This past Friday, April 22, 2016, began the first night of Pesach (passover). I went to a seder with a friend, well more like an aunt or mother figure not friend per say. It was my 2nd or 3rd seder with her and it was great. Even though it last until 12:30 (it started at 7) I always enjoy the company and the history, here family history. I love the tradition of it all. The second night was spent amongst friends. This was my first seder with this friend since joining the Netivot Shalom community about 3 years ago. This second night seder I was surrounded by my friends who I’ve known now for 3 years. It dawned on me that this could potentially be my last seder here in the states for some time. I’m planning to make aliyah this December (initially it was January of 2017 but I am adamant that I arrive before my 33rd birthday). The experience was bitter sweet. I had a lot of fun, lots of laughs. I knew most of the people, I felt safe and secure with these people. I knew the songs and prayers and even fell deeply in love in with some new Pesach (passover) foods. 

Next year in Jerusalem, is how we end our seders, and next year I will be in Jerusalem (well most likely Tel Aviv but I’ll be home) and it will be with a new community. A community of people who I may ore may not know prior. I know two people in Tel Aviv, one is a good friend and the other is my rabbi’s sister. One who is not particularly religious and the other I don’t know. In my current community we are apartment of the conservative (Masorti) movement and I love it. It’s home. In Israel people tend to be either religious or secular. I’ve spent seders with people who are not particularly religious. The seder is mostly in English and the people involved don’t seem to be particularly involved with he experience but rather just going through the motions. I don’t want to experience just going through the motions. I want to spend next Pesach (passover) surrounded by friends. I want to sing the songs and wait hours for food. I want to feel connected to my history and my people like I did this Pesach (passover). 

Hello Tel Aviv

I decided to make Tel Aviv my aliyah home when I land in 2017. Tel Aviv was not my favorite city when I arrived in Israel last summer (2015). I wasn’t a fan of the busyness, the graffiti, or it not quite feeling like shabbat the first shabbat I spent there. It reminded me of the city across the bay (San Francisco), Paris, Krakow and well just a number of other major urban cities that I visited. I felt even more disconnected when I returned after spending a whirlwind week in Jerusalem and the Negev. Those places felt old, vibrant with history. Even Jaffa, which is right next door to Tel Aviv felt very old and spiritual. 


So why did I choose Tel Aviv. #1 I know people there. More importantly one of my most dear friends lives there which will def help me when I feel nostalgic and blue. #2 Yarkon Park I discovered this gorgeous park when I was there and I fell in love (Pictured above the beautiful lake there). #3 The beach. I think that goes without saying (Just look at the beautiful water I photographed above). . #4 The refuge population. I had the opportunity to visit Bina which is a volunteer organization which helps African asylum seekers in Tel Aviv. As I walked around the park near the Bus Terminal my heart ached for the people. My people. Not because they were asylum seekers or poor but because I felt like they were ignored. Furthermore I watched a documentary were people were just flat out racist and insulting towards the Africans in this area. White Tel Aviv natives who felt that their beloved city had gone to hell because of all the “africans” who were “criminals”. It’s the same stuff I hear here in the states which just drives me nuts. So I knew, as part of Tikkum Olam, that this was the place I wanted to be. #6 Shabbat. Yes, I complained that the whole city does not shut down like it does in Jerusalem but I think I will like that and most likely will need that. As a dog mommy, whose doggy was deathly ill with IMHA last August (2015), if there is an emergency with her I need to be able to take of that pronto. Since I wont have my car the first year it will be even more imperative that I am in a transportation friendly city. 

So there are 6 reasons I chose Tel Aviv. I really struggled between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I went back and forth for weeks but I knew once I made a choice it would be ok. And it did. I so far have no regretted the choice to make Tel Aviv my aliyah home. I’ll let you know how it works out in 2017. 


The Dream

I went to Israel the summer of 2015 on a mission trip with my synagogue. I had not beliefs about what this experience would be like. Matter of fact I had never even thought about going. But being the lover of travel that I am I couldn’t resist this adventure.

I spent two weeks in Israel. The first 5 days I was in tel aviv with my friend. I explored Tel Aviv and was fascinated with how much it reminded me of home, here in the bay area. The sunny weather and the clear green-blue water. Then I spent 7 days on my mission trip seeing the rest of the country. I explored the ports of Jaffa, ate a home cooked meal with a bedouin family in the Negev, explored Masada and visited the dead sea (I floated for the first time), and explored the depths of history in Jerusalem.

I fell in love with Israel, my future home on my one and only trip. Now I must admit to easily falling in love with new countries. When I visited Paris for the first time in 2013 I fell in love. When I visited Germany, Poland, and Amsterdam I fell in love. But my love of Israel is different. Just the feeling of belonging I get when I walked the streets not having to search for Kosher restaurants or being in fear as I walk into a synagogue, Israel is me.

So yes I am in love with Israel. I am making aliyah to Israel. When will be my aliyah date? I’m hoping and planning for January 1, 2017.