Aliyah – Everyone Has A Story

Updated! New posts added at the bottom:

I decided to celebrate our 20th aliyah anniversary by posting a roundup of aliyah stories. I did the same thing five years ago, and you can read that roundup here.

I think it is appropriate that the first person to send me a link was Batya – here with her husband for more than forty years.  Rivka explains about some of the miracles in the process of “getting to yes” – how she feels that G-d took away the obstacles to making aliyah for her.

Shimshonit shares with us about how her family would have “the Conversation” at various periods of their marriage – about when would be the right time to make aliyah, and how one dvar Torah pushed them to make their decision. Ruti Mizrachi tells her story in her usual moving way, and for another bonus gives us a rundown on what it is like three years after aliyah.

Baila tells us about how her aliyah journey took a bit of a detour down the aisle….Mrs. S. shares her story too.

Aliyah06 points out that most of us come to Israel at least partly because of the kids – but hers is a very special version. Special needs kids can get what they need in Israel too!

Dovid’s one year aliyah anniversary coincides with our 20th. He writes about how he has changed over the year. Inspiring stuff!

I hope you find these stories as moving as I did!


It’s Never Too Late….

As this heartwarming article proves, it is never too late to make aliyah. It is also not too late to send me your aliyah story. One week to go until I post my roundup! Send your stories to westbankmama at fastmail dot fm.

Don’t Forget to Send Me Your Posts

As I did five years ago, I would like to celebrate our aliyah anniversary by hosting a roundup of aliyah stories. If you haven’t sent one yet, please do. My email address is westbankmama at fastmail dot fm.

I am shooting for posting it on June 20 – 18 of Sivan (the Hebrew date of our aliyah), but please don’t wait until the last moment….

Send Me Your Aliyah Stories

Our 20th aliyah anniversary is coming up (18 Sivan) and I wanted to celebrate like I did five years ago – by posting a roundup of aliyah stories. If you have a story to tell please write a post and send me the link to westbankmama at fastmail dot fm.

Please tell your friends too – I never tire of reading other people’s inspiring experiences on their way home. To get into the mood, please look at the video below.

Don’t Forget To Send In Your Pro-Israel Posts!

Just a reminder to send me your pro-Israel posts for the roundup I am putting together. You can send them to westbankmama at fastmail dot fm.

I will be posting the roundup on Shushan Purim, which is Monday, March 1st. Please get the posts to me by Thursday afternoon, February 25th.

Anything pro-Israel is fine – even old posts. Thank you!

Links and Things

Here are some links on this very busy Tuesday afternoon. First, Dore Gold has a new internet site – an important addition to your blogroll!

A Knesset panel has approved the NGO Transparency Bill – a first step towards forcing NGO’s to be upfront about where their money is coming from. This is in response to Im Tirzu’s report about the connection between Israeli NGOs connected to the NIF and the Goldstone Report.

The Muqata has a very even-handed post about the allegations against Rabbi Moti Elon. Please follow the links he provides, especially to Takana.  Does anyone know if there is an English translation to this site? I would love to link to it. If not, perhaps I will translate parts of it – especially their reasoning behind setting up the Forum.

Pushing Back Against Anti-Israel Propaganda – A Call for Posts

Gil Troy has written a blog post which appears on the Jerusalem Post, on how we should push back against anti-Israel propaganda. It seems that March 1st-7th will be a time for a wave of anti-Israel activities on campuses in North America. He argues, rightly, that we should be planning ahead instead of reacting after the fact.

Israel Peace Week is one effort in the right direction.

I’d like to do my modest bit to help, by hosting a roundup of posts on this topic (anything pro-Israel is good). Those of you who would like to contribute please send links to posts to my email, westbankmama at fastmail dot fm.

I can’t help but notice that the starting date for this anti-Israel festival is Shushan Purim – the day that we celebrate the Jews’ victory against those who hate us – especially in the Diaspora. Let’s use the internet to help battle today’s “Haman wannabes”.

Update: Today’s editorial in the Jerusalem Post says it all – it’s not a time for timidity on the college campus.

Happy Aliyah Anniversary To Us!

In the past I have hosted a roundup of “why I made aliyah” stories to celebrate our aliyah anniversary . This year we are celebrating 18 years – Chai. Although I didn’t have the time to host a “proper” roundup, I have been collecting links to posts that express some of the reasons that we decided to make Israel our home.

The first is a heartfelt post written by A Soldier’s Mother, describing how “complete strangers” go all out to help other people – especially if they are soldiers. Ruti Mizrachi digs up her essay from her Nefesh B’Nefesh application (now I feel lucky that we made aliyah before NBN came into existense!)

And, of course, I have a new “only in Israel” story for my readers. Over Shavuot the yeshiva students in Sderot went home, and since they did not need to put on their tefillin (phylacteries) over the holiday – they left them in the yeshiva. When they came back they were dismayed to find that over 85 pairs of tefillin had been stolen.

They called the police and filed a report, and the policeman in charge, an observant Jew himself, vowed to do his utmost to get them back.

He did, within a matter of hours.

To celebrate the retrieval of the tefillin, the Rosh Yeshiva and the police organized a joint prayer session the next morning.

“Only in Israel” with an ironic twist. Jewish robbers who know the value of tefillin, and Jewish policemen who also know the value of tefillin, and who use their clout and call in favors to get them back.

On the Outer Edges – Olim Write About the Gaza War

Note: If anyone has other posts that they want to share, please send them in. I will be updating this post with additions. Scroll down for updates.

We made aliyah 18 years ago in May, so I am not sure if we still qualify as “new immigrants”. But in one respect we are still newbies – in our involvement in the IDF. My oldest is 19 and still learning (and since he has “frummed out” to the point of black hat, he may never do the army at all. Subject for another post, if not a complete blog!) My other sons are 14 and almost 13 respectively, so the IDF is still some way in the future. Westbankpapa was told, politely of course, that the IDF didn’t need him (we made aliyah at the age of 30), so he isn’t directly involved either.

We live in a yishuv in the Shomron, where most of the men do yearly reserve duty, since they belong to combat units. Watching some of my friends deal with husbands going off to war was difficult. One day, during the Second Lebanon War, as a few of us were sitting in the park, I just blurted out that I felt terribly guilty because I didn’t have anyone in uniform.

A woman sitting next to me gave me a funny look. “My husband isn’t in a combat unit, and my sons are too young also”, she said. “You have nothing to feel guilty about – not every Israeli family is sending their loved ones to war now.”

Another woman also piped up and said, “You know, we really admire the olim from America. You chose to come here, not because you are running away from persecution, but out of free choice. You don’t have to worry about not doing enough.”

These comments made me feel a lot better, although I was still a bit uncomfortable until everyone I knew came safely home.

I thought about this incident for the past three weeks, especially when I read other posts by olim chadashim who expressed their feelings about the Gaza war. Some felt at the “outer edges”, like me, and some were about as close to the center as they could get, sending sons to war. I decided to host a roundup of posts by olim and how they felt.

A Soldier’s Mother does a good job of describing her feelings about sending a son to war. Rutimizrachi does the same, but with the added perspective of a past in the military herself. (This was also published at the OU Shabbat Shalom site)

Benji writes about how normal it was in Tel-Aviv, and how he wanted people from the States not to hesitate to come visit Israel.

Mrs. S. of Our Shiputzim writes about the her daughter’s fears about the future soldiers in her family.

EmahS writes about trying to keep her little ones innocent of the situation. Baila tries to deal with her first war.

Gila expresses a whole range of emotions. Imshin wrote about how angry it makes her that some called Israelis bloodthirsty.

UPDATE: Soccerdad was good enough to send me this post, about the Gaza War and how it reflects the political viewpoints of the younger members of Israeli society today. He also sent me this, which is an excellent first person account from a soldier (and shame on you Ruti for not sending it to me yourself!)

Deadline Approaching For Roundup

The February 1st deadline for my roundup is coming up. If you are a new immigrant to Israel and would like to submit a post about your feelings about the recent war in Gaza, please send them in.

My email is westbankmama at fastmail dot fm.