Friday, December 25, 2009

visits... home?

Well, its finally here. After shabbat the baby and I will hop on a plane and head back to my home state (and country). Rest easy, its only for a visit... but I have been looking forward to it for a month now. Here in KG the weather has been beautiful and warm for the last two weeks... and its been driving me CRAZY. I have always loved California winters... the rain, the cold, without the freezing or eternal snow. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons... and I have been sorely deprived of them here. I am looking forward to the perfect California winter.

I am also looking forward to the time spent with my family. I miss them all terribly, and it hits closer to home on the holidays. Christmas is here today, and came and went with barely a notice. I do love that about Israel, but as someone who grew up celebrating all holidays, I kind of miss it too. I miss the walking around my great-grandmothers street looking at the lights (and the crazy neighbors who would bring in snow and dancers and other crazy items), I miss the time spent at my grandparents, the morning with my family.

Everyone always asks how I can live in a warzone. Just yesterday a father of 7 was shot near his home... For love of the country, for love of my husband, I am here and the conflict is a part of how I live my life... but far and away the hardest thing about living here is being a world away from my family, both in distance and culture. happy holidays to everyone, see you state-side

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

fellow english speakers

In the last week I have run into a handful of English speakers here in KG, and it keeps surprising me that others like myself exist here. Most have been here for 15+ years, but apparently there are a few newer immigrants floating out there. So I did what anyone of my generation would do... I turned to facebook. I created a group for English speakers here in KG, and the word is starting to spread. We only have 6 members so far, but honestly thats more than I expected in the past couple hours.

One of the most well known english speakers here in KG manages the local bookstore... she seems to know all the english speakers because its the only place to get the Jerusalem Post or Haaretz. So she and I have decided to try to get an English speaking group back together. We will include the local moshavim and kibbutzim, mostly because without them we would have no one. We will try to put together potlucks and meetings and fun events. It feels great, because now I can be active and try to get it all together.

Besides that we have a trip stateside coming up very soon. Besides my normal fear of flying I am very exciting to be able to see my family. I am also excited to get out of the current 80 degree weather we've been having, and experience a semi real winter.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Living in a small country... or just a small city?

It still amazes me how small of a world we really live in... and how if we take time to just listen to others around us, we can find so many connections. In an Israeli small world moment, I discovered that the son of one of my ulpan teachers is best friends with two of my husbands cousins.
My ulpan class, as I have said before, is all russians... a couple weeks ago one told me that she has an American friend I should meet. The American is my grandparents age, but my ulpan classmate said that we just HAD to meet. So the three of us got together for tea this morning... and what a small world it became.
Turns out that this American (lets call her R) came to Israel in the 1950's from NY, married a Moroccan and settled down here in KG. In 1967, as the war broke out, she gave birth to a son... and decided that war-torn Israel was no place to raise kids... so she moved to the San Francisco bay area. She lived in SF, then later taught at USC. Now that her son has moved back to Israel she and her husband decided to come back... to lovely KG. We had much to talk about, from classes and atmosphere at USC, to the beauty that is the bay area. We discussed the pros and cons of living in Israel vs California, and the different outlooks of our generations. We argued about the role of religion in the government and debated about the reality of the American dream. Even though we have nearly 60 years between us, it was great to be able to discuss there things. We even discussed putting together our own KG version of an American club.

In not too long I will be heading back to the states to visit my family. I am looking forward to it, besides the ever constant fear of flying. It will be a nice (and much need) break).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting back into shape

Before our wedding I was determined to loose 25 pounds, just to make sure that I looked thinner than my dear husband on our wedding day. After a year of weight watchers I had lost over 30 pounds... I felt better than I had in years, and I loved it. Since then I had a baby... and my body went back to its "usual" state, pre-weight watchers. The only weight watchers program here is no where near where we live, but I was determined to get back to my wedding weight.

So yesterday I finally got my act together, and convinced one of my soon to be sister in laws to go to an all women's studio with me. We had signed up for a step class (like jazzercize?), but when we got the there person at the desk suggested that we start with aerobics on our first day. So we joined a class... and the workout was harder than I ever would have imagined! Both of us were so sore about 15 mins in, and struggling to keep up. It didnt help that the teacher was convinced that the 2 Kg weight bar was far too light for me, and switched it with a 4 kg bar. Still, it felt amazing to be doing something to exercise... even if I am crazy sore today. My goal is to do this type of class twice a week, and pilates or yoga once a week for at least the next three months. I still have about 10-15 pounds of baby weight I would like to loose.... lets see how long I can keep it up.

Its also amazing to be here in Israel for those only in Israel moments... last night, after our aerobics class, they lit a channukiah and sang channukah songs. It was nice to have the moment. Its was also surprisingly nice to be in an all womens gym... I never really liked "curves" in the states, because it felt like they were lowering the exercise standards for women, but this was a hard core class for women. Now I just have to keep my resolve up.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

house hunting

Even though we arent exactly sure where we want to settle down, the husband and I have been looking at some apartments and houses for sale, just to get an idea of what we like and dont like... and maybe more importantly what this city (and others) has to offer. It has already been a very interesting experience. Last night we went to see a "penthouse" apartment, on the 11th floor of a building. it was a nice apartment, but very Israeli in its layout. The kitchen was tiny, the rooms were narrow, but it had an amazing 80 square meter balcony looking out over the city. Too bad the rest of the apartment just seemed too small and crowded.

i am very american. I want a large kitchen, a separate (or partially separate) dining area, at least two (preferably two and a half) bathrooms and a "master" bedroom big enough for our American queen size bed. This seems a lot easier said than done.... and its not very israeli apparently

We also checked out a two story apartment... which was a pleasant surprise. the owner, a Russian woman, redid the whole inside herself. the outside was a typical 15 year old dirty building, but the inside was nice. there was even a separate dinning room! It wasnt perfect, but it was the first place we had seen that felt homey. we arent nearly ready to buy yet, but it really gave us some ideas as to the kind of place we want.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Being honest here...

Sometimes I just laugh at Israelis. They really do mean well, but something happens when you grow up in a small country with lots of neighbors who dont particularly like you... you begin to think that everyone who DOES like you (aka people who live or visit your country) are your friends. And being that everyone living near you is a friend, it is more than permissible to ask complete strangers whatever you want. take the following conversation I had while walking home from my in-laws house.

(I stop at a red light waiting to cross the street. An older couples walks up next to me, religious, with a girl of about six or seven- the following conversation is translated from the hebrew)
Woman: How old is your baby?
Me: six months
Woman: shes yours?
Me: Yes, she is mine
Woman: shes skinny for her age, did you know that? Did the doctors tell you? She looks small/
Me: Yes, we know, but she is healthy, thank g-d
Woman: Of course, thank g-d. May she be very healthy. Look how she looks at us! Shes very smart.
Me: Thank you
(we cross the street and turn in the same direction)
Woman: Do you live on Glickson Street?
Me: Nope, I live on ______ Street.
Woman: Oh. Are you selling your house?
Me (thinking I heard her wrong): Excuse me? Can you repeat? I am a new immigrant and my Hebrew isn't so good.
Woman: I know how that is. Are you selling your house?
Me: Um. No. We rent it.
Woman: Thats too bad. Are you English?
Me: No, American
Woman: Oh. Wow. well lots of health.

Now... I dont think I would have ever had a conversation like that in the states, with a complete stranger. And its not nearly the first time, something similar happens almost every day. I am getting used to it, but it can be hard telling who means well and who is trying to get something (like the guy who tried to ask me out about a month ago, and I thought maybe he was a friend of my husbands I didnt recognize...) It is amazing to live in a country where everyone really is your neighbor... but it still kind of freaks me out sometimes. maybe Ill get used to it one day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The city I live in isn't exactly jumping with excitement everyday. It is a city, has all the major conveniences, but lacks sorely in the entertainment department. No movie theater (they had one for a while, but it was closed down due to religious protests), no bowling arcade, one shopping mall that is kinda small. so what makes the whole city turn out in droves?

the opening of the new supermarket.

My husband has been working in this new supermarket to pass the time... his brother and his mom both work for the same chain, so he got in to help them set up. Last night was the grand opening. Its a Victory supermarket- and next to it they are opening up a new "Big", which the is company that owns the strip malls. So last night not only did this new supermarket open up, but also a Fox (clothing company), CafeCafe (restaurant), a book store, a pet store and some other places. This is more excitement then this city has seen in years.

I went over to grab some dinner... this city has very few restaurants, and almost ALL are shwarma or falafel joints, so I was excited for a new dairy place. I was expecting a crowd, but I was overwhelmed as I fought my way through the masses of people trying to enter the new grocery store. the line of cars outside the complex was huge. For a small city, this was a major event. I kept running into family members and friends of family members and people who somehow knew me but I didn't recognize. EVERYONE was out to see the show.

Coming from California, where there are multiple options for entertainment in a short drive (or a not so short drive, but close enough anyways), it was hard to understand this joy of a new strip mall. The biggest importance is hopefully a new influx of shoppers into the city. We are the "big city" to a lot of local moshavs, and if they come here rather than going to Beer Sheva (or the long way to jerusalem or tel aviv) then it would be great for us. Heres to hoping that this new strip mall proves its worth to the city

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

My first thanksgiving in Israel was a success. I spent all day yesterday cooking, and most everything turned out well. I couldnt find all the spices or ingredients I needed, but I improvised and it all tasted like home. Our guests were mostly Israeli, and they were all excited to get a taste of America. They were wary of the sweet potato casserole and the pumpkin pie... and even though the two ended up tasting very similar, they all liked the casserole and didnt like the pie. There was no football game in the background, but there was a basketball game, so it was close.

Holidays can be tough, because I miss my family and I want to celebrate just as I did growing up. It was even hard doing the shopping for Thanksgiving because I felt so alone. No one around me was shopping for Thanksgiving, or even knew what it was. I guess I am starting a new tradition here, but it can be hard.

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday. Since my mom is Jewish and my dad is not, it was always an issue with the grandparents around the holidays. They didnt celebrate the same holidays or have the same traditions. Thanksgiving was always the one time that my whole family could get together and really be relaxed. Its also near my grandmothers birthday, and Theresas. The very feeling of Thanksgiving to me is love- I have so many fond memories of our dinners and our time together. Watching the Thanksgiving day parade, cooking with my mom, making those last minute trips to the store to fight with all the other people trying to find that last piece of bread or can of cranberry sauce... I miss it. My thanksgiving wasnt the same, but it was a start and I am so thankful that my friends/family here gave me the chance to celebrate

As is traditional, I guess I should end with the things I am thankful for (B"H)
I am thankful for:
-A wonderful husband and amazing daughter
-My parents and my brother who miss me but still talk to me often (and who I will see soon!
-Friends/family who come to a thanksgiving dinner even when they have no idea what it is- just to support me
-that I can still keep some of the traditions I grew up with, and hopefully pass them on

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Quiet week

Last week was a quiet week. I have been preparing for thanksgiving, and every time I look our guest list grows. Since we have only one over and one burner (yes, a single burner), its a lesson in logistics and time management to get everything done. I am very excited about it though.

Friday, a nephew of one of Yehis sisters ex-boyfriends (long story, just go with it) had his fourth birthday. We went to support him and it gave me the chance to see what a pre-schoolwas like here in KG. All in all it was a really interesting experience. On each child's birthday (or on the Friday after) they have a celebration where they sing songs, give fake flowers, spell mazal tov, count to the age of the child, and eat cake. Every child wrote a blessing for the birthday boy on a piece of paper, and the adults got to give theirs during the party. I spoke in English, and the gannenet (teacher) asked the kids what language I was speaking in. One kid said I was speaking in English, because thats how his grandfather speaks to him.

The pre-school seemed similar to ones in the states- they had a calendar and the days of the week, marking which day of the week we were on, they had decorations for the unit, which of course was channukah. They also had a bomb shelter built in the back.

I am still trying to figure out the education system here. For pre-school there are three types of schools- not-religious (like the one we were at), religious and haredi (really religious). The first two follow a similar lesson plan, but the dati (religious) one begins with prayers and incorporates them throughout the day. Since the hebrew calendar is a matter of state, as are the Jewish holidays, they are taught in all schools. I would compare the lessons at a non-religious school here to the education at a Jewish Community Center pre-school in the states. We have a while before we have to deal with it, but it poses an interesting issue. There is no separation of church and state here, which I love in so many ways, but it also raises interesting concerns. If our religious level is somewhere between religious and not religious, where do we send? At least I have a couple years to think about it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Searching the Past

Doing the stay at home mom thing has been great, but there are definitely times that I feel the need to get out and have a change of scenery and some intellectual conversation. Yesterday we headed up the the Museum of the Diaspora at Tel Aviv University. My mom had asked me to do some family research, and I was hoping that the museum might have some leads. It didn't help much, we have a pretty thorough family tree already, but it was still interesting.

The museum is organized by "gates". The beginning talks about the history of Judaism, the basic tenets of the faith and daily life. If someone has no background in Judaism this would be interesting, but we pretty much walked right through it. The upper levels were better done. There were sections on every Jewish community around the world, with information on how they were created, different customs they followed, how they interacted with their non-Jewish neighbors and if they are still in existence today. Since Yehi and I come from such different backgrounds, it was interesting to see the countries that our grandparents came from compared to each other.

There was also a whole floor dedicated to replicas of famous synagogues from around the world. It really was fascinating to see how the local cultures effect the design of the building, but how the basic requirements are all the same. They have representations from all over Europe, north Africa, Asia and the state. Its also sobering to see the synagogues from the 1300's in comparison to the ones from the states, which are under 100 years old.

If one is curious about their heritage, this would be a good starting place, to learn about the different Jewish communities, their heritage and changes. There is also a section on the first wave of Aliyah, and the makeup of cultures in Israel in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Worth a visit. For us it is back to looking for news ways to do family genealogy research.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

making friends

I have been in Israel for two and a half months now. So far it has been good, but it is hard not being able to have real conversations in English. My hebrew is improving, but I still have to stop and think before every sentence, and I am often at a loss for words. While I love my in-laws and other family here, its just not the same.

Last week Yehi and I were in a pizza place here in KG when we heard a family speaking English at a nearby table. This is VERY unusual here. The only English speakers are usually Yeshiva students, but this was a young family with an infant. Yehi tried to get me to go over and talk to them, but I was nervous... How does one approach a complete stranger without seeming strange? In the end their toddler broke the ice by babbling in our direction... I went over and we made short introductions.

In the end we exchanged numbers, and met again today. It was amazing to be able to speak English and have a real conversation again. While Yehi's cousins have kids and are in a similar situation I am in, they dont always understand my background or my beliefs... or when they do it gets lost in translation. Having someone to really discuss things with was priceless. Sometimes it pays off to be forward, and it seems to work here in Israel better than it would in the states. So for now I am thankful I got up the courage... and we had plenty of fun making fun of ourselves. Living in a foreign country is making me take charge of my daily life, and I am learning to start over again outside of my comfort zone.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Joining the ranks

Like most Israeli families, living here in Israel means having relatives in the army. My in-laws are unusual, in that every one of their children have served, and a majority of them have served in combat forces. I currently have two brother-in-laws and a sister-in-law in the army. It is very much a part of daily life here, since men and women are drafted into the army at 18. My sister-in-law chose to do national service at the beginning (religious women are allowed to forgo the army service in favor of national service- like working in a hospital), but now she works at an army base directing troops. My eldest brother-in-law (the second eldest boy in the family) is currently a high ranking army official in a special unit. He has seen far more action than I can ever imagine, and was even filmed during the last war. His goal is to get to the US as a representative of the Israeli army, and he may get to do that in the next year or two.

Tal, the youngest boy, is currently in the army. He served in Magav, the army police unit. Near the end of his service he decided to increase his time, and joined the officers course. He underwent basic training (again) and then started the first course on his way to becoming an officer. Today was his graduation. Every level in the Israeli army has a ceremony, so we headed down to the desert to watch him receive his stripe.

Army ceremonies always impress me. The majority of the soldiers were 20-22, and its so hard to compare them to Americans at the same age. These boys (the ceremony was only for boys this time) spend their days in drills, learning how to shoot guns, find their way through the desert without a map, defend themselves and lead others. They will come out of the course in a couple months as Officers, ready to lead others into battle (or at least behind battle lines). They are still teenagers in a lot of ways, but they understand that there is something bigger than themselves. Its impressive to watch. The ceremony always ends with HaTikvah, the national anthem... which is a post for another day. I am proud of my youngest brother-in-law, who today joined the ranks of the army officers, and made his own mark

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Its not such a big deal in Russia...

Nothing makes me shake my head like reading the news. Two major headlines today: First off, apparently now rockets from Gaza can reach Tel Aviv. None have yet, but that doesnt mean they arent coming. Add that to the fact that Lebanon is insisting that Israel fired the rockets that landed in Kiryat Shmona last week (on ourselves? Really?) and it could be an interesting winter. I am hoping there will be no more activity, but the rockets never really stop in the north/west. Here in KG things are quiet, as always.

Second piece of news relates to the brutal murder of a family (two kids, parents and two grandparents) that happened last month. They arrested a man who used to work for them as a waiter, and who was apparently upset that he had been fired. In revenge he murdered everyone. This, in and of itself, would be disturbing, but apparently when being questioned he asked the police why they were making such a big deal out of it. After all, he said, "This isn't such a big deal in Russia".

Really? Thats your defense for killing a baby, a three year old, their parents and grandparents? Its not such a big deal? I pray that this man is an anomaly, and not really what this world is coming to. Murder, in this style, is very rare in Israel, though there has been a sudden increase this year. The police are insisting that its not a trend, and just a fluke... I hope so. People here are so friendly because everyone bonds against the "common enemy" and not in attacking each other. While this is sad in many ways, it has created a society that allows its children to play without adult supervision after dark, allows families to leave their doors unlocked during the day and allows one to feel comfortable asking anyone for almost anything. I hope this doesnt begin to change- I like my almost small town feel. Here in KG we are still pretty far removed, so things are peaceful, may they stay that way

Monday, November 2, 2009

Winter has come

The joys of winter in the desert. It went from being REALLY hot to pouring rain on Friday, causing a lightening storm and a blackout. I love the rain, and was said that I was so sick and couldn't appreciate it. Turns out I had an infection in my lungs. (On the mend now, hopefully the last time Ill be sick for a while, B"H).

Today I got out of the house for the first time since Friday. I walked from my house to my in-laws house... and it was an experience. It is not very cold here, but the wind is harsh... and since we live in a desert, this wind tends to blow sand everywhere. When i was in Israel back in 2005, we had a real sandstorm, with dust so thick it was like walking through the split pea soup fog that I grew up with. I have to say though, when it comes down to it- sand is way worse than fog.

Sand manages to get into any open space, no matter how small- in your eyes, your mouth, your ears... and it makes you just want to hide behind anything you can. Unfortunately, sand seems to be pretty smart too, and manages to twist its way around poles and buildings and whatever else you might try to use to shield yourself. By the time I got to my in-laws I felt as if I had lost a fight... I collapsed on the couch with a welcome cup of tea and vowed to wait until Yehi was done with work to go home (with a car!). Now that I am inside its nice listening to the wind and feeling like its actually "winter" (fall? what is this season really?). Heres hoping for lots more rain to help our water shortage.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Once again...

For the third time since making Aliyah I have been hit hard by sickness. This time its some sort of flu/cold. The last 24 have been horrible, and while I still sound pretty bad, at least I am out of bed and semi-coherent. Being sick with a baby is one of the worst things, but it helps to have a willing husband around. Hes been letting me sleep, just to wake me up to feed her and help her go to sleep when he cant do it. I am getting pretty frustrated by this whole being sick constantly thing, and I hope that my body gets up to speed soon enough. I am also praying that Maya doesnt get too sick.

In good news, yesterday it rained! We are in the midst of a major drought here in Israel, and while there is no way that it will rain enough to help us out of that, every little bit counts. Its still been feeling like summer (in the high 80s during the day) so its also nice to have a little of that fall feeling. Last night we also had a pretty major thunder storm. As a kid I remember being so scared of thunder and lightening... but last night I barely even noticed it. Well thats not true... after the first big flash of light (What was that!!!!) and then realizing it was only lightening, I ignored it.

The one thing I miss about living in the states (besides my family) is the fall season. It was always my favorite time of year, bundling up against the little cold that California offers... even that seems frigid compared to the weather we have had so far this year. Heres to more rain and better (real) fall weather

Monday, October 26, 2009

As I have mentioned before, I am taking the second level of ulpan. Since we dont live in a place with many immigrants (at least non-Ethiopian immigrants- they get their own ulpans), there are only two levels offered. Thus the class I am taking, while supposed to be "bet" is really a combination of all levels above the first. Since I never really finished the first level, this has made it hard to catch up. I feel comfortable in class, but I know that the level is really slightly above where I should be if I really want to learn.

Last night class was crazy. We had a sudden influx of new Russian students, and a lot of them took cell phone calls, talked in Russian and totally ignored the teacher. After class the teacher pulled me aside and said that she knew I really wanted to learn, but thought that I could use some help. She gave me a workbook to use that is more on my level, and told me to do the exercises, then come show her and ask when I need help. I was floored and so thankful! She wouldnt take any payment for the book (or the extra time, but since I also have Yehi I promised not to take up too much of her extra time). It was nice to know that she really wants to help me learn.

It is still strange to me to be learning a language to use in daily life. Most of my previous experience has been with Latin and ancient Greek, neither of which are actively spoken. I am trying to keep up my motivation without grades or tests, and keep reminding myself that my tests are really in every conversation I have with my mother-in-law or in the grocery store. I know that I rely on Yehi and his perfect hebrew too much, but right now I just dont have the vocabulary to go some places... I will have to get over that fear once Yehi gets back to work

My goal is to be relatively fluent in two years- at least to the point where I can understand the news and tv shows and most of daily life... I was told this is a possible goal- seems so far away, but I am working on it. Language is so important, and I hate feeling one step behind everyone else... or like people are talking to a first grader. Oh the joys of living in a foreign country...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ami and Yochi's wedding

Some days its hard to remember that I am a new immigrant, then something happens to make it glaringly obvious that I am American at heart. Its an interesting mix. Since Yehi is Israeli, and his whole family is here, I often find myself in situations that seem so familiar, yet so different. My brother in law got married last night, and it was a great event. As far as the ceremony and celebration go, it was about as different from our wedding as you can get. We had matching groomsmen and bridesmaids, Ami's brothers wore jeans and whatever new shirt they wanted. We marched down the aisle to "Jersualem of Gold" (no lyrics of course) and Ami and Yochi marched down to Eyal Golan songs. We had 250 people at our wedding, they had close to 700. In the end though, the joy of the wedding reminded me of ours, and it made me so thankful for my dear husband (and for a wedding that was much more my style!)

I still find certain aspects of Israeli weddings strange. Hiring professional dancers to dance on stages dressed up as mermaids for instance... the lack of slow songs I will never understand (especially when half your audience is over 50... do they really want to rock out to that music? maybe israelis are just cooler than americans.). The lack of attention to the actual ceremony, and the focus on the party still bothers me occasionally...

Even with all that, there will always be things that amaze me about Israeli weddings. i find the fireworks (inside and outside) amazing, the pure joy in the dancing, the way Israelis celebrate like this really is the BEST moment they will EVER have in their lives... its inspiring to be a part of that. They really know how to throw their whole hearts and souls into being thankful for the very moment they are in, and I hope that is something I can learn.

After the wedding, religious Jews have a week of party dinners (sheva brachot). We had one tonight with them, and it was nice to be able to celebrate their union in a slightly more personal way. I am happy to have gained a new sister in law, and even happier that the craziness leading up to the wedding is past us. maybe now we can actually figure out some sort of schedule.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Thursday was Yehi's brothers henna. It took place in Kiryat Shmona, up on the northen border of Israel. Yehis mom rented a bus to make the 3+ hour drive. It was smaller than our henna, since they will (obviously) also be having the wedding here in Israel. It was a fun night overall...

We drove back Thursday night (early Friday morning), but Ami stayed in the north. On his way back Friday morning he got a call from his fiance... apparently she fell and.. broke her arm. She spent the day in the hospital, and now has a cast. This has cause a lot of craziness, since the wedding is on Tuesday. In religious Judaism, before a wedding a woman has to go to a Mikvah, where she immerses in a pool of water. Since Ami's fiance is now wearing a cast, she cant go into the water... and according to religious Judaism this means she cant get married. So after a lot of debate with the Rabbi's, it was agreed that they would get married, as long as they made sure Yochi went to the mikvah as soon as possible...

Even more than that... now Yehis mom is convinced that someone has trained the evil eye on us (set? put? what exactly is the verb with that). As such, she is now sewing hamsas onto all of Maya's clothing to protect her... and is upset that we havent already done so. slight cultural differences... its been an interesting week, and the wedding stands to be just as memorable.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cultural Changes

After a two week break I am back to Ulpan... which always leads to some interesting moments. My teacher is a religious Jew, and the other women in the class are anti-religious. This last class we read an article on how modern society has helped religious women... especially Muslim women. It was an interesting discussion on when girls should be able to get married (the legal age in Israel is 17) or what the laws should be about divorce rights. The bigger question of course is whether or not a country's laws actually have any effect on religious laws, or if they should. For instance, although the legal age for a girl to get married is 17, some Muslims will marry before that age, but not report it to the authorities until after. Has this actually improved the status of that girl at all?

Its still hard to have these kinds of discussions in hebrew, when I can't properly explain my views. The good news is that the other students struggle almost as much as I do, so at least its an even playing ground. I have learned a lot, and I enjoy the classes.

In other news... tomorrow is Ami's henna. Should be interesting, though its going to be a really long day. His fiance is from the VERY north of Israel, which is something like a 3 hour drive. Due to circumstances beyond my control we are going up there and coming back in the same day... Im excited for the event, but not so excited about the trip with a baby. Heres hoping that she sleeps most of the way! The wedding is next week, and closer to us, and that will be exciting. My mom bought the baby a BEAUTIFUL dress, and I am excited about the chance to dress her up... its all about the little things.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sometimes life here just seems surreal. There were multiple news headlines in the last couple days that gave me pause, and made me wonder what exactly people are thinking.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Palestinians living in Gaza are upset at the Hamas government for owing them money... for "investing" in the illegal tunnels running out of Gaza. Seriously... these locals are upset because they gave money to the government to dig illegal tunnels to smuggle in goods and arms, and since these tunnels have been destroyed by Israel, they want their money back. Hamas has so far repaid 16.5% of the investments. So Hamas is admitting to turning to the public (through the use of imams apparently) to dig illegal tunnels through which to smuggle things... what an investment.

Obama wins the nobel peace prize- really? Even if you are an Obama fan... what exactly has he done? What has he had time to do? Hes not exactly Gandhi or Mother Theresa... I was watching a news clip from the states, where a political analyst commented that they only gave Obama the Nobel because the European Union is excited that the US has a weak leader. Now isnt that something to be proud of...

Sometimes living here in the Middle East seems surreal. Sometimes it is so much like the states, and other times I read the news about the conflict and wonder what exactly I got myself into... Life has been quiet here, besides the news headlines... but so far nothing to affect us personally. Lets hope it stays that way for now

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

shiny new things

We bought a car! The biggest purchase we've ever made... We lasted a month and a half without a car... in the city itself we are fine, but with the baby taking the bus has become much harder. A car will help get groceries and do our farther traveling. I still plan to walk as much as possible because I like the time to myself and with the baby... but it will be so nice to not have to worry about how to get places.

I also received a care package from my parents! There is seriously nothing better than getting personal mail. It makes one feel loved and special.

Maya has started to mimic people, making the same noises we make back at us. She is consistently rolling from her back to her front, and it is impossible to leave her alone even for a second. Yesterday, for the first time, she tried to crawl! She shoved her legs under her and pushed forward... but pushed her head right into the ground instead. She still hasn't learned to sit up unassisted (and in fact doesn't seem the least bit interested), but she is still trying to crawl. Its amazing to watch her.

Other than that its been a quiet week, just enjoying sukkot and gearing up for Ami's wedding. Yehi had an interview yesterday, so hopefully we will hear the results of that soon. I am still waiting to get into some sort of daily schedule!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

אנחנו מאמינים

When I first arrived in Israel, I fell in love with a type of music called "mizrachi" music. The tunes were so middle eastern, yet the lyrics reminded me of my beloved country music in the states. Mizrachi music stems from Jews who come from the middle east- Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, etc. Much to my sadness I discovered that not many people seem to understand my love of this type of music (same with country music sadly!), but luckily I married into a sephardic family, who while they think I'm pretty funny for liking it, can somewhat understand the attraction.

Last night my wonderful husband got us tickets to see Kobi Peretz, one of these mizrachi singers I am so in love with. The concert was in Beer Sheva, right across the street from the place we first met. We ended up going with some of his cousins... and it was quite the experience! Kobi Peretz tens to attract a certain kind of crowd- 20 somethings in skimpy clothes, and others who wish they were 20 something, also dressed in skimpy clothes. This to me is what makes the rest of the concert so interesting, and such an only in israel moment

The first half of the concert was typical mizrachi dance music. After about an hour, Kobi Peretz called out another famous mizrachi singer, put on a kippah, and broke into renditions of famous psalms. Now in the states I cant imagine this going over very well, but here in Israel everyone just kind of went along. After another half hour so, Kobi Peretz broke into one of his most famous songs, "You Are Like Fire". Part way through the song it changes into "אנחנו מאמינים"- we are believers.

אנחנו מאמינים is a chant from the midrash, which has become a song favored by religious groups here in Israel. The lyrics can be translated as "We are believers, children of believers, and we have no one else to rely on but our father in heaven".

So once again a famous singer has broken into his concert with a religious tone... and how does this mostly secular crowd respond? They LOVED IT. As Kobi Peretz went back and forth between "You Are Like Fire" and "We are believers" the crowd jumped and sang and screamed and begged for more. It was amazing, and for the first time since I made Aliyah I really felt a part of it- of something bigger than myself in this tiny country lost in the middle east. The Gilad Shalit video had left me depressed, but this concert lifted my spirits- after all, we are all believers in this crazy little country we live in.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Parents Pain

1, 195 days. To those of us living our lives in relative peace, the last 1, 195 days have gone by rather quickly. For me personally they have been a time of blessing and love. In the past 1, 195 days I have gotten married, worked at a job I loved, had a beautiful daughter and moved countries (B"H). There have been good days and bad days, but they have been MY days.

Today Gilad Shalit has been in captivity 1, 195 days. In that time his parents have been praying for him to come home, for proof that he is still able to come home, any word. Two years ago they got a recorded message, devoid of any real message. Today they get a two and half minute video tape, proving, that as of September 14th, their son was still alive.

I cant even begin to imagine that I know their pain, or what they are feeling. I know that watching the media mob Gilad's grandfather as he entered the family's house made me hold my daughter a little tighter, that watching the Palestinians celebrate the release of the 20 (+) female prisoners from Israeli prisions made me scared for the type of future my daughter will see, and that just thinking of Gilad's parents at this moment, on the eve of a joyous Holiday- Sukkot- seeing their son for the first time in 1,195+ days, with still no concrete hope of him coming home, made me cry.

I cannot begin to argue the sides. Is it the responsibility of the Palestinians to provide "proof of life"? If not, is it right that Israel set a presedence by releasing prisoners? What is the cost Israel should give to release Gilad after 3+ years? What does this say about future kidnapped Israelis- will their chance of survival increase if Hamas knows they can get exchanges for them? Or is it worse that the Israeli population-military and civilian- is more in danger from this exchange?

We dont really know. On this eve of sukkot, as we celebrate, think of the Shalit family. Send your prayers and wishes their way, and be thankful that your days are your own, as much as anyones can be. My heart breaks for the family, and the possible futures I see for my new state. May we all be blessed with peace this year and the ones to come.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The joys of being sick

Yom Kippur has come and gone, and another new year is upon us. I managed to get to services on erev Yom Kippur, but had to leave early because baby wasnt feeling well. She had been running a slight fever from her shots on Friday, and while the fever had pretty much gone, she was still cranky. During the day on Yom Kippur we stayed at home mostly. Baby decided she didnt want a bottle, and only wanted to breastfeed, which made fasting hard... but still a billion times easier than last year!

I thought I was in the clear at the end of the fast, it seemed so easy in comparison to others. That night I got a headache that wouldn't go away... and didn't for two days. It all came to a head last night when I started running a 101 degree fever, aches, chills the whole 9 yards. Managed to suffer through the night and go to the doctor today- turns out I have some sort of throat infection. Who knows where it started, I just hope it leaves soon. Its really hard to be sick with a baby. I dont have the strength to lull her to sleep or the patience to help her sooth herself. Its been a real wake up call for me.

Besides the whole being sick thing, we are getting ready for Sukkot. Not long after sukkot is Yehis brothers wedding, so things are kind of in a mad dash already. Ive got some friends from college coming by in a week or so, who are here studying for the year. I am taking things step by step... being sick in a foreign country is hard, but if I can get through this, everything will be easier!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yom Kippur

In the five years since I started coming to Israel, I have had the pleasure of experiencing every Jewish holiday here in the holy land, with the exception of two- Lag Baomer and Yom Kippur. When I was studying abroad here, I had an amazing Rosh Hashana in Jerusalem, but flew to meet my parents in Germany for Yom Kippur, only to return in the middle days of sukkot.

I dont like fasting, in fact I hate it. Last year I was pregnant... I got very sick and ended up eating and drinking in small amounts before the fast was over. This year I am breastfeeding, but only about half of the time, so I am hoping it will be easier. Everyone always tells stories of how amazing Yom Kippur is here, and I am excited about it. Its also exciting that for the first time I dont have to argue about taking a day off so close to the start of the school year- here it is a national holiday!

In Ulpan this week we talked about Yom Kippur. Sadly enough, I was the only person in the class (besides the teacher) who knew what Kol Nidre was. Tonight we will hearKol Nidre, which I have always thought is the most moving prayer. Until Monday at midnight we will dwell upon our transgressions in the last year, and how we can better ourselves in the year to come. I hope those of you fasting have an easy fast and

גמר חתימה טובה

Thursday, September 24, 2009

material things

I know that in this time between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, one should really not be thinking about material things. It is a time to remember that our lives are short, and what is important is our spiritual and deeper connections with the world and what lays beyond.

That being said.... WE GOT OUR LIFT! It may seem superficial, but that is not the main focus. It isn't that I am happy at having things again, or how much I have... It's just that moving across the world, away from my family, has been hard. I miss the things that I grew up with, the things that I am used to. Thats why it is a blessing to have our lift. In it are pictures of friends and family, memorabilia from my past, things that make me so thankful for my life. We have boxes with pictures from our wedding, memorabilia from our time together, even books and outfits from my childhood. Each of them holds a special place in my heart, and reminds me of the people I love.

The hardest thing by far about living in Israel so far has been the distance from my family. I am glad to have these things here, even after all the drama. In the end the movers were nice, and everything went smoothly. Our things are mostly organized, but some of our boxes will be going back into storage until we get a slightly bigger place. Step by step we are making this home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the job search

Well, both interviews went well. I fell in love with one of the places, which currently only has part time, with the opportunity to move to full time next year. In a way that is good, with the baby, ulpan and being a new immigrant and everything, I may be glad to only be working part time.

Berlitz on the other hand felt like it didnt matter who I was or what my teaching style was. It may be good just to keep busy, but it definitely does not encourage individual thought. In graduate school I learned a lot about teaching students English as a second language, and while I agree with what a lot of Berlitz does, I was slightly offended when my interviewer told me that if students did not read up to par to just keep going, since reading isn't important. I get that Berlitz wants to encourage speaking more than anything, but to completely ignore reading? The point seems to not be to teach them English, but to teach the students how to repeat phrases. Maybe it would be different in the classroom, but the way he was explaining it... well it didn't seem too attractive.

We will see where it all leads. We are hopefully getting our lift before Yom Kippur, but after the whole issue yesterday the guy is not making any promises. heres to hoping we get our things soon!

Monday, September 21, 2009

what a start

Rosh Hashana was very nice and relaxing. With such a young baby I only made it to Friday night services, but the rest of it was also nice. it was very different from how I grew up celebrating, which was hard, but something to get used to.

Today I had an interview in Tel Aviv. On the way up we called our shipping company to check on our shipment, and they told us "still in customs, maybe at the end of the week". So we went to Tel Aviv, where I had an interview (which was fine, although I am not sure the job is for me), then looked for a dress for Ami's wedding.

We got home (after picking up the baby from daycare and grabbing dinner) around 7pm. When I checked my email at 730pm or so there was an EMAIL from our shipping company which said "We are trying to deliver your lift, what is your phone number?"- time stamped just 15 MINUTES or so after we had talked to them that morning. To add to my frustration, I just talked to my parents who said the shipping company called THEM at 2am California time looking for us! Honestly!

So for now, since it is too late to call them, I am just frustrated. And tmw I have another interview, meaning we will be out of the house most of the day. Heres to hoping we will be able to get our things, and sleep in a real bed within the next 24-48 hours!

Friday, September 18, 2009

a new year

Since the new year is coming up quickly (Rosh Hashana starts tomorrow night!), I have been doing a lot of thinking about this past year. I have been amazingly blessed, and I am so thankful for everything. There have been hard moments, and I know that I have undertaken a hard challenge, but if this coming year is as good as this last one, I will be thankful

It is hard to be so far away from my family, but I am thankful that they got to experience this last year with me, and they are constantly in my thoughts. I think of Gilad Shalit's father, of Asaf Ramon's mother, and I am thankful that I can still contact my family, and celebrate with my husbands family. I remember that Shalit has spent 1,200 days in captivity, and all his father asks on this new year is that he be allowed to return home. He has given Hamas a gift for Gilad, a simply Rosh Hashana package. I remember that just last week Asaf Ramon's mother was preparing for these holidays, and this week she has had to enter into morning. It is said that during these days before Yom Kippur, it is written who will live and who will die in the coming year. We cannot know why these things happen, but I hope that everyones year is peaceful and happy.

I am beyond thankful and continuously amazed at the wonder that is my daughter. People can tell you what childbirth and raising children is like, but everyday I discover something new. I feel like I am more able to feel every moment that passes, which is both good and bad. I hope that in this coming year we can see only more blessings from each other. May you all have a sweet and happy new year!

שנה טובה ומתוקה

Thursday, September 17, 2009

job hunting

good news on the job front- next week I have two interviews, both for part time teaching. I still don't know what kind of time commitment I am looking for. I want to spend time with my daughter, but I also know that after four months of doing the stay at home mom thing I am more than ready to be back in the job market. Both of the jobs have pluses and minuses, so we will just have to see how they go.

The job market for my husband has been tougher. The High Tech industry, while on the upswing, still hasnt really settled in. Hes been getting calls, but nothing particularly relevant. hopefully that will pick up after the holidays. He is also looking into teaching, which apparently has a much stronger market, even if less pay.

We have been gone a month now. I know this all takes time, and I am enjoying that we can take time to just be together, and to do things we want to do. We are in no serious pressure right now to HAVE to have jobs, so its been ok. We are both beginning to get restless though, so hopefully things will turn around soon, after the holidays.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

things have been going pretty steadily. Ulpan has been a lot of fun, and part of me likes being a student again. I know there is a lot of work ahead of me as far as learning hebrew, but I like the challenge. I have been getting a newspaper once a week called Shaar Lamatchil, which has all the news in hebrew, but written with vowels and in relatively easy grammar and vocab.

The holidays start this week, and it will be my first Yom Kippur ever in Israel, and my first time having my own sukkah to build. I am sad to not be able to spend the holidays with my family, especially since Rosh Hashana also happens to fall on my brothers birthday. At least we have Yehis family here to celebrate with, and most of his siblings will be around.

One of Yehi's brothers (the best man at our wedding) is getting married after sukkot, and things have already been gearing up to get ready for the henna and the wedding. They have been planning decorations, food, outfits and everything else one could possibly think of. My mother-in-law has been teaching me how to make Moroccan style cookies, so I can help her with the preparations. I enjoy baking, so it has been fun. We will be baking for about 600 people for BOTH the wedding and the henna, so there will be a lot of work. at least it enjoyable, and helps me practice my hebrew

Monday, September 14, 2009


One thing that has always amazed me about Israel is how connected the people are. It doesn't seem to matter where you come from, who you are, how religious you are or anything. If you live in Israel, you are part of "us". This never ceases to amaze me.

Last night in Ulpan we were discussing a text on the H1N1 virus when my teacher got a phone call from her daughter. Her demeanor immediately changed, and the look on her face was pained. We all immediately thought there had been a terror attack or something of sort, but when she got off the phone she couldn't even talk. After a minute she composed herself, and told us that Assaf Ramon was rumored to have been killed in a plane crash.

I knew that Assaf Ramon was the son of the Israeli astronaut who was killed six years ago when the Columbia exploded, and the fact that now his mother had to deal with another sudden death was upsetting. But why was my teacher taking this so personally?

She explained to us, constantly repeating that she hoped this information was false, that Israel had stood by the Ramon family six years ago, and watched Assaf and the rest of his family take the news and honor their father. Assaf chose to follow his fathers footsteps, became a pilot and had passed the rigorous training of the IDF. He stood for the Israeli mindset of getting back up on your feet, always feeling pride for your country and being willing to put your life on the line for it. Though no one I talked to knew the Ramon family personally, they are all treating this death as a personal blow. And I love that about Israel.

Friday, September 11, 2009


When I was in 8th grade, my history teacher assigned a project that involved us going to our family members (especially grandparents) and asking them what the days were that they remember most vividly in their lives. From my grandparents I learn about their feelings as they lived through major world events like Pearl Harbor, the end of WWII, the Korean War, the death of JFK, the first man on the moon, the fall of the Berlin Wall and more.

I remember thinking then how lucky I was that I had no dates like that. Honestly, in 8th grade, there was not a single day or world event that stuck in my mind that significantly. I remember wondering how ANYONE could remember exactly what they were doing and how they were feeling on a certain day, especially one so far in the past. It wasnt until High School that I realized there are some days that are just burned in your brain.

I used to love to fly. Growing up my family always traveled. Sometime in 2000, I grew a sudden fear, and had no desire to ever get back on a plane again. On the way back from Cuba in spring 2000, I decided, in Florida of all places, that I was never getting on a plane again. This of course was a lie, since I lived in California, and still had a very long flight ahead of me. I flew again in summer 2001, each time having a panic attack when boarding the plane and for the first couple hours of the flight.

On Sept 11, 2001 my alarm clock went off at 6am. The breaking news was of a plane hitting the world trade center. Honestly, I had no idea what that was. I walked into my parents room and said "See, this is why I don't want to fly". They gave me a look, and said something along the lines of "I'm sure it was just a prop plane, nothing to worry about." I went back to my room, turned on the TV and watched the second plane fly into the world trade center. I didn't cry. I just stared at the screen in shock. Is this for real? What does this mean?

We went to school that day but nothing happened. We listened to the news on the radio and heard of the third and fourth flights that went down. We discussed the meaning of the events in all classes, and what they could mean. We felt lucky on the west coast.

I didn't cry all day, or even all week. That Friday I went to the movies with my then boyfriend, and we saw "Hardball", a movie about under privileged kids... one of whom dies at the end of the movie. I walked out of the theater in tears. Who knows why... for some reason that movie made me realize how real everything was.

Things have changed since then, and yet they havent changed. I'm living in a foreign country, but I still fight with my fear of flying every time I board a plane. I have a daughter, and part of me is fearful of the world she will grow up in. I watched the moments of 9/11 on the news again, and wondered that after 8 years the feelings of shock and fear are still there... yet in my daily life I can ignore the implications of the resulting wars, even here in the middle east.

I thank g-d for everything he has given me since that day, and for that fact that even now there are only one or two other major world events that I remember as vividly.

Monday, September 7, 2009

adventures in ulpan

so back in 2005, when my husband and I first met, I had started ulpan Aleph in beer sheva. I did about 5 months of ulpan aleph, enough for me to be able to go to a grocery and get out with something relatively close to what i was looking for. since we started dating i have tried many forms of hebrew lessons- i did a year online (at their level C), a year at the reform temple near my house (at their level D, which was wayyyy too high for me) and many many tapes.

although my husband might not always admit it, my hebrew has gotten better. the problem is that my classes levels always skipped around... so while i can get by in present tense, and pretty well in past tense, the future still confuses me to no end.

all this made signing up for my free hebrew lessons here kind of confusing. the city we live in only offers two levels as i said before- aleph and bet. i know i dont need the beginning of aleph, but im sure i could learn things. it meets everyday. the bet meets only twice a week, and really is a mixed class of all sorts of levels higher than aleph.

i went yesterday to sit in on the bet class. there are about 12 people in the class, all russian and all over 60. i am also the only new immigrant. the class was challenging- i understood everything that was said, but my speaking and reading are severely lacking. for better or worse the whole class was in hebrew, only punctuated by brief explanations in russian, which dont really help me any. i talked to the teacher after, and she thinks i should stick with the bet. part of me wants the challenge, and part of me thinks i should go back and learn future before i attempt this level. since those seem to be the only two options, and Yehi and my teacher have offered to help me learn the future and my buildings, i am sticking with bet. wish me luck, im going to need it!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

we spent the weekend at one of Yehi's cousins bar-miztvahs in Ashqelon. It was an interesting experience, and very different from the American conservative bar/bat mitzvahs I grew up with. We went Friday night, and stayed in a small hotel with about 200+ people of Yehi's family. Friday night we had services and a big dinner. Saturday there were services, a big lunch, lots of hanging out with family and the third meal... then we all went home. There was no big party, no dancing, no speech by the bar-mitzvah boy (actually, I think he tried at one point, but no one could hear him over everyone else.).

Sometimes I forget that I am living a world away from my own family, but nothing makes it strike home like hanging out with Yehi's family. For some reason, especially being at the sea in Ashqelon, it strikes me just how far away I really am. Maybe its because I know my family is 'out there' far across the water. Maybe its because I look at Maya and realize that she has no idea what we have done, and the choices that we will have to make as far as visiting family and who she will grow up with. I love that she has cousins her age to play with, and masses of aunts and uncles who will take care of her.... but I HATE that my parents cannot see her learning to roll over, to talk, to sit up.

these are the choices we made. Maybe they will change, but for now we are going day to day. Our daily schedule hasnt changed much, maybe because Maya is so young, which is somewhat of a blessing. I can hold on to the similarities and work my way into the israeli system step by step.

On that note, ulpan starts today... we will see where they put me... heres to hoping a bet class opens up!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

the school year begins...

for the first time in... oh 20 years or so, I am not starting school with the rest of the population. its a strange feeling. most israeli schools opened today for the start of the 09-10 year, and its been a crazy mess here in Israel. those of you following the news know that immigrants from ethiopia were denied entrance to some israeli private schools, on the basis that they did not have a strong enough background for their grade schools. there were protests, saying that the exclusion was race-based and unfair. as of today some 48 or so ethiopian students have been allowed into private schools in petach tikvah.

that hasnt been the only problem. the education ministry decided it wanted to once and for all remove "nabka" from arab israeli school books. the term means "disaster", and is used by many israeli arabs/palastinians to refer to the creation of israel, and is "celebrated" (mourned?) on israel independence day. as a result, many arab teachers are threatening to go on strike if the ministry follows through. i personally side with the ministry on this one. if a national textbook encouraged ONLY a "disaster" day on the 4th of July, how would the us react? you are citizens of a country... you can agree or disagree, but you still need to learn at least both sides of the story.

on a personal level, today also marked the first day of mishpacton, or daycare, for Maya. she is going to an aunts, so its not like im leaving her with strangers.. but it was still kind of hard. its only a half day, so i will go soon to see how she did. it was nice to be able to run errands without lugging around the stroller or holding her... but i will be very glad to pick her up. ulpan is supposed to start sunday, so we will see how that goes. love you all, miss you all too

Thursday, August 27, 2009

taking care of... stuff

this whole week has just been a mess of running from office to office to office. after we FINALLY got our id cards, we needed to go to the ministry of absorption to try to figure out what our status is as immigrants. i am an immigrant, maya is something like a returning resident... but for some reason no one can figure out what yehis status is! we filled out some paperwork, and were told that in about 3 months they would tell us. the only thing it would change would be how much help from the government we would get, so we can wait.

i also had to get approved for ulpan, the hebrew classes. turns out there is a first level (aleph) class starting next week right here in KG! the bad news is i dont really need level one, i need level two (bet), and the aleph class is a night class. i really need a bet class in the morning. they dont yet have enough people to open up a bet class, so they told me to come in next week to the first aleph class and see how it goes... i dont really want to sit through a whole ulpan aleph again, but hopefully they will be opening up a new class soon.

today we also had our first visit to the kupat cholim, or the doctors! we wanted to take maya in, simply to meet her doctor, hand over her information and just do a brief well check. all went smoothly, though the doctor did try to guilt me into not switching to formula. we had started because i was going to start ulpan in the day while maya was at daycare... but if ulpan is at night we will have to see i guess.

emotionally its been a challenging couple days. i enjoy having so much to do, but when i get a chance to stop and think... well its been hard. i miss my family, and i miss them being able to see maya growing and changing, even in the last week. lots of skype and phone calls help, but of course its still not the same...

to cheet me up we are having a welcome home party tonight, which has apparently turned into a massive bbq, israeli style. if you want to see pictures i will post them up on facebook... love you all, miss you all too!

Monday, August 24, 2009

settling in

well, after all that traveling, maya was bound to get a little sick. she was running a fever saturday (though only a low one, thank gd), so we pretty much vegged out on Sunday. we did manage to get our wireless internet installed, which is great!

today we had to go up to jerusalem to get our israeli id cards. the way up to the office was crazy, but inside NBN managed to keep everything pretty well organized. we got our id cards (im now israeli!... and yehi is officially married with a child.), then got to walk around a bit and talk to representatives from all different companies. there were only two people who knew about the south, both from health care places... all the others acted as if nothing existed outside of jerusalem/bet shemesh/ranaana etc.

we are scheduled to get a washer AND a dryer this week, and a closet next week. hopefully tmw we will be able to begin the process of getting all of our stuff off of our lift and into our home... though i am not sure where we will put everything. i am glad we didnt bring anything big other than our bed.

for now its just a day by day set up. i wonder when this whole move will begin to feel real... love you all, miss you all too

Saturday, August 22, 2009

home sweet home

the past couple days have been a crazy blur. ill try to back up and tell all about our move. after the arrival ceremony on wednesday, we headed to KG to our new rented place. its a small three bedroom, one bath duplex kinda thing. yehis parents had set up the kitchen/living room and Mayas room, and both were great. they had also pre-stocked the fridge, which made life MUCH easier. of course we dont have our bed yet, so our room is the only one empty, save a couple mattresses on the floor. we were hoping to get a bunch of stuff done that first day, but we forgot that yehi had turned in his teudat zeut (id card) so we couldnt do ANYTHING.

the last couple days have been nice. HOT AS ALL CAN BE which is frustrating. and the constant switch from really hot to cold air conditioning has Maya fighting off her first cold, which doesnt help my nerves.

thursday we went to look at furniture, since most israeli places dont come with built in closets. the only storage space we have at the moment is in Mays room.... hopefully that will change today. Friday we did some basic errands, and then spent shabbat with yehis parents. his two next brothers were there, with thier girlfriends/fiance. it was nice to be able to relax. i went to services and was so thankful to be here, in israel, with a wonderful family of my own. it was hard being without my own family, and im still not sure how to deal with that part of the move.

saturday night was yehis cousins birthday, so we went out after shabbat to celebrate. Maya got to hang out with her new cousins, and we got to reorganize ourselves into israeli life. its been great so far. we get our id cards monday, so this week will be full of opening bank accounts, releasing our shipment (finally!), getting cell phones and the like. love you all, miss you all to

Thursday, August 20, 2009


well, i promised I would write about the flight, and since the baby is sleeping, Yehi is running errands and my mother-in-law is cooking lunch, this seems like the perfect time.

we left san francisco late. we hadnt bought Maya a seat, but were lucky that the third person in our row never checked in. it was such a blessing, becase Maya slept in her carseat the WHOLE way to NY. it was kind of a wild flight... two kids a couple rows in front of us starting throwing fits, then their mother blacked out and a doctor who was on the plane had to come take care of her. we landed in NY on time, managed to schlep our bags to the next terminal (with help). claire showed up to see us off, which was great. we really needed the extra hand. the ceremony in jfk was fine, but nothing really exciting. after a painful trip through security we boarded the plane... where maya promptly had her only major baby issue the whole trip. luckily it was before we took off, and semi easily cleaned up.

the flight was crazy. we had a jumbo jet (the Tel Aviv-Yaffo). it was as full as could be... and almost half children. there was not one minute of quiet the whole time. once again, maya was amazing, and barely fussed at all until the second we landed in israel, when she started screaming. the flight was fine... I watched movies, slept a couple hours, and tried to zone out the kids across the aisle from us.

landing was the best. everyone was so excited to be there, especially since we were an hour late. (sorry to those who stayed up to watch in the states!). Yehis family was there, and I put the pictures of the HUGE sign they took up on facebook. Odelya and her newborn, and Shilat and her newborn were also there, with matching baby outfits for the new best friends :)

the ceremony was fine. it was the only time i got emotional... and it wasnt a happy emotional. its a hard realization that you are now living completely across the world from your parents, especially with a new baby.

an hour or so later I was an Israeli citizen, we had all our bags, and managed to find a taxi willing to go some place that wasnt Ramat Beit Shemesh, Modiin or Jerusalem (where most american immigrants go).

ill post later about the new house and our first day... Maya is awake and food is ready. love you all, miss you all too

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

we have arrived!

well, we are finally in Israel... and I am an Israeli citizen! I dont have a ton of time to write now, but I wanted to say that we are here. the flights were good, and Maya was AMAZING. she slept most of the time, and was quiet a majority of the rest. I will post about our trip, the ceremony and our new place soon. emotions are high, but I am ready for the next couple days... love you all, miss you all too

Monday, August 17, 2009

off we go...

well, the countdown is finally down to hours. tonight we leave SF, and head to NY where we will meet the rest of our flight and the other immigrants (olim). we have a LONG journey ahead of us, but i think we are surprisingly prepared.

i did some math, and figured out that between us (2 adults and a baby), we are carrying something like 500 pounds of luggage... not to mention ourselves. most of that is checked luggage at least... but wow! i am not looking forward to carrying all of that through the airport.

we did hear back from our shipment, and it has arrived! apparently it just arrived on friday, which works out perfectly for us. hopefully we wont be without a mattress for too long.

thats it, as we run around trying to make sure its all together. for those of you who dont know.. i have a horrible fear of flying which is kicking in about now. just gotta breathe and focus. hopefully we will see you safe and sound on the other side. we love you all very much... and will try to post from NY.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

days go by

today was our farewell party. it was so great to see everyone who came. for most of them, it was also a chance to see Maya for the first time. its been hard these last couple days, knowing that we are packing up and leaving. it still doesnt seem real in a lot of ways, and I'm sure it wont for even a couple weeks after we arrive.

i keep thinking how lucky we are. both yehi and I have a family that loves us. and even though they span the globe, we live in an age where we can communicate daily, see each other live, and travel to see each other within a 24 hour span. while that seems like a REALLY long trip (and it is), it is still such a blessing. when my great-grandmother left Poland, her main wish was to get to israel... she ended up in the USA and loved it, but for her to visit israel would have been a major undertaking. boats, planes, snail mail... all of which i love, but nothing beats skype. i am thankful that we can do this without loosing touch with my family. it will still be hard, there is no question about that.

we are almost finished packing... we leave tmw, and have a 24 hour trip with a 3 month old. im not terribly excited... especially with my lovely fear of flying. if anyone wants to meet us in NY email me, we can say goodbye! ill post at least once more before i leave...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


the process of making aliyah is nothing like moving to any other country. there is, of course, the fact that this is the holy land, and all the good and bad that goes along with that. but even more than the culture shock is the general process.

when we moved yehi to the us it was a crazy mass of paperwork. it took us two years and thousands of dollars... not to mention the paperwork, the being interviewed (both before he got here and after) and the questioning of our relationship and the reasons for his move. at every turn we were questioned and doubted. it was worth it, but it wasnt easy by any means... and we had an "easier" time because we were engaged, had been together for a while, and had met in person the first time.

so far, to move to israel, we have paid $150 (not counting our shipping, just for paper processing), filled out paperwork and had one meeting. the israeli government is giving us something like $9000 over the next year as adjustment help (our sal klita), plus free ulpan, a free flight for the three of us (which would have cost us close to $3000) plus much more. its been a blessing, even when the beauracracy has been annoying.

so why do i bring this up? ive been hearing a lot recently from people who are israeli born, or have israeli born parents, who live outside of israel complaining about not being able to get full benefits, and its driving me crazy! israel encourages people to move, which is amazing.. and its a bonus, not a right that the government and nbn help out. if there were not bonus rights, people should still want to make aliyah... and if they are only making aliyah for the money and benefits, then chances are they will be moving out of israel rather quickly. i am all for the benefits... but what is the message that is being sent? its the same way that illegal immigrants to the US bother me... every government has the right to make rules about who is a citizen, and no one can expect to just move to another country, get money/free health care/unemployment. i am thankful that we will get help, but we are not moving for the benefits.... it is so much more

Monday, August 10, 2009

one week left

one week left. crazy! we have our suitcases almost all packed (or they are full i should say), but there is still so much left over. its so hard to decide what is important to bring, and what we should just cut our losses on and buy later. my dear husband hates letting any item of clothing go, even when he got it, lets say, at his youngest brothers bar-mitzvah (and said brother is now starting an officers course in the army....).

still, i think we are in an ok place. we are mostly packed, i am stocked up on books, my stuff is mostly cleaned out... and i have one more week to tie things together. maya has been great, sleeping in the mornings and letting me work and clean. i am kind of sad that moving across the world will most likely mess up her time zones, and i will lose the blissful 5-7 hours of sleep ive been getting straight a night.

things are falling into place on the israel side too. we have a small house rented, which will be cleared out and inspected by my mother-in-law this week. we have a space for maya in a daycare, starting whenever we want in september (since its run by his aunt its a little more flexible... and gives me the option of leaving her just a couple hours to start, so we can both get used to the seperation). some friends of mine are even going to be in israel then, so i can have a hopefully easier transition... and then the holidays start not too long after that. it will be my first yom kippur in israel, and my first time building our own sukkah!

the anxiety over the flight is still there... my fear of flying, which i thought i had mostly overcome, has come back at the thought of traveling with a baby. i will NOT let my fears affect her, or our trip. i am actually excited about the actual NBN flight, and being on it with so many olim who are going through the same process... its a great idea. one week left in the states!

Monday, August 3, 2009

14 days and counting....

two weeks until our aliyah flight....crazy. we packed this last weekend, and have sofar packed 5 suitcases. in a fit on genius, NBN allows us 6 suitcases of 70 pounds each.... of course our flight TO NY allows us 2 free checked suitcases, $30 for 2 more, and $75 for 2 on top of that.... all limited at 50 pounds each of course, unless we want to pay additional overweight fees.... oh the joy.

so it looks like we will have 6 suitcases to check, 2 carryon suitcases, one backpack/diaper bag, a stroller and a car seat... oh this trip should be fun. once we get to check in in NY it wont be so bad... but its going to be quite a haul. it still doesnt feel real that we are doing this... in the next two weeks i have to finish sorting and throwing everything out here, finish packing that last suitcase (along with last min shopping), say goodbye to everyone... thats going to be the hardest by far.

there is another NBN flight landing this week... and Yehi is sad because apparently Bibi Netanyahu is speaking.... which means he wont be speaking at ours most likely... Bibi is of course Yehis idol, so hes sad about this! i keep telling him we will get someone interesting too, but he would always rather see Bibi. oh well. as of now we have about 22 people coming to see us at our arrival ceremony... i couldnt believe that they are all getting up that early (including one of Yehis grandmothers!). its prob hard to believe that they get to see him "make aliyah" considering some of them did it themselves... and he was born and raised in israel. im happy they are making the effort... and itll be nice to have the support!

Friday, July 31, 2009


recently i have been worried about this whole aliyah thing. moving halfway around the world, as far away from my parents and family as one can get... well the guilt is pretty strong. i dont like the fact that I am taking a granddaughter away from my parents (although we will skype as often as possible), and i dont like not being able to share to day to day celebrations and milestones with them. i was worried that when the plane lands in israel i would feel none of the joy that comes with being there. maybe i would be the only person on the plane crying because i wasnt sure i was doing the right thing.

but i think i am doing the right thing. i was watching NBN videos yesterday, and that spark of joy came back watching people enjoy their aliyah. i know what this means. when i was studying in israel, even though it was hard, i loved that being jewish could just be a part of who i was. i didnt have to fight over holiday vacations, kosher food, meetings that run into shabbat... it just was, whether i needed it or not. i am now looking forward to the move again. i know that the pain of leaving my family is there, and its important. but we can do this... and we should be doing this. for now it is what is right for my new little family. and the joy of transportation today means we can visit my family more often...

now if only we didnt have to fly to get there. i hate flying!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

three weeks and counting

back in January I had contacted some english speaking schools in Israel, just to see what the job situation was like. last week i got an email from one of them asking for a LATIN teacher come january! Not what I wanted to be teaching (I would love to get back to history), but it would be a foot in the door. its only part time, which could be good also. the downside is that it is a pretty far commute from KG, but it is on the train line. anyways, they want me to call them when i land, and set up a meeting. not too bad! even if it doesnt work out, its nice to know that there are opportunities out there.

in other news... three weeks until the move. we have one suitcase packed, only a couple more to go. its hard to believe ints actually getting closer. my parents left to meet my brother in europe today, and it was hard to see them go. we will get to see them before we go, but it was hard knowing that we only have a couple days left. of everything, leaving my family is by FAR the hardest part of moving internationally. if only our families werent on exact opposite parts of the world... at least in this day and age it is easier to stay in contact. still, its not the same as seeing the baby grow up in front of your eyes.

so, three weeks left, just wrapping everything up as best as possible... and hoping that everyting goes as smoothly as possible between now and then.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

apartments and other thoughts

well, first off, Maya has her American passport! That means we are totally ready to travel. All the forms are turned in to NBN, and we seem to be mostly set. Now its just a matter of cleaning and packing and getting the last minute stuff organized... but with a month to go I dont feel so bad.

It also appears that we have a place to rent when we land. This was one thing I was really worried about. it was important to me to be able to have our own place to crash, and to begin to set up, when we arrived. i know that mentally, being able to organize and set up a house will help me get through those first couple days. its a matter of being able to call a place your own. with the baby also, it will be good to start getting her used to new place from day 1.

im not assuming this will be easy in any way. the hardest thing by far is leaving my family. when Yehi and I got married we knew that we would have to choose countries to be near family... and that either way one side would be hurt. We thought we would be staying in the US longer, but the general circumstances led us to decide that now was a better time to move. Part of me is so excited about this move... I have always wanted to live abroad and experience other cultures, and I am so thankful to be able to do that.

On the other hand... we have a new daughter. I want her to get the kind of education and childhood that BOTH israel and america have to offer. i want my parents, my sibling, my grandparents to be able to see her grow and change. it is obviously much easier now, with programs like skype, than it was 100, 50 or even 10 years ago... but its still not the same. I dont have a solution to the problem, but I know there will be a lot of traveling back and forth. I dont know if its really any different from living on opposite coasts of the US (just a longer plane flight), but since both yehi and I grew up right near our whole family, it will be hard. any thoughts would be appriciated.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Well, as of Yesterday, the baby is official a dual citizen! we received her israeli passport in the mail, along with my aliyah visa. we seem to have conquered the first step of bureaucracy! (with many more to come...) Im still getting used to have a new baby, and it amazes me that she has a passport already... its like it makes it more real in some round about way. we are still waiting for her american passports, and i hope they arrive soon.

what this all means is that we have all the forms for our aliyah (cept babys american passport, but that we dont need until the actual flight) and will have them all turned in and signed off on by the end of the week! im nervous and scared and excited about the move... but its hard to believe its real. I have always wanted to live in another country... but I'm still not sure how I feel about the long term. Either way, it is too early to discuss that now... so here is to the next year... and all the good it will bring (bh)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

5 weeks

well, five weeks until the aliyah date. a lot to get done before then, but I am feeling ok with where we are right now. My inlaws have been looking for an apartment for us in the city they live in. Its been quite an experience. for some reason israelis count "room" numbers as all rooms, and not just bedrooms... so what would be a studio apartment here in the US is a 1 room apartment in israel. its totally thrown me off more than once. weve had a couple places look good, only to find out they were talking to multiple renters at once, all of whom were willing to rent longer than we are.

since this whole living in Israel thing will be new to me, we dont want to make a contract for longer than a year. who knows where we will want to be after this year? where will we be working? what about how we fit in (religiously, age wise, friend wise)? So we keep getting beat out of renting by native Israelis who commit to three+ years. the good news is that I think we finally found a place... a three bedroom (counting american style, 4 room israeli style) house, about 10-15 mins walking from both his parents and his aunt who will be our daycare. its also about that same amount from the tachana merkazit (central bus station) and the center of town. now i just hope it works out!

we are still waiting on my visa and the babys passports... hopefully by the end of this week. we have done a stock up run for deoderant, listerine, english books, etc... all the important things. i will try to post later about some of the emotions i am feeling... but for now baby is calling!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

nbn flights

the first aliyah flight of the summer landed in israel yesterday, and they showed a live feed on the NBN website. I watched the replay of it, and it was great to see. the oldest oleh was 83, and the youngest was 7 weeks. i cant imagine moving with a baby Mayas age. the paperwork they must have had to push to get everything organized in time! we had been debating if we should go on an all olim flight, or a normal flight... and i think we want to take the olim flight. its a once in a lifetime experience... and we can get all of our paperwork done in the airport.

If you want to attend a welcome ceremony go to this link and if you want to watch, go here There are also pictures up on the NBN website if you want to check them out.

we are still waiting for the passports and visas to come in, and beginning the countdown. we got an email saying our lift will be in israel by the first week of august. it still seems crazy that we are moving halfway around the world in a month and a half... but also exciting.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

flight approval

well, we got an email saying that we have been approved for an NBN flight in August, all 3 of us! we got a specific date, but are still considering the flight after. its great to hear that all three of us have been approved, pending on my visa and Maya's passports. such a big step in the right direction.

my inlaws (and other family) have been looking for an apartment for us. once again, this process is so much easier with an israeli husband, and family there to help. im a little nervous getting a place without having seen it, but it is only renting. we dont need much space for now, but we would like it to be within walking distance of his family, for shabbat.

we have already signed Maya up for daycare, run by his aunt, starting in september or october. I hope to start ulpan then, which will last most of the day. things are moving, but its still kinda crazy to me that we will be there in less than two months.... and things are falling into place, slowly..

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

visas and passports

we have been waiting for Maya's birth certificate, so we could apply for her passports, it took a month, but they finally came in. so we headed up to the israeli consulate in the city to get her passport paperwork in, and to get my aliyah visa. of course nothing is ever as simple as it seems. we had to, in order, go to the Jewish Agency to get signed paperwork, then to the state of california building to get her birth certificated appostilled, then to the Israeli consulate. of course the israeli consulate closes at 1pm, and we arent THAT close to city... so it required two days of running around.

the first issue was my name, which seems to be consistently spelled wrong, no matter how many times we correct the paperwork. then we headed to the consulate... which is always an experience in itself. the passport paperwork was easy... our passports, pictures of her (which took forever to get) and the paperwork... and shes on her way to being registered as an Israeli! then my paperwork...

they had asked for three copies of everything... which i had organized into three packets. when I handed it to the woman she yelled at me for not having it organized right... she handed it back and made me separate it out into the three copies of every paper with each other... when i handed it back she complained again, then resorted it into the way I had originally. fun. she kept saying she shouldnt be doing this... luckily y was there to back me up and complain right back.

all in all they say we should get both my visa and her passport in three weeks. we also sent in the paperwork for her american passport, which should be in in three weeks. so shell be an international citizen, and we will be ready for our aliyah. we are debating on flight dates, but sometime mid august. step by step

Thursday, June 11, 2009

shipping off

well, for better or worse a large chunk of our worldly possessions were packed up yesterday to begin their ~2 month journey to Israel. we only rented one lift, so we were hard pressed to make some tough decisions on what we really wanted/needed to bring with us. I ended up with only 7 boxes of books...

the whole experience was a little crazy. i guess we are pretty organized, because for the most part we had already packed up our belongings. it was important to me to know where everything was, and thats why i wanted to do it ourselves. the moving company came, and moved all of our boxes 9and our mattress) into a box. we came pretty close to fitting everything, but ended up having to leave 3 kitchen boxes and a set of dishes behind. not too bad for packing up my whole life. There are other things we could have left, but i guess we will see what we really need once we get there.

now, in all honesty we have been living without most of this stuff for over a year (or more in some cases). i guess that means that most of it is not really 'needed',but a lot of it I was just not willing to let go...hence the 7 boxes of books (and believe me, thats a LOT less than I started with). i know you can get everything in israel(or have someone bring it in), but its not always the same.

so thats a major step down. this week we hope to get babys birth certificate so we can get her passports, and get to the next major step... our official flight date. for now everything is unofficial, and i would like to get things solidified a little... never a dull moment here...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

israel in the gardens

every year in SF, the jewish groups put on "Israel in the Gardens". its a pretty impressive grouping of all the different jewish and pro-israel groups, plus music, food and a shuk. its usually a lot of fun, and I always run into a ton of people from my past. we had been debating on if we should this year or not, being that the baby is all of two weeks old. we got an email a couple weeks ago saying they were having a little gathering for all new olim, so we decided to head up there and meet some others.

i dont know why the Jewish Agency doesnt do more meet and greets with olim. it would be nice to get know others from this area who are doing the same trip, and others who might be on our flight, or moving to a similar area (and im sure so many of them are moving to the south...). about 15 olim showed up, and I knew one family... but sadly there wasnt much time to talk with the others. we went up on the main stage and were introduced, and got to shake hands with the consul general of the pacific northwest. all very exciting. i had a moment of "what in the world are we doing with an infant???"... but im sure ill have more of those moments to come.

aliyah feels so distant that when I am confronted with it, I still feel shocked. I have always been a traveler, and i am excited to be going to live abroad. i still worry about my family, and being so far from them, and I am sure I always will. at least in this day and age travel is easier, plus skype and email and everything else... its not the same, but its a whole lot better than 100 years ago. for now we are taking each day at a time.

my inlaws are coming into town next week, and we should be sending out our shipping container by the end of the month... step by step we go

Sunday, May 31, 2009

a new life

I knew going into it that this summer would be crazy... here it is the last day of may, and im already wondering how i was crazy enough to do this. baby has been great... overall she is quiet and absolutely adorable. I thank gd for my parents though, who have been so supportive helping us out when i just need a break or a nap. my inlaws come in two weeks, with my sister in law, and that will be interesting. just adding a whole other level to the mix. everyone has been so excited for the babys arrival, its still a shock to me.

on an aliyah level... next weekend is Israel in the Gardens, the yearly Israel celebration in the area. The Jewish Agency is holding a get together for all the new olim coming from here. i want to go to see who else is going, maybe make some connections... but i worry about taking a 2 week old to such a massive event. at least it would be outside, so i can cover her and hope people leave her alone. i would like to feel like i am getting somewhere with this aliyah thing, and meeting others would help. i wonder how many there are?

we are waiting on the babys birth certificate and ssn to go forward with her application. at least her name and birthday are in the system now, so thats a start. we also have to go take passport photos for her... which should be interesting trying to get a good shot with her eyes open. any advice?

Monday, May 25, 2009

baby is here!

B"h.  The baby was born Friday afternoon, and is healthy and beautiful.  I told Y that she would come either on Yom Yerushalim or Shavuot... and she did! (the first of course...).  A true israeli at heart.  All is well, though tiring.  On the aliyah front we now have to get her a passport (both israeli and american) and get her registered with NBN and the Jewish Agency.  I think Ill wait a couple days, and at least try to get a little sleep before running around from office to office.  we are so thankful she is here and healthy

Thursday, May 21, 2009


for better or worse, marrying an israeli means learning from the very beginning the quirks and cultural differences between americans and israelis.  and this difference in only magnified when family and friends visit the US... especially if it is for the first time.  in the last month we have had 7 people stay by us, and 3 more will be coming after baby.  its been an interesting preparation for aliyah.

what i have discovered is that things i can laugh off in israel bother me here in the states.  For instance, israelis HATE to plan in advance.  out of the three groups that have come to visit only ONE did not change their plane flights, and this was a first for them too.  in Israel this doesnt bother me so much... because thats what everyone is doing.  here in the US, when its expected to plan dinner (not to mention its harder to find kosher food, so its needed in advance...) it drives me CRAZY when israelis push off making plans.  just decide already!  make your plans around it if you have to... but this seems to be impossible for a large percentage of Israelis.

there are many other things, but some I am hoping are just personality traits of these specific people.  at least its been a good practice with getting used to israelis 24/7...  its def something that takes time to get used to.  still, its fun in the end, once i learn to relax and let some of my 'american ways' go...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

slowly slowly...

well, some good news at least!  we got a call from the Jewish agency, and I have been approved for my aliyah visa!  that means I can get approved for an NBN flight...  the only problem is, in typical bureaucratic fashion, only I got approved so far.  Y and the baby cant be approved until the baby is born and we can prove that with a birth certificate and an israeli passport.  that would be great, but that could be weeks from now, and they wont guarantee that either will be able to get on the NBN flight with me.  the joy.

so we are one step closer, two steps back.  i have to go up to the city to get my visa and turn it in to NBN, and hope they will at least give us spots for now.  they Jewish agency keeps telling me "yehieh beseder" (it will all be ok)... but i havent quite gotten to that point yet.  its almost as if i want this baby to come now, just to give us that extra time to get the paperwork organized!  but things will happen when they happen.

My brother-in-laws are in town from israel, with their girls, and so im getting a dose of israel and hebrew anyways.... its been interesting!  

Friday, May 8, 2009

the process

honestly, if I wasn't married to an Israeli, I have no idea if I would ever figure this whole Aliyah system out.  Every time I think I understand something, it changes all its rules on me!  Last night we went to a preview night, which was supposed to help people moving to Israel understand all the different systems.  There was a representative from Maccabi healthcare, from a real estate company, from a business start up company, a moving company and from the banks.  I was hoping for some insight, explained in "American" about the whole process.... but yea right.

The meccabi lady was fine, explaining how the healthcare system works.  we are not using maccabi (my husband likes his clalit), but still, it was interesting to hear.  And I never realized that Israeli healthcare has only been government run since 1995.  it didnt explain the whole system, but again, thats what being married to an Israeli is for.

after the healthcare was the business guy.  spent half an hour talking about the GDP, gnp and who knows what else of Israel.  and what to do if I want to start a high tech company through his business.  not particularly helpful, though my MIL is thinking about opening up a bakery, and they did have some connections for other small businesses.

then comes real estate.  slightly helpful, but again, mostly about this one guys particular business and how we should all use him to move to Efrat.  Sorry, Im not moving to Efrat.  And even though he did go over some basics about renting and buying, it would not have made much sense if my Israeli husband had not gone over all the information with me again....

we did not stay for the shipping or the banks, since we already have our shipping ordered, and I was way too tired to stay for the banks.  Once again I will just have to trust the Israeli in helping me navigate the system.  It was an interesting night, but I am still baffled at how anyone figures this out by themselves...  or maybe they all go just hoping it will turn out allright?