July Reflections

Hello my friends from here in Israel, back home in California, and of course the few IMG_6799random folks who’ve some how found this blog. Hope your all enjoying my crazy life adventures in Israel. Next month is my friend and trusted hair dresser, Chaya Lev’s aliyaversary so I basically invited myself to her home in Haderah on my day off to do some morning Yoga and just hang out. I really do love celebrating accomplishments, birthdays, etc with my friends and loved ones, so I’m looking forward to a whole lot of laughter because really when we hang out we just bust up all the time. 

As her aliyahversary approaches I have been reflecting on my 7 months in Israel. I am a big dreamer and I always have a lot of goals. I think it’s the Capricorn in me, but I’m always striving for more and more. I can’t just settle for anything. Since my life goal is to be happy, I’m proud that even in the face of tough times the moment of happiness and gratitude always finds a a way of shinning some light in my life. 

So with all this in mind I’ve had really interesting past week, thats got me thinking. I joined a consult group, which is online, and with other American women who have private therapy practices. Part of our work together includes homework, getting to know each other, and really just supporting each other as we grow and achieve our individual (practice) goals. Bonus is that the woman running it is kind of  genius and I really love working with her. So part of the homework included networking, which I really love. I really like meeting people and hearing their stories. I love having a massive circle of friends and acquaintances, people who are both different and similar to me. I like to think of myself as a complex person and no matter who I meet if I click with them I always find we have a little something in common. So in that regard, networking is fun because I just never know who I will meet. Who will be a source of professional but also personal support. Will we just be business acquaintances or will we be friends? 

Well I had two encounters this week where I really liked the people yet I found that they had a different attitude with regards to business and their practices than I did. Now again I’ve only been in Israel 7 months and these people have been here for years, and they can speak better Hebrew than I do, so maybe they know a little bit more than I do about life. So I’ll take heed, even these woman, who basically told me that its a waste to network in Israel because people were all competing for the same clients blah blah blah, was something Just don’t agree with. This is an example of what we call a “scarcity” mindset at it’s finest. 

On top of all these interactions I had a conversation with a coworker about home buying in Israel. I said emphatically that I was buying a home some day in Israel to which the coworkers reply was unless I had some family member to give me money or had a home all ready it just wouldn’t happen. What pops up on fb today is someone asking a question about getting money for a down payment and people said the same thing-it just isn’t gonna happen for this woman and her family. 

This week I was surrounded by negative talk and beliefs from folks. It’s like everyone is feeling financial stress around me and they can only see life through those filters. Or maybe they tried really hard to accomplish their own goals and failed so they want to pass on their wisdom to others. While at the same time as I’m surrounded by negativity, I’m doing a rejection challenge with my friend (we basically have to do one thing a day where we ask for something with a high likelihood that the person will say no so we can find out the reasons why its a no and also get used to feeling rejected. It sounds deeper than it is but here is the video) and also finding inspiration in Neil Gaiman with his speech “Make Good Art” (You have to see it to understand it). 

With all of the competing interests swirling around me this week I got the idea to make a list of all the things I want to do that people tell me are impossible (for whatever reason) and go about knocking them off my list. I just don’t believe things are impossible but I do think that much of what we want to do or accomplish require a lot of smart hard work, which can be a challenge for most of us, especially in the age of distractions and instant gratifications. When I am having a hard time here, sad because I’m missing friends weddings in the states or wishing that I could afford the taxes and delivery charges from things in the US to Israel, I remind myself that this life I’m building is a marathon not a sprint. That I have planned to start over and just see where the journey takes me. As long as I have friends, both here in Israel and back in California, I can’t go wrong in this life. And when I was really feeling overwhelmed my good friend Barbara reminded me that I have accomplished so much in just the 7 months that I have lived here. That I should take a moment to be proud of myself for these accomplishments and know that I will achieve the goals I desire, step by step. So this blog is for you Barbara, missing you tons. 

So here is my list to knock off:

  • Buy a home/Apartment
  • Bring my car from US
  • Live Debt Free
  • Do Napa Fellowship
  • Have Full time successful private practice that supports my lifestyle
  • Learn Hebrew (this one is not really impossible but for now I’m learning with talking with friends not at Ulpan which everyone wants me to do like yesterday) 


Sorry y’all I’ve been absent and really there is no reason why other than the days being just about the same. 5 days a week I wake up at 4:30, walk my dog, return home, shower, get on the bus, go to work, work at 8 and leave at 4:30, get on the bus, go home, walk my dog, eat some dinner, and go to bed. Tuesdays are dedicated to my business, to therapy and networking. Saturdays I walk my dog an do a little work for business, catch up on sleep, and then go back to bed. Oh yes I’m living the life (insert sarcastic laughter now). It’s been like this since I moved to Tel Aviv. There have been some times here and there were I’ve had some fun in my life. I have reached out to therapists here in Tel Aviv and now I have two new friends. One friend and I will be hanging out on my next day off (wahoo) and the other we will be talking about starting to run therapy groups together (yay). I’m also looking at an office space and finally going to some building on Menachem Begin to set up my business in Israel. I also did my taxes (still traumatized so we are not talking about it). I went to the cafe with my friend of ten years and she helped me with a (failed) fb ad campaign and we talked a little about her wedding (so exciting-not sarcasm). 

The only amusement I’ve had since I’ve arrived is not being able to shake a man I went on two dates with (we had no chemistry and dear G-d he was a little to creepy for me) and getting my hair done and visiting the city of Hadera (very cute). Just a note of advice ladies: always trust your gut!! If you think someone is weird or there is just something “off” about a man then take head and say goodbye. Don’t even do the “maybe we can be friends” because these types of dudes take it to another level. 

So this explains my absence. Life has become routine here. The magic has not warn off, especially since I still feel like I’m moving through Israel like a toddler (every day I see or learn something new), but I don’t have to many wow moments any more. So in the spirit of this I’d like to share some stories of the things that I’ve seen here, so you wont feel like you just read a boring as blog. 

The week of Pesach I did not work, but I baby sat two times. I babysit the cutest little guy every and his 8 y/o brother. I also thoroughly enjoy his parents, and if I ever stop making minimum wage I would hire his mom to be my personal trainer just as an excuse to hang out because she’s freakin cool. So during the babysitting there were two boys there, one who was like 6 or 7 and the other maybe around 9.There parent was not around. These boys were awful. The little guy I baby sit for aka the cutest little guy ever is only 1 and a half and the 6/7 y/o boy was trying to hurt him.So I had to yell Di (enough in Hebrew) and lo (no in Hebrew) for him to stop. Side note I really need to get my Hebrew on par because I needed to tell him more. Then the two boys with no parents just kept fighting each other. After being there for an hour their dad came in and it was calm for about 5 minutes. Then the 6/7 y/o hurt the 9 y/o and the 9y/o started to cry. So do you think the dad went and hugged his crying son and then disciplined the 6/7 y/o? The answer is no. What he did do, because the 9 y/o started hitting the 6/7 y/o the father actually grabbed the 6/7 y/o by his ear, threw him to the ground, and kicked him. Now we are at the Gymboree and no one has shoes on and it wasn’t particularly hard the kick but it was the message behind it all. For the whole hour before these boys were out of control fighting and the little one tried to hit me and the cutest kid little guy ever (the 8 y/o is the sweetest kid ever and he could handle his own). I got it all on video because it was so disturbing. 

Yesterday (Friday) I woke up to a text message from two coworkers. They created a group chat about my bosses birthday. So they stated that they wanted to do a Stars Wars theme for her and everyone would have to put in 28 shekels and then do something else. I didn’t read it all because it made me mad. Why the hell should I buy my boss a birthday present? You know who I buy presents for? Loved ones! And I can tell you with complete confidence she is not a loved one. She attempted to friend request me on fb and she got the block. I’m sure she is a nice woman but we are not friends-this is an employer employee relationship. So I called my mother (hey mama) as I walked my dog to the beach and basically talked her ear off about why I wasn’t doing this. Might I also add that I make minimum wage (35 shekel an hour) and I’m all ready not getting paid for a weeks worth of work because of vacation. So now I’m not putting in an hours worth of work into a present for my boss. Now I’ll sign a card. And while I’m on this, do men do this shit? I mean really men do you decide your going to buy your boss a gift and then expect your coworkers to put in money for it? I need to know, because I’ve never met a man who would do this. 

Also happened yesterday at work is one of the head teachers for the other class losing her shit (which she pretty much does once a month as far as I can tell) about some bubbles. So I’m head teacher (insert sarcastic yay) while my head teacher is in the States. So my kid are outside (this is Thursday) and here comes the head teacher who loses her shit “Jess here are some bubbles“. Now let me share that I never asked her or stated I’m looking for bubbles so I said ok thanks. I blew a few and then I went to take a child to the bathroom. My assistant I gave her the bubbles and she could have at it. So the day finishes and I notice the bubbles were gone so I toss the container in the garbage. So fast forward to yesterday and teacher who loses her shit says “Jessica do you have the bubbles”. And I said “yeah they are all gone”. She goes (voice raising) “What? How do you go through a whole thing of bubbles.” I said “I gave them to (assistants name) and she used them with the kids.” So she says (voice still raised) “I lent them to you and when I let you borrow something I expect it back”. She then turns to my poor assistant, who came in feeling sick, and yells at her “How could you go through a whole thing of bubbles? I got those from Greece…”. So of course I apologize to my assistant and now I feel bad for home girl because she is going to be working with her next school year. 

3bubble wand

Said bubbles looked like this but in yellow

If they told me I would work with her next year I would quit-lol. Now I might add this is not the first time that she has lost her shit (hence her name is the teacher who lost her shit). She once yelled at me randomly because papers from child’s party had fallen off the wall in the side yard and they were on the ground and she “was tired of picking up after our class”. Now that one you can blame on my head teacher haha. But let me tell you I do not send my kids to that yard when I am head teacher because she is just yells all the time. And the interesting thing was that When she yelled yesterday I was holding one very sleepy and whiny child (who I love oh so much). So teacher who loses her shit yells and my poor child puts her head up and looks terrified. So of course I stayed calm, because if you yell at me I’m ready to box, but I had the baby so my heart needed to be a steady calm (that’s a child therapist for you there) and I handled her. But really she is so inappropriate. I also know, because I overhear these people talking all the time, that she feels stressed at home and she has a very small support system, so she becomes easily triggered at work when those feelings come up (like people not helping her or people taking advantage of her).

Also yesterday I’m on the crowded gotta get home before the buses stop running for shabbat bus and I sit across from some weird man. Well I suddenly see a cockroach crawling up his leg and I’m thinking how gross this is and I should say something and then this fool begins to pick his nose. Just sticks his fingers up there and wait for the best part. He then flings the contents almost hitting the guy sitting in the set across the aisle from him. So I just stare at him as he keeps picking his nose and getting rid of the contents around him. I’m telling you this is why you gotta stay aware of your surroundings because you might get boogers flinged on you or you might end up taking a cockroach home with you. 

Lastly I attempted to buy a bed (finally) but it was a fail because I didn’t have enough credit left on my credit card. The lady attempted to explain it all but hell I don’t know what the hell she was talking about. So when I go to the store to tell them never mind the guy was very persistent with the sale and also not happy that I was saying take it all off. I’m like I’ll come back in May (after pay day) to just buy it outright but he was having none of it. I was too tired to argue so I said fine whatever-so now I’ve bought a mattress and I’m looking for a frame so the mattress doesn’t have to be on the floor. 

So because this blog deserves a little ending which also serves as y’all holding me accountable for things that I need to do. 

#1 learn Hebrew. At this moment I don’t have time or energy for Ulsan but I would like to start after the high holy days in the fall. In the meantime its going to be a lot of listening to music, watching tv, attempting conversations, and just learning key phrases. 

#2 my practice. I have to get clients and get my own office. I have found that my ultimate dream would be to have my own clinic for english speakers looking for mental health support here in Tel Aviv. It’s so hard for English speakers to get treatment from native English speakers and the insurance doesn’t help so I would like to create something large to fill this gap. I also really want to do consultations at pre-school, man I would love to help the teachers at my job be less stressed, learn how to regulate themselves, stopping being disrespectful to assistants, and understand child development. I also feel like my boss needs a little help in this area too. 

#3 I want to see every city in Israel and have a friend in every city. 

#4 kind of ties with #3 and that’s to just have more fun in my life. The weather is getting nicer and Jaffa is right here. Tel Aviv is a cool city where you can take your dog everywhere so I want to walk around more with her and just sit and relax. Read a book. Drink some tea or limonana (aka mint and lemonade). 

#5 I’m hitting that dating scene (but please G-d! No more crazies). 

So until next time my friends…

Week 13

This week has been pretty good for me. First off I wrote an amazing blog which I am very proud of, discussing sexual abuse in the African-American community. It has inspired me to focus my practice on African-American female child sexual abuse survivors. I have been feeling very settled in my apartment and neighborhood despite it still being very lightly furnished and I have not had the time or energy to paint so it’s a mess…but it’s my mess. I’ve been diligent about staying on a budget but tracking my expenses when I get paid once a month is very hard. I’m also still paying off stuff in the US so that also really sucks. I had hoped that my practice would’ve taken off by now so I can use that money for my US expenses but it hasn’t…and you know what that’s ok. I was listening to a podcast, The Abundance Podcast, which is by a therapist and business coach. She had a wonderful woman on there named Rajani Ventrakaman-Levis  who said something that has stuck in my head for the past week. She said something to the effect that sometimes the universe gives us what we can handle. We may think we want or need something at a particular time but it may not actually be the right time. About a week before that my friend from work, who I ride the bus with sometimes said to me “Give yourself a break. You’ve only been here three months and look at what you’ve accomplished”. I’ve literally been sitting with these two statements for the past couple days. Of course I wanted to have a full time practice and be back financially where I was when I lived in California but:

  1. This is not California
  2. I’m still new and learning about how everything works
  3. I’d be exhausted and maybe not be doing as good of a job as I usually do

So taking these statements into heart I have given myself a break. I’m giving myself more time to grow my practice and meet people. After the podcast I sent an email to Rajani and she invited me to join her online consult group for minority women. (Interestingly the first meeting would be on Wednesday but I had plans so I wouldn’t be able to join. I message my friend who I was suppose to meet that Wednesday and she had to cancel so now I get to join the consult group. I’m excited to connect with other therapists of color). I’ve also set up other meetings with therapists. I had one last week online and enjoyed it. I have another next Tuesday with an MFT here in Tel Aviv and a week after that I’m meeting with a psychologist here in Tel Aviv. So I’m excited about building my therapist community all over again. I really miss some of the folks i worked with before, my friend whose an OT, my friend who does 0-5 mental health, and my marketing group. But it’s also exciting to branch out and meet other people as well. 

My boss at the nursery school I work at asked me what my plans are for the next school year. I told her I  didn’t know. I didn’t go into details about why I didn’t know-my hopes for having a full time practice by August and being my own boss. So she told me about the different pops out ties which are available. I could stay as an assistant there and work with my same teacher or go to another class. She also mentioned that a head teacher for the littles at the second school is going on maternity and that’s an option too if I wanted to do teaching. So I went on about my day with some thinking about the different roles. I just knew teaching wasn’t for me and I didn’t really want to go to the second school. I’m not familiar with it and I like the comfort of where I am. I know the people and the bus route. I know the system, the kids and the parents. But the following day I went into work and my boss pulls me aside and basically tells me she really wants me at the second school. She likes my professionalism, that I’m older and that i have a masters degree. She tells me the pay is 5 shekel and hour more (so not a whole lot different) and we could start the training now. So now I’m thinking about doing this. I’m still setting up for my practice and it will take time. In the meantime I can continue working like I am at the nursery school, get the consistent paycheck and meet with parents. A bonus is that I’ve all ready been asked to babysit for a family and to me it’s not so much about the babysitting as it’s about the parents trusting me and feeling confident leaving their children in my care which means the most to me. As a therapist and a (assistant) teacher at this school that’s what matters to me. At the same time a coworker was telling me about their autisitc son and not liking the therapist who is currently working with him and the family. She wanted to hire me she was so fed up. Now I don’t do autism but it’s a reminder that there is a niche out here. Native English speakers who want other native English speakers to help them. 

So this week feels really nice. It feels good to have hard work appreciated and noticed by others. It’s a good feeling after a long day to know that it’s meaningful to the people around me and the families who trust me. My love and my passion will always be therapy, trauma healing really, but until that takes off this will be good. The bonus is that the position is only nail February of next year so it gives me the time that iI might need to reach my goal, while also making the time commitment more manageable. 

The other big thing was going to my friends house and picking up the rest of my belongings. Now if i could recommend anything to someone making aliyah-if you decide that you want to make a pilot trip pack a bag of stuff you’ll want and then leave it at your friends house. I packed a computer, clothes, shoes, lotions, etc and I actually had forgotten exactly what I had left but when i picked up my stuff and went through it I was so happy to discover all the nice things I still had and it actually made my new apartment feel even more like home.

Other little wins for the week: frying chicken, finding canned corn just like what I had back home as a kid, successfully navigating the post office for the first time (I still don’t quiet understand the Israeli postal system since there are no mailboxes where I can just drop stuff off while walking Autumn), finding chicken patties, watermelon season, my gaming computer and the resurgence of playing sims 3 in my down time, finding a tea shop by my house and discovering hibiscus tea and fresh peach tea, buying two cute purple bowls so now I don’t have to only eat out of Tupperware, my second babysitting gig this month with my little guy from the school, finding cheetos, and being able to talk with my family as they celebrated my cousins birthday and feeling like I’m still apart of it all even from halfway around the world.

So as I near the 3 month mark of my aliyah I’m feeling reflective. I had so many goals and things I wanted to accomplish and I’m hoping it will happen soon…or at least in the time that is right. I’m feeling so a home right now in a very different way from California. I talk to my friends and family so regularly that its like I’m still there (therefore i don’t miss them). I do miss my car and the ease of getting around but on the bus i get so many things accomplished. As an aside I’ve seen cockroaches 3 times this month on the bus and in a weird way it’s helping me get over my fear of them (I also see them outside), so that’s a weird win. As I continue to settle I am beginning to create a schedule. I’ve failed on my 30 day blog challenge opting instead to go back to blogging for work once a week and also doing this blog once a week.I want to start doing yoga again but as I’m still a struggling immigrant I’m going to be doing it at home using YouTube videos so that will start this next week. I’m also increasing Autumn’s walk from 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes so we can maybe get in about 3.5 miles. Oh and at some point I need to get my hair done. I have the week off for Pesach so that seems like a good time to schedule something. Until next week.

Day 3

11:17 am: Last night I fell asleep at 7:30 and woke up at 11:30. The apartment was quiet so I got some tea, ate left over French fries and called my mother. It was a nice talk and I’m glad I was able to do it. I went to sleep around 2:30/3 and I woke up to some type of noise around 5:45. I went for a walk and got lost in the city so instead of walking five miles I waked 5.40 miles. 

Upon my arrival back to the apartment I checked fb-there were 5 messages. One was for the job in the Tel Aviv area teaching English after school. She seems nice and the pay is decent for part time work. We got to know each other briefly over the phone before  We scheduled a time to meet tomorrow, since I’ll be back in Tel Aviv on way to Herzliya. I messaged a few people about roommating and then showered. 

After I  showered it was time to get to the bus and back to Jerusalem. It’s funny the second time around I felt so comfortable as if I’ve done this before. (Oh wait I have yesterday). As I waited for the bus a woman began speaking to me in Hebrew. I had no idea what she was saying and I couldn’t even reply in Hebrew 😱. I was disappointed in myself for being caught off guard and not being able to respond in Hebrew even though I knew how. 

The bus arrived right as I got a call from my accommodations in Jerusalem Wednesday-Sunday. We coordinated when I would arrive and as I paid the bus driver the money he drops my change towards my hand but he misses and it lands on the ground. I just laugh because it’s such an Israeli thing. (A couple days back I got my receipt and debit card thrown back at me not gently tossed on the counter or placed in my hand). 

Evening: I met a new friend at her apartment in Nachlaot. When I first visited Nachlaot the day before I didn’t really like it. But this tour around I actually enjoyed the little city. There are lots of different kinds of people who are in this part of Jerusalem. Secular and Charedi. I had a chance to meet my new friends friends at the dog park who were also very nice. I also had a chance to spend some time at a beer place in the shuk. I had a taste of different kinds of beer which was fun. I really enjoyed this spiced cider that I had. I really enjoy cider. The new friend also helped me look at apartments on yad2 and even spoke to a couple people for me. Unfortunately they didn’t work out so we never got to see an apartment. 


I also reached out in my whatsapp group for girls looking for an apartment. I had a girl reply saying that she and her friend might be interested. It’s so hard because I want to live alone but I don’t want to spend more than 2,000 shekels a month. Seeing my new friends little place was an inspiration though. She pays 3400 shekels a month and it’s all hers. That’s really not bad and I feel like Autumn would be happy to have a place with just her and I. On the other hand she is used to having Coco (my mom’s dog), my mom, and my younger brother and sister. It’s so hard to decided especially without a job. 

I keep thinking about the part time job prospect but I don’t know if it’s a good fit. I want to live in Jerusalem and the thought of coming every day to Tel Aviv for a job seems crazy to me. Maybe I’ll give myself until Thursday to figure this all out. 

After spending all day in Jerusalem I returned to TA to meet up with another friend. We had a couple drinks, shared a small snack and just talked. It was pretty cool and it’s nice to hang out in the evening time and see everyone outside still. I didn’t get back until 10pm and there was still a million people (figuratively) outside. Tel Aviv really reminds me of Paris and I think that’s why I’m starting to like it. 


Aliyah Tears

I am making aliyah! I am moving to Israel in December of 2016. I am excited. I am elated. I want this. I will do this. I will struggle. I will feel sad! I will feel lonely! I will feel happy! I will feel angry!

 I will feel frustrated! I will get confused! I will need help! I will ask for help! I will laugh! I will cry!

I will shake my head! I will yell! I will be sarcastic! I will be snarky! I will be the same! I will change! I will love! I will feel love! I will fall out of love! I will need support! I will receive support! I will give support! I will be Israeli! I will be an American! I will be home!

Since announcing my aliyah earlier this year there have been many ups and downs emotionally. I am afraid sometimes of how my aliyah will impact others. Because I have been afraid, I have not shared it! I’ve avoided talking about it. When people ask me details I instinctually feel defensive. I feel the need to protect myself from the perceived negativity that will come my way. I have not shared my plans or talked about why I’m excited because I’m afraid that someone will shoot me down. I am afraid of the pain. I am afraid of hurting others. So I avoid.

About a month ago my mother just came out and laid all her anxieties on me (See my blog about the Unsupportive Loved One). I was beyond upset. I hd almost fooled myself into thinking she was generally supportive. I was wrong. Her statements cut like a knife. It felt like she thought I would fail. That was so painful I almost cried. Even as I write this and think back on it I feel that lump in my throat and the dry mouth that is the beginnings of the waterworks. I don’t cry all that often, but when I do its always from pain. Usually from some deep sadness that a comment has struck me right at the core. The piece of me that is vulnerable and easily wounded like a baby-sensitive to my environment. So I’ve become pretty adept at reading people and bracing myself for what is coming.

Last week I let my boss know that I was leaving. I had been dreading that too (see blog about Resigning). As the color drained from her face, I knew she felt like I was abandoning her. I knew she would feel this way and I avoided it. I didn’t want to tell her but I had too. The decision has been made. The application approved. Pilot trip tickets are bought. It’s a done deal. 

This week we met again and we focussed on clients. By this time she had the weekend to recover and a letter in her hand. It was real. So she gave me things to do related to my clients. This week I begin to tell my clients. I have been avoiding this. I feel like I’m abandoning them. They need me. There literally is not one else who could see them. 

I told coworkers, I’ve told all my friends, I told one parent so far, and I’ve told a school provider I work with. This people provided me with support. Yes, they were/are sad at me leaving but the genuine positive comments have been wonderful. I’m choking again as I write this. Same lump in my throat. The same dry mouth. The tears just below the surface. my heart heavy. My vulnerability has been tapped. That part of me, the sensitive baby, who just wants to be loved-acknowledge, seen and supportive unconditionally. As I told the provider “even if your just pretending to care thank you for your comments and well wishes, it means a lot”. And it does. 

As a therapist, healer, co parent, friend, sister, daughter, cousin, niece etc I have never been able to stop caring about the people I am in relationship with. I do not want them to be hurt. If they need me or something from me I am there. It’s what I do, who I am, and I love it. But so often, with this mask of toughness and “I got this” attitude, my own needs have been ignored. I want someone to support me unconditionally. To be able to see things form my perspective and to see that I have wants and needs to and dang it would be great if someone was there to scoop me in a big hug (just like a coworker did) and just hold me and say “that’s amazing. Good for you. I am happy for you”. (Now there are actual tears). Why is that so hard for us to do for the people we care about and/or love? Why can’t we push past our own fears around loss, in this case, and be present when someone says they are trying something that is exciting for them? 

So for the first time since I made the announcement I am truly feeling happy and filled with joy at making aliyah. Before this I was so anxious and afraid because on a day to day basis no one was excited for me. The questions were always laced with, “Isn’t it dangerous there?” “What does your mother think?” “What does your family think?” “aren’t you afraid?” “What will you do for work?” “You know theres not many people there who look like you?”.  

img_1145As I tell my clients “find that one person who has your back no matter what. That one person who knows you on such a deep level-where maybe you only where the one mask instead of the 10 or if your really lucky the person where you don’t have to wear a mask at all because they understand. They are the people who help nurture your soul.” I am thankful to have friends and a wonderful community at Netivot Shalom who provide this for me. Having these people who don’t know me as well send me off with such authenticity it reminds me that I don’t have to be afraid of the pain of the unsupportive loved ones. They will not change, and it
s futile to expect them to (it’s a waste of energy). Just because I cannot go to them with this, doesn’t mean I can’t go to others and I can’t get my needs met that way. Making aliyah is a huge choice, its great if you have one person who you can share this with.

The Unsupportive Loved One Update


Back in September I wrote about how my mother decided to lay her anxiety on me about my aliyah. It revolved around her worry that I wont be able to pay her back the money she loaned me when Autumn was at UC Davis. I knew then that she really wasn’t supportive of my choice. She wants to be supportive but my leaving is a loss for her. Any way this update is not a rehashing of that it’s more about what I realized with this happening.

I have a tendency to be secretive. I knew it was a way of protecting myself but I couldn’t quite figure out why that it. I have started learning more about shadow work and our shadow selves (which can be called other things like the unconscious). Basically its that part of us that is vulnerable and afraid. So my tendency to keep secrets revolves around my fear of not being successful. Of trying something new and it failing. If I fail what does this mean for me?

As I have continued to plan my aliyah I have decided on a few important things:

  • I will have roommates for at least 6 months
  • I will take Ulpan at night and have a job during the day
  • I will take a job teaching, either nursery school/pre-school or kindergarten-Well be an Aid not a teacher
  • I will keep my car and continue to pay-even double up if need be to pay it off so I can bring it over with a lower VAT tax
  • I will have my own therapy practice-online and in home therapy, maybe sublet an office

Now the part thats hard. Who do I get to share his information with? Who will support me? I want to share my life but I don’t want to be kicked when I am down. I am really excited about this change/adventure and I feel like I’m welcoming the sacrifices.

Other areas that I worry about is just the long length of the flight for Autumn. It’s fifteen hours and she’s going to be under the plane alone. I am very anxious and sad for her, because I worry she will be lonely and maybe bark herself into  a tizzy and have a heart attack. That would break my heart.  I know this fear is irrational and thankfully it doesn’t occupy my mind, but I’d be lying if i didn’t admit to having the feelings and thoughts from time to time.

I’m happy that I have started taking the time to read again and to work on my own mental health. Just reflective and open to expressing my own needs and wants and how to get this. I can count on sharing my dreams with my friends and having that support-not being kicked in the teeth. I am working on feeling less defensive when people ask me about my move and what I want to do, because more often than not, coworkers and friends are generally interested. I’m also surprised at the ignorance but thats the news’ fault, not theres.

My suggestions for coping with family who isn’t supportive of your dreams can be found in my blog “Losing Support from Loved Ones”. More important  I wanted to share with other aliyah makers the rollercoaster of emotions you will feel as you go through this process and just what to expect in general.

  • You will feel excited, anxious, excited,  worried, sad, happy, etc.
  • you will have the desire to keep your old life and then suddenly you’ll realize that you don’t really need all the stuff you think you’ll need and you’ll have a desire to downsize
  • you will e overwhelmed by the negative comments. This can come from family, friends, strangers or comments you read on online groups from people who complain about the bureaucracy to people who complain about the low pay. IT will have a negative effect on you and make you question yourself.  Hang in there-be present with those feelings, explore them and then move on
  • you will find support in the most unlikely of places and be surprised by people who offer it. Embrace this

My overall take home is to be open, be present, sit with your feelings don’t avoid them, talk openly with people who are supportive of about everything involved with aliyah,  going groups and stay connected.

Losing Support from Family

So I’ve been thinking and planning to make aliyah since I left Israel the summer of 2015. As this dream moved from a dream to a reality it has been pretty smooth. The little hiccups I’ve had felt very intense at the beginning but when they were done that was it! More important in hindsight they were not as big as I thought, just maybe irksome. I had one big reality about a month ago. When I tell people I’m making aliyah they say what does your family think? How does your mother feel? It started to bug me and then I realized it’s because I’ve sent most of my young adult life putting them first. Setting aside my own wishes and dreams to help the family. Largely it’s been rewarding but then there are times when it’s not, just like anything really. Besides for the most part my mom has been supportive. 

That was until this morning during our morning walk with the dogs. She then lays out all her anxieties about me making aliyah. Of course I get upset because I’ve been talking about this for a year and I’ve asked about her feelings and she’s been supportive. I realized I was also upset because in the back of my mind I knew she was not supportive. I knew that her needs would come out in the end and they would feel like they always felt as if her needs superseded mines. We’ve had a good run for about a year of little arguments and disagreements (mostly about social issues) but we haven’t had one about finances in a long time. 

It’s so interesting to have her lay all this on me. What if you go and you can’t payoff this? What if you go and you can’t pay me back for Autumn (my dog who almost died last year she paid the money upfront and I’m paying her back)? I can’t help you. Remember when you moved from LA back home (in 2011) and it took you a whole year to find a job (mind you I worked on-call and pretty much worked every day and I always paid her. In fact I took a loan from a friend, and paid her back, just so I could pay her). Of course part of me living with her now has been contingent on me paying rent, which is low for the bay area but really for only a bedroom and a bathroom (it’s comparable). 

So really who Am I upset with? Am I upset at her because she finally acknowledged what we both always knew was there, under the surface? The piece where she said she was supportive but relying on me financially knowing that she couldn’t full be supportive. Is it that I have my own anxieties that perhaps I’d have to put aliyah off because I can’t get a job? Or because my savings isn’t where I want it to be so how will the bank give me a guarantee? 

I guess it doesn’t matter why I’m upset except to just acknowledge that for the first time in my aliyah journeyI am doubting myself and my choice. Locked into a job I cannot stand for the most part, dreaming of the day when I can have a full time private practice and focus on my clients, living in Israel surrounded by a huge extended family. Will these feelings of sadness, betrayal, anxiety, and anger propel me into action or trap me in despair? Knowing how much I’ve grown since 2012when I made that very conscious choice to do things different I know I will be propelled into action. I know my plan, which when I think about what it means for me-I’m focusing solely on my needs, wants and desires, is solid. I welcome support from my mother but did not and do not expect it. It’s enough to have extended family and friends, and most important my heart and my connection to G-d, as my source of support. 

So words of wisdom for people who are making aliyah and finding that the naysayers come from their family, remember why you are doing this. Create a solid plan for yourself and remember that you will be sacrificing. I will not be working a cushy 40 hour a week job making $70,000/year but I may be working multiple jobs that together total $45-50,000. For me thats a sacrifice I’m willing to make and all support is welcomed.