As of today, it is 95 days (B'ezrat Hashem) until we make Aliyah. While I have thought for a LONG time about writing a blog about this adventure/journey, I am finally sitting down to do so! I do not know how frequently I will write, but I do hope to share with all of you what we are going through to provide a window into the world of "making aliya."
The truth is that this journey began 28 years ago when we first got married. (Don't worry, I am not about to write a 28 year history!) But it is only over the past three years that the IDEA started to take shape. It was at that time that we decided on making Aliya, and that we would make our home in the Mitzpe Nevo neighborhood of Maale Adumim.
Over the past number of months, I have been asked hundreds (literally) of times the same three-four questions, so let me answer them here:
1) How did you pick Maale Adumim?
Over the last many years, I have had the zechut of being in Israel dozens of times. The vast majority of those visits were taking groups around Israel. Each time I would visit another community, I asked myself if it would be a place in which I would like to settle. Every single visit ended in the same conclusion...not here. But then we got to Maale Adumim. I can honestly say that it was love at first sight! NO community is perfect, but I did find (WE did find) most of what we were looking for! For example, the physical beauty of the location; the proximity to Yerushalayim without the prices of Yerushalayim; the school that my youngest daughter, Eliana, will attend (Zvia) has an outstanding reputation; the presence of SO many Talmidei Chachamim and Yeshivat Birkat Moshe; and finally the Hashkafa of those who live in this particular area.
2) What will you be doing there?
Your guess is as good as mine. Ok, so I am only partly joking here! While this is hardly the best time to be looking for a job, I have been doing so diligently and will continue to do so. There may be something brewing in the area of education, but I will save that information for a later date.
3) Have you sold your house yet?
NO! And for all of you reading this, the house is still available!! We recently lowered our price and if you want the info (either for yourselves or for someone else) please email me, and I will be more than happy to send you the info!
4) Will your house in Israel be ready on time?
I certainly hope so...it DOES seem fairly likely that it will be barring any significant issues.
5) When are you (finally) leaving?
While we await final confirmation, it is with 99% accuracy that I can say we will be leaving Chicago, IYH, on July 5th (Sunday) and heading to New York. Then, on July 6th, we will leave NY on a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight to arrive IYH in Israel (as Israeli citizens for the first time!!) on July 7th.
The main focus (focii) now? Packing up the house, sorting out what we need, what we want and what we will donate. Timing all of this work/packing to be ready for the people to come to our home on June 8th to pack our lift. We are also working diligently on getting the word out to try to sell our house. We still have paperwork to fill out, as well. While we (I) took care of all the NBN and Jewish Agency paperwork a long time ago, I now have to fill out all the paperwork to apply for VISAS for entry to Israel as Olim Chadashim. (One other bit of paperwork to fill out was for a grant from the Cyrus Foundation. Anyone reading this, who is planning on making Aliya and sending a lift...contact me if you do not know what this is!)
It is so hard to believe that we are at this stage...that the time until Aliya is being counted in terms of WEEKS and not months or years. There will be SO much I will miss and so much that I will not miss...but more on that at a later date.
For now, this is for starters. I do not know how often I will write, nor do I know if I will manage to do this long-term. Feel free to send in your comments and ask all the questions you want to.
Over the years, as I have taken trips to Israel with groups (see earlier), I have always written about the experience along the way to "take you along with me." I invite you to join me on this "trip" as well...as we begin to make our dream come true!