Thursday, August 20, 2009

There's no place like home...

We've been back for about a week and it's great to be home. Our house is in good condition and we're grateful that we had two sets of tenants who took care of our home while we were gone and were a pleasure to deal with. We returned to neighbors, friends, and family who are happy to have us back and though we miss our California friends (you know who you are) it's good to be back where we belong.

We've been taking care of bureaucracy while we wait for our lift to arrive and search for jobs. Arthur is a bit (can you say understatement) stressed about not having a job and has forgotten that in Israel nothing happens overnight. The country is practically shut down during the last two weeks in August and then not much happens till "acharei hachagim." Since the chagim are late this year, hopefully things will start to pick up in September. It's frustrating to send out resumes and not get results but hopefully we will find employment sooner than later.

We spent our first Shabbat with family in Ramat Beit Shemesh and we'll be home for this coming Shabbat. Today we bought and took possession of a car, a white Hyundai Getz. Hopefully it will serve us well.

I know that I always go on about how great it is to live in Israel but I'm not always able to explain why. It's by no means perfect or close to perfect but it's ours and it's home. Some of my experiences this past week have reinforced why I love living in Israel.

While waiting for the car service to get to the airport in NY, I discovered that my Israeli passport was expired. When you're an Israeli citizen you're supposed to leave and enter Israel with an Israeli passport. I was a bit nervous about what would happen when I got to Ben Gurion airport, but my worry was unnecessary. I sent Maor through on the line for Israeli passport holders and waited in the line for foreign passport holders. I handed over my American passport and started to answer the questions the passport control agent asked. When he asked if I had ever lived in Israel I said yes and he asked if I had an Israeli passport. I switched to Hebrew and said "I have a bit of a story." (What Israeli doesn't?) He said: "you talk Hebrew, that's already good." I told him that my passport expired and I hadn't noticed and I was worried they wouldn't let me in to the country and he said "Ma pitom! From our perspective you're coming home; how could we not let you come home?"

For those of you who have been listening to me complain about having to shop in 6 different stores to find everything I want/need and how I hate deciphering the various hechshers, I don't have to tell you how great it is to walk into one supermarket where everything is kosher and the variety and abundance of what is available is amazing. I wanted to take a picture of the dairy aisle but didn't have my camera. The prices are not cheap but you can find almost anything you want.

The first day we went car shopping one of the places we went to (and where we ultimately bought the car) was the Ra'anana branch of a company that rents and leases cars. The salesman asked us where we live and when we told him, somebody else who was in the office (not sure if he worked there as well) said my neighbor moved there. Really? Who's your neighbor. And sure enough it's somebody who we used to live next door to before moving into the house we live in now. It really is a small country and we truly are one big family.

When Arthur and I were walking around Kfar Saba, every time I saw somebody wearing a kipa I would do a double take to see if I knew them. I had to remind myself that I wasn't in San Jose anymore and here many people wear kippot and I probably don't know any of them!

If I haven't inspired you yet to at least think about packing your bags and moving to Israel, maybe this news article will. 366 North American Jews have just made aliyah with Nefesh B'Nefesh.

Hoping to host all of you in our home in Zufim, Israel in the very near future (but not all at the same time)! L'hitraot!