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Aliyah StoriesSurviving Aliyah

Surviving Aliyah

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Last Updated on November 16, 2021

Living in Israel is Hard, Leaving is Harder

By: Jessica Fishman

jessica fishmanWhen I first made aliyah my hope and idealism were so strong that I though that they could protect me from anything – from bureaucracy, rudeness, and even terrorist attacks. I quickly found out that I was wrong. My naïve American spirit began to shed each day that I was here. After eight years of living in Israel, I was left with a cynical sense of humor and a pushy attitude. To be honest, they served me better in this country – probably better than a bulletproof vest in Gaza.

Finally it was time for me to leave. I moved back to the States. I spent three years trying to adapt back to American culture – to an abundance of parking spots, to a cat being stuck in a tree and fire fighter saving it being the top story in the local news, to customer service, and to a respect for personal boundaries. I hated it! There was nothing for me to complain about. There was nothing making life challenging. It was so boring.

I wasn’t having any of those ONLY IN ISRAEL moments that would continually revive me for a new day of feeling like a friar (sucker) for living in this country. I felt like a young Jewish grandmother that had no one and nothing to complain about. It was like not having a purpose. It was like sitting in a dark room and not having anyone to guilt about it.

I decided to move back. From the very first day, those ONLY IN ISRAEL moments came back to me. And so did all of the other ONLY IN ISRAEL moments that truly make living here worthwhile. A friend who offered his apartment and his car, no questions asked when I moved back. The taxi driver who let me charge my phone in his car. Running into an army friend at yoga. Going out to a bar and seeing Mosh Ben Ari and Eyal Kitzis. The lady at Bituach Leumi saying she would give me information without my password in order to help me out. My boss who sincerely wished me good luck when I told her I’d be late one morning because I had to go to Misrad Ha’Pnim. The cashier at the makolet who told me to just pay him next week when my credit card wouldn’t work and I had no cash.

We all have great ONLY IN ISRAEL moments. Some are funny. Some are humiliating. And some are infuriating. But you can only have them when you are here.

Jessica Fishman moved to Israel from the US in 2003 and writes the Aliyah Survival Blog, an irreverent portrayal of life as an immigrant in Israel; Her new book, Chutzpah and High Heels: The Search for Love and Identity in the Holy Land, will be published soon.

We’d love to feature an article from your blog.  Do you have something interesting or thought provoking you’d like to share?  Topics relating to Israel; Aliyah, relocation or Israel lifestyle. If your content is great, it will be published.  Email us: anglolist at gmail dot com.

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