I think that since I began to write this blog a year and a half ago, I have never gone this long without posting. Even on days that were somewhat slow, I found something to write about and share with the readership.
However, over the past few weeks, life has gotten SO busy (B"H) that it made my posting an almost impossible task. Nearly every day, I said to myself that I MUST sit down and write as I have so much to write about! But now that the Chagim are WEEKS behind us and Chanuka is nearly upon us, I feel a sense of emptiness in not having posted for so long. At the same time, it feels wrong to try and recapture all of the events and feelings of the past two months.
So, realizing that writing on occasion is not in concert with keeping up a blog, I have decided (regrettably) to end this forum...at least for now. I do hope one day to pick it up again, but for the foreseeable future, I need to "officially" put this on the back burner.
Which brings me to a somewhat sobering thought...Since the day I began this blog until today, there have been over 20,000 hits on the blog (including the blogspot and Facebook). It is a number I NEVER could have foreseen nor did I ever think so many would follow up tale of Aliya. But, at the same time, I am so gratified by the amount of people who took the time to comment, both on line and in person, about what they were reading here.
The tale began in April 2, 2009 and today is November 17, 2010. I have tried to give you, the reader a sense of a few issues: What it is like to go through the process of making Aliya--the good, the bad and the ugly--along with the feelings of what it is like to actually LIVE in Israel. You have shared with me as we packed and packed and as we lived through BL and AL (Before Lift and After Lift). We have shared very scary moments together, such as my father (he should live and be well!) being gravely ill only days before our Aliya. We have shared the utter elation of our becoming Israeli citizens and realizing a lifelong dream. We have shared the frustration of dealing with a few situations and the pleasant surprise of not having too many of those! We have shared our "LAST" of many things in Chicago and our "FIRST" of many in Israel. All along, the response I received was overwhelmingly positive.
But now the time has come to put the blog aside and to continue to deal with day-to-day life here in Israel. I honestly hope that I have been able to give some encouragement to those of you who are thinking about making this monumental move...because it can indeed be done. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog and, as I say, do hope I will return to it one day.
A few thank you's are in order: First and foremost to Hashem for enabling and allowing us to make the move of our lives. We feel His presence in our lives on a daily basis and could not be more grateful for what He has bestowed upon us. We are truly blessed!
To my wife, Andy, and our three beautiful daughters, Daniella, Ayelet and Eliana...thank you for putting up with me talking incessantly about Aliya (including pulling out the map of Israel EVERY Friday night!) and then deciding to join me on this adventure. You have ALL bli ayin hara done so well and I am thrilled to look at the growth of our family in Israel!
To my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews (grand-nephew!) and all my family whom we left behind, thank you for your love, support and joining us in making the effort to stay in touch and to remain the loving family that we have always been.
Thank you to the Chicago community in general and the members of KJBS in particular for their continued long-distance support and staying in touch over time. While we indeed live 7000 miles away, the distance does not diminish the feelings I have for the community that I was a part of for nearly 50 years.
And finally, to you, my faithful readers, I want to thank you again for joining me on this journey. I have SO enjoyed taking you with me and invite you to stay in touch via email, phone or personal visits in Israel. Hopefully, one day, those of you reading this outside of Israel will be able to identify in some small measure with what WE went through, as you, too, make that life-changing decision to make Aliya.
May Hashem shower His blessings upon all of you and may we ALL join in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh to welcome the coming of Mashiach and the ultimate redemption in our times, AMEN!
Rabbi Zev M Shandalov