I have been living in Israel for seven months.

Seven months ago I relocated my family from the United States to Be’er Sheva. Here are two ways our lives have changed (I believe for the better) in the past seven months.

Freedom/Independence

We arrived in Israel in August 2015. As the summer ended we were caught up in a remarkable transition. Trying to adjust to a new culture, learning a new language and making new friends.

All of a sudden, we felt right at home.

Why? Because of one reason – INDEPENDENCE.

We had the freedom to go as we pleased to a grocery store or a restaurant and know that the food was kosher.

To walk to the mall on a Friday morning and smell freshly baked challah available at every entrance.

To have people wish you a ‘Shabbat Shalom’, a ‘Chag Sameach’ or even just a ‘Yom Tov’.

To let our children play in the playground and walk home from school without fear.

This was the independence I was searching for, and the freedom I wanted for my family.

Parnassah

Parnassah – livelihood according to Google is a means of securing the necessities of life. Before making aliyah I did not understand the true meaning of parnassah. I always thought it meant making money.

Well in a way it is about money, but not JUST money.

We were given a gift from the State of Israel called an absorption basket. This money allowed us for the first six months to settle in and become citizens of Israel.

Indeed, it did more than that for us.

It gave us a chance to realize what we were looking for in life.

It gave us an opportunity to try to earn our parnassah in a different way.

It gave us the ability to value our time together as a family.

To give to others; To empathize with the families of the terror victims.

To light candles for Shabbat and daven (pray) for those who are sick and injured.

These have become our new necessities of life – our new parnassah.

I hope that our next five months (until we reach our ‘aliyaversary’) will be filled with as much meaning and purpose as the first seven months.