Lara Itzhaki
Lara Itzhaki

Watching from the sidelines

I have been helping people make Aliyah for over 5 years.  Aliyah is usually a mix of emotions — excitement, anxiety, days and months of little to no sleep, packing up on that end and then unpacking on our end.

OVERWHELMING is an understatement!!!

And then corona hit the world…What before was a difficult process became a near impossibility.  Offices were closed overseas, and there was no way around the growing list of documents needed (with apostille), time-sensitive FBI background check (or the equivalent), and the list goes on.

Misrad Hapnim was no longer at the Ben Gurion airport, so Olim did not receive their Teduat Zehut at the airport- this meant an extra run to Misrad Hapnim.

Stress…Stress…Stress.  Let’s not forget the ever-changing rules of bidud (quarantine), how to get out, when and where to get tested.

Wow!!!  Looking back, it’s been one tough year.

And yet….. people are still coming to Israel.  Still fulfilling their dream of living in the land of milk and honey.

We go with them to the different offices, and hear their stories.  Young couples, singles in their 20’s and 30’s, families with 3, 4, 5 or more kids (bli ain hara), older couples making aliyah because that is the only way to see their kids and grandkids that they have not seen in over a year.  Couples in their 60’s and 70’s whose flights are changed from today to tomorrow and they need to scramble to make the flight that has been made 10 days earlier.

But they make it, after lots of sweat, and many times, tears.  They come here to Israel and are reunited with family, or make new friends that will soon come to be like family.

And I watch all of this from the side, and say, Wow!!! Would I have had the strength to go through all of this, Aliyah and corona????

I’m not sure.  I would like to think so, but who knows.

I applaud each one who has ever made Aliyah- leaving a home, a family, a familiar place for the Homeland.  It is a beautiful dream but it takes a lot of work.

And I watch from the side — how our clients adjust to bidud, to corona testing, to not seeing their family for a year plus.  And I am so proud!!!  Proud of all the people that have made the sacrifice (yes, for many it is a sacrifice in many ways).

But it’s more than that.  They don’t just manage — they are adjusting, happy, the kids have made friends, the language is slowly becoming more familiar.

And then comes a war — thousands of rockets hitting all over Israel.  And what do these amazing Olim do?  They keep themselves calm, adjust to this terrible new reality and then go out to help others.  Hosting families from the South, raising thousands of dollars for soldiers and going to personally deliver them to soldiers close to Gaza.

This is what makes us who we are- we need to be united, care for others and be proud of who we are.  We have the only army in the world that warns it’s enemies to evacuate before we tear down a building — even though this enemy is sending thousands of missiles at citizens every day.

I am proud of all those who have made Aliyah and chosen Israel as their home.

As one of those people,I feel now, more than ever, this is the time to stand together against our enemies, show we are united and only then will we be unbeatable.

יברכך השם וישמרך

About the Author
I have a bachelor's degree in Social Work from Hebrew University. I chose that field because I love helping people. I am proud to be an Israeli and am grateful for the zchut to be living in Israel. I co-founded Olim Advisors to support, guide and advocate for individuals and families during their Aliyah process. I am thrilled to be combining my love of Israel and love of helping people through this organization.
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