Janice Rotman
An olah from Toronto nine years in

Reflections on aliyah almost 9 years in

It’s not hard to believe that almost nine years have passed since I made aliyah. What’s hard to take in is the number of changes that have occurred during that time. For me and my family. For the State of Israel and its enemies. For world Jewry and the people who hate us (again? still?)

Almost nine years ago, I was married, working, with three children, only one of them married. My mother, now of blessed memory, was then very much alive.

Today, I am divorced, no longer working for pay, a mother-in-law to two additional amazing in-law children and proud Savta of eight incredible “sabra” grandchildren.

I have friends, my Hebrew has improved and I am ensconced in the accomplishment of my life long dream of living here. What blessings.

There are so many blessings to count:

Israel has been crowned the “Start Up Nation,” has improved international relationships with countries which, heretofore, did not want to play in the same park with us. She launched a rocket to the moon! The birth rate is high. The level of overall satisfaction ranks among the top in the world . (“Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera “to quote the king in the play “The King and I. )

And I have been imbued with the national psyche that accepts the physical dangers we all, all, know can affect us, our children, our friends, our neighbours at any time. I mourn the deaths always and then I move on…most of the time.

True, seemingly many of our public representatives play fast and loose, with money, with dirty deals, with false promises. But isn’t that all part of being like other
“good “ politicians around the world?

Well, no. That is not a good thing. We are not meant to be like all of the kids in the park who play dirty. We’re not even meant to play in that park. Our park should be different. It should be well lit. All of the games we play are meant to be played fairly. Everyone who wants to play properly should be welcome. Our park should be a prototype for others not the other way around.

So, yes. There is much room for improvement in this, my homeland of choice. No arguing with that.

Who chooses to associate or not associate between Jews of different stripes and colours. How we relate to Arabs who, while living very close to us (very, very close to us) are a million miles away. (Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…)

The task of fixing it all is onerous and may take too long to be fixed in this generation – but, yet, we are not free to desist from beginning the work.


There’s no mistaking the fact the land in which I choose to live is reviled by so many. Knives, burning balloons, rockets and unmitigated hatred are directed at my dream land. The phenomenon of BDS and its close cousins, unbridled antisemitism and holocaust denial is directed at me and mine from everywhere in the world.

My family in Europe, North and South America, South Africa, Australia, India! (in fact in any country that “allows “Jews to live within its borders) is threatened. On campus, in the synagogue, in the community centre, on the streets, every where. Shootings, bombings, knife attacks, Internet attacks, desecration of cemeteries and holy places. All, at least purportedly, because of the misbehaviour of this, “my”Israel.

Still I choose to put in my lot with that of Israel, which some might argue is the most unsafe of them all, (the one most likely to be actually “smashed to smithereens” at any moment).


Because, despite its warts and bruises this, now, in 2019, is the dream state of the Jews for millennia. The miracle (the coincidence?) of my being alive at the same time as my country’s rebirth simply cannot be ignored. And as a Jew then, I ultimately, simply cannot imagine myself living any where else.

At least that’s how I’m feeling almost nine years into my aliyah.

About the Author
In the past a lawyer, a community consultant and a teacher, Janice also has a rich history of volunteering which has involved creating several NGOs, public speaking, fundraising and actively sitting on several boards and committees. Having made Aliyah from Canada at age 54, nine years ago as a fervent Zionist, Janice wonders a great deal about improving the world, not just for herself , her children and grandchildren but for everyone.
Related Topics
Related Posts