Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Born in the USA and I’m Making Aliyah Tomorrow
Tomorrow I am making Aliyah. I have a meeting at Nefesh B’Nefesh (Herein NBN – an organization that helps people from the US, Canada and the UK emigrate to Israel) at 1:30 PM and am meeting with an employee of the Misrad Hapenim (Office of Interior – you may remember these folks from posts such as: I GOT PAID!!!!, I Bleed for this Place and of course Welcome To Israel). I am mainly going through two main thoughts – one is that I keep asking myself if I am crazy - what am I doing making Aliyah now? The other is that I realize that I am literally living my dream. I have wanted to move to Israel for as long as I can remember. I feel at home here in a way that I do not in the States. Don't get me wrong, Baltimore and New York also feel like home, but in a different way. This is my Homeland and these are my people.
After so many years of saying “I want to move to Israel” I am actually here. Tomorrow I am making it official. I am becoming an Israeli citizen. This decision was made over my visit to the States (which I still owe a blog post about). Shortly after I got back from Israel, I made a trip over to the offices of NBN. For reasons I don’t want to get into right now, I decided that I wanted to make Aliyah as soon as possible. I showed up without an appointment at the NBN office 15 minutes before they opened. I was luckily able to meet with Akiva first thing in the morning. As soon as we sat down and I had explained to him my desire to make Aliyah as soon as possible, he said “hold on one second” and went across the hall to his co-workers office. Apparently I arrived at their offices just literally hours before the final applications to make Aliyah were to be sent in prior to Passover. Had I arrived even later that day, I would have been required to wait until the middle of May. I filled out the forms and was luckily included in the April batch of applications.
Yesterday, I received a call from Akiva that I would have my meeting with the Misrad Hapenim on Thursday and that I needed to bring certain original documentation with me to the meeting including my birth certificate (I had provided a scanned copy initially). This caught me off guard – my birth certificate was in Baltimore! I called my mother and asked her to overnight it, but while we were talking, we realized that my cousins from New York were actually coming to Israel on Wednesday night. My mom overnighted the documents to my cousins and they are on their way for tomorrows meeting.
Tomorrow I will become an Israeli citizen. As I was telling people at my office the big news, I got a combination of congratulations and “I’m sorry to hear” – classic Israeli sarcasm. A good third of Israelis say they want nothing more than to move to the US. In reality though, there is no place like Israel – there is no place like home.
As I am about to sign the papers to make my citizenship official, I feel like I am becoming a part of something bigger than myself and that I am living my dream. I am split in another way as I contemplate my decision. One the one hand, nothing will change tomorrow – I am going to be the same guy with another passport and an ID with the name I prefer (Yoel vs. Joel) at the same time though I think to myself “I am here and this is happening” and I can’t help but getting choked up and misty eyed. I feel joy and happiness beyond words and am not fully sure why all of a sudden this is the case.
More to follow.
On the lighter side, I have found myself thinking of a theoretical playlist for my Aliyah (No I don't do this all the time – I am not a big playlist guy). Here is what I’ve got so far:
· Shlock Rock – Making Aliyah Today – you have no idea how hard this was to find… a must watch. Epic!
· Dierks Bentley – What was I Thinking – Just kidding – I have wanted to do this forever.
· Moshav Band – Come Back – I know is so the NBN song, but the video hits an emotional chord.
· Phish – Farmhouse – I was obsessed with this song during a trip to Israel. It brings me back.
· The Underdog Project – Summer jam 2003 – Don’t judge. I loved this song during my year abroad in Israel.
Suggestions for others?