The skies in the Negev are majestic. Somehow, they contain unimaginable powers. The sunrise that sets us off on our day of work at Aleh Negev also lowers into the colorful sunset that welcomes us home to Moshav Bitkha. The stars at midnight indulge my dreams. They sparkle through the exhausting aroma of my neighbor’s cowshed and create a dance floor for the moon to shine. The openness of the Negev permeates the land and the heavens in a call to fulfill the space in the partnership. It’s hard not to feel part of the program and soon I establish my addition to the the vibes of the South. My connection to the individuals at Aleh Negev deepen and my banot sherut become my family. I rely on them all for an education in patience and love, communication and determination. I experience an existence of total trust in others. Just like the skies rely on the heartbeat of the sun, I breathe from the help of others.
My first week of Aliyah allowed me to enter two societies. 1. Religious Israeli culture via the seminar for Sherut Leumi. And, 2. The Alliance of Olim while staying at Lisa’s apartment in Jerusalem. Both were plenty exhilarating and new, full of helpful advice and excitement for my newest life choice. They live an authentic experience of living the words that we have been passed down to follow, of taking pride in Israel and the challenges that exist here. They offer me the world of help because I am now one of them and the united front just sticks together.
The diversity of Israel highlights the fact that everyone either is an Oleh or comes from an Oleh somewhere in their family tree. My father’s words gallop in my mind teaching over my national memory of being kicked out the Bablonyians, scattered around the world and now returning- some of us a little more brown and some a little more blonde. And we return to a country that welcomes some persecuted populations and therefore our makeup is one of Immigrantville- but immigration home- not simply to a foreign land. As representative of my co-workers from Ethiopia and Russia, my friends’ parents from France and Morocco. As an Olah Chadasha I am relatable to everyone who can appreciate being 2nd or 3rd or even 4th generation Israeli. As an Olah Chadasha, I am the empty blue sky that patiently struggles to understand Hebrew, the election system, the spoken inflection that drifts in the sunlight. As an Olah Chadasha, I can accept the assistance, because I am part of the body that delivers the help. I know that the day will come when I am in the complementary role, teaching another Olah the ropes, and therefore; the united flow of dependence actually becomes liberating.
I am proud to be dependent. It’s more genuine than pretending that my new citizenship only revolves around myself, that my family and that my beliefs are not braided into this collage of change. I am the product of the years in a factory and walking around the new workshop requires more tools that what I currently hold on my belt. When the overwhelmed tears pour onto the shoulders of my friends, the language barriers disappear from the scene and the bonds of unity tighten their hold. When doubts of patience itch more than my mosquito bites, I call my pioneer, Shayna and embrace the timeline of absorption. When the exhaustion gets the best of me, one of the residents at Aleh Negev will remind me of the tremendous gifts I was born with. When the Hebrew trips up on my Californian tongue, I breathe in the mediative skies and somehow gather the ability to mumble out the word.
My Nefesh B’Nefesh bracelet dangling around my wrist starts to fade. My unbarable ascent sometimes captures the correct tones and once in a while, I catch myself understanding some words. Today I have been standing as an Israeli Citizen for 10 weeks and while I celebrate the beauty of the progress, I owe it all to those who have journeyed before me and held out the flashlight to show me the way.