Six Years

Posted on July 14th, 2011

The following was the first thing I wrote on this blog (which was a newspaper column at the time.) Six years ago today.

First Thoughts

July 14, 2005
“Today is the Tomorrow that We Longed for Yesterday”

The words from one of my favorite songs could not have been more appropriate as we waited to disembark from the Aliyah flight. After years of longing, we were finally about to step off the plane as citizens of Israel. I thought of all the pain of leaving the family and friends we loved. I was anxious about what our new life would be like. At the same time, I felt so proud that we had finally taken this step – that we had done what we talked about so often.

The flight had been like no other. The plane was an all-Aliyah charter sponsored by Nefesh B’ Nefesh. Exhausted but proud, we listened as we were welcomed “home.” Just hearing the word “home” brought tears to my eyes.

We stepped off the plane into the sunshine and heard our friends screaming for us from the other side of the barricade. They had made Aliyah the year before and had inspired us in our decision. I cannot relate the feeling of joy as I ran over and jumped the barricade into their welcoming arms. Our new lives in Israel had begun.

 So now, here we are, six years later. We are facing an ordeal that makes making Aliyah seem easy. We are shedding tears, but this time not from a happy feeling of accomplishment, now they are tears because we are afraid. Our friends who were screaming from the other side of the barricade are still with us, holding our hands and being our “rocks.”

We look back at the last six years, and have to say they have been the best of our lives. While we relished our times at Colgate, Washington, and Maryland — there is nothing that could ever compare with waking up each morning and looking out over the rolling hills of this holy land. Maybe we have been remiss sometimes in thinking how incredibly fortunate we are to have found this place, this Neve Daniel.

We hope and pray that the next six years will be even more rewarding.

Stella will begin chemo next week. And believe me, she know that thoughts of thousands — from neighbors we met in the last few years to childhood friends — from as close as next door to as far as America, Scotland, Ireland will be with her.

Give us some e-mails to read during chemo.

We hope that everyone reading has a Shabbat Shalom — A Sabbath of Peace.

Yarden & Stella

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  1. Carla says:

    I hold you both in my heart all the time and pray that all will be well. I am so happy that you are surrounded in Israel by good and dear friends that care so much about you but this is because you both care so much for others too. All of your goodness is surrounding you by the people whose lives you have touched. I pray that when I come to Israel next year I will be able to rejoice with you and share your love of Israel with you. Our granddaughter, Chana, will be studying there next year (Mandi’s oldest) and I am planning on coming to Israel during Passover with Mandi and her family.

    Love, Carla and Stan

  2. rutimizrachi says:

    I am looking forward to dancing with Stella at your 26th Aliyaversary… Thanks for being some of the first flowerings of warm friendship in our aliya to Neve Daniel. Stella was my very first girlfriend in this new town. You made me feel very welcome, dear lady. Who knew that just three years later, we would be in a biker gang together? 😀

  3. devorah levine says:

    I remember Romi and josh making that “Welcome Home” video for you guys. They asked everyone on the yeshuv to welcome you because they were soooo excited. I can’t believe that was 6 years ago! Looking forward to the next 6+ years with you guys!

  4. Yael says:

    As the leader of the (bike) gang, I double Ruti’s sentiments: no matter how wacky my kids appeared after aliyah – running around like madmen outside in pj’s , barefoot, and screaming after each other, Stella, as a loving neighbor as you are, just ignored it and even dared to have us over for a meal! We miss you as our neighbors but am lucky enough to see you regularly at our “club”. May we enjoy much more 80’s music together!

  5. Rev. Rocky Hankins says:

    Who Is God? Thousands of years ago Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, posed a question that we are still asking today. Who is the Lord that I should listen to Him? Its very difficult for our limited mind to grasp the limitless, eternal God that we serve. Someone once said that if God were small enough for our minds He would be too small for our needs. For that very reason we shouldn’t be confused if we can’t fully understand the reason for some things that He does. One day, just as the apostle Paul assured the Corinthians, everything about God and His character will be made perfectly clear to us. But until then, we will find everything we need in His Word. Stella, God knew you before you were born, He has walked with you every single day of your life, He will not abandon you or your family in your hours of need. Cling to the thought that God will be with you every second of every day and stay strong for your family and the hundreds of friends that love you and will be praying for you. Love, peace, patience and encouragement from Drumright, U.S.A.
    Rev. Rocky & Carol & Cameron…………….

  6. Melody Hartuv says:

    Dear Stella,

    We don’t know each other, yet, but we live down the road in Kiryat Arba. My husband and I have been following Yarden’s blog for about a month and it seems as if we are going through this ordeal with you. From what we hear, you are a very strong lady and I feel that you are going to face the two Cs – cancer and chemo, head-on. Hashem should give you the strength of body and spirit to fight this disease and be the winner after the battle. The chemo can get you down but G-D willing, you will look back at this time as a strong and healthy person. My blessing for you is that you should live to be at least 120 in health and happiness. We look forward to meeting you and your family in the future.

  7. Marcy says:

    Okay, so as the final member of the biker gang, allow me to chime in also!! Six years of looking out over the Judean Hills sure beats Seven Locks Road or Rockville Pike, dontcha think? And I’m so glad we actually got to see you, Stella, at class on your actual anniversary. May you both continue to find contentment amongst all of us here in our land.

  8. robin ely (previously berman) says:

    I am sending you lots of healing energy and thinking of your beautiful smile-
    during your chemo, while you are not reading the many emails you will receive, spend some time with your eyes closed, breathing in a relaxed manner, and thinking of swimming with beautiful white beluga whales- read about them- they are incredible- even more mystical than dolphins- you will receive great benefit from this meditation, and it will greatly ameliorate your well being-
    My husband and I come to Israel every few months- when you are feeling better we would love to come visit you and the family on the yishuv-

  9. Cheri says:

    I can remember meeting Yarden for the first time in the Yishuv – wandering aimlessly (curiously venturing) the streets one shabbat afternoon soon after making aliyah – we were headed to “the other side” of the Yishuv and it was hot out. After hiking up the hill and having our “cool down” we spotted Yarden and it was like we had been friends forever.

    Do you guys remember the first meal we shared the next shabbos (I think)? You brought us the most amazing gift (trivets). Living under the Sussmans we were pressed for space so we unpacked only what we desperately needed (like 20 boxes of toys…) and were in desperate need of trivets. I still, almost, have them today 6 yrs later, cracked but still usable – they were one of my favorite gifts by far.

    We love sharing our meals, chagim, friendship, and in general our lives with you. You both are inspirations whether you are biking, riding, running or spinning. Or simply just being yourselves.

    It’s been said of our community in the past many many times, especially if you’ve suffered something difficult, how everyone pulls together to do what they can to help the ones in need. A family created in a new world, helping in every possible way when the chips are down. There are these surrealistic moments we’ve all had, looking out over our magical hills and taking a deep breath while feeling our hearts swell. It is not happenstance or coincidence that we all came to the same place to settle.

    HKB”H and hashgacha pratis have brought us together to strengthen one another in our times of personal need. When we suffer in this world it is said that the easier we’ll have it in the next. Be”H we will conquer this stumbling block together. As a united family, as klal yisrael, we are bound together and feel each others pain as well as joy. Let’s get this party started so we can really start to celebrate breaking through the ribbon at the finish line.

    Stella exudes radiance and its contagious. We all know it, we all benefit from it. Now its our turn to shine back. To quote from Horton Hears A Who: “We are here, we are here, we are here.”

  10. Annick Abrams says:

    something light from a preschool teacher …

    remember Harold and the purple crayon?
    i so loved him
    the world was so open for him
    anything, just anything was possible

    at the beginning,
    someone may see him and think
    “oh poor kid, he’s all alone”
    but that’s because they
    don’t understand

    they don’t see what Harold sees
    they don’t have a purple crayon

    maybe all quests are for finding
    our own purple crayon

    maybe when the picture is not
    how you want it to go
    we try like Harold to draw our way out

    with love, annick

  11. Seitz Fam says:

    From London Lots of love & hugs!
    We’ll call u when we get back.
    Zefi & Noam