Over the past few months we attended a lot of meetings with different NBN representatives. Meetings in person, on the phone and on skype to discuss careers, aliyah benefits, and communities. Simcha and I both had individual phone meetings with a career consultant. She gave us each a list of people to contact regarding our specific career fields and discussed other job options with us. We went to the NBN office in Paramus, New Jersey and spoke with an aliyah representative about benefits for new olim and the aliyah process in general. I met with an education consultant who gave me information about the school system in Israel, since it is vastly different than the one here. Each meeting helped gather more needed information, but also made us delve deeper into our decision and think about details we had not considered.
As I drove home from the meeting about my childrens’ education, I cried. I cried thinking about how, in September, my 4 year old was going to walk into a Gan and not know the language. How was she going to play “house” with a friend when she did not know how to converse with them? How would she know what the teacher was saying? I cried for my 6 and 8 year old daughters sitting at their desks in utter confusion. I imagined a whole classroom of raised hands surrounding their baffolled faces. They were used to being the first ones to answer the teacher’s questions. How will they feel when they do not understand what is being asked? I just pictured all of their faces after first day of school in a new country and without their amazing social network. I thought about the mornings I watch my 6 year old run into school with a group of her friends giggling and I wondered how she will make friends that compare to those she has here. I thought about how excited my 8 year old daughter was when we walked into a local restaurant and she knew 3 girls from her class. How long will it take for her to recognize her friends in our new community?
I questioned myself: Should we really be pulling them away from their successful education? They are thriving academically, how will this move affect them? And how will they really feel leaving their friends?
As I wiped away my tears, I thought about bringing my children to the kotel to daven, and having holidays in Eretz Yisrael. I thought about instilling in our children a love for torah and the feeling of kedusha of the land. I thought about why we were making this move. Yes, making aliyah is going to be extremely difficult. I probably do not even know the beginning of it, but I do know it is going to be worth it!
One Monday evening in October, NBN had a local meeting for families who were thinking about aliyah. I attended. I listened to two speakers talk about their families’ experiences and the transition they had to make. I fought back tears again. Listening to how they overcame the hardship of leaving family, learning a new language and helping their children fit into a new community gave me courage. There are so many people who have done this before us and they are so proud and happy that they did, despite all the hardships. We, with G-d’s help, will be joining the elite club of people who have made their dreams into a reality. We will hopefully look back at this time in our lives and cry happy tears that we did it, too!