Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A wish for Chanukah had me thinking...

I sent out a wish tonight on the eighth night of Chanukah – almost exactly three months since I moved to Tel Aviv. I hadn’t sent out my usually wishes before the holiday and thought the last night was just as good an opportunity as the first. Looking at the words I had written (see end) and the candles I’d lit got me thinking...

The photograph of the candles held my attention. All eight of them shining brightly against the dark night, each flame going its own way. Although the candles were all formed the same way in the beginning and each pair (and the Shamash – or ‘candle lighter’) was its own colour, as the flame burned them down, they took on a different look, a different personality. The flames danced this way and that in the wind coming in from outside, never once moving in the same direction. Some burned faster than others, some dripped more wax than the others, but effectively, they all did the same thing – they shone their light for the world to see, they gave me the pleasure of seeing all eight of them burning brightly in my home, even though I had to enjoy them alone, and they made me feel part of something special, part of a tradition, a culture, a people, a religion. 
Now don’t disappear...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Catch 22

Feelings. Funny things, feelings. They change so often and so rapidly, it’s like a whirlwind that has swept in and out. Lately, I’ve experienced so many, I feel as if the whirlwind has swept me up and taken over.

Show a little love... Shai accepts a kiss!
During the first few weeks of August, I felt insecure, anxious and a little apprehensive. I knew I had to move on. My time on the kibbutz – my home for the past 14 months – was coming to an end, but for various reasons, I wasn’t ready to leave.
Besides the fact that I had become attached to the people on the kibbutz and the quiet, peaceful lifestyle, I didn’t have enough freelance work to afford the move. August and September are very quiet months in Israel because of the last part of the summer holidays and the numerous Jewish holidays that accompany the New Year, and so the work wasn’t coming in. So much so that I wasn’t sure how I would pay for the apartment I was about to rent.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Of loneliness and bananas

Making Aliyah really is a rollercoaster ride. When you’re up, you’re up really high… it takes you a while to get there and the journey is thrilling and exciting with high anticipation. Once you’re there, it’s euphoric and you’re on top of the world. Then you come down, which is rapid, sudden, dramatic and scary. However, you know that the next trip up is not far away.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Four months to realize the desert is the Promised Land!

No-one could understand why I’d chosen the desert to make my “soft landing” in Israel. Actually, I wasn’t sure myself. But I’m slowly starting to realize that it was the best place for me to be. When I arrived, I looked at my living quarters (a little bigger than my study at home) and took in the view outside the Kibbutz and thought: “What on earth have I done?” Then I thought: “If I can get through six months of this, I can get through anything!!!” Well, four months down the line, I’m thinking: “Hey, I could get used to this!!!” And no-one could possibly be more surprised than I am!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

From home to home!

Gold is an incredibly precious and valuable commodity, but in this story, it’s not the precious metal that has affected my life. Leaving behind one city of gold – Johannesburg – to make my life in another – Jerusalem – is quite symbolic. Egoli to Yerushalayim shel zahav – using the strong foundation of my past to build my future – gold on gold. What stronger possible building blocks could I wish to have.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Change and renewal - my Aliyah speech at the Kotel

I was one of two olim chadashim (new immigrants) from South Africa asked to make a speech at the Kotel at a special welcome ceremony on our arrival on July 5, 2009. The speech follows, and the video recording of it is at the end of this page or you can click here to see it.

Shalom, Hello, Sanibonani, Dumelang
“The decision to make Aliyah has to come from believing in the possibility of change and renewal.”
This is not a phrase I made up. I borrowed it from our former president, Nelson Mandela, although he was not referring to Aliyah. Mandela was referring to the defining characteristics of politics and religion. Making Aliyah - for me - is the possibility of “change and renewal”. The starting of a new life, the putting down of new roots, and the creation of new hopes and dreams.