Living The Dream. I remember waiting in the Nefesh B'Nefesh line at Newark Airport's El Al ticket counter. Almost 18 months ago to the day now, I let go of my previous life. I built a successful career in sportscasting, but found little meaning in life outside of work. I resolved to be happy in life, and as I explored my options, I came across the concept of Aliyah during a random Google Search.
Understand: I had gone to Hebrew school throughout my childhood and was a regular attendee at synagogue. Got through the Bar Mitzvah. Made a half-hearted attempt at Hillel in college. Then, my passions took over, my weekends in college were spent broadcasting games and traveling. And, that was it. Judaism was, for all intents and purposes, gone from my life. So I thought, at least.
Business took me away from my family after graduation and there was little incentive in my mind to pause for even for Jewish holidays. I didn't date Jewish women. Couldn't even tell you where the nearest shul was in the communities in which I Iived. I certainly had never been to Israel.
So, I can't explain why, on a random summer day, when I stumbled across this notion of Aliyah, I simply couldn't let go. I'm a reasonable, rational person who thrives on facts and explanation. The truth is, though, in this situation, it doesn't make sense. Little about it makes sense. I just knew my life had to change, and I felt like this was somehow the answer.
I quit my job - the career I had worked so for, packed four suitcases full of clothes and essentials, and headed "home." Already, I have an incredible wife who I met my first week in Israel, a baby girl who is truly a blessing from HaShem, a new career as a political reporter on television, a developing love for Torah and MY Jewish heritage and enough stories to last for this life and in the World To Come.
In the line at Newark Airport, I was given a million instructions, a bunch of documents to sign and one of the last free things I'd ever receive. It was a hat stitched with the Nefesh B'Nefesh logo, along with the words, "Living The Dream." We were forced to wear it as we disembarked in Tel Aviv so no one would get lost.
I thought it was the cheesiest thing: "Living The Dream." I see that hat now and think much, much differently.
I'm looking forward to sharing with you my story, along with commentary on Aliyah, general immigration to Israel, the challenges and rewards of living here and the paths to take to make it.
It starts, though, with faith.
To hear Mike's inspirational story in person, book him for your next event.