I was speaking with my son Alan a few days ago and mentioned to him that I was beginning my seventh winter here in Jerusalem. He told me he did not realize I had been here that long and told me I am now a vatik, an old-timer, I was no longer an oleh chadash.
Well, we did make aliyah in September 2008 and here we are. I began reflecting on this and thought I would write my experiences and observations in a series of blogs, this is the first. I hope to continue this for the next several months with the intention of giving chizuk to current olim chadasim as well as to those planning or contemplating aliyah.
While I had thought about aliyah for quite some time, I never really considered it seriously. Then sometime in late 2005 or 2006 I bought cemetery plots for Ricki and me in our Shul’s cemetery section. I mentioned this to Alan and he asked me wouldn’t I prefer to be buried in Israel. I said it was very expensive to bring a body to Israel and his response was “not if the body is already here (!!!). Hmmmm.
I discussed it with Ricki, and need I say she was less than enthusiastic. Nonetheless, we made a “pilot trip” in December 2006/January 2007 renting an apartment in the center of Jerusalem to see if we could do it. We could! We met with people from Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN) and AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) and looked at apartments. We also met with two women who were disabled to see if it was feasible for us to do it (one of these women, Elaine Pomrantz, made aliyah as a disabled person and convinced us that it was truly possible.
We started negotiating for an apartment that was not even a hole in the ground at that point in time. To make this part of a very long story short, we bought an apartment. By mid 2007, we were pretty sure that we would do this and started the paperwork process (small mounds of paper).
Our apartment was scheduled for completion the end of October, 2008 and it looked as if it would become a reality (rare for Israel). We set the date and signed up for the NBN charter flight for 8 September 2008.
Our move and transition will be described in my next post.