There was a time in my life when I had (sadly) decided that I needed a break from teaching. I had just gotten divorced and feared that I could not support my family financially. So, I got an internship on my day off at a Jerusalem-based, and I learned about Social Network Marketing. I was given projects and opportunities that I was proud of completing. And, this gave me the skills to apply for a hi-tech job as the school year ended.
I still remember the day I was called in for an interview for ITCS (currently Peerspot). I was on recess duty outside, and suddenly I saw the number of my company contact flash on my screen. The HR representative said they loved my application and wanted me to come in. They asked me about my salary request, and I blurted out a number that I definitely was not being paid by the Board of Education at the time, and so my travels to Hi-Tech began.
Within a month, I was being trained to be a part of a terrific team of new recruits. We learned about KPI’s, and were inducted into a terrific brotherhood and sisterhood of camaraderie and spirit. I found it easier to wake up in the morning, and eagerly completed my tasks with a smile, and received good feedback, too.
Sometimes the work would be monotonous, but we all plodded along, in unison. Trying our hardest to hit numbers that would get us a monthly bonus. For me, that meant a possible new backpack for a child, a family trip to a restaurant, or a new sweater for one of the younger kids.
My colleagues did know I was divorced, and my age (46 at the time), but I was considered one of the team, an equal partner. And, I loved it. During quiet afternoon and evening hours at work, I would listen to Michael Buble through my earphones as I tried to complete my work and pass the time. I would enter my data into vast spreadsheets and CSV’s. Michael Buble’s smooth voice soothed me, and made the tasks easier to complete. Like a sweet lullaby.
One late night, I searched the Internet for Michael Buble tickets. No, he was not playing anywhere in Israel. But, he was playing in Munich, Germany on a random mid-November Sunday, close to my ex-anniversary. “That’s it!” I said, I am buying two tickets, and I will find a friend or family member to join me. My anniversary was still hard to get through…the pain was too raw from the divorce. This would be the perfect antecedent. I told myself “Who cares if it is in Germany? Maybe you will go to Prague, and just go to Germany for one night…for the concert?”
And so it was, I bought those tickets, and then I was asking around who would join me. No one wanted to go…”Why Germany, Ariel? Are you nuts?” I started self-doubting myself and I wondered if I had made a huge mistake. Maybe this was a manic purchase…I discussed it with my therapist, and she said it was not. She said “Ariel, no matter what…just go!” So, I told my kids that I had bought the tickets, and kind of forgot about it…the concert was months away. And, I would remember it only as I would listen to Michael Buble as I worked.
Of course, the Frank Sinatra songs were always a favorite. But, one song really touched my heart more than others, Michael Bouble’s original song “Home.” The song he composed while on the road with Alan Change and later edited by Amy Foster-Gilles. It is a song about being on the road and missing home. This song went on to be Michael Buble’s marquee song.
The lyrics of this song are so simple but so true:
Another sunny place
I’m lucky I know
But I wanna go home
Mmm, I got to go home.
Let me go home
I’m just too far
From where you are
I wanna come home. (Alan Chang, Amy Foster-Gillies 2005)
Here we are, in Israel, during the War against Hamas, and I am so thankful that I am HOME. This is where I am supposed to be. Every fiber of my being, every breath I take, and every morsel of fruits, vegetables, and carbs…are all from the land of my home. It is Israel. It is home to the Jews. It is our identity, our religion, our inner peace. It is all jumbled up into one perfect combination of religious, non-religious, leftist, rightist, straight, LGBTQ, black, white, soldier, civilian, Sefardic, and Ashkenazi. We are all one, and we are all at HOME.
Eventually, I left ITCS (currently Peerspot)…it was time to find other endeavors. I ended up getting a terrific job teaching English and Diplomacy at a High School in Rehovot, and I never turned back. The Hi-Tech experience gave me an edge that helped me bring technology into the classroom. I did not fear it, I embraced it and shared my knowledge with others. It was a win-win. I was back “home” where my heart needed to be…teaching and sharing my heart with my students instead of spreadsheets.
And, if you were wondering…I did get to that Michael Buble concert. I ended up finding the most incredible man who swept me off my feet shortly after I had bought those tickets. My daughter claims I “Manifested” it. I just think it was God listening to me at the right time.
We romantically got engaged on a bridge in Prague. (Yes, we had separate rooms, for those curious souls). And, we took a train to the Buble concert together. I found the most wonderful person to build a new home in Israel. We got married three months later, immediately before the Corona lockdowns. We were able to build a בית נאמן בישראל (a Jewish home) once again.
Dear Jewish brethren, I hope, and pray that you all come HOME soon. We always have room for one more at the Shabbat table of our Moroccan, Sefardi, Ashkenazi, American, and Canadian HOME in Israel.