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(I’m writing this post in July 2010, only days away from August 2nd, when my family and I are making aliyah from New York to Hashmonaim — located next to Modiin, one of Israel’s fastest growing cities.)
When I recently revealed to my friends, colleagues, and family members that I would be moving my family to Israel, the reactions were numerous and varied.
Some people said they were not surprised, and always knew it was only a matter of time before I decided to make aliyah. Others asked fearful questions such as: Why now? Aren’t you scared? What will you do?
For me, making the move to Israel is the fulfillment of a dream that has lasted for my 47 years of life. I have always known that Israel is my home, and yet so far have always neglected to officially make it so. Over the years Israel has been in my heart, but I have found a number of reasons to put off making it my permanent residence: kids, the economy, education… you name an excuse, and at some point I have probably used it.
Truthfully, I believe that I was always just a little bit scared. And of course I still am, with the fear factor that is perpetuated by the press surrounding the Israeli military and economy. However, it has come to the point when I have realized that for over 2,000 years we yearned for this land, and for 47 years I have denied the opportunity to make it my home. I am finally ready to fully grasp this opportunity.
Over the years, I have always loved visiting Israel. I have traveled there with my family, and enjoyed introducing thousands of travelers to the country that I know and adore. All of these things that I have come to love about Israel as a tourist I will now get to love about my home. And as far as waiting for the “perfect” condition under which to make aliyah, I believe the time is now!
Only 65 years ago, Jews were brought to their deaths like a herd of sheep to slaughter. They had no country to call home and no army. Only 60 years ago, seven Arab countries declared war on little Israel, the Jewish state, mere hours after it was established. Only 43 years ago, we fought three of the largest countries in the Middle East in the Six Day War.
Over the years we fought different coalitions of 20 Arab countries with modern armies and with huge amounts of Russian-Soviet ammunition, and we still won. All of this was accomplished by our mothers, fathers, grandfathers, and grandmothers so that we today may have Israel, our home.
Today we have a gorgeous country, a powerful Army, a strong Air Force, a successful Navy, a thriving high-tech industry, and have made internationally recognized medical advancements. We have turned a harsh desert into a land of agricultural prosperity, and have even launched three satellites into space.
All of this, and to think only 65 years ago we were disgraced, hopeless, and had nowhere to go.
I have been asked many times if I am nervous about moving to Israel. Before I answer, I remember that we have overcome the Greeks, the Romans, the Spanish Inquisition, the Russian pogroms, Hitler and the Holocaust, and the armies of seven countries.
How can I not feel confident that I, and my family, will overcome any difficulties that may come our way? I am not worrying, complaining, crying, or fearing as I prepare to make aliyah. I am proud and excited to say that I am fulfilling a 47-year-old dream; I am going home.