I enjoy the written word. So, when initially invited to submit a piece about making aliyah/Sar-El, I imagined a clever, creative composition. Yet, as I sit at my keyboard, my heart, enmeshed by my soul, is crying out otherwise, much to the dismay of my logical thoughts. I suppose, for me, this conundrum alone sums up the totality of my “why?”
Born in March, 1947, shortly before [the birth of] our Homeland, I was raised in NY under the Zionist umbrella wrapped in Jewish traditions, values, and bittersweet realities of the time. My countless travels to Israel spanned over countless years, and with each return I left a little more of me on the tarmac at Ben Gurion. Dual citizenship, US/Israel, always loomed larger than life and once widowed I simply knew it was time to make my dream a reality.
N’fesh b’ N’fesh guided and facilitated my necessary paperwork with competence, care and ease and in August, 2016, I was finally whole…my mind and body entwined with my heart and soul in a jubilation of wholeness that was wrapped in faith, spirituality and pure joy. The only looming clouds were my children and grandchildren across the pond in the United States. But with their loving support, albeit trepidation, I live seven months in Israel and five months in California. I am grateful beyond words for this idyllic lifestyle.
Daily life in Tel Aviv is very expensive, fraught with the inconveniences of lines, culture/language challenges, crowds, and less than stellar sanitation. And such is my experience, perhaps to a lesser degree, throughout the country. Alas, my segue to “why?”… because the overwhelmingly joy of life, the amazing history of our Tribe, the powerful, innate connection of Jew to Jew, and the peace, serenity and immeasurable love of our Homeland fulfills all of me.
Tzedakah and Acts of Loving Kindness, two of our primary tenets, are inherent in Volunteerism…enter Sar-El and English tutoring in schools through ESRA, for me. Selfless time and energy donated on IDF Bases is important and gratefully welcomed; financial contributions for the well-being of the young soldiers defending “our nation” are necessary; and the intrinsic remuneration is immeasurable. Moreover, if not us, than who and if not now, then when?
And so, COME HOME…be it forever as a citizen, be it for Sar-El as a volunteer, be it for extended visits as a temporary resident…complete your personal circle of life. L’chaim!
Jane R. Kusel