Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Our Stuff - The Happy Ending

This past Shabbat, I was called up for Rive'ee, the fourth Aliyah in this week's torah reading. The section included the beginning of Parshat Masei, which lists out the travels that the jews made as they would their way through the desert on the way to Israel, and I started to think about our journey here. We left our house on June 12, and went to my parents house, where we stayed for a few weeks, before moving on to New Jersey for a week at my in-laws.

From New Jersey, we went to Ranana, and stayed at Veev's aunt and uncle there. For Shabbat, we went to Jerusalem, to Bayit Vegan. The war started getting more intense at that point, and warnings went out for anyone north of Tel Aviv to be near a bomb shelter. Even though we thought Ranana was safe, it is north of Tel Aviv, and so we decided to extend our stay in Jerusalem by a few days.

After a few days in Jerusalem, the Youth Hostel we had been staying in at Bayit Vegan had gotten to be too much, so we decided to go home, finally, to Modiin, and borrow whatever we needed to survive. This included a fridge, some air mattresses, and table with chairs.

During the Aliyah, I started to wonder how long we had been without our stuff. I tried to do some quick math in my head, and realized it had been about forty days since we left. And since forty is the same number of years that the Jews wandered in the desert, I thought it was enough time to get our stuff.

On Monday morning, we were at a neighbor's house, borrowing a microwave, when we got the call. Our stuff had arrived, and was cleared by customs, and would be delivered that afternoon.

A short time later, i got a call that they would be arriving in half an hour, and half an hour later, the turck was being unloaded at my house.

After all the lift was unloaded, I went and counted back forty days from Monday, and came to Thursday, June 15, exactly 40 days after our things left our house.

I don't know if it means anything, but it is pretty interesting to me.

Anyway, our stuff is here now. We have been opening boxes, putting things away, and so far, have not found anything to be broken.

To all those, Like Emah S, who have not yet got their stuff, I hope your shipments come in soon, because there is nothing better than sleeping on your own stuff.

And yes, there is a slight amount of guilt when you worry about your things being stuck in Haifa and all the people from up in the north have been either under attack, or have left their homes.

My brother is among the wanderers, and has had to rent an apartment and office space in Jerusalem as he and his family are waiting out the war.

You can read about his wanderings on rock of galilee

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Our Stuff

As I wrote a few months ago, our stuff began its journey to Israel long before we left. And sadly; it has not has as smooth an arrival as we had.

Our stuff finally got to Israel on Sunday, July 16. The ship started to get unloaded, and then, the port closed due to rockets being fired on Haifa.

It took a few days, but eventually, we found out that our stuff had indeed been taken off the boat in Haifa. We thought this was good news, but it seems that it was a bit premature to celebrate.

Because even though our stuff was off the boat, the people who need to clear our stuff for entry, commonly known as customs officials, are not working due to the rocket fire.

And so our stuff is sitting in Haifa.

And we need it.

Just as a side point, we are in Modiin, and can hear fighter jets flying somewhere above us.

Shavua Tov.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

This Morning

Exactly two weeks ago, we were the ones coming off that ELAL flight with our families and friends screaming with excitement. Today I was privileged to share in the Simcha of others. The emotions are palpable at these ceremonies. The speeches are invigorating. The Bamba and Mayim Mineralim are Me'od Yisra'elee.

But the most overwhelming feeling for me today was the reminder of why we did this insane thing in the first place.

I cannot even begin to tell you all how we are sleeping tonight on our first night in Modi'in, or how long it's been since we have been without our belongings. Or how many locations we have "lived" in for the past 5 weeks. Or how many painful Goodbyes there were.

Sometimes, when I'm tired or scared or both I feel like changing my mind. Let's Go Home, I think to myself. But then I think about the planeload of Olim who arrived this morning in the middle of two frightening wars, and I am awed by their Emunah and strength of character.

When I witnessed the ceremony today, it simply reminded me why I wanted to come in the first place. Don't worry, I plan on going to every single NBN ceremony this summer. I could use the Chizuk.


I have been living here two weeks, and I don't consider myself an Israeli yet for a number of reasons:

1. I can still smell the B.O. in the fitting room from the girl before me.
2. I complain too much/mefuneket.
3. I believe you should try your hardest to make sure the purse on the floor belongs to someone.
4. I'm afraid of terrorists. not mad at them.
5. I don't have coffee at an outdoor cafe when a known suicide bomber is loose.
6. I let somebody go before me on the bus today.
7. My kids still have to come home by a certain time.
8. I am really pissed that our house doesn't have screens in the windows because
9. I am afraid/grossed out by every bug.
10. I won't drink sink water.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My first act as a neighbor

Perhaps this isn't the best way to join a new neighborhood, but at least one of my neighbors has unprotected wireless internet, and I am taking advantage...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In case you were wondering...

I am writing this post from the mall, with my McDonalds-stained fingers banging away at the keyboard.

Actually, that's not really true. I would never type on my laptop with dirty fingers.

I licked them clean first.

Just thought you should know.

Three Things

I have been an Israeli for almost two weeks now, and I have reached three conclusions.

1) Sandals are a superior form of footwear
2) Sitting in the front seat and lifting your foot atop your knee so that it is next to the air conditioner while wearing sandals can change the quality of the environment faster than a Chernobyl meltdown
3) There is no place in the world where I would rather be living than in Israel.

We have been kind of living nowhere the past few days without Internet access, but thanks to everyone for their well wishes, thoughts and prayers.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

One Z or 2?

We are here. Hezbollah is attacking our new home land. Or is it Hizbolah. Whatever it is, there sure are a number of ways to spell the organization. And that's just the English version of the name. Then there is the additional option of pronouncing it with the Israeli "Ch," opening up a whole new level of spelling possibilities. There is the double ZZ Hezzbollah and Hizzbollah, neither of which I'm in favor of. And is it one L or 2 Ls at the end.

I would love it if someone could clarify how to spell their organization. Just after we finish bombing them into oblivion.


Thanks for your concern.

I'll admit it is a little nuts over here right now, but I'm told it's all good and well, and will be over soon.

I gotta say, Hizbollah has really rolled out the Welcome to Israel wagon for us.

But we're fine.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A few words on Israeli Beaurocracy

We had been told for months that we would spend hours and hours going from one office to the next, each one asking for conflicting pieces of information, and each one sending us to the next ofice down the road.

Over the past week, we have found that to be completely not the case. Part of it is due to Nefesh B'Nefesh smoothing things over, I'm sure. But over the past week, we had our Teudot Oleh before our luggage was off the plane. Four days later, we had a Teudat Zehut.

It took an hour at the bank to set up an account, and 20 minutes filling out forms before we had health insurance.

We spent a few minutes with the Ministry of Absorbtion as they set up our bank account to receive automatic Sal Klita payments, and a few minutes with the local Modiin Klita rep who gave us a map of Modiin, some information, and answered all the questions we had, from shopping areas to questions about schools.

After all the horror stories we had heard in the past, it is good to see how much a government can improve on how it delivers its services.

A strange place

It is very strange to be sitting here, at my computer, working on my resume, while not very far away, in the North, Hizbullah has launched attacks on soldiers, and thigs are going crazy up there.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lessons Two and Three

2 - Israelis are awesome!! Good friends of ours have been watching out for us for the last few weeks in our new neighborhood! Today we went with them to see our new house. When we walked in for the first time, it was dusty but completely covered in decorations welcoming us to Israel, to the neighborhood, and to our new home. There were posters of Pesukim and maps of Israel, among balloons and blue and white decorative string. After we took the tour (twice) we went back to our friends' house for a lunch of schneeee'tzehl, sa'lahht, kishu'eeeeem, ohhhhf, tapu'ach ada'maaah, gli'dahhh, me'lone Yisraeliiiii, v' cafe turkEE. It was a meal set for royalty, if not for Shabbos. They could not stop going on about how excited they are to have us here in Yisra'ehhhl, Eretz (H)ak'doshaaaahhh. It was almost competely conducted in Ivrit, but don't worry about Air; until the cafe turkEE, when he get his second wind, he slept through the whole thing. Let's just say one word - JETLAG.

3 - Israelis absolutely stink!! Oldest went on his first solo trip to the convenience store as an Israeli citizen, being that it's safe in Israel to rollerblade all the way down the block unsupervised for a little candy. Evidently, it's Assur to rolerblade in there, and, although the security guard let him him, a worker physically removed him by literally throwing him out. He came back hysterically crying and holding his back where he was shoved. My otherwise pacifist uncle found out what happened and grabbed his keys to "go kick the guy's ass". He had just left, though, but will probably catch hell when he gets back as my uncle spared no complaint to the manager. My uncle left feeling like the kid was going to be fired, but we'll see.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lesson One

The flight was great, the timing was not, but you can't realy complain too much even though the plane left New York at 3 PM and landed in Israel at nine in the morning, leading up to a sleepless night followed by speeches follwed by finding our luggage followed by the taxi ride to Ranana, where we are staying for the next week, until the boat with all our stuff gets here.

Lesson one came during our taxi ride to Ranana. The driver ewas an old Israeli, driving a fifteen passenger bus/taxi, filled to the top and loaded on the roof with our 11 pieces of luggage and dozen small carry on bags.

After teling the driver that he needed a rope to secure our bags to the roof, and listening to him tell me that he guaranteed the boxes wouldn't fall off, I finally gave in. The driver did not have rope. No one at the airport seemed to have any rope, to be honest, and after listening to sppeches and flying and listening tomore speeches and seeing relatives you haven't seen in quite some time, well, you finally give in and trust the taxi driver.

So he's pulling out, and as he is exiting the airport he is waved to the side of the road by a guy sitting in a booth, checking paperwork from taxis as they drove off.

They spoke in hebrew, but even I knew there was a problem. There was a form that needed a signature, and the driver hadn't gotten the signature yet, and the guy on the side of the road insisted that the driver return to the airport to get his form signed. Yashar, Smol, Smol, he said, or soemthing like that. It turned out the driver could not understand where it was either, so he drove around a little, stopping other taxies, and trying to find the signature place.

Finally, we had enough, and yelled at the driver, in hebrew, since that was all he understood, that we had been on a plane all night, and were tired and ready to go. We were Olim Chadashim, we told him, and needed to get to Ranana already.

Tell the guy at the side of the road, he said, and pulled back on the road to exit the airopirt another time.

The guy at the side of the road waved us over, and then started to yell at the taxi driver, until Veev got in between them, and told the taxi waverer dude that we had been up all night, and were not going to sit in the taxi for another sightseeing trip around the airport.

And the dispatcher guy listened, and waved us through, which just goes to teach us lesson one, which is Be Assertive, and don't be afriad to tell people that we are Olim Chadashium when we want to get people to bend to our will. (I wonder if that will work in other situation other than leaving the airport, we'll find out, Ill keep you posted.)

By the way, the taxi driver was right; nothing fell off the roof, even though it was not tied down.

Emah S

How much fun?? Keep in touch...

We made it

2,000 years ago our ancestors were kicked out of Israel. Today, Veev and I returned to the land of our heritage.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Smell Update

When we went back to the house later in the evening, the smell was completely gone. I just thought you should know.