Make Aliyah!

(An adorable olah chadasha-- new immigrant-- from my Nefesh b'Nefesh flight)

If you really want to be Israeli, make aliyah! Aside from a mountain of paperwork, immigrating to Israel is not hard at all. The Israeli government paid for my plane flight and provided some money to support me for my first year here, and I became an Israeli citizen literally minutes after touching town on Israeli soil (well, asphalt. Kissing the dirt doesn't quite have the same power when it's a runway in Ben Gurion airport). The wonderful organization Nefesh b'Nefesh supported me in every possible way, from a group flight to a list serve full of people willing to explain to me what kinds of catfood are available in Israel.

Still, making aliyah is just the start of becoming Israeli. I want to understand enough Israeli cultural references that I can make it above 1,000 shekels on the game show Monit HaKesef ("The Taxi of Money." It's fabulous. I'll post about it some other time). I want to have close friends that I only speak with in Hebrew. I want my future children to grow up in a home that reflects not only my American heritage and my husband's Polish ancestry but also Morrocan cooking and Mizrachi music and... well, maybe not Mizrachi music. I can't bring myself to go much more Mizrachi than Boaz Sharabi. I doubt my husband and I will ever drive our Hyundai Getz down the street blasting "Ani Chai b'Seret." (Yes, I know "Ani Chai b'Seret is a pretty lame example of a Mizrachi song... as I said, we're pretty Ashkenazi.)

Anyway, that's what this blog is about: my desire for not just my identity card but my identity to become Israeli. And it's for anyone who wants to bring a bit more Israeli-ness into their lives. I've actually been on this quest since long before I actually made aliyah, and I'll continue on it long after.

It comforts me that Israel, even more than America, is a country of immigrants. Today in the supermarket I realized that my accent didn't sound that different from the accent of the old man in front of me-- who had probably lived in this country for more than 60 years. Almost everyone here has at least grandparents who speak accented Hebrew, and the effort those grandparents made to become Israeli dwarfs mine. They made the decision to speak Hebrew to each other even when it would have been so easy to make Yiddish or Polish or Farsee the language of this country. They forged this thing called "Israeli." So I think I can become part of it after all.

Shabbat shalom!


  1. I'm waiting for lesson #7: How To Raise Children In Israel
    1. Allow them to cross the street as soon as they learn how to walk.
    2. Feed them pureed vegetable soup from a baby bottle {gag}
    3. Toilet train them by simply removing the diaper and allowing them to pee all over the carpet.
    Nu, I could go on and on, but I would really like to hear your take on this!

  2. I love the post!

    but Raizy, things have changed here.
    1- Kids aren't as independent, even on yishuvim. My youngest walked home with his friends, a mile and I'm not exagerating, from pre-school before he turned 3. But my granddaughters have to be picked up by someone at least school age.
    2- Israeli babies are given "gerbers" from jars. Some still get the mush in the bottle, but not as many.
    3- That toilet training method was/is for the stone floors. People with carpets use other methods.

  3. haha... Superraizy, I love it!! But the only kids I have (right now :) are cats, who I fiercely protect from street cats. Would you like to write a guest post? I'd love to read it!

    Wow... just the fact that things have changed and were once this way is pretty significant. "the toilet training method was/is for the stone floors"-- LOL!!

  4. so, "monit hakesef" is clearly a rip off of the American show, Cash Cab. Even in English, I think I wouldn't make it that far above the equivalent of the 1000 shekel level, if that makes you feel any better...

  5. Nooo! It's a ripoff of an American show?? I thought that was the one game show that was an Israeli original! (As opposed to One versus 100, Beauty and the Geek, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and I could go on... I'm pretty sure we have Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, too.)

  6. I'm glad I found this blog! I'm thinking about making aliyah and I'm in the process of doing the application for Nefesh B'Nefesh so this blog is a great help!

  7. Im considering Making Aliyah but I hear the process can be very difficult without the proper paperwork? My Families Jewish history is mostly Oral History since records were no kept very well. Im of African Descent (Not Lemba or Falasha)as tradition tells it we left Israel for Egypt around the time of the 2nd Temples destruction where we remained until we were again exiled around the 5th century by a Roman leader. We migrated then into Niger then later to the west (North America). My family has always maintained the religion of our fathers (Keeping of Shabbat, Study of Torah keeping with the festivals and holidays) but now when the question of Aliyah is raised I wonder what will be needed in order to fullfill the dream of all jewish people to go home? any help would be appreciated.
    I can be contacted @ xislemusic@gmail.com


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