Tuesday, July 29, 2008
We will be moving to the home we are renting this Friday and we can't wait given that we are still living from our suitcases.
Last Friday we made it to the Kotel (Western Wall). As always tears come down from my eyes as I feel a stronger connection to G'd. This time there was a lot of thanking for how things have turned out for us and how He has showed us the way.
We spent our first Shabbat in Israel and it was beautiful. Thanks to the Friedman family for hosting us. I visited 4 different synagoges (Kabalat Shabbat, Shacharit, Mincha & Arvit at the park) and met many people. I was honored with an Aliyah to the torah and afterwards they started to sing for me V'shavu Banim L'Gvulam (the children will return to their borders) from Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah). They sing that at the synagogue to anyone who made Aliyah that week. Well, that Shabbat they sang it 3 times. Most of the people at the synagogue made Aliyah within the last 4 years or so. After the services it was hard to leave because of all the people congratulating us and wanting to meet us. We went to one of the countless parks with the kids late in the afternoon, it was very enjoyable and incredible to see so many kids and young couples.
During this last week we were also able to see some family that lives here as well as visiting. We are so happy that we will be able to see a lot of family now that we are here and we thank you all for your help and hospitality.
We are starting to understand a little better the Israeli way and when we encounter something that can potentially frustrate us, well, we just look at it with humor. All the paperwork feels like we are part of the "Amazing race" and we need to go from one office to the next one and hope that the published open hours are respected and go to one place, pay in the other, get the document signed to go back to square 1. Getting a drivers license in Israel deserves an entire blog to itself. Regardless of the bureaucracy, people want to help you navigate through it.
Have I mentioned the food around here? This is Kosher paradise!
Please wait a little longer for the photographs until I can get internet on my computer.
Thanks for your comments.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
These moments have been so special for us and I wish I had the time to write every single detail.
It's good to be home!
Our flight was long but we managed it. The arrival was very emotional for the 200+ people that were on the flight experiencing their dream. Chearing as we took off, chearing as we landed, tears of happiness from eveyone. Israeli friends, family and hundreds upon hundreds of people were chearing as we arrived making it surreal. Thanks to our family and friends in Israel for making it so early to our welcome at the airport you surprissed and helped a lot as we landed. The ceremony was very nice, our heart and tears of joy exploded as we all sang the Hatikva (Israeli National Anthem) as Israeli citizens and I heard the voices of Batya and Ilan singing it as if they fully understood the significance of this moment. (You can watch the video of our arrival at www.nbn.org.il/2008arrival but look at the note at the right of the Blog).
We still can't believe we are here. Our first two days have been good and it has been great interacting with the Israeli society. A lot of friends, family and random people offering help. The top list include:
- The guy at the electronic store inviting us for a Shabbat meal
- The woman at the electronic store overhearing our conversation and giving us her business card for any help we might need
- A sister of an Israeli friend in Pittsburgh receiving us with a full dinner at our new appartment
- The guy at the shopping center food court acting as a translator as we were trying to understand his menu
- The welcome posters from the Garbers at our future home in Modiin
- The letter taped to our future home's door in Modiin offering help with names and phone numbers from people we think we met as we landed
- Family and friends welcoming and helping with the kids, luggage, car rental, etc. at the airport and bringing flowers, gifts and candies for the kids
- The cashier next to our cashier overhearing our conversation in Spanish congratulating us and wishing us success
- All the calls and help from family and friends on our various questions and needs as we settle here
- I have to mention the taxi driver whom when I asked for help to take into the house 9 pieces of luggage that where laying on the curb for some extra tip he responded in an Israeli fashion "Ma Pitom?, Any nahag!! " Translation: "No way (What's wrong?), I'm a taxi driver", so I appreciate his honesty regardless of the 24+hrs without sleep or the 90 something desert weather. I guess some humor will help with the cultural shock. :)
What else can I say. It's just great to be here. I'll post some pictures as soon as I get internet access on my computer.
Thanks to all your great wishes during our goodbyes, emails, calls and your blog comments, they all traveled with us and are still here helping us settle.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
This week has had a lot of sad goodbyes.
We are taking with us all the love and wishes from our friends. We love you all and will miss you a lot.
I was thinking of the people we knew when we first got to Pittsburgh (zero) and looked around during our farewell party and realized how warm of a community Pittsburgh is. It's very hard to say goodbye to all of you and we thank you for helping us be part of your community for these 8 years. Thanks to all the party organizers, the hosts, and to all that attended we had a wonderful time and felt very honored. The scrap books for us and for Batya were beautiful, we can't wait to get the completed ones.
Thanks to my Heinz volleyball team (Kristin, you asked for it and now you are featured in the blog), the happy hour was very... happy, but then sad to say goodbye as well.
The house is now empty and we are closing in several hours. It was sad to see it empty and take all the mezuzot from the doors. Each of the mezuzot will now be able to bless our home in Israel. We have been sleeping outside of our home since Tuesday, thanks to our lovely hosts Lisa and David for adopting us for the week, we feel at home.
It is amazing the help and support we have received since we got here in 2000 until this moments. I feel grateful to have you as friends. Our doors are open for every single one of you whenever you visit Israel.
Friday we drive to NY and we'll spend the weekend with our family. Monday is the big day.
Goodbye Pittsburgh friends, we will certainly miss you.
Live Broadcast - July 22nd : USA - EST 12:40am, Israel 7:40am. Mexico (July 21st) 11:40pm
Just click the link below:
Please keep in mind that in the event of a flight delay, the webcast's broadcast will be delayed, as well.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
This last week has been charged with many emotions and we are still a little less than 2 weeks away.
We celebrated 4 of July for the last time in the U.S before we move to Israel. It was great having our NY family come and visit and help with the kids and the packing (thanks Picos).
Last Monday was my last day at Heinz. It was a very strange feeling having to say goodbye to people I have closely worked with for the last 6 years but being happy for what the future will bring. A very nice "surprise" farewell party was put together. I will miss you all, thanks for your great wishes. One of the nicest notes I got from a friend at Heinz included the quote from the book of Joshua (Chapter 1, ) “Be strong and very courageous” and that for me just sums it all up. This was said by G'd to Joshua 3 times as he took the leadership role from Moses to lead the Jewish people to the promised land (Rashi explains that the 1st one was on worldly pursuits, 2nd in Torah and 3rd at war). As I have commented to many, I have no doubt that G'd has had a lot to do with the way things have been turning for us and knowing that G'd is with us just makes it so much easier.
Today was also a tough day as we saw a lot of our personal goods being packed and taken out for shipment. I'm just glad we are done with that, however the house does look a little weird and there is a strange echo when we talk. So our shipment went out today and should get to Israel in 6 to 10 weeks. Here's a picture to show how our living room looked as they were getting ready to take out our stuff.
I also wanted to share with you a great story of a person who we met a week ago. She is a real inspiration and at the age of 88 will be making Aliyah on the same flight as we are. Her story was published in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle (click here for article). She was a passenger on the Exodus back in 1947 and was unable to immigrate to Palestine but is now fulfilling her dreams.
Enjoy the rest of the week.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
You might be new to the blogging business...so am I. So let's try it out, have some fun and see how it goes.
We thought that a good way to keep in touch with family and friends around the world would be to start a blog so that you can hear about our experience as we make Aliyah and incorporate into the Israeli society as well as keep you updated with what we are up to. I hope I can keep it updated and would love to hear your feedback (so post your comments).
The language of choice will be English so that everyone can understand (I also think my writing in English is now stronger than in Spanish). Also, for those that might not understand some of the Hebrew words I will be using I will try to translate or explain through links.
We are very excited to be able to accomplish this dream of ours. We are taking a Nefesh b'Nefesh flight on July 21 and will be in Israel on July 22.
I'll talk to you soon...