Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The eagle has landed, bringing more of my brothers Home.

Yom shlishi, 15 Tamuz 5769.

Our friend Yarden has written another fine and heartfelt post on his blog, Crossing the Yarden.  He gave me the honor of agreeing to be a guest here.  If you didn't get to farewell the new olim on the North American side of the world, or greet them on the Israeli side, you can still catch a little of the Nefesh B'Nefesh aliyah fever by watching the recording at http://www.nbn.org.il/live/.

Dear Eric and Laurie,

So now you know.

No matter how much I try and explain what it is like emotionally for
those of us who have made aliyah, it is a hopeless task. In the end,
it is only those who step off the plane with an “Oleh” sticker on
their shirt and a exhausted but happy smile on their faces that can
ever truly comprehend the Aliyah experience.

You have left your homes, your jobs, your friends, and your family
for….. Well that’s just it. You know in full detail what you have left
but you cannot have anything more than a vague concept of what you are
getting. You have a vision and have followed your dream, but tomorrow
you open your eyes and see the reality.

What are these details? What will your life be like?

You will marvel that the Kotel, the holiest site in Judaism for
thousands of years is just a short car ride away. You will be
frustrated when you try and translate “taco shells” into Hebrew at the
supermarket. You will be filled with pride when your children sing
Hatikva on Yom Hatzmaut, and will be at a loss when you need to get
your car through the annual inspection process. Your children will
delight in racing around a kosher food court in a mall, and you will
wonder how on Earth everyone you know lives in “minus.”

You will scream, and cry, and grasp each other when you hear the
terrible news that is a tragic part of life here. You will be filled
with rage from top to bottom when you watch Israel’s enemies act like
human beings on television. And you will be filled with an almost
inexplicable joy every time you see a young Israeli man or woman
wearing the green of the Israeli Defense Forces.

You will have fierce arguments with friends and neighbors over
anything and everything in the news. And you will end up feeling
closer to them than friends and neighbors can ever feel. You will
laugh, cry, joke, and lean on them because that’s how Israelis get
through things, be they wonderful or terrible.

Many leaders of the world, in a sincere but naïve attempt to create
“peace,” say Jewish settlement in the heartland of Israel is not
legitimate. They will look at you and your children and label you
“obstacles to peace.” The “experts” on the Sunday news shows will try
and explain how your desire to live over the “Green Line” is the moral
equivalent of the desire of others to do you harm.
But even Presidents and experts are without a clue when it comes to
the desire of Jews to return to the  places that our ancestors were
forced out of thousand of years ago.

What you did today was not just a move. Your decision to build a home
and a life for you and your children and one day grandchildren is a
message that is heard around the world. The ongoing return of the
Jewish people to the Jewish national home cannot be stopped. And you
and your children are a part of this amazing revolution.

And maybe four years from now, you will be working in front of a
computer one morning. You will have forgotten the joy and exhaustion
of your aliyah day and be more preoccupied with paying the mortgage
and deciding what to make for dinner. Then you will take a break and
watch a live arrival ceremony at Ben Gurian airport, and the tears
will roll as you watch a few hundred more happy and clueless new
immigrants walk off a plane and onto the beautiful roller coaster that
is life in the nation of Israel.

To Eric, Laurie, and all the other Olim,

You made it. Welcome home.

Yarden Frankl, Neve Daniel, Israel

And if you still have room for a bit more vicarious aliyah, check out my friend Romi Sussman's blog post for today at Sussmans b'Aretz.  And for fans of the book, MOVING UP: An Aliyah Journal, word has it that Laura Ben David will be greeting TWO of her sisters on this flight with a very special sign.
Bli ayin hara, puh-puh-puh.  Kein yirbu.

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