Celebrating Our Second Aliyahversary

January 14, 2019 Roshwalbs arriving at Ben-Gurion
January 14, 2019 Roshwalb Family arriving at Ben-Gurion

Two Years

Two crazy years.

This past year, the infamous 2020 year of Covid, left all of us at home for a good part of it including holidays. Missing our parents. Witnessed Humankind’s creativity on how to continue socializing and working and even holding minyanim while social distancing. A new word, quasi-unknown a year ago has undergone, like google, kleenex and xerox before it, a genericization of sorts. You’ve guessed it; that word is “zoom.” I’ve attended a few zoom bar mitzvahs, weddings and even a high-school reunion. Even if other programs were used, they were still zoom parties. Personally I think some things should be forever moved to Zoom. For example, parent-teacher conferences are so much more efficient on Zoom. And since we are a vote-loving people here could we please have a vote to continue to hold Asifat-Horim on Zoom?

Thanks to a bit of work and lots of networking, I met some fantastic people, and even if socializing was at a minimum, made some new friends. Enjoyed hanging out with old friends even if this year those times were few and far between. Miss our friends across the pond whom we haven’t seen in two years!! The plan was to get together in 2020 but Man plans etc.

People ask me what I miss most from my pre-aliyah life.  I miss Sundays. No, not Amazon Prime. You could get pretty much anything in Israel. You might have to pay a bit more and wait a bit longer, but you could get it. In fact, not getting the items so easily the next day at your door makes one appreciate those items more. But oh, Sundays! I had been so used to having a day off right after the Day of Rest! But like everything we are slowly getting used to it. Though I still find myself mixing up yom rishon and yom sheni. Because I still think of the first day of the week to be Monday. Needless to say I’ve missed an appointment or two that were set for yom sheni and I mistakenly had them in my calendar for Tuesday. Thankfully those “Fashlas” -as they would be called around here- haven’t happened in a while.

On a more national level, I truly feel that if I am to be stuck somewhere during a major global pandemic, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here. And not just because of the climate (though can’t knock it:  that’s a huge part of it). I have witnessed how Israel has responded to this crisis face on. Even if the countless lockdowns (which number lockdown are we in? 3.5? 4?) might have been excessive, they prevented our hospitals from reaching capacity. And even if the economy is suffering a great deal, we prioritize our elderly and immunocompromised. We closed our borders fairly quickly to contain the spread. And now, a few short weeks after starting inoculations, we are already at almost 2 million Israelis that have received the first dose of the vaccine. The vaccination campaign has been run with extreme efficiency and discipline that only a country with a top-notch army such as ours can achieve. I am proud to say that we are finally seeing a light at the end of this tunnel.

Israel is a country where when you open your Facebook feed and see a post about a soldier who’s out of touch with his family and is looking for a warm home to go to on weekends there are so many responses that the admin has to close the thread. Beautiful responses inviting him to come and join families. Families offering to do his laundry, inviting him on their hikes. This is not an issue of religious level. This is Israel plain and simple. A country where people tell you off left and right (and literally yell at you–I know from experience…), and everyone knows how to do it better than you. But at the end of the day, people care. Kind of like that plant that is sometimes prickly with a thick skin but that conceals a soft, sweeter interior.

So here we are, ready for year 3 and especially ready to stop using the following new words we only learned this year: Nagif, seger and bidud!  Ya’lla Israel, bring it on!



Asifat-Horim: Parent-Teachers conference (literally Gathering of parents)

Yom Rishon: Sunday (literally First day)

Yom Sheni: Monday (literally Second day)

Fashla: Slang word that comes from the Arabic and means a screw-up.

Nagif: Virus

Seger: Lockdown

Bidud: Quarantine

Ya’lla: Slang word that comes from the Arabic and means “Let’s go” or “Here we go”

About the Author
Valerie was born and raised in Paris, completed her BA (YU Stern) and MBA (NYU Stern) in NYC, was living in Riverdale NY with her husband and 4 kids before they moved to Raanana, Israel in January 2019. In NY Valerie worked in Marketing for various companies, owned and operated an online store, and taught "Global Marketing" and "Managing the Fashion Enterprise" at LIM College. She is now employed at the Raphael Recanati International School of Reichman University (previously IDC Herzliya).
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