By Eliana Rudee, Aliyah Annotated is published every Wednesday in JNS.org
It has now been a whole month since my aliyah date, so I thought that this week I’d reflect on the process as a whole.
Unsurprisingly, many people from home ask how I’m doing with the transition, with some of the violence that has reared its ugly head in the last couple of weeks, and how living in Israel has been so far.
Overall, I am truly appreciative and delighted that I have been doing exceedingly well, perhaps better than I could have imagined. Almost every friend, old and new, sabra and oleh, looks me in the eye and lets me know, genuinely, that if I need any help during this journey, I should reach out. It’s heartwarming to know that so many people have my back.
An average day includes Hebrew in the morning until lunch, and then homework, errands, and sports/schmoozing/writing in the evenings. The Hebrew classes are enjoyable—a good mix of speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and singing the occasional Hebrew song. I am fortunate to have an energetic teacher who is always smiling and makes sure to tease us just enough so we don’t take ourselves too seriously. After all, it is quite the humbling experience to learn Hebrew!
The people in my ulpan (the immersive Hebrew school where I live and take classes) are friendly, intelligent, and fun. We’ve had a blast going to the beach in Tel Aviv, exercising and playing sports and games, going to concerts, shopping for apartment necessities, and of course, figuring out health care/license converting/banks, etc.
By now, most of us feel like we’ve been here for a while—I already see romantic relationships blossoming, people becoming close friends, and people settling in to our new lives in Israel. We know how to use the washing machines, take the buses, ask to try samples of food, and of course, negotiate, as new immigrants love to do.