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Quick aliyah update

April 4, 2018

I have not posted to my blog ever since leaving for Israel almost a year and a half ago. So, I wanted to give my readers a quick update.

We are doing great and are still very glad to have made the decision to make aliyah. We live in the beautiful city of Ashdod, on the Mediterranean coast, with beautiful modern architecture (with new building popping up seemingly all the time), parks and beaches. My two older children attend a national-religious school (which has a good mix of religious and secular studies) and are already fluent in Hebrew. Being born in America, English is my children’s strongest language, but they have also spoken Russian from birth, and that language has actually gotten stronger since coming here (because Russian is everywhere in Ashdod and Israel in general). My little boy, who is now 2 and a half, is staying home for the time being. We may send him to a kindergarten when he turns 3 or 4, but for now we are simply enjoying him ourselves and helping his English and Russian get stronger (before they get drowned out by Hebrew).

I work remotely at an Israeli company (run by American olim) that’s located in another city, Bet Shemesh, with most of the clients in the States (I am a web developer). This means that I work on the U.S. time, so I start my work day in afternoon and finish at midnight. This schedule is perfect for me, because, besides not being a morning person, it leaves me with plenty of time early in the day to do errands, hang out with my wife and son and even do some traveling. For example, I can take the morning bus to Jerusalem and pray at the Western Wall and be back home before my work day starts. My wife is continuing to attend an ulpan (a Hebrew language school) for the second year in a row (her Hebrew is quite good now and she doesn’t need anyone’s assistance to get things done) and in her spare time she tutors English (she is a university-trained English teacher) to a few locals. My Hebrew is also getting better all the time, but I’ve been studying on my own, so it has ways to go.

We live in an apartment building in the center of the city, within walking distance to anything important and about 20 minute walk from the beach. I’ve never lived in an apartment before, so it took some getting used to, but in Israel this is where most people live. I had to get used to noises, smells and neighbors living in close quarters all around us. I always lived in the suburbs in the States, and I find that living in the heart of a large city is far more invigorating. We do quite a bit of walking, both to shop and to enjoy the city life. To get around a bit farther from our home (we haven’t had a need to buy a car yet, since we both work out of home), we take taxis and buses (which are quite inexpensive here and plentiful). We have recently converted both of our U.S. driver licenses, so a car may be in the cards.

We attend an Orthodox synagogue that’s within 15 minutes walk and have already made ourselves an integral part of that community. It has a lot of Russian speakers there and even a few other olim (Jewish immigrants) from America, so I feel quite at home there. Living in the Promised Land is very exciting, with every rock seemingly imbued with history, meaning and purpose. The nature is beautiful and (most) of the people are warm. We frequently get questions from incredulous Israelis about what in the world would possess us to leave our comfortable lives in the “Land of Gold”, America and move to Israel. Our answer is that, as Jews, Israel is our home. We’ve come home.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim D permalink
    April 5, 2018 12:10 am

    Beautiful, Gene. It sounds from your well written description that you and your family have settled into a full and fulfilling life in Israel. Mazel tov!! And best wishes for continued success and joy!

  2. April 5, 2018 9:31 am

    Thank you, Jim. It really is wonderful here.

  3. SueEllen permalink
    April 5, 2018 10:32 am

    How exciting to see an email from the “Daily Minyan” in my email box!!
    I am so happy for you and your family to be in your true home. Everything
    sounds wonderful making the choice the best one for you all.
    Your past posts have been such a help to me personally and a great place to still visit and read.
    “May the Lord bless you and watch over you. May the Lord cause His countenance to shine to you and favor you. May the Lord raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace.”

  4. April 5, 2018 10:58 am

    SueEllen, thank you for the kinds words! Blessings to you as well.

  5. June 21, 2018 10:04 pm

    It sounds wonderful! I am considering beginning my Aliyah, but I have very significant issues regarding my “Jewishness”

  6. September 6, 2018 5:16 pm

    I’m glad to hear that, Gene. I was pulling for you.

    -Drake

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