Noach (alias: Omri, my husband) and I just got back from a really nice Shabbos in Monsey. Seeing a deer on Shabbos is just cool. Walking through the forest to get to shul is also pretty great. And the family that invited us, an older couple that Noach used to work with, were adorable... like having an extra set of grandparents. And I think they enjoyed having some young blood around to change up the conversation.
Beyond that... I had trouble with the size of everything. How is it possible people in Israel make do with an apartment and here we all need museums? It's so cut-off and private. And this coming from a classic introvert who likes nothing better than to be alone! But not REALLY alone, which is how I feel in a huge empty house on a huge empty lot on a huge street filled with more of the same. I can't imagine living somewhere like that and not getting the "keeping up with the Joneses" mania. I didn't get this from the people... that's just my reaction to the size of everything. But I have pretty well-documented rich people phobia. Maybe THAT'S why I feel so much more comfortable in Israel.
I'm also starting to understand the warnings about The Chutz better. Everyone always says, "don't go to Brooklyn or Monsey and think you're not living in galus." I couldn't believe anyone would actually make that mistake. But all Shabbos, I only saw two people who weren't Jewish. And I didn't see any Jews who weren't frum. That's crazy. And there's such a weirdness about it. These people shouldn't all be here. All these Jews, and so badly needed in Eretz Yisrael. And they have the ability to make the move, at least financially. It's so weird to be in America and feel like it's just all Jews. Because it is so not.
One fact always ringing in my mind is that a few years before the Shoah, a Jewish Englishman was in charge of the "Palistinean authority." Any Jew who wanted to make aliyah was allowed. And nobody did. They still had money, they still had prestiege, and they had no reason to suspect that the world would go crazy and blood-thirsty in a few years. Granted, Israel was very different then. Scattered, small communities and nothing close to the opportunities we see there today. But today we look back and shake our heads and think, "if only they'd gone when they had the chance." Today we are PAID to go to Israel. (B"H for Nefesh b'Nefesh. Here is Aish's 1 minute video on them.) They give us the flight. They help us find jobs, communities, ulpanim, apartments. They practically help us pack our bags. And yet we still have the chutzpa to stay.
I'm loving Passaic. Everyone here is growth oriented, giving, warm, and very spiritual. But I would love to know why Noach and I are in the position that we are in. I feel exiled from Israel. I think back of memories in Israel and it's as if we were living in color. Here we're in sepia. And living in color was draining, for sure. The fear was real and the stress was real, but the connection was so much more intense, and the love and joy was so much more full.
I guess that's just where I am right now. Really Missing Israel. A Lot. It comes in waves.
And while I don't really wish not being in Israel on anyone, thank Gd I get to go through this with my husband. Noach has become my channel. He is so plugged in spiritually, I just need to sit and listen to him to be inspired. It's as if he still has one foot in Jerusalem, and he's been here longer. I don't think he feels that way. I remember being on the phone with him after he'd been home a few months, and him telling me how you could feel the difference from here to there. That it was palpable. I remember my heart sinking, as I was already full of fear about the move back to the States.
Maybe I should just refocus on the piles of laundry and stuff that need to be decluttered from this house. Noach's friend Meir always says how a mentor of his said that you have to be zoche to live in Israel. So maybe this time can be about building us up to be people that don't just take from Israel but find a way to give to Israel.
Ah, before I go. Wedding pictures are up. Our photographer, Max Orenstein did an incredible job capturing an incredible day. Here are his highlights. Here's one of my favorites: