Monday, August 30, 2010

The Germ of an Idea...

This how our journey to Israel began. I plan to write about our move to Israel over several posts. I may skip a post or two here or there when I feel the urge to write about other things, but as I am moved, I will describe the events leading up to our time in Israel and how it changed us forever.

One night about 24 or 25 years ago now, Jon, my husband couldn't sleep; he stayed up late and watched a movie before staggering to bed at about 3:00 AM. I was fast asleep having running around all day after our then seven or eight year old daughter. The details are sketchy now all these years later, my time frame may be a little off and my memories have faded a bit with time. 

This I remember with certainty, he stayed up late and watched a movie. And that movie changed our lives forever.

The next morning we had breakfast together as a family, it was just a normal breakfast. Afterwards, I was putting my daughter's coat on and giving her her lunch money She loved buying lunch at school rather than having me pack her lunch; it made her feel grown up to carry money and to pay for her lunch herself and she loved carrying a tray to her table.

I remember it clearly like it was yesterday, I was standing in front of the coat closet across from the dining room table where my husband was seated drinking his coffee. He said to me as I was about to walk Adrienne to the bus stop, "What would you think if we moved to Israel?" I said, "Are you out of your mind?" and walked out of the door to go to the bus stop.

When I came back in I asked him what he was talking about and it was then that he told me he had seen a movie the night before which got him to thinking. The movie was called "Goodbye, New York" or something to that effect. It was a movie about a young woman on her way to Paris for the summer. She falls asleep on the plane and someone steals her wallet with all of her money, passport, and papers. When the plane lands in Paris the stewardesses (yes, they were called stewardesses back then) forget to wake her up and she travels on to Tel Aviv were she is dumped without any of the proper documentation. 

This young girl is now stuck in Tel Aviv with no where to go but to kibbutz where she meets a dashing Israeli and falls madly in love. I never saw the movie, so I don't really know how it ends, but I assume that it has a happily-ever after ending and all is well. It sounds pretty dopey to me, but something in it struck my husband to his very core. 

It started my husband thinking about moving to Israel. Now we are Jewish, definitely secular, I'm a convert, Jon never took much of an interest in his religion beyond his heritage and he never considered Israel his homeland, but this movie caused him to think about moving to this God forsaken place. I laughed and told him he was out of his mind.

He said, "Wait, wait, think about it. A fresh start in a totally different place. New things to do. It would be an adventure." Again I laughed and told him, "No way."

He let the subject drop and didn't mention it again. Then a few days later I asked him if he was really seriously thinking about moving to Israel, and he said that it seemed like a good idea at the time. I asked him if this was something he had thought about before and he said no, it wasn't. But, Israel seemed so new and wide open and this appealed to him. I have to admit that I was excited by the thought of moving to the land of the dashing Ari from Exodus.

I was a convert and I had steeped myself in all things Jewish so that I could begin to develop an identity with my chosen people, part of that process for me was that I read many books about Jews, their history and some about Israel's inception. I have to admit the thought was beginning to excite me too.

The way we left it that day was that Jon would do a little research about the possibilities and see where we could find out more information about the country, the process of moving there and if it was really something we wanted to do. This was long before Google had been invented, so people way back then had to physically do the research themselves and there were no short cuts. He made phone calls.

Next: Aliyah? What's that? What's a Shillach anyway?

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