Dec 7, 2010

Home Bittersweet Home

Well, we're back from Israel. I've been largely incommunicado because, well, surprise surprise I'm ill. It started with a bout of nausea motzei Shabbos (Tuvia went for falafel at Moshiko on Ben Yehuda Street, and I went to bed), and it culminated with a temperature drop (I don't get fevers, I drop in temperature), chills, and a horrible headache yesterday. I went to bed yesterday at 4 p.m., woke up at 8:30 p.m. for some soup, and then went back to bed until 7 a.m. this morning. I'm feeling better, sort of, but the nausea is killing me. No, I'm not preggo. Don't even ask.

Our last major adventure in Israel was a trip to Hevron and Kever Rachel. Here's a view from the טיילת.

Leaving Israel was bittersweet, but because I wasn't feeling well I was ready to just get home to my bed and my stuff in my house. Traveling is hard, it's fun, but it's hard. Living out of suitcases and being without your favorite toiletries is just rough. It is. Being in Jerusalem and Israel all over was beautiful and exciting and riveting and ... yes, I was elated to be there, to feel the feeling of being a Jerusalemite for 10 days, but there's something about being home. Being in the U.S.

I know what you're thinking: But Chaviva! You want so much to move to Israel! To make aliyah, right?

It's funny, and you all will find this shocking, but this trip didn't sing to me like ones in the past did. Yes, it was nice to hang out with gobs of awesome Twitter olim and seeing family who are living in and loving Israel. But the trip was frustrating for me. I'll admit it's probably because of the language frustration -- being almost there, but not fluent. Or it might have been the weather and the idea of losing winter if we ever moved to Israel. Not having the normal stores with the normal stuff, too, was frustrating. And, of course, the water giving me stomach aches was no fun (this was my third trip and the water never bothered me before). But there was something about this trip that made me ask myself, "Could you really do this?"

Don't get your panties in a twist just yet. I'm just saying there was something about this trip that didn't hit me right. And it might just be that I'm grumpy and sick and have nearly 40 pages to write by Wednesday ... but something gave me pause. Caution. And it's a scary feeling. Knowing that my neshama and heart are in Jerusalem and that my brain and body are wondering "hrm ..." is frustrating.

At any rate, Happy Chanukah, this time from New Jersey.


Bethany said...

For me, losing winter is a HUGE factor in the plus column.

Jessica said...

I would never ask about pregnancy, SO rude.
I feel for you in the Aliyah confusion department.
When I first married my (Israeli) husband, Aliyah was the plan...and as we got older, and more settled, not so much. Guilt either way :(
Have you checked out your thyroid? My temperature drops too, and that seems to be the culprit (at least some of the time.)

Suburban Sweetheart said...

Go easy, on yourself, my dear. Everything worth doing is worth questioning,right? Nothing is so black & white. The U.S. has been your home your entire life - you're certainly allowed to question what it'd feel like to leave it! There's no rush; you've got the whole REST of your life ahead of you to figure out when the best time will be for you to make aliyah.

(Feel better!)

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Rabi Shimon bar Yohai says that the Land of Israel is one of the three things given only with a measure of travail. Maybe for you the 'suffering' has to be that you'll agonize over it for a while before making the final move and Aliyah. Certainly you don't think you're the only one?

The photo on the 'tayelet' - was that the Haas Promenade, named for Danny Haas hy'd ?

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Oh, I hope you feel well soon! Good luck with the writing assignment.

Batya said...

refuah shleimah!
I'm glad we got to meet, definitely b'shert that I called you just then.
We do get winter; it's just different.
Considering your food requirements/restrictions, I'm sure travel any place puts a stress on your body.
For many, aliyah looks best when one can rationalize that it's not realistic. Keep up with your Hebrew and G-d willing it will all work out. Remember Hebrew makes praying more meaningful and learning Jewish sources more genuine.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@Bethany I love winter ... it's my happy time :)

@SS Thank you for the calming words. I'm such a do-do-do person. It's hard to take it step by step sometimes.

@Mordechai You know, I have no clue. I just know that on the way back from kever Rachel we stopped there. Thanks for the well wishes!

@Batya Your winter is too different, lol. I need the bitter chill, the cold to the bone, the snow. Thank you, too, for the well-wishes.

David Tzohar said...

Chaviva- Coming to Israel as a tourist becomes difficult when deep down you know that you should be staying. If your future is in Israel then how do you resolve your present? I had the opposite experience last year when I visited the US. During Channuka there was a terrible snowstorm in New Jersy. I remember trudging through the snow to get to shul on Shabbat. They have this beautiful shul but once inside I felt completely alienated. I wanted to scream WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!
It's not going to be easy to make Aliya, but don't wait too long or you might end up being a spectator rather than a participant in the greatest period in Jewish history since the kingdom of David and Shlomo. I don't think that you have come as far as you have only to sit on the sidelines.

Vicki said...

Don't stress about it. People change over time, more so than Israel. Every time you come to Israel is different than the previous. It just means your relationship has grown and come to a different level than one where you are blindly accepting everything. I had a similar letdown after we went to Israel last summer and wrote a lot of brooding posts that I never published. Now I can't wait to go back. Relationships are like that.

I forget where I saw it, but there was a post somewhere about how humans are not static containers but more like rivers, expanding at some points, narrowing at others, and never the same depending on what course they run.

Bells said...

Another thing to take into consideration is American Jews' need for those steeped in knowledge of tradition, Jewish history and texts, Hebrew, etc., to serve as educators and examples of the wide spectrum of Jewish practice. If all Jews with that knowledge made aliyah, who would remain to support and nourish the American Jewish community?

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@David Your words are compelling :)

@Vicki I really like how you put it, with the growing pains of any relationship. I can appreciate that approach, and I think it gives me some perspective. Thank you!

@Bells So what you're saying is ... I should stay here to keep the awesomeness in check? :D

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