Caroline Gerber
Caroline Gerber

Sorry Grandpa, You Aren’t ‘First Degree’ Family

At 84, my grandfather came to Israel for the first time. That was two years ago. It might be the last.

Not because he can’t, or because he isn’t vaccinated. Not because he doesn’t want to. Not because he doesn’t have a good reason.

After all, I’m getting married in a month. When I told him I wanted to get married in Israel he said, “Tell me the date, and I’ll be there.” When I told him I wanted to make aliyah four years ago, he gave me unwavering love and support.

When I say I still love Israel and it’s better than the US, Israelis laugh at me. Now I see why.

Yesterday I got a harsh dose of reality on the phone with a local consulate. I moved to a country that says my vaccinated grandpa doesn’t matter.

Interns, yeshiva students, and even tour groups have free reign, but olim and their births and weddings are insignificant. Policy shows priorities. And I can see I am not one. My grandpa is not one. And for me, that is worse.

I’ve tried not to pay too much attention to the news, hoping the law will change. Excited my parents now have entry rights. But with my wedding a month away, I’m forced to decide: Do I want to get married in a place that says grandparents don’t matter? That prioritizes tour groups over olim and their family? Me and my family?

I haven’t told my papa he might not be permitted to come to the wedding. I am too ashamed. I expect that America will deny visas to Israelis for family weddings. America doesn’t value family the way Israel does. Maybe I got that wrong too.

Israel, I beg you please fix this policy. I want my grandpa here with me on this important day. He’s able to come, he’s excited to come, please don’t stop him.

About the Author
Born in Boston, Caroline moved to Israel 4 years ago. She loves spending time with her family, friends, and walking. After earning a BS in sociology and an MA in inclusive elementary education, she discovered her passion for editing in Israel.
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