Israel is the land of paradoxes. "I'm a religious feminist. I'm a pro Palestinian Zionist. I'm a serious political leftie and voted for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu." There is no end to the conflicting opinions and world views that people here tend to have, and without any of the (existential) angst or cognitive dissonance that plagues me when I hear these things. Nothing, I repeat nothing, is black in white in this country, and everything consists of shades of grey.

My experience of making aliya has been nothing new in this arena. I've been rushed since the moment I got off the plane. I was rushed by the AACI volunteer to the office of the Ministry of Absorption. I was rushed from there to the Ministry of the Interior. Papers were thrown at me, signatures were demanded, verbal instructions were coming in a quick onslaught. I barely had time to make any notes on my next steps before I was told that the taxi I had not asked them to book had arrived to take me to Jerusalem. Things went very quickly at the airport, and didn't stop there. My Ulpan has also been incredibly demanding. They required me to hike in the wilderness to the bank in the post office nearby (yes, you read that correctly) to pay before letting me in the door. They badgered me to get my medical insurance info and my voucher from the Ministry of absorption, all before I even got off the plane. And yet....

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And yet things here are slow. They take time. They're disorganized. The Ulpan staff were swirling around me in a fury of receiving and filling out paperwork because they are actually disorganized. I'm not sure why, since they've been doing this process twice a year for who knows how many years, but so many things in the country are backwards. And paradoxical. We are Start Up nation, one of the countries with the most advanced technology, and yet I had to fax someone my information and filled out paper forms that looked like they had been the product of a copy machine since 1973. A government worker was explaining the bevy of generous and sophisticated benefits the government is providing me with, yet when speaking of one, she said "Actually, this law was just changed. I don't know what the rule is, you'll have to look it up and ask someone." Ummm wouldn't that someone be YOU?


So I've been rushed, frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, jet lagged and on total information overload. Yet those moments when I can catch my breath, when I realize I have achieved a dream, when I can reflect on my accomplishments and admire the beauty of this incredible country and its people and their kindness and generosity....I'm just amazed. And so proud. And so grateful. This crazy experiment we call Israel is now my home. And as frustrating and crazy as it can be, there's no where else I'd rather be.

May you achieve your goals and dreams, find the place that you call home, and be at peace with whatever is going around outside of you.



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