Eric Schorr
Intelligence & Security Analyst; former IDF officer

Aliya — and then a wave hits

It’s a whirlwind. A blur of faces, hands, and names. And lines, dreadful, tiring but ultimately rewarding lines. There are questions too. Who, what, why. But never where. Where is acknowledged in every person’s eyes, in their actions, in their hearts. It is known and unspoken. It is a given.

There is the movement, like a single mass organism from one location to the next. There are speeches, people to be listened to, people to thank, people to recognize. There are goodbyes, and see you laters, and even silent nods in appreciation of the forthcoming journey. There are handshakes and hugs. There are tears. Then the announcements, steely voices indicating procedure and process. There is the mass entrance…or is it an exodus? To the instrument of the journey, the magic carpet of deliverance.

At first it is light and then the small window to the outside goes black, as if you are passing through deepspace, as if you are traveling worlds away. You sit, you stand, you walk, you talk, you lounge, and if you’re lucky you sleep. You dream. You wonder about what awaits, what’s next. Minutes pass like hours and hours pass like minutes. Light shows itself once more and you wait.

Time has little meaning until voices tell you it IS time. Happiness and hope roar around you as land comes up to greet you with force and fury. You fumble, you check, you collect, you double check. You wait. You walk. It’s there, a doorway. It’s bright and you step forward. You breathe. A picture forms. More faces, hundreds, maybe a thousand. Your new friend, your old friend, your best friend. Your brother. Family, real and unreal.

And it’s a wave. A wave of joy and slight sadness, hot and cold, incredibly fast but painfully slow. Blue and White. And it’s coming straight for you.

And then it hits. Emotion. Incomprehensible, unimaginable, exhilarating emotion. And it’s different. There’s no turning back. Your cheeks are wet. And then you smile.

You’re home.

About the Author
Captain Eric J. Schorr (res.) served in the Israel Defense Forces from 2014 to 2019, specializing in intelligence and operations. Eric holds a Master's in Counter Terrorism & Homeland Security from Reichman University, a Bachelor's in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University, and a Bachelor's in Modern Jewish Studies & Hebrew from The Jewish Theological Seminary. His contributions have been featured in The Times of Israel, Yediot Ahronot, and Encyclopedia Geopolitica.