The two secrets2success I’ve been told about aliyah, have, unsurprisingly, to do with the manner and condition of the self-image.
My Jews & Conflict in the Modern Age professor gave me a lift home tonight. He’s originally from Chicago; he’s been here for over 25 years. Impeccable hebrew, by the way, aside from the fact that his class was terribly simplistic and boring.
Anyway, after a good half an hour of awkward on-again-off-again polite conversation and odd classical music, I went for why not and started expressing about my academic culture shock and my poor Hebrew self-image and so forth. I wasn’t sure if this older academic type would get it or care from the mouth of a 23-year-old olah chadasha (incidentally wearing a light pink sweatshirt, feeling juvenile at that moment).
He turned to me (while driving, so he really has been here for awhile): “You know what the secret to aliyah success here is? It’s accepting that you’re an immigrant. My kids – they are Israeli. Me and my wife – we know what we are, where we came from. We know we’re here now, and happy, especially watching our kids grow up here. My parents were immigrants. I am an immigrant. That’s just how it is. And then you’ll feel comfortable with yourself enough to just let go of it all.”