Hi, I’m Aleeza Ben Shalom.
A wife, mother of five wonderful children and one four-legged beloved furry friend Koda the Kelev. We had plans to make aliyah February 28th with Koda and then got news that “the committee” said Koda couldn’t come. To see the full story read my previous article, help bring Koda the Kelev home to Israel.
With tremendous gratitude to so many, we want you to know that accommodations were made and Koda the Kelev is in Israel with us!
To be honest we aren’t sure who or what made the difference in this world but we know that for sure our pleas were heard by the One above and Hashem answered YES!
One of my teachers, Rabbi Aryeh Nivin, always impressed upon his students that the results of our actions are not in our hands. It is only our job to ‘try.’ The results of any action are in Hashem’s hands.
Knowing this, I wanted to go to Israel with a clear heart and mind feeling that I did everything I was supposed to do to ‘try’ to bring Koda the Kelev home.
I pondered what I should do and what was a sufficient effort. I started by emailing Nefesh b’Nefesh. They responded timely and said they were doing everything they could to help us get a positive outcome. However, they were still waiting on the committee’s decision, hopefully a new favorable decision. Ok, I ‘tried’ and they ‘tried.’
I decided to ‘try’ some more. So I wrote a blog “Help Bring Koda the Kelev Home to Israel.” This effort was a good ‘try,’ but I still didn’t feel like it was enough.
Then a friend asked me if I had started a petition? Hmmm petition? I’m not really a petition kind of person. I’m not the lobbying kind. And is it really an issue worth lobbying for? I was starting to think of how many things I never lobbied for. And if this was even a worthy cause compared to what other good I could be doing in the world.
Then I remembered we are 1 day away from Purim. Mordechai told Esther to go to the king and ask for the lives of her people to be saved. Esther had an important mission to save the Jewish people. Ok, a little extreme I thought. I’m asking for our beloved dog Koda to come with us. Not exactly the lives of the Jewish people. And then I realized, it was this beloved dog that brought our whole family through the pandemic more gracefully, with smiles, less trauma and with more peace. So yes, I was also saving the Jewish people, saving my family from sadness, depression and daily struggle and bringing new life to our family. It was also going to be Koda who would help us more gracefully make aliyah. This thought was enough to fuel my next ‘try,’ a petition on change.org.
We were 4 days away from aliyah and I knew if we didn’t get a verdict before Purim it was a case that was likely to go unheard because of the timing and festivities. I was feeling the time crunch.
My last two ‘tries.’ First, a friend connected me with a former Knesset member who was so kind to listen to my request via WhatsApp and offered to help. Thank you for your efforts. I’m sure you made a difference. Second, Seattle Attorney Jon M. Zimmerman, who has represented Miska the Cat, requested that Minister of Aliyah Pnina Tamano-Shata grant safe passage to Koda the Kelev and allow Koda to fly with our family. Thank you Minister of Aliyah for your help in this matter. Like you many years ago, our family will also resettle in Pardes Hanna!
With all those efforts, ‘tries,’ I felt complete and exhausted because it was 3 a.m. the morning of Purim in the USA and 10am already in Israel.
What I didn’t know then was that the other dog families on my flight were ‘trying’ behind the scenes too. They had made calls and also tried to get “protexia” to help our animals fly. We were all working tirelessly to ‘try’ and bring our dogs home.
In just 17 hours we had over 1,700 signatures on the petition. I told our 5 kids, “Listen, I don’t know if Koda will come with us. But I did everything I could think of to help get a favorable reply. But remember the results aren’t up to the committee or the Israeli government, even though that is who we appear to be petitioning. The results are up to Hashem, that is who we are really petitioning. If Hashem says yes, Koda will come. And if Hashem says not now, then she will stay in America. Either way, everything Hashem does is for the good. We may feel sad if she has to stay, but somehow this would also be for the good. I also want you to know, I ‘tried’ my best and did all I could. Remember, that’s our job, to ‘try.’ The results are up to Hashem.”
I went to bed at 3 a.m. feeling good. Not because I was confident about the outcome. Rather I was confident that what Hashem wanted for us was good and that I had done my part and ‘tried.’
Just as Purim was entering we received a notice that Koda was allowed to fly along with her fellow four legged friends.
It was a Purim miracle, a blessing from above and the best Aliyah gift we could have received from the committee, the Israeli Government and Hashem.
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and in some way supported us bringing Koda the Kelev home. A special thank you to Nefesh B’Nefesh and their team who worked around the clock. Most of all, to the One above, Hashem, thank you for saying yes. We really needed Koda to help us transition.
Mazel Tov to us all!
We made aliyah on March 1, 2021. We are doing great and so happy to be here.
Toda from Koda the Kelev and from all of us!
And if you’re thinking about aliyah…Stop thinking and start filling out the application with Nefesh B’Nefesh.
It’s always the right time to come home.
Come visit us in Pardes Hanna.
See you soon in Israel!