For as far back as I can remember, I have always had a "thing" for language. Whether it was learning the history of the English language or teaching myself Russian (which I can still read and write but speak very little due to lack of use for 25+ years!), teaching myself Spanish (a language in which I can still carry on a converation) or just learning the sources of various words in different languages.
However, it was always clear to me that Hebrew would be the most important language to concentrate on if I had planned to make Aliya. For years prior to Aliya, I made it a priority to read in Ivrit, speak as much as possible in Ivrit and to continue to learn new words, phrases and idioms. As we began our preparations years ago for Aliya, we were told time and again that a good working knowledge of Ivrit would be one of the greatest assets that we would bring with us.
I could not agree more with this last statement! Because I have worked at it, and because I made it a priority, I have been able to (Baruch Hashem) find my Klitah (absorption) into Israeli society that much easier and find that it opens some doors to me as well. I do not say this to say how great I am because I speak well...I say this to all those who are even remotely considering Aliya! Today, not tomorrow, you should begin to work on your Ivrit. It may be as simple as making a goal of learning a new word a day...a new phrase...making a goal to read an article in a newspaper...anything that will get you closer to your goal of fluency in Ivrit (or at least a good command of the language). Because if your boxes are packed well, or if you have all your items organized well for the movers,or if you write a blog (perish the thought!) all of that will not mean a lot in the grand scheme as being able to navigate all of the various steps (finding a job--Hebrew interviews; dealing with phone, electric, gas companies--in Ivrit, etc, etc. It is vital and I personally encourage it in anyone thinking of Aliya to get started right away! (It wouldn't hurt everyone to learn Ivrit better even if not planning Aliya!)
What made me think of this today? Last night, for the first time since we made Aliya, I dreamt in Hebrew. I vividly recall the dream and that I was discussing an issue with someone in Yerushalayim. I was actually happy to realize this when I woke up. I know that I have heard from many people (Anglos) who have made Aliya that this happens to them as well, but it was nice to experience it as well.
I am also veyy happy that Andy has begun to learn in an Ulpan last week. She placed in Level 5 of 6 levels, so I was REALLY happy to see that. Guess I am going to have to start posting in Ivrit soon!
I am looking forward to another beautiful Shabbat, beginning in a few hours. I still get a little kick out of the fact that Shabbat begins at 4:20 this week and it is HOT outside.