Personal thoughts on current events, cultural events, Israel, Judaism, Jewish/Israel innovations and life from a Jewish perspective - read into that what you may.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

We Have Finally Returned Home!!

Chag Kasher V'sameach to all!!

This is our first email from Israel since we arrived last Monday. Baruch Hashem everything is going well. We have spent the past week taking care of all the beaurocratic stuff necesaary in the aliyah process, but I must admit, things have gone much more smoothly than they used to (at least compared to my last aliyah experience in 1990). Of couse there have been a few nuisances, but overall we really can't complain, things have gone pretty smoothly. The most interesting observation that we have made during our rounds to all the government offices is that most off all the government employees in these offices are Russian! It is really unbelievable. Every office has Russian workers, Russian signs, Russian publications, and it seems that the Russians have a lot of assistance in all their government dealings. it really has impressed me, thinking how different life in Israel might be if hundreds of thousands of American Olim came to live here too. What a difference such a large mass of people would be able to make on the makeup of Israeli society for the good. Chaval, most American Jews decide to stay in the States with their talents instead of coming here on mass to really make a difference (100 families a year from America doesn't have the same impact on a society as tens of thousands a year).

So, I'm sure everybody wants to here how we have adjusted to living in Israel, and especially Efrat, during these hard times. I have to admit that it is hard to get used to walking through the streets of Jerusalem with a sense of fear that something might happen, but we did. Since we came a week ago, we have strolled through Jerusalem's center of town many times. We were actually on Rechov Hamelech George a half hour before the horrible piguah last Thursday. Realizing that was a big shock. But it has not stopped us from stolling down Rechov Hamelch George or other areas of Jerusalem. It is not easy getting used to this reality, but on the other hand, life goes on, and we, like everybbody else, have adjusted to doing what we need to do, going where we need to go, regardless of the fear in the back of our minds.

But, with it all, we are so happy to be here. It is so great being back in Israel. So far we have spent a Shabbat up north, we have taken a train ride on the beautiful new double decker train from Tel Aviv to the north, we have been to an english speaking play production of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, and we have had a great time seeing friends and family. Life is great, life goes on and Beezrat hashem the matzav will come to an end soon.

Last night we heard a shiur from Rabbi Avraham Twersky (the famous psychologist). There is one thing he mentioned that I wanted to repeat for all of you. he mentioned that there is one aspect of teh seder that still puzzles him; he has still found no answer to the question why we dip a vegetable into salt water? After years of learning, he still has no answer to the question. The paradox is that the Rabbis tell us that we do it in order that the children will ask why we do it, even though we then tell them 'in order for you to ask why we do it'! Go figure! However, Rabbi Twersy said that that is exactly the point, there is no answer to that question and when children ask why we do it it is not only ok, but it is imperitive for the parent to answer 'I don't know why we do it, but we do it in order for you to ask why'. So too in life, we are always required to ask why things happen, but sometimes there are no answers to our questions, and that is the lesson itself. In today's times, we have no way to explain why Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael is going through such traumatic times, but yet we still have to ask why, and even though we have no answer, that is ok. We have to feel sad on the one hand for what we are going through, but happiness on the other hand, because even though we don't know why, God's hand is behind it all. Am Yisrael chai, and we will get through these harsh times as well. May this Nisan really bring the geulah and may we see all of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael soon (whether the mashiach comes or not).

Chag Kashem V'sameach.

Avi, Rachel and Yakir

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