Anniversary reflections: Part one

Six summers ago, my family had the privilege of settling in the Holy Land. In this three part miniseries, “Anniversary Reflections,” mull over, smile, laugh, and rejoice with me over the differences between my family’s anticipated results of aliyah, as taken from statements we made on an Israeli, Anglo list serve, before setting foot here, given in italics, and my family’s actualized results, given in regular font. This week, share with me some aspects of how our pilot trip, housing and participation in the klal were not what we expected.
Hi! Last Thursday night, one week ago, Baruch Hashem, Computer Cowboy accepted a job in Jerusalem. We hope to make a pilot trip to scout out housing and schools.
I. Pilot Trip:
Any advice is appreciated. As soon as Computer Cowboy’s contract is signed (he and his employer made an oral agreement two days ago), we can schedule our pilot trip. The only constraints we have are our shipping dates and our oldest child''s 8th grade graduation trip.
Within twenty-four hours, we went from the international airport to Missy Older’s elementary school graduation. Others of our children missed important end of year events because we wanted to take our pilot trip as soon as possible.
That expedition trip will remain memorable if for no other reason than we left our fourteen year-old, twelve year-old, almost ten year-old, and seven year-old without parental supervision in our boutique, Charadi hotel (the hotel’s size and client demographics being important, to me in making that decision) while I ran around, with which ever kid had to be interviewed at a given moment, to schools, local cars being too small to hold all of them safely, and while Computer Cowboy, as a condition of our pilot trip being funded by his employer, worked.
The interpreter I hired insisted that Israeli children were responsible and could be left, especially during daylight hours, especially when she and I were literally moments away. B”H, nothing happened to the kids, in my husband and my absence, other than a pair of slightly messier-than-normal hotel rooms (just how many ways can you toss pillows at each other or lose pieces of artificially-colored candy?) The Old World, Israel, it seemed, was going to stretch my perspectives.
We’re thinking of Ramat Beit Shemesh, Aleph, as a place to live. We want to ship in June and fly to Israel in August. We''re looking at schools in Ramat Beit Shemesh/Beit Shemesh.
Folks who preceded us to Israel encouraged us to ship as close to our arrival date as possible. Hence, we shipped toward the end of July and lived out of suitcases for a few weeks, once we landed. In that way, we had the comfort of our furnishings, for a maximum amount of time, both in our former home and in our new one.
As for locale, we were Blessed to find a community of Jerusalem’s to call home. Our shaliah was a rabbi from our New World Vaad, who had spent many years in the Holy City and who knew, consequently, a neighborhood to recommend to us. 
We need a rental for a year until we buy. Any and all leads are appreciated.
Renting turned out to be smart, although we received no fiduciary return on our payments. What we gained, however, was the ability to see if our intended neighborhood suited us before committing lots of money to a home. B”H, we live two blocks from the apartment we initially rented.
III. Participation in the Klal
Also, we opened our house to many, many guests here in the States. Once we get settled, b’li nader, we would love to be pointed in that direction. It is important to us that singles, elders, widows and orphans, women whose husbands are traveling, students far from home, newcomers, etc. have a Shabbot table, and, if need be, a place to sleep over.
Except for the first week or so of our aliyah, Hashem has allowed us opportunities to share his Blessings with other Jews, with folks from of many walks of life and from many global locations. Hachnasat Orchim, in Israel, has been a richer, more eye-opening, and, in general, more fulfilling experience than we could ever have imagined this mitzvah to be.
More so, some of those people, whom have graced our home, we merited to grow with. One Israeli bat bayit, for instance, brought her future chatan to us for Shabbasim a year or two after we had adopted her (yes, he slept elsewhere).Eventually, he became her chatan. Eventually, they married. Now they visit us as a pair and he has become our “Chatan Bayit.”
We’ve made friends with the parents of yeshiva bucharim, have learned about life in Europe with pals from ulpan, and, in entertaining local young adults, have discovered that not all Jews think of gefilte fish as a delicacy, but as an insult to wholesome comestible goodness. We’ve been honored, as well, to break bread, literally, with Jews ranging from gals wearing spaghetti strap shirts to guys dressed in black hats and coats (albeit not at the same time).
Can''t wait to meet ya'' all!
We have been and, I hope, will continue to meet many amazing people throughout our journey here. Although our shul, which is populated, in part, with ‘New Worlders’ who have lived here, in the Old World, for twenty or thirty years regards us as “the Americans,” given my husband and my language deficiencies and our baldly New World perspectives on many matters, my family remains grateful to be part of the ingathering.
Stay tuned for Part Two. That section will cover our children’s school placement. Part Three will be about their parents’ language acquisition, or lack thereof, and about my unexpected realization of my job search.