Happy Aliyah Day – Celebrating Coming Home

Happy Aliyah Day – Celebrating Coming Home

HAPPY ALIYAH DAY!!! Yes, Israel has a day on which it celebrates those who have made aliyah (including over 15,000 this year alone), and those who plan to make aliyah as well! How did aliyah change your life? Well, for me, the answer is simple. I was waiting.

All the time before I got here, I was waiting. I began planning for my aliyah when I was 13 years old, and no, I didn’t really have a clue. But it was something I needed, to the depths of my soul. And the minute I landed, knowing that for the first time in my life, I didn’t have to leave Israel, my life changed. I felt…home. Really, that simple.

I Came Home…
Aliyah Day Photo Credit: Ministry of Absorption

Every person I saw was part of the picture; every hill was mine. I still feel that way, 27 years later. It finally happened – I’m not a “new immigrant” anymore. When you get to be a certain age, you realize that your internal clock moves way more slowly than the time that hangs on the wall. To others, I appear much older than I feel. I’m a grandmother (to 8 amazing grandchildren!!!). I’m a mother (to five of the most amazing people in the world, three of whom married three of the most amazing people in the world too!).

Honestly, there isn’t a day that goes by – really – that I don’t look out and marvel. The signs are all in Hebrew here! Really! Isn’t that wonderful? I talk to people on the streets (well, I did before corona and I hope to again). And today is my day because aliyah is something to be cherished and celebrated. Whatever challenges you face – celebrate that you are here in Israel…or, if you haven’t come yet, celebrate the decision. Cultivate the yearning. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you not to come. The minute I walked into the Israeli sunshine, surrounded by 9 suitcases, 6 carry-ons, a stroller, a car seat, two little boys, one little girl, and my husband, I knew…

Israel is my Home

More, Israel is my heart. It has helped me shape who my children are, who my grandchildren will be. Mazel tov to my husband and me, to my three who came with us and my two who were born here. Mazel tov to all of you who have already taken that flight…and to those who haven’t yet. We are waiting for you. Israel is always waiting! The first time I came, I was 16 years old. As the plane took off to return to the US, I sobbed. I cried most of the plane ride back and when my parents saw me walk out at JFK, I ran to my mother and cried even harder. In a very concerned voice, my mother asked a friend who was walking with me, “what happened???” She answered, “she didn’t want to leave.”

Many, many years later, I was staying with my husband for a weekend getaway at a hotel in Jerusalem. I excused myself and went to the bathroom and there saw three teenage girls sitting just outside crying. “What happened?” I asked them. And one answered that they were leaving Israel the next day. God offers such amazing opportunities, I thought to myself. I looked at them and told them about the 16 year old who had landed in JFK and then I told them…”I want to tell you something that nobody told me. If they had, maybe I wouldn’t have cried so hard. Israel isn’t going anywhere. It’s going to be fine and it’s going to be waiting for you.”

Happy Aliyah Day!

So, on this day when we in Israel celebrate our aliyah, I want to tell you if you aren’t here, don’t worry. We aren’t going anywhere…and we are waiting for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *