Thank you for visiting Coming Into the Light of Aliyah. We are a new BLOG about the spiritual journey of ALIYAH. I hope you will enjoy it, visit often, share your stories and together we can guide and inspire each other on this incredible journey of Aliyah — coming Home to Eretz HaKodesh.
About the Author
I made Aliyah with my husband Avraham in July, 2003 at the age of 54 from Denver, Colorado. It was really my husband who wanted to make Aliyah. I was comfortably entrenched in my job, life, comforts, family, friends, community and lifestyle. Why did I need to upset the applecart, so to speak? We had only been in our big, beautiful, new home 3 short years when my husband came to me with pain etched on his face and the deepest longing in his heart and told me he could no longer stay in America because he needed, no he longed to go home and claim our inheritance in the Land G-d gave the Jewish people…Eretz Yisroel….Eretz HaKodesh. I listened to the intensity in his request and wanted to run the other way..Was he nuts I thought!I told him I needed to carefully think it through. The questions arose in my mind willing me to go deeply inside and explore my core beliefs. What values do I espouse to live by? Who is the most important person in my life? What is stopping me from saying yes. I got very real with these probing questions and arrived at the ultimate answer based upon my understanding that life is a “Journey of the Soul”. As I began to get real with my inner longings, I too began to recognize a restlessness for a deeper spiritual connection. I too was longing for something more. After a sleepless night of wrestling with my inner soul longing and my common sense mind, I awoke from my slumber both figuratively and in actuality, turned to my husband and replied , Yes, Avraham, I will go home with you to claim our inheritance! We have been living with the Bracha of that choice ever since. The truest statement I can make about ALiyah Is that even though, I MADE ALIYAh, the process inherent in making ALIYAH HAS MADE ME and MY HUSBAND. It has refined us and transformed us in beautiful and unexpected ways.
The purpose of this Blog is to shed light on what the process of ALiyah can teach us about who we are when we arrive and who we can become in the process of our acclimation. From the vantage point of leaving it all behind, we are both forced and permitted to think in new ways about who we are and who we truly desire to become. I do not write as any kind of expert. I merely present myself as a fellow traveler caring enough about the ALiyah journey to put my experiences into words, hoping the insights can both comfort and strengthen. It is meant to guide, assist and encourage you in the settling in process. My own personal experiences are in no way a guide or a gauge of what you can and should expect. WE each arrive with our own inner baggage and our set of beliefs and these are the true indicators of our experiences. We all have to find our way but we don’t have to go it alone. Aliyah leaves no aspect of life untouched, so it is vital to call upon those who have come before us, so that the process can be healthier, easier with less confusion and upheaval. I will touch upon the practical, spiritual and emotional components of this extraordinary process.
Ariella Bracha Waldinger
THE 10 MOST IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVES TO ACQUIRE FOR A SUCCESSFUL ALIYAH EXPERIENCE
By Ariella Bracha Waldinger
1) Making ALiyah is a true measure of your belief in claiming the inheritance G-d gave the Jewish nation. Yishuv Ha’Aretz reveals your priorities and values. Values are your core beliefs about what counts most in life…..what is most valuable. To reap the rewards of this giant step (likened to a marriage) requires a commitment to persevere even when times get tough.
2) Take comfort in the fact that You are NOT alone! We all leave behind a fully delineated life and community where we easily know our way around and we arrive in a new place of unknowns. This realm of the unknown can throw us off balance emotionally and can cause us to feel very alone in the acclimation process. If you feel this way, it is a strong message to reach out to others for the help, comfort and guidance you need to move beyond this feeling. In Eretz Yisrael, we learn that we cannot do anything alone especially settling in. IT will take the love and support and guidance of many people along the way to aid us in this process. There is no need to stumble along in the dark when there is a whole nation to help you get your needs met. BELIEVE IT!
3) Leave your unrealistic expectations at your departure airport to be designated as abandoned belongings. Many new olim have suffered untold emotional suffering at the hands of the monster of unrealistic expectations and it does not serve them well. Everything that you need and want is available to you here.
4) You are a guest in the country until you truly make it your home. Just like a child returning to his parents home after a long absence, as we return to our beloved home, we must acquire the respect and patience to learn the values and rules of our new residence. We will need to confront our core values to gain clarity about how they relate to the values of our new, permanent home. Just as a child would not impose his will or his values on his parents in their home, or get unruly over things they do not understand, so too in Our Beloved Eretz Yisroel, act respectfully and you will reap the rewards.
5) Bring your sense of humor or acquire one to see you through this exciting but challenging process. There are no shortcuts.
6) Don’t allow other peoples ALiyah challenges to impact your Aliyah experience. Your set of personal values and beliefs will be a big determining factor in this process. Positivity is the anchor that gives you balance in the waters of the unknown. Be clear that every situation that does occur is tailor made for you to grow In the way that you need to grow. Just as we make Aliyah to BUILD our connection to G-d and to BUILD up the land, the biggest challenge and blessing is to BUILD our character. This is our personal contribution for the precious gift of ALiyah.
7) Israel IS REAL! This reality can be the most intimidating! Israelis have strong personalities. They are in your face, opinionated, pushy but more so, they are kind, helpful, caring and resourceful. Their dominant values which are extraordinarily powerful are genetically passed on after years of intense struggle for this land and for life itself. The choice was to become strong or suffer the consequences. This must become the battle cry for new olim. I must become strong so that I do not suffer unnecessarily. Manners and matters of relating to each other differ here. Our job is to acquire that knowledge and apply it. In order to compete with the strength of the Israelis, one must learn to yell and scream or even cry to get what you need. AND IT WORKS and is very uncomfortable for refined, politically correct, well mannered souls. The motto here is, “If you can’t beat them, join them” after all we are family!!!!
8) DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. Nothing others do is about you. What others say and do is truly a projection of their reality. Become immune to the actions of others and you will not suffer unnecessarily. When we leave our familiarity, we can feel off balance in our new surroundings. Even with the incredible joy at being in HaShem’s beloved garden, feelings of insecurity and tension can reside within us and manifest themselves in countless ways. Go easy on yourself and easy on others. The way of Shalom (PEACE) always brings blessings.
9) DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. Find the courage to ask questions. There are many people and organizations ready, willing and able to give you the help you need but you must USE YOUR VOICE. Do not be afraid to look foolish. Many people have expressed the feeling of being like children in kindergarten, not knowing or understanding the rules. This very true statement reflects the inner dimension of self competence. Taking responsibility for what you need will automatically build up your self confidence and enable you to feel competent.
10) PARENTS: YOU HOLD THE KEY TO YOUR CHILDREN’S ALIYAH SUCCESS! You will be the role models shaping their attitudes. Take responsibility for your children’s emotional well being by keeping your interactions and communications positive. Keep your adult conversations and challenges private. Commit to spending time with your children as they settle in. Allow them to own their feelings and voice their complaints without negating them. Sarah Radcliffe M.E.D, and clinical psychologist in an article in Mishpacha magazine, states the importance of children being heard and understood without judgment. She suggests summarizing their overt and covert messages, so they know they are heard and understood. Be gentle with them and with yourself!
The Land of Israel is blessed but challenging because nothing here is rational or goes according to nature……everything is by Divine Intervention and comes about in G-d’s time. This reality often confuses us until we imprint it in our brain and act upon it’s truth and wisdom.
The ALiyah process can and should become a pathway to greatness. You are now fully becoming a part of this beloved Nation of priests and holy people for you have returned to claim your inheritance and leave your mark. Your contributions will be the words, thoughts and actions you choose along the way. We must strengthen love and faith and have it penetrate our hearts. Here the jewish spirit is dynamically alive. Here, You will become re-sensitized to the real spiritual nature of life in Eretz Yisroel. There is very little neutral ground when living in Israel. In Eretz Yisroel, the hand of G-d is more readily seen and felt and this allows us to keep more connected to the reality of the world around us.