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Aliyah Chronicles #10: The Next Move

November 2, 2009 | by Miriam (Tara) Eliwatt

In Israel, our willingness to take risks have grown.

“Hurry up! The movers will be here in two minutes and there’s a pile of clothing on the bed upstairs!” I was running around our Israeli home, giving orders to my husband who was up until 3 am the night before. He was looking out the window onto the patio, hands in his pockets.

“We have time honey.” We didn’t have time, but I had no time to argue. I heard a truck from the distance rumbling down our street.

This wasn’t our Aliyah move. We had already made Aliyah last year from New Jersey to a town in Central Israel.

Now, the Lincoln Logs mixed with kitchen silverware and sewing needles under the couch reminded me of the junk piles we had to sort back in America. In the kitchen, there were half full boxes of lasagna noodles and cans of mushrooms from last September next to open plastic bags of paprika and chili powder.

It was just two years ago, sitting on the green carpet of my daughter’s bedroom in New Jersey, when we finally agreed to move to Israel. “It’s time to rock the boat!” my husband exclaimed.

Well, rocking the boat was an understatement. The boat nearly capsized once we were in Israel as we faced challenges regarding finances, learning Hebrew, choosing the right education for our kids, and finding ourselves spiritually in our new place.

The movers barged in, led by their supervisor, a 6’2” Breslover Chasid. They immediately began hauling the boxes out to the truck. My husband was still standing by the window.

How can I leave this place where every Shabbos I sit next to a man that helped liberate the Western Wall?

I knew what he was thinking. How can I leave this place where every Shabbos I sit next to a man that helped liberate the Western Wall and near another who's been learning Torah full-time for 30 years?

Despite our internal struggles, life was good. Morning school drop-off was a breeze. No traffic jams, plenty of parking. We had a spacious house (much nicer than anything we had ever occupied back in the U.S.). And what about that woman who brought me to tears, whose faith was lifted to new heights after being expelled from her home of 25 years in Gush Katif? There were very righteous people here. And of course, how could we leave all the kind people we had befriended over the year?

But something was missing.

On a practical level, we needed more classes in English, more resources, more people… a city.

My husband introduced himself to the Supervisor and gave him a hug. After all, this Breslover would be responsible for bringing us to the next leg of our journey.

“I hope we don’t have to get a second truck,” I said sheepishly, embarrassed by our quantity of stuff.

“And if you do, you do. God knows what you need,” our mover stated.

I liked this mover.

“Honey! Where’s the tape?!” my husband yelled down from the office.

“I have no idea! You had it last!” The baby was crying in her crib upstairs, and I just couldn’t look for the tape. I was also tired out. I was still tired from last year. All that packing in America and unpacking when we made Aliyah. All that saying "goodbye" before we left and "nice to meet you" when we arrived.

All that adjusting. I thought we were done.

But we were moving again. This time, it was a local move. From a town to a city 25 minutes away.

All these boxes reminded me of when the cab dropped us off in front of our home one year ago with our 17 pieces of luggage. And I wondered back then, are we making the right decision? Life was good in New Jersey.

I picked the baby up out of the crib. Now I had a good excuse to stop packing. My husband walked in carrying the tape. “We have at least two more moves after this," he noted, "when we buy a house, and when we move into a nursing home.”

I fed the baby outside, watching the truck fill up.

Our Breslover friend looked around the street at all the pretty houses. “You’re moving to a good place. Don’t worry,” he said, seeing my scrunched up eye brows and pursed lips. Indeed, he was right, I reminded myself.

Israel had strengthened our faith, and we knew somehow that this move was clearly the next step on our spiritual ladder. In fact, within a week of making our decision to move, we found a house to rent, three schools, and a Shul. God was looking out for us.

I recalled how I shuddered this time last year, when I'd drop my son at the school bus stop all by himself with no friends to cling to, and no Hebrew.

And now after making it successfully through his first year in Israel, he walked into his new school (the week before we moved) with a newfound confidence. He understood that eventually, he would acclimate to his new surroundings.

It is hard to be an immigrant, but there’s something about Israel that makes it all worthwhile.

After the final box was deposited in our new living room 11 hours later, my husband called over the Breslover and his three non-religious workers. He handed them each a plastic cup with Scotch, and exclaimed with gratitude, “L’Chaim, Tovim, Shalom -- to new beginnings!” Together they drank.

In Israel, our clarity and willingness to take risks have grown. It is hard to be an immigrant, but there’s something about Israel that makes it all worthwhile. Most probably it’s the notion that God’s presence is stronger here.

I have a feeling that this is not our final stop before buying a house and moving into a nursing home. I know our new home is just another stop off on our journey, and eventually, it will propel us forward to the next stop and the one after that.

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