Friday, December 17, 2010
We had a nice life in America. There's no doubt about it. But it horrifies me to think that I might someday be forced to return. Even though I really do miss David Chu's kosher Chinese restaurant.
Here's a truth about life in Israel five months in.
It's often scary, but not for the reason you might assume.
The language is a big part of the fear. Even with a full-time ulpan and unarguable progress, I'm still far from being conversational in everyday situations. I often have to rely on my husband or daughter for translation assistance.
I look at job announcements, and even though I'm willing to work far below my previous level of achievement, it seems that almost every job I might consider requires a higher level of Hebrew fluency than I have, and that I might ever have. That's scary.
Even though I have been driving for close to 40 years, I still don't feel comfortable driving in Jerusalem.
I can't find basic, everyday products in the grocery store without help.
I don't really understand how my bills are calculated here. I for sure don't know how to read, let alone balance, my bank statement.
I can't make small talk with people at the bus stop. I don't always understand what cashiers at the grocery store are asking me. My standard response to every question people ask me on the street is, "I'm a new immigrant. I don't know anything." At least I can say that in Hebrew.
I often feel very vulnerable here - economically, certainly, but also culturally, though that's mitigated by my tendency to spend most of my time with other English speakers. Every time I step out of my home, I am reminded that there are ordinary, adult things I just don't know how to do in this new country of mine.
That's not the only thing I feel. But that's the truth.
But to think of going back? Going back to live in someone else's country where I felt misunderstood for so many years? Not having the privilege of waking every day in the Land I truly believe is the only future of the Jewish people? Turning my back on one of the major gifts Hashem gave the Jewish people? Retreating to the galut?
Nope. Not happening. May Hashem save me from such a fate.
Posted by Rivkah Lambert Adler at 2:15 PM