Today is the 1st of May and at the end of this month, my husband, son and I will celebrate our 18th year of Aliyah. Our Chai anniversary.
Chai (חי) is a Hebrew word and symbol that means “life.” It is spelled with the Hebrew letters chet (ח) and yud (י). Because it means “life,” the Chai is consequently a symbol that captures an important aspect of Judaism.
According to the gematria, which is a mystical tradition that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters, the letters chet (ח) and yud (י) add up to the number 18. The chet has a value of 8 and the yud has a value of 10.
Chai is a popular root word in Hebrew names. Chaya, derived from chai is a popular female name in Hebrew, and Chaim is the male version. The biblical Eve's name is חַוָּה Chava in Hebrew, also derived from the same root chai.
Eighteen years ago on May 29, 1994 we boarded EL AL at Toronto International Airport, with 12 pieces of luggage, mostly boxes to come home. In those days you were allowed three pieces of luggage plus one carry on.
As EL AL was approaching Ben Gurion Airport, the loud speaker went on and music filled the plane. Ha’venu Shalom Aleichem was playing over and over and I was crying, so happy to be home and to be reunited with the rest of our family, our two married daughters and three little Sabra grandchildren. Baruch Hashem today we have been blessed with thirteen grandchildren. Our oldest grandson is a chayal in the IDF.
Our daughters had come to Israel a year and a half apart, as seminary students, fell in love with the country, and decided to remain and make Israel their home.
The girls met their Israeli husbands and settled down. Both only wanted to get married in Israel and so we made two Israeli weddings.
Living in Israel is not easy. It takes time to adjust to the Israeli way of life. Most things you need to do, medical appointments…you are invited to see the doctor, banking, shopping etc. are not done the way they are done in your old country. Food is different. Your eating habits will change. Red tape is unbelievable. Patience is the rule of thumb.
Israel is rich in Jewish history. You can tour and visit the many places that are mentioned in the Torah. Israel has the bluest sky and its national flower, Callanit is a beautiful red wild flower.
Israelis love to drink mud Turkish coffee, our favorite expression, no matter the situation is “yehieh beseder” [it will be okay].
Politics is the most popular discussion, every citizen and non citizen has an opinion how to run the government and army. And of course all kids play soccer or football as it is known here and basketball.
Israel is in the news everyday. We are just a small country surrounded by enemies who want to see our destruction. I fear for my country. Our precious homeland has known many wars in our short 64 years of Independence. Israel must double its population. We must always be the majority. We have room for every Jew. Aliyah is the only answer.
Making Aliyah is a major decision, one that can not be made on ‘one leg’. It affects the entire family young and old.
For our family, living in Israel is an honor and privilege. We are living in our Jewish homeland and full filling our dreams. This is truly ‘life’. May we celebrate many more ‘Chai’ anniversaries.
Until next time…...feel free to comment and share.Miriam
Please have a look at my recipe blog 'From Miriam's Kitchen'http://miriamsrecipes.blogspot.com/