To be honest, the idea was not to make aliyah. I only meant to save up money so I could go to Israel as soon as I got the chance to. But, that wasn’t meant to be.
It was a Thursday night in October, the night of the annual challah bake, and my mother called the whole family into the living room. She had just been sent a video from a close friend and felt it was ultra important to show us. She waited until we settled down on the couches.
It didn’t actually hit me until I heard it translated out loud. On the video was an image of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, a huge contemporary Torah scholar. On it was a quote from him in Hebrew, saying that Moshiach is SO, SO close, and that, when he comes, we should not be afraid, but instead, say the blessing to “the redeemer of Israel.”
Naturally, I burst into tears and cried into my hands uncontrollably, until I managed to hobble into the dining room to continue with my mundane homework, which was, at that point, a nearly impossible task. I couldn’t substantiate or prove anything said on the video, so I had (have) no idea if it’s true, but I know that a Jew is supposed to wait for Moshiach, and believe he can come any minute, and this video reawakened that faith in me. So that’s how the research began. If Moshiach is coming, I thought, I should probably start planning.
I was born in Israel and raised there until I was 4, though I never became an Israeli citizen. At 18, I spent 9 months in a seminary in the heart of Jerusalem. When I came back, I was so lost; my family was still my family, but my city and surroundings were not mine at all. I fell into a minor depression just missing Israel, and had to learn how to bring Israel to me while still in America. All I knew was that one day, I would get back there.
So, back to Thursday. I researched way into the night. Shabbos came the next night, and I dreamed about Israel, and when motzei shabbos (Saturday night) arrived, I was back at the screen. Here is where I am tremendously grateful that Facebook stalks its members. It was 2 am, and I was still up, learning about Israel. I checked my Facebook feed, and, scrolling down, there was an ad for a Nefesh Bnefesh meeting in Baltimore, taking place that morning.
I went out of curiosity, following a subconscious search for adventure, but left with a glossy folder of information and packets of aliyah benefits. I gave in a small piece of paper with my name and number to hear more. And the rest of the process flowed so naturally, it was like I had been planning to move my entire life.