Yom chamishi, 7 Elul 5769.
Almost twenty years ago, I fell head over heels in love with Israel -- and I spent the next decade and a half driving my husband crazy. When he was finally crazy enough, he brought me here to live.
The Dearly Beloved has always liked this picture. I had just figured out how to ask for something -- the ancient asimonim, probably -- and I felt like I could actually live in this exotic place. It was the success that made the smile; but to him, it was the face of somebody who had found her makom.
During the years between that first visit to Israel and finally making aliyah, many of my friendships were with people who also longed for a home in Eretz Yisrael.
Of course -- how else could it be? Who else could understand the longing, the fits of tears brought on by "HaTikvah," the daily fascination with an obscure internet radio station broadcasting illegally from a ship off the Mediterranean coast?
Rebbetzin Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler has not yet been permitted to fulfill this dream for herself. But during the several years that she has nurtured "her baby," the Baltimore Chug Aliyah, she has shepherded a significant number of us from "our father's home" to the land that Hashem showed to the Jewish people and gave to them as an inheritance. She set up meetings for us with Nefesh B'Nefesh representatives, as well as with people who taught us about banking and shipping and every other aspect of surviving in our future new home. For some of us, she made the dream seem possible. For others, she kept the dream alive, when "reality" would have crushed it.
Until Hashem allows Rivkah to come home, she blogs her love of the land, her desire to walk among the people as a citizen, her angst at being "outside the candy store, looking in." And she and her dear husband, Rabbi Elan Adler, keep bringing speakers to Baltimore to remind every Jew that he is a potential oleh, that his land is calling him home. And sometimes she visits us here in Israel, and reminds us of what the fever to be here felt like.
Bat Aliyah. As she says, "On September 11, 2001, I had an epiphany and realized that it was time to come Home."
I wish that every Jew in Chutz l'Aretz could want Aliyah the way this beautiful and precious soul does. She is intelligent, funny, erudite. Everyone who reads of her love for Israel and for the Jewish people wants to be part of that love affair.
If you are a blogger, and have not yet decided whom to nominate for the opportunity to fly aboard a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight to interview incoming olim, please consider my dear friend, Bat Aliyah.
Asimonim: tokens used to operate Israeli payphones -- now obsolete
Makom: place (here, "the place one belongs")
HaTikvah: the Israeli national anthem
Chug: club or organization
Oleh: immigrant to Israel
Bat Aliyah: Daughter of Aliyah -- one who "is a child of" the mitzvah of settling the land of Israel
Chutz l'Aretz: anywhere outside the land of Israel