My home is not for sale

Why am I writing a blog you ask? Good question… mainly because I have a lot to say. I am a better talker than I am a writer but I will try this anyway.

Those of you who have been following the news in the past few days have probably heard a lot about the Jordan Valley. In the most recent peace talks, the Jordan Valley has been placed on the negotiation table. As it just so happens, the Jordan Valley is also my home. In this blog I will tell you about life in the Jordan Valley, as an American Olah, a woman, a mother and a Jew. So here goes…

At first, my main dilemma was what language to write my blog in? Making Aliyah as a teenager (my parents decided to make Aliyah when I was 13 years old and I had no choice but to come along, kicking and screaming… I thank them for it every day – more about that on another post) English is definitely more comfortable for me. On the other hand, my day-to-day life is in Hebrew (yes, I speak to my children in Hebrew… yell at me later… I know, I am a horrible mother!). My Husband is Israeli, my work is mainly in Hebrew and I live in a totally Hebrew speaking environment (not many Anglos out here in the Jordan Valley). Here is an example how my bilingual brain works – I will only read the newspaper in Hebrew but I will only read novels in English, including Israeli authors like Meir Shalev and Amos OZ. One other problem writing in either language – I am not 100% fluent in either language – or as I like to say, I am illiterate in two languages. I have horrible grammar and spelling in both and my vocabulary is somewhat limited in both languages. There will be mistakes in this blog… So bear with me please!

So, I live in the Jordan Valley – Israel’s border with Jordan. Life out here in the boondocks is beautiful, peaceful and hot as hell in the summer (the winters are gorgeous… focus on the winter). Our community is wonderful and the more people I meet from other communities in the Jordan valley the more I love this region. My first time here was when I was just about 18 years old and I was seeking a place to do my National Service. A friend brought me the Shadmot Mechola (thank you Lilach!!) and I totally fell in love with the place! It was rainy on the day I came and as we arrived a huge rainbow formed across the sky and the view was absolutely magnificent! rainbow

(photo taken from my living room- January 2012)

Once I was accepted to do my service here, it was a no-brainer for me to decide this is where I want to be. Love at first sight. After falling in love with the land (I served as a tour-guide) I quickly fell in love with the people. Eventually I met who became my husband and the rest is history. After we got married we lived mainly in Jerusalem (one year in Kiryat Shmona) for 7 years until, we made our way back to the peaceful “Bika’a”.

Life here beats to a different rhythm. No traffic. No unnecessary noises. The standard of living is different. The value system is different. There are pro’s and con’s about living out in the boondocks. The main disadvantages are compromise in the workforce, traveling and lack of competition (in all fields – from supermarkets to schools to after-school activities to cleaning help). The advantages are enormous – quality of life, quality community, quality education, quality friends, amazing views from my living-room window, nature at your doorstep (saw a dog chasing a deer last week during our Shabbat meal – beat that city folk!) and I could go on and on. Yes, sometimes I feel like I need a mall or I am going to kill someone- so I go out to the new street mall in Beit shean just 20 minutes away or I just wait till I go to my parents in Modiin to get my fix. It could also be hard to live in a small community, sometime I feel like closing my blinds and locking my door and not talking to anyone – so that’s what I do… until I run out of milk and need to go to the neighbor. I guess there is not much of a difference between city life and middle-of-nowhere life…. Ha! Who am I kidding!

About the Author
Born and raised in the USA until age 13, Elana made Aliyah with her parents. She completed her National Service in the Jordan Valley where she met her husband. After six years in Jerusalem she moved four years ago to the Jordan Vallley where she now lives, raising her four children