Momentous Decisions

Decisions, decisions. I am sure I’m not alone when I say that decision-making does not always come easily. The simplest decisions like what to wear or what to order from a menu in a restaurant often leaves me stymied and my family extremely frustrated with me. That’s not to say that I can’t handle making a decision. I can. I’ve obviously made important, successful, life altering decisions before, like whom to marry and how best to care for my children and life saving decisions when caring for my patients. Nevertheless, there are some decisions that are not easily come by.

We knew from early on that we wished to move to Israel and we planned and planned for the move many times over the course of twenty-five years. On June 4th 2009 we finally decided that the time was right to fulfill our dream of Aliyah. We’d agonized over the feasibility and practicality of the move, discussed with our kids and with our parents and family, reviewed our finances, and finally agreed that the time was right. Summer 2009 would at long last mark the fulfillment of our Aliyah dream. A momentous decision was realized.

It has been a year since that decision was made and so much has happened since then. Life here over the past nine and a half months has been uniquely challenging, tremendously frustrating at times, extraordinarily rewarding, and incredibly interesting. We’ve experienced many ups and downs, highs and lows, and have encountered interesting and diverse people and experiences along the way. We’ve made friends and continue to make strides in our acclimation to Israeli life. Our journey continues. I will write more about our life here upon our one year anniversary date.

Israel, it seems, has been in the cross hairs of the worlds eyes over the past two weeks more so than usual. The decisive action Israel took in response to the supposed peace flotilla has been criticized, condemned, denounced and reviled by almost every leader of nearly every country whether or not that country sustains a vested interest with Israel. It seems everyone is an expert and no one, no leader will shy away from professing Israel’s right to defend herself, and yet, as soon as Israel exercises that right, she is vilified by the international community. Anti-Israel sentiment is rampant. The world, it seems, is largely anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and is bent on demagogic pillory. Palestinian boycotts of Israeli goods and services, Palestinian Prime Minister throwing Israeli goods manufactured over the ‘green line’ into a raging fire are most likely political ploys to garner sympathy and publicity for their ‘plight’ from the international community. European boycotts of Israeli imports, entertainment industry boycotts, etc are contrary to confidence building. Yet, we don’t hear condemnation in response to these actions. In fact, it seems as if the world turns a blind eye when it comes to fomenting trouble for Israel. It is heartening though to read about and watch developments taking place by the Jewish community in New York and of course, in West Hempstead. Letter writing campaigns, demonstrations, and outspokenness have never been more urgent than now. Yes, Israel’s ‘hasbara’ (PR) needs revamping, but that is beside point. I think it is high time we stop apologizing for defending ourselves and for doing what is right. Parents advise their children to believe in themselves, be the best they can be and to stand firm and proud in the face of adversity. I wish that for Israel, for all of us.

Well, I still have not begun to work. The process to get all forms confirmed, all tests (blood work) completed is a tedious frustrating process. During the process of our Aliyah, we were taught to approach everything with a sense of humor and with expectations that things will inevitably take longer than expected. I think I forgot about that because I went into this process hoping things would progress rather smoothly. Ha!! I will now (as of today) try to approach things more with that until now, elusive sense of humor and laugh the challenges off. It’s the only way. I am used to having information conveyed to me when I visit a doctor, or upon seeking assistance on various matters. Israeli society is different and takes getting used to. Here, you have to ask specific questions. If I am not sure of something, I have to ask. Here we don’t assume that a banker or doctor or nurse or anyone will tell us everything we need to know of a specific matter just because we are sitting in front of them. They won’t. I’ve learned this the hard way unfortunately while attempting to get all my work papers together. No one told me, for instance, that I could get all of my blood work done in the hospital because they have an agreement with Maccabi, my health carrier. I was originally told to go to my local branch of Maccabi and have everything done there. I didn’t think to ask otherwise, so off I went only to find out that that’s not the case. Long story short, today, the professor for whom I will be working advised me of this possibility. Go figure. I could have saved numerous visits, arguments, and most importantly, time. Live and learn.

Lest you think I sound like a ‘meragel’ (spy) speaking negatively about my home, please realize that this is not so. As anyone who lives here can attest, and as we’ve been told time and again, life is sometimes difficult and frustrating. But really, it is home. We all listen and read of the negativity ascribed to Israel and her actions on a daily basis and it’s hard to take. Israel is isolated but Israel is a beautiful country and it is so meaningful to live here. I sometimes feel like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” chanting ‘there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.’ It took a little more than three clicks of my heels to get me here, but really, there is no place like home.

Missing you all as always.

Love, Lisa

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