Becca and Simcha chose to tell us their Aliyah news after the kids were settled in bed and we were finishing a delicious Rosh Hashana meal in their home. My initial reaction was purely positive. “Wow, that’s amazing!” I felt such happiness for them as I listened to their excited voices and noticed the glow that lit their animated faces. But then… not many minutes later, my mind and heart started connecting to what they were really saying. They, along with the grandchildren we had just kissed goodnight and the new grandchild we were soon to meet (Becca was pregnant) would be much less accessible for visits. No more three-hour drives from Baltimore to Clifton up the New Jersey Turnpike every 6-8 weeks to get our children and grandchildren fix. Way less hugs, cuddling for story time, kisses, laughter.
We know the drill. Our middle daughter, Shana, moved to Israel right after high school. Seminary, college, marriage, children – she built her adult life there. Missing her and her beautiful family every day, we are already intimately familiar with the many challenges of long distance relationships. My husband and I already know how much we miss by living so far away. It is not ideal.
We believe in our children. Each of our girls is exceptionally grounded. They consistently make well-considered, smart choices and we are so very proud of them. This is one such choice. It may seem a fast decision, but it actually is not. Zionism, a deep love for Israel and the dream of Aliyah were ideals taught to Becca and her sisters from a young age in the Jewish day school they attended, our synagogue and reinforced in our home. Becca has always wanted to make Aliyah. The desire has been on the back-burner, brewing. The timing did catch us off guard, because Becca and Simcha have a beautiful home, a wonderful community, schools in which the kids are thriving, a warm and caring circle of friends and an enviable life in Clifton. Still, the actual decision is not really a surprise. The time has come.
I would not be honest if I failed to share how hard this will be for us and how much we will miss not having them a quick drive away. Phone calls and video chats will replace much of our face-to-face time. Pictures and videos will replace many shared daily activities and milestones. I am not ready for retirement and will not be for at least five years, so we will up our game and make longer and more frequent trips to visit both families in an attempt not to be just “the grandparents on the phone.” We will make the best of it.
We look forward to seeing our Davidman group thrive in Israel. We know they will succeed and build a superior life as they fulfill the dream. Tears of sadness and of joy will flow. We support their decision and we are very proud of them!