Since our lift arrived, I have been buried in boxes with the goal of getting ourselves settled to enjoy yuntif at home. It has been three and a half months since we have had our belongings and I was ready to start off the new year with a set-up home. Getting through 200 boxes was not easy. It took many games of live tetris to maneuver our furniture into the proper places, unpack the boxes and then disassemble the empty boxes to walk them up 30 steps and down the block to the garbage dump. By Rosh Hashana we had about 5 boxes left to unpack. Quite an accomplishment.
As I entered into Rosh Hashana this year, I was in awe of the brachot that Hashem had bestowed upon our family this past year. The list is long, BH, but one of the main brachot was to allow our family to have the courage and strength to make aliyah this year. It occurred to me how far we have come since last Rosh Hashana. Only one year ago, I sat in shul and prayed for insight as to if we should uproot our family and move to Israel. Aliyah plans were at their inception at that point and we were still not sure if we would even go through with the dream.
Just one year later, I walked down the street in our new neighborhood saying Shana Tova to the people I passed on the way to shul. Even though we have been home for three shabbatot already, I actually had never been inside our new shul. Having young children means spending the shabbat mornings in the park behind the shul rather than inside davening. As I entered the building, I noticed that although we had reserved seats, my name was not on the seating chart. A small panic entered my mind, will there be enough room for me? The Rabbi was making an announcement about not speaking until the final shofar blast was heard. That meant that I would not be able to ask about my seat. I squeezed into the shul just as the chazan was reciting the brachot for tekiat shofar. I doubted that I would make it in time, but I did. I found an empty seat, hoped I was not taking anyone’s spot, and listened to the shofar.
I have a lot to daven for this year. Although we already took the leap and got on the aliyah flight, our work was just beginning. We all have to learn Hebrew, our kids need help transitioning into new schools, we need jobs, and so on. I prayed that Hashem would continue to hold our hands during this next stage of our aliyah, just as He had done for the previous ones. The davening was moving and I even recognized some of the tunes that were chosen. The shul was beautiful inside and the group of people was eclectic. Despite the array of headcoverings and styles, we all sang the songs of the davening together. After shul, my husband and kids met me at shul, we walked to lunch and we enjoyed wonderful meals with new friends. Our first chag at home was meaningful and enjoyable.
Yuntif ended, and were back to the regular grind of the week. The kids have school for a few days before the next yuntif. Even though the holiday seasons is spotted with days off, we are working on getting into a routine. We have two schools to get to each morning and afternoon. As of now, we still do not have a car, so my husband and I split up taking separate buses to the various schools in the morning. Honestly, when the buses come as scheduled, we are really happy with the commute. The bus that I take with our two older girls brings us to a large staircase down to their school. I stand at the top of the stairs, and wave to the girls as they enter the school with smiling faces. Then I cross the street and take the bus back home. My husband takes our younger daughter on a separate bus to her school. Each morning her transition into school is getting easier. In the afternoon, we do a similar routine if we are both available, otherwise there is a bus between the older girls school and our youngest’s that we can hop on. Overall the weather has been pleasant and we are getting used to our new reality.
May this year bring us the strength and flexibility to continue to ease ourselves into this new life we are building in Eretz Yisrael. May this year be a year full of bracha and the coming of mashiach so all of klal yisrael can join us in Yerushalayim. Shana Tova!