Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Little Tiny Moments of Joy

Periodically, I have little tiny moments of joy here in Israel.  They aren't necessarily big enough to blog about, so I usually dash off a line or two and update my Facebook status. I thought it would be fun to knit a bunch of these tiny little moments of joy together.

What follows are the 30 or so most recent nuggets, starting in early July, when we celebrated our first aliyahversary, and ending with the one I wrote just last night.

Today is our very first aliyahversary. We have been blessed with so many brachot during our first year in Israel. I have learned to accept, with emuna, the challenges that Hashem sends to me personally. Living here strengthens my awareness that the Master of the World is always looking out for me, even when it feels like maybe He's a bit distracted.

Shop Wednesday. Cook Thursday. Play Friday. Just realized how much better this system is.

One of the biggest thrills of making aliyah is hearing about newer olim who are coming to join the family.

The Google home screen has big red hearts where the "oo" goes. Is Google aware that it's Tu b'Av, the Jewish Day of Love?

Just had a young Israeli man deliver a contract for me to sign. I asked if he wanted something to drink. Before drinking, he took a piece of paper from the contract, held it over his head and made a bracha. Man, I love this place!

Attended a beautiful outdoor Jewish wedding ceremony last night, high in the hills overlooking Jerusalem. Warm breezes. Great music. How did I get so lucky to have such an authentic Jewish experience?

I love Fridays in Israel. My daughters and I alternate cooking. My husband goes out to the makolet to pick up the ingredients we forgot and later, he sweeps and mops. Quality family time :-)

A year ago this week, I started the 5-month long intensive ulpan (conversational Hebrew class) for new immigrants. On the bus this morning, it occurred to me that the reality is, I can learn Hebrew. Just a lot slower than I would like.

So holy is the produce grown in Israel that, after I eat Israeli grapes, I make the after blessing with different wording than what I used to say in America. Same for olives, dates, figs, pomegranate and wine.

On Friday, while preparing for Shabbat, I spilled very, very hot zucchini soup on my arm. Every day, the burn it looks a little better and I marvel at the fact that Hashem made it possible for skin to heal itself.

Fun with Hebrew: I texted my Hebrew tutor about setting up our next meeting and she texted back כן בעזה. I was confused. We should meet in Gaza?! What she meant was, "Yes, B'ezrat Hashem," meaning, "Yes, with Gd's help."

‎9/11 changed my life. I was in Baltimore and didn't witness it firsthand. But on that day, I heard Hashem tell me it was time to make aliyah. In a moment, my whole perspective on the issue shifted

Today, I shopped for a new wallet, in Hebrew, all by myself. I am inordinately proud of myself.

On my way home from work, I saw my bus already at the stop from across the street. Crossing the street, I said, "Hashem, if You want me to make that bus, you're gonna have to hold it for me." Not only did I make it onto the bus just before it pulled away, but my daughter was on that exact bus. She gave me her seat and she stood the whole time while we planned our Shabbat menus.

In the mornings, as I stand in my kitchen packing lunch, I see and hear men walking to and from shul, children leaving for school, neighbors tossing their recycling, city buses passing by and, you know, life.

My brother just texted me: "Rain in jlem... G-d loves us." How can I not love this life?!

My new mantra: "Thank you, Hashem."

Every day on my way to work, I think of how much I love being amidst the bustle of a Jerusalem morning with somewhere familiar to go.

Yesterday, I saw a sign in Hebrew that seemed important to understand. At first, my eyes glazed over and I was tempted to ignore it, but I gave it a try. To my surprise, certain words were clear. I understood it was an announcement of a ruling in Jewish law. I understood that something was being forbidden but I didn't understand exactly what it was. So, in a few simple Hebrew sentences, I explained to someone working there that I needed help understanding the sign. She didn't speak any English, but she understood what I needed and called a bilingual friend to explain it to me in English. Epic success!

As I was getting off the bus just now, my bare-headed bus driver said to me, "Gmar chatima tova." Man, I love this place!

I just returned a library book that was 22 days late. The fine? Wiped out because of where we are in the Jewish calendar. There's no place like Home!

STOLEN FROM AVIVA ADLER (no relation): My biggest "WOW! I'm in ISRAEL!" moment so far (I arrived Rosh Chodesh Elul) is the radio announcer on the classical music station who announces the SHEMA every morning just before 6:00 a.m., and who, erev Yom Kippur,
wished all his listeners a Gmar Chatima Tova!


STOLEN FROM SHIRA YASHIN: My son knew a rabbi who was in a bank, and when he went to leave, the guard stopped him and said he couldn't leave. He turned around and saw that they were gathering a minyan for mincha, so he went and joined them.

An ad in the Jerusalem Post for the Land Rover features five recommended mountain sites in Israel where the Land Rover can take you to help you appreciate beauty of Eretz Yisrael.


I put my Uggs on for the first time this season so I could sit more comfortably in the sukkah. Feels Shehecheyanu worthy.

In my dream last night, I ordered a cab to take two women from our apartment to the local mall - in grammatically correct Hebrew.

I am not naive. I know how complex and untenable the options were. I understand the perspective of those who think we made a deal with the devil. But in the end, I feel proud - proud of the values of my country, proud of my Prime Minister and so, so grateful to Gd that I got to experience this day as an Israeli.

Today, as we were leaving the pharmacy, a young clerk handed us a box of Trident Tropical Pineapple gum from her basket of goodies and wished us a Chag Sameach. This moment of integrated Jewish life was brought to you by aliyah.

Just started raining in Jerusalem! Is there a bracha for this?

Reason #86,367,851 that I'm grateful to live in Israel: The Baltimore Jewish Times cover story this week asks, "Is celebrating Halloween kosher?"

This morning, I told my Hebrew tutor a short dvar Torah in Hebrew. I didn't know she was going to ask me to do that, so I wasn't prepared, but I did it anyway. Amazingly, she seems to have understood what I think I said. Somedays, I think I might eventually tame this beast. Other days, not so much.

Getting a seat on a crowded bus - just one small pleasure of life in Jerusalem.

I just opened a box of Israeli-made sandwich bags. On the box, in plain English, it said, "Produced without fear of Desecration of the Sabbath."



5 comments:

Batya said...

I love it!
We're here 41 years, and sometimes I just take all this for granted. thanks for reminding me.

SaraK said...

:)

Rahel said...

The man who announces the Shema every morning has actually been gone for more than twenty years. What we hear is a recording, and an old one. The announcer's name is Moshe Hovav (1930-1987), father of Gil Hovav, son-in-law to Itamar Ben-Avi and his wife Leah. Itamar Ben-Avi was the son of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda.

Sandra Perlman said...

Thank you for your blog.We have been here 25 years, this week. We came with two other couples we were friendly with in NY the week of Parshat Lech Lecha. We have gotten together every year to celebrate the date (we no longer all live in the same city) and as time went on the gathering includes our grandchildren.(most of our children were born here).Your recent entry helped me to remember some of the things I take for granted.With your permission, I'd like to read it to our friends on Shabat.
One other thing.You have a link to a blog called Adventures of Aliya-Sacha Baron. I clicked it and it has nothing to do with aliya. I'm telling you because for some reason my browser didn't block a pop-up and something very "lo-tzanua" popped up.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Shabat Shalom

Bat Aliyah said...

Sandra - Wow! I am so sorry about that. Thanks for pointing it out. Looks like someone got hacked. I deleted the link. I'm very grateful, both for your comment and for you taking the time to let me know something inappropriate was attached.