Friday, April 1, 2011

First Things First

This is the beginning of my blog on my aliyah and pre-aliyah experience. It opens with a piece of advice about reading aliyah blogs:

If you are looking for information, be careful: before you start reading about someone else's aliyah, find out something about them first.


Because even though aliyah might be simple (do this first, then this, then that, etc),  it is not easy. Nothing worthwhile is. Aliyah generally means a move of thousands of miles, and could involve possibly hundreds of moving boxes and dozens of personal decisions. If you bring children and/or a need for work, you can multiply the decisions you need to make, and the pressure points you must address.

It's like getting married. If you're married now, do you remember what your wedding preparations were like?

The discussions (battles?) over the invitations, the photographer, the band, the table cloth colors, the napkin colors, the kind of bentchers you put out, etc, etc.


Then there were the negotiations with your parents and your future in-laws.

Remember that?

Then, as the big day approached, how many of you got butterflies in your stomach?

How many arguments were there?


Most important--both to your wedding and to your aliyah plans--do you remember what pulled you through all of the sturm-und-drang (tempests) of the pre-wedding planning?

Do you remember what is was that got you through it all?



Despite the raised voices, the disagreements, the battles, the one thing that got you to the chuppa was your desire to be married, and your commitment.

To that partner.


Well, making aliyah takes you to through a similar path, and you stick to that path for a similar reason--your desire to do it.

All of which means that, if you want to get married, and wish for some advice about  marriage, you need to know something about the person telling you about it--to measure how similar your situaton is to theirs, to see if you can realistically apply their experience to your situation. After all, if you are a calm and reasoned person, and the individual you talk to about marriage has a short temper and a violent tendency, their story of events leading up to their own wedding day may not really be easily applicable to you; but if you know something about them up front, their uniquely individual story may still teach you some basic principles.



Let me tell you something about me.

I am retired. I have made aliyah knowing that I do not have to find work in Israel, in order to survive.

I have no children still in elememtary school or high school, which means that I do not have to worry about schools, adjusting to schools and/or dealing with schools.

If you want the unvarnished truth, it is this: when you make aliyah free from issues of employment and schooling of children, you are probably doing so with perhaps an 80% to 90% reduction in headaches, problems and assorted crises.

But then, if you are at retirement age, you are also probably ready to deal with less crises.

Our original intent was to make aliyah five years before we actually did it. But at that time aliyah would have meant bringing an 8th grader with us. Plus, I was age 62 at the time. I was told that no one in Israel would hire a 62 year old person.

Lesson number one about making aliyah: be very careful how you respond to bad news.

Being told that no one would hire you is 'bad news'.

How do you respond?

This is a crucial point.

Do you know why?

Because, when you make aliyah, there will be many things that will happen to you that you cannot control--and have not been told about. That doesn't mean you were misled; it just means that no human being can foresee what issues and problems you, individually, are going to have. Your success or failure as an oleh generally will not be determined by what happens to you once you get here. What will determine if you succeed or fail will, to a very large degree, be determined by HOW YOU RESPOND TO THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO YOU!!!!!

Remember that.

Lesson number two about making aliyah is related to lesson number one: the extent to which you feel happy about your aliyah experience will be determined, to a large extent, by the way YOU RESPOND TO WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU.

If that sounds a lot like lesson number one, you're right: do not underestimate how important your personal responses will be.

What you see here in my aliyah story is really the story of how I have responded to being a new oleh.

What will your responses be as a new oleh?

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