Welcome to the new aliyaheroes blog! The aim of this blog is to connect olim chadashim (new immigrants) in Israel. Although there may be many similar blogs and websites in cyberspace, each one has its own unique flavour, and this one will be no different (in its uniqueness, of course).
I made Aliyah from South Africa in July 2009, so starting this blog in my anniversary month seemed rather appropriate. I had planned to keep friends and family updated on my progress on a regular basis from the time I arrived, but life happened and I didn't quite get things off the ground.
This is my attempt to change that and to broaden the reach in order to offer other aliyaheroes advice and assistance - or a place to vent their feelings, experiences (good and bad), problems, things learned and more.
I have written a few personal articles, but most of my writings have been work-related and many of them have been about Aliyah as I’ve been writing for the Jewish Agency's Aliyah and Absorption department on a regular basis. This means I have done a fair amount of research and have access to various people within the Jewish Agency, so, if I cannot find an answer to a question or comment, I should be able to direct you to the right person or place.
Why “aliyaheroes”? Well, since my arrival in Israel, people have called me “courageous”, “brave”, some have even called me a halutza (pioneer), because I came to Israel alone without family... However, I don’t necessarily agree with these descriptions.
Yes, I left my home, family, friends, business network, business (I owned my own small business for about six years) and arrived in Israel alone (on a plane with about 120 other South African olim chadashim).
But I came to a country that is already established, to a State that has been in existence for more than 60 years, to a desert that has been developed and grown and cultivated into a thriving oasis. I haven’t contributed to the building of Eretz Yisrael, I haven’t cultivated the soil or planted any seeds, nor have I developed a business or non-profit organization.
And I am one of millions who has uprooted herself from the country she knows and loves to start afresh in the land we call home.
I have taken thousands of photographs and written many articles on various topics – Aliyah, the Maccabi Games, Yad Vashem, and more. I have met amazing people, young and old, who are doing amazing things and have contributed enormously to this country over the years…
I am a very small cog in a huge, enormous wheel… But all of this got me thinking…
Maybe, just maybe, we are all heroes… each one of us who has made the decision to change our lives, to move to Israel, to make this our home, no matter when we arrived – in the late 1800s, before or after World War 2, after Independence or in the 21st Century.
We are all contributing in our own ways. We are all planting the seeds that are needed to help the country grow and develop. Israelis and Jews and others around the world have been planting trees through the Keren Kayemed L’Yisrael (KKL) / Jewish National Fund (JNF) for many years and the forests around the country have been rapidly spreading through this initiative, but it takes one enormous forest fire to destroy everything that has been achieved. This means that we have to start from scratch to replant those forests and redevelop the areas that have been devastated by fire.
In the same way, new olim have so much to offer. One seed, one tree, one article, one blog, one job, one small business – every effort, not matter how large or small, has the ability to contribute to Israel in so many different ways.
So yes, I am an aliyahero – and so are you! So join me in this small effort to connect new and old olim to each other, to the land, to the future, and to the country.
So, b’hatzlacha (good luck) to all aliyaheroes out there!! I hope you enjoy the rollercoaster ride!
All the best for a successful Aliyah.
Arriving in Israel on July 5, 2009, we were whisked off to the Kotel (Western Wall) for a special ceremony welcoming us to Israel. We received our "Teudat Zehut" (ID cards) and I made a speech on my Aliyah experience! (L-R) Natan Sharansky, Eli Cohen, me, Ofer Dahan behind me. The two women peeking out in the background are Barbara Meltz-Kahn and Sari Genzler. All of the above are from the Jewish Agency. Far right: Amos Arbel, director: registration of citizens, Ministry of Home Affairs