Dear Eric and Lori

Posted on July 7th, 2009

Dear Eric and Lori,2009-07-07

So now you know.

No matter how much I try to explain what it is like emotionally for those of us who have made aliyah, it is a hopeless task. In the end, it is only those who step off the plane with an “Oleh” sticker on their shirt and an exhausted but happy smile on their faces that can ever truly comprehend the Aliyah experience.

You have left your homes, your jobs, your friends, and your family for…. Well that’s just it. You know in full detail what you have left but you cannot have anything more than a vague concept of what you are getting. You have a vision and have followed your dream, but tomorrow you open your eyes and see the reality.

What are these details? What will your life be like?

You will marvel that the Kotel, the holiest site in Judaism for thousands of years is just a short car ride away. You will be frustrated when you try to translate “taco shells” into Hebrew at the supermarket. You will be filled with pride when your children sing Hatikva on Yom Hatzmaut, and will be at a loss when you need to get your car through the annual inspection process. Your children will delight in racing around a kosher food court in a mall, and you will wonder how on Earth everyone you know lives in “minus.”

You will scream, and cry, and grasp each other when you hear the terrible news that is a tragic part of life here. You will be filled with rage from top to bottom when you watch Israel’s enemies act like human beings on television. And you will be filled with an almost inexplicable joy every time you see a young Israeli man or woman wearing the green of the Israeli Defense Forces.

You will have fierce arguments with friends and neighbors over anything and everything in the news. And you will end up feeling closer to them than friends and neighbors can ever feel. You will laugh, cry, joke, and lean on them because that’s how Israelis get through things, be they wonderful or terrible.

Many leaders of the world, in a sincere but naïve attempt to create “peace,” say Jewish settlement in the heartland of Israel is not legitimate. They will look at you and your children and label you “obstacles to peace.” The “experts” on the Sunday news shows will try and explain how your desire to live over the “Green Line” is the moral equivalent of the desire of others to do you harm. But even Presidents and experts are without a clue when it comes to the desire of Jews to return to the places that our ancestors were forced out of thousand of years ago.

What you did today was not just a move. Your decision to build a home and a life for you and your children and one day grandchildren is a message that is heard around the world. The ongoing return of the Jewish people to the Jewish national home cannot be stopped. And you and your children are a part of this amazing revolution.

And maybe four years from now, you will be working in front of a computer one morning. You will have forgotten the joy and exhaustion of your aliyah day and be more preoccupied with paying the mortgage and deciding what to make for dinner. Then you will take a break and watch a live arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion airport, and the tears will roll as you watch a few hundred more happy and clueless new immigrants walk off a plane and onto the beautiful roller coaster that is life in the nation of Israel.

To Eric, Lori, and all the other Olim,

You made it. Welcome home.

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