I just returned from a month in Israel. It was my fourth trip to Israel in 2012. In 2012, I travelled to Israel for Passover, returned in the summer travelling in June and studying Hebrew at an Ulpan in July, returned again for the Holidays (Rosh Hashanah through Sukkot) and finally for the month of December. I spent almost as much time in Israel in 2012 as I spent in the USA.
Even though I was born and raised in the USA; all my relatives are in the USA; my business is in the USA; I have great friends in the USA; I get to drive a convertible in the USA compared to having to rely on public transportation to get around Israel; I want to live in Israel. This March, when I arrive in Israel, I will be making Aliyah.
In the USA, I have lived in Michigan, Massachusetts, Missouri, Kansas, California and finally Florida. In every place, I have sought out the Jewish community and have been welcomed. But as Sinead O’Connor sang in the love ballad she wrote to Israel, “Nothing Compares to You.”
One story from my last trip: I took the train to Rishon Letzion in order to get to a mall there. As I exited the train, I asked a soldier if he knew how to get to the mall. He said, “Follow me.” I did. I followed him out of the train station to his car. He then told me to get in. I explained I wasn’t asking for a ride, just for directions, and he assured me it would be no problem to drive me there. Along the way, he asked me what I was doing in Israel. I told him that I am visiting now but making Aliyah in the spring. I asked him what he does in the army and he told me that he is a body guard to Benny Gantz, the chief of staff. I was so honored to meet this young officer but do you know what he told me? He told me that I honored him. This story is not extraordinary. It is very ordinary. When I am in Israel, I am surrounded by people who want to welcome me home.
I have one special gift. I am really good at choosing the right people as friends. All my life I have surrounded myself with people who are intelligent and generous. People who I can learn from and who show me kindness.
I found the best place for me. I am going to live there.