The paperwork took about a month to fill out, and it was a lot, but I did it almost robotically, just driven to let this process happen, and not let my fears get in the way. I sensed deeply that this was where I was meant to be going.
Some small issues came up, since I was born in Israel, and both Nefesh B’nefesh and the Jewish Agency could not understand how I wasn’t a full-fledged sabra. (My parents registered me as an American at the American embassy in Israel.) I also lost one of my old passports, but it wasn’t a problem in the end.
Nefesh B’nefesh (NBN) has supported me in countless ways. They’ve provided me with a personal advisor, who answers my emails within the day. She’s taught me about benefits, school, jobs, housing, and opportunities. NBN is going to arrange my flight to Israel (through the Jewish Agency) and meet me in the airports-both in America and Israel-to give additional support. I can’t imagine what aliyah would be like without them. (If you want to know more, go here.)
Last week, I met with the Jewish Agency, in what was the most relaxed interview I’ve ever attended. Gal, who must be just a few years older than I (I’m 19), asked about my background, schooling, and knowledge of Hebrew. When asked why I wanted to make aliyah, I said I wanted to greet Moshiach in Israel, and that’s exactly what she wrote down, with no further questions asked. I filled out a form and showed her my paperwork, asked a few questions of my own, and left.
And now, I’m just waiting to be approved to become an Israeli citizen. This is one step away from making my aliyah official! (Getting a visa is the last!)
After this action filled month, filling out form after form and sending the right documents in, I’m not exactly sure what to do with this time. I’ve decided to go to Ulpan in Jerusalem when I arrive, and begin sherut leumi (national service, which many Israelis do following high school) afterwards, so I emailed different Ulpan classes, and am keeping tabs on a few possible places to live during the first 4 or 5 months. (There are live in Ulpans, but I’m not old enough for most of them).
I guess this is the time I’m supposed to be processing all the emotions this decision comes with, but when I start letting my thoughts wander, all the feelings come at me at once. I’m not even 20, and I’m leaving my parents and 7 younger siblings at home. Who, in their right mind, does that?! I have an incredible family, great community and loving friends, and would be applying to graduate school now if I weren’t planning on leaving! Am I choosing wisely?
This whole concept is completely bizzare and irrational, but I’m going forward because I belong in Israel, and I know, really deep down, that my neshama (soul) needs this. I hope that, when I arrive there, I’ll start to understand why.