The first sentence of this week’s Torah portion says: “Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace, and from your parents’ house to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).
I could not think of a better way to describe our Aliyah journey. We left our Florida hometowns and our dear families to embark on a journey to an unknown future. We were guided by a still, small voice that persistently whispered, “Go home. Go home.” It was impossible to ignore its call. So, we packed up our American lives and headed to a tiny country in the Middle East with a foreign culture and foreign language of our ancestors.
We went for ourselves—not for our family who would have loved for us to stay home, not for our peers who mostly moved to the Northeast. We went for ourselves—and for the future generations who will now be able to call Israel their spiritual and physical home.
The journey has had its challenges, as all journeys do. Thank G-d, we are now feeling more settled in our Jerusalem apartment. We are still acclimating to elements of Israeli culture…like not getting a Band-Aid after my third Covid vaccine (Israelis are tough) and not being able to rely on Google for store opening hours (Israelis have a more flexible view of time). But overall, we are feeling more grounded and enjoying the many gifts Israel has to offer.
We love praying with our neighbors in a rustic courtyard between the apartments, while watching the kids play on tire swings tied to the trees. We love the sense of community, the feeling that everyone is part of a big family and eager to lend a helping hand. Most of all, we love being part of a story bigger than ourselves—a story that stretches back 3000 years when G-d told Abraham, “Lech Lecha” – “Go.” Leave everything you know and go to the land I will show you.
Listening to that call requires an enormous amount of faith, courage and a little bit of chutzpah. We are so grateful we live in a time when we can make Aliyah and proud that we were brave enough to take the leap. I bless us all with the courage to keep listening to the still, small voice that guides us home to ourselves. Shabbat Shalom!