated with a love of things Jewish and a love for the Land of Israel. My sister was even named "Yisraella" in honor of the birth of Medinat Yisrael. When we married, I don't think my husband had a clue that he would be getting so involved in supporting Israel and Aliyah, and that nine years later he and his little family (we've grown since then!) would be making Aliyah themselves. We became active in the chug aliyah in our community, and the rest, as they say, is history. I remember after arriving in Israel, looking up at all the commercial and traffic signs and billboards in Ivrit and tears were brimming in my eyes, just as my mother had felt so many years before (she had passed away the year after we were married, never realizing her dream of seeing Eretz Yisrael). It was like a dream come true: All that studying about a magical land, with an ancient/new tongue come to life, and all the centuries of Jewish history - were actually real. There was such a place that was the apex of all the Jewish hopes over the millenia of dispersion and persecution in foreign lands. Here was the place, in Eretz Yisrael - and it was ours!! Unfortunately for us, we would not be there for long; why does anyone leave Israel? My husband was not happy and felt he was not appreciated in his work; the Jerusalem Post where he worked at the time was anti-dati and very pro-Arab; he was promised kvi'ut but they renaged on their promise; he said he 'saw the handwriting on the wall' as to our future financial situation, and felt we should leave. I didn't want to, and became depressed. I remember sitting on our mirpeset facing the skyline of Yerushalayim, tears running down my cheeks. I said to myself, 'burn this image into your brain, so that you will never forget it. Im tishkachech Yerushalayim, tishkach yemini. Thank you Hashem, for allowing me the privilege of living in your Holy City.' Just please allow me to return someday...'
To this day, I still think we could have done it differently, but that's a moot point now. Suffice it to say, we raised our kids to love Israel and Judaism, and four of them are living in Israel today. G-d willing, they will bring us back to our Homeland...

Comments

Jack's Shack said…
That was a very passionate post. I liked it.
westbankmama said…
Beautiful post. I have a few more people who want to write, so I will G-d willing post a roundup next week.
anonym00kie said…
very beautiful. if youre kids are there, you'll be there soon.
Very nice, good for you.
Elie said…
What a moving and honest story! Thanks so much for sharing it.
Lady-Light said…
Jack: It came from the heart. Thank you.
WBM: Thanks so much; did you link it to your blog?
'Mookie: G-d willing...it might be a few years, though...we have to be certain of parnassa, and we 'ain't so young anymo'(!)
SocialW.F.M: Hey, haven't heard from you in a while. Thanks for stopping by! How are you?
Elie: Thank you for your comment;I am honored that you visited. I haven't been to yours recently...it is too emotional for me; but I will, soon (bli neder). How are you holding up?
To All My Readers of this post:
The truth is, I didn't know first, if I even 'qualified' for WBM's Aliyah Stories request-who am I to tell about my Aliyah, if I am now living in the States? But mainly, I didn't know how I could express this soulful longing that I had had for years, growing up and as a young adult, for Israel. So I began by thinking back to the earliest memories I had of references to Eretz Yisrael, and it started to come to me...I just hope I have the courage to do as my son said, in a profile he wrote about himself once: "...be willing to live and stay in Israel, no matter how rough the going gets..."
jim said…
you inspired me, for sure. Thanks.

Btw, I just found Daniel Gordis also, he is a good writer.
jim said…
And I owe you thanks for Gordis, for the link, the guy is great. A regular read.

I raised 6 kids, none my own, I have no biological ones, surrogate kids, babies thru 35 years old now. Busy times. Now, 3 grandkids, 3 little girls. Nice.
Elie said…
L-L: I'm holding up mostly OK, thanks for asking. Been mostly blogging about less emotional stuff lately. Stop by whenever you feel like it.
Lady-Light said…
Thanks, Elie. Kol Tuv.

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