Becoming Israeli: From the euphoric to the everyday

Coming to Israel made me a citizen of the first independent Jewish state in over 2000 years.

By AKIVA GERSH
December 28, 2017 22:29
The author of the book ‘Becoming Israeli’

The author of the book ‘Becoming Israeli’. (photo credit: COURTESY AKIVA GERSH)

MAKING ALIYA is often a profound emotional and spiritual experience, especially for Jews who are not running away from hardship or danger, but rather consciously choosing to become part of the historic return of the Jewish people to their homeland. As time moves on, the euphoria may not altogether disappear, but it is joined by a plethora of other emotions and experiences, ranging from the inspiring and the hysterical to the frustrating and the challenging.

When I made aliya, it was euphoric. I had brought my acoustic guitar on the plane with me to make sure it didn’t get damaged with the cargo. As my wife, Tamar, and I were beginning to descend the stairs to the tarmac below, the thought suddenly entered my mind to take my guitar out of its case and play a song for this overwhelming oncein- a- lifetime moment. I took out my guitar and, without any conscious thought as to what song to sing, “Am Yisrael Chai” burst from my lips. More than that, it burst forth from deep in my soul.

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