October 7th is the big day, the day after Sukkot: I leave for Israel! I have a direct flight from LA to Tel Aviv on El Al, which I’ve heard is about 14 hours. I’m so excited – I’m counting down the weeks. I’m getting really excited to go…less than two weeks to go!
But for now, I’m still in Los Angeles. I have to start going through all my things, packing up what i want to take and figuring out what to do with the things I don’t want to take. It’s a lot to do in not a lot of time – I’ve kind of been putting it off.
So where will I be staying when I get to Israel? I have a room on Kibbutz Sa’ad, a religious kibbutz in the south located between Sderot and Netivot. There are about 140 families that belong to the kibbutz and about 700 people who live there.
I will have one roommate who I will meet when I get there, and I’ll be working on the kibbutz, hopefully in the fields, to pay for my room and food. I will also get an “adopting” kibbutz family. During my free time, I’ll probably have to go to a lot of offices and meetings to take care of settling in. I also want to travel, hike, and see friends around the country. Once I get to Israel, I’ll start working on getting drafted into the army right away. I’ve heard it can take anywhere from 3-5 months to get in, but I’ve spoken with some people in Israel and in LA who can hopefully make a few phone calls and help me push through the process and the bureaucracy. Once I get drafted in the army though, the army will pay for my room on kibbutz because I’ll be a Chayal Boded, a lonely soldier, meaning I have no immediate family in Israel to go “home” to, to get my laundry done or to have a home cooked meal when I get time off from the army. So I’ll have my room on kibbutz to go to.
As a lonely soldier, the army gives you one month off every year to go and visit your family. So I probably won’t be back in the states for at least a good year and a half. The move is going to be hard for everyone, but I think it will be hardest on my mom and my brother. My mom, well, because she’s a mom and my mom at that. My brother and I are the only two kids. We have gotten very close over the last few years, especially this last year when I wasn’t home, ironically enough. He jokes around with me a lot about my move. He’s convinced that I’m going to be a cook in the army, and that I’ll be serving linguini to the combat soldiers!
Sometimes its hard, knowing that I’ll be so far away from my family and friends, that I can’t just hop on a plane for a few hours to see them, and that it will be quit some time until I see them next. But at the same time, I also know exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing; Israel is where I belong and it’s where I want to be. Even though I’ll be on my own, I’m really excited to make Aliyah. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do ever since I can remember, and now, I finally have the chance to do it.
May the coming year bring us all only good things! Chag Sameach and Shanah Tova!