It is getting to that point when we usually start packing up our things and move to the next temporary living situation. Since the end of May, our family has been moving from place to place, and living out of suitcases. We have gotten used to keeping our toothbrushes in Ziplock bags and only buying the bare essential groceries to last us until we reach our next destination. Every few weeks, we packed up our suitcases and moved to the next place. This morning I realized that we are not going anywhere! This is our home! We can start hanging things in the closet and stocking up our cabinets with more than a weeks worth of food. Then, I looked out at our view, and thought about how amazing it is to be settling down in Yerushalayim of all places.
We spent our first shabbat at home this week. People were calling and wishing us a nice first shabbat, and checking in to make sure we had everything we needed. I turned to my husband and told him that it felt like we were newlyweds. This was our first shabbat in our real home.
Shabbat started off with an awesome feeling. The siren sounded and I explained to my children that it signaled the beginning of shabbat. The girls ran down the stairs giggling in excitement to light the candles. After I lit candles on Friday night, I sat down and sang kabalat shabbat with my daughter. It had been a busy week and I was relieved to be able to sit and relax with the quiet of shabbat in our new home.
Not too long after I had finished davening did I realize that we forgot to set our new fridge to shabbat mode. Rookie mistake, as we never had a fridge with shabbat mode before. My next thought was that we would never find a non-Jew in Yerushalyim. We don't know the community that well yet. I had resolved to eating the challah and small amount of food warming on our hot plate for dinner, but how could we make kiddush? And what about the rest of shabbat? No milk for breakfast for the kids in the morning and no access to any cold drinks all day long. The thought put a damper on my wonderful mood.
While anxiously awaiting my husbands return from shul, we sat outside our front door admiring the beautiful view. My middle daughter turned to me and said, 'Thank you for bringing us here, Mommy. It is so beautiful.' Despite our current predicament, hearing my daughter express her appreciation for moving put a huge smile on my face. I have been so worried about how my children will feel about leaving all their familiarity behind and moving to a foreign country. I pictured tears and sadness. I am so grateful that thus far, my children have been able to enjoy the new experiences and realize that we have been given a tremendous gift to be able to live in such a beautiful and special city.
As with the rest of our move thus far, Hashem was holding our hands. It turns out the we have a non-Jew living next door to us - and he speaks English. It really was so much easier than I had anticipated. He was able to help and within a few minutes, we were sitting down to a very special first Friday night dinner at home. We had not been home alone with just our insular family for a shabbat meal since May. I really missed it!
I am starting to figure out my way around Ramot, which is really a big accomplishment for me. I am not known for my good sense of direction to say the least. So, I was super proud of myself when someone asked me for directions to a specific store in the mall and I knew the answer. It may or may not mean we are spending way too much time shopping at the mall. Either way, I was able to give directions and in Hebrew to boot!
We are settling in! Our lift gets to the port tomorrow, so hopefully that means our long wait for furniture is coming to an end. Our kids start school on Friday. We are so excited and nervous for the first day. We are stocked with toilet paper, paper towels, and groceries to last a while. We are finally home to stay!