Up and down.

It always lingers in the air; it’s the black hole of the aliyah process:

Yeridah.

Returning to the motherland from where we came; financial reasons, social reasons, relationship reasons… It lingers over all of us. Lately, it seems the lingering has become more of a hovering, which seems to be really weighing in on quite a few friends of mine.

You start out the aliyah process ideological, passionate, confident, even cocky. Even if you’re not cocky, you are, because everyone around you makes a big deal out of it. There is so much pride involved. So to return – that must be so hard.

Whereas before I got to Israel and at the beginning of my aliyah, I might have tsked at those ‘making yeridah,’ I just can’t do that now, after almost two years of living here. I don’t believe that just anyone can make aliyah, either.

Even the word aliyah (ascent, to go up) evokes so much pride and ego; with the state of the Israeli state these days, maybe we should all just say we are ‘moving to Israel'; it hasn’t felt like so much of an ascent, lately.

NYC photo of the day. Yeah, anotha one.

It’s time for NYC photo of the day… again.

Brought to you by… the Empire State Building.

  • It was the first building to have more than 100 floors.
  • On May 1, 2006, The Empire State Building celebrated its 75th birthday.
  • In the Transformers, the Empire State Building is stolen by the Decepticons and modified to resemble a building similar on the Transformers homeworld as part of Megatron’s plan in City of Steel. It is eventually restored back to its former self at the end of the episode.
For those ESB facts and more, try the world’s greatest encyclodictionalmanacapedia.

Shachar's last laugh (6) – 2006.

In case this is the first of the Israel series you’ve encountered, here’s an opportunity to read everything before it; it’s actually the first draft of the sixth (and probably final) entry of this series.

Israel (2003)
Jerusalem (2003)
Modi’in (2003)
Tayelet (2003)
Israeli (2005)
—————————-

Shachar’s last laugh.

The hard part; or at least, the official part, was over. My cheeks were burning from all the smiling but I couldn’t actually feel it yet and that’s well enough since I had a lot more smiling to go.

It’s funny how you can plan one of the biggest parties of your life for six long months, and at the actual party you’re shocked to see people you invited only six weeks before.

Thank you! Oh, I can’t believe you made it! It’s so amazing to see you here. Thanks sooo much. Mazal tov – Right back atchya! No, you look great! Thank you! Oh, I can’t believe you made it! It’s so amazing to see you here. Thanks sooo much. Mazal tov – Right back atchya! No, you look great! Thank you! Oh, I can’t believe you made it! It’s so amazing to see you here. Thanks sooo much. Mazal tov – Right back atchya! No, you look great! Thank you! Oh, I can’t believe you made it! It’s so amazing to see you here. Thanks sooo much. Mazal tov – Right back atchya! No, you look great!

It was that break-time after the first, big crazy dance set, when you walk around and greet people (although somehow it’s like they’re greeting you). I looked up from the table of people where I was hovering and there he was.

I don’t know why I was surprised; I did send him an invitation six weeks before. Although he said he had reserve duty, and he might not be able to make it, I knew he’d work it out. But I was still surprised.

“Mazal tov! Can you believe I’m here?” Shachar’s eyes still danced.

“Of course! You’re the most important guest!”

We hugged and he introduced me to his new summer American. I smiled and laughed and welcomed her to my wedding. She said she was honored to ‘finally’ meet me.

Soon, Ronen came by –

“Oh! Ronen! Come meet my oldest friend in the world – Shachar, this is –”

“I know who he is…”

I could see without seeing that I looked puzzled.

Ronen and Shachar were smiling. “This is Shachar? The one you’ve been talking about?”

Shachar was laughing.

I didn’t have to demand an explanation; I must have looked that seriously puzzled.

“I was his madrich when he was here in yeshiva.”

What?

I could see Ronen’s eyes laughing; “That was, what, 7 years ago…”

I looked at Ronen and then I looked at Shachar. I felt at once like the plastic wrapping had come off of my memory and that I was so incredibly happy to be in the company of two of my favorite people in this enormous room.

“Elizabet,” – his genuine smile, the dancing eyes – “of course I had to come to your wedding! When I saw the invitation, I knew it was that Ronen, from Australia… It’s not all the time that two amazing people that I happen to know find each other…”

Our eyes met

and mine said thanks

and Ronen took my hand and we greeted the next table.

And there ends the Shachar story.

I’m just glad I got to hear his last laugh.

Being double.

So, it was brought to my attention this past week – quite a few times – that I am a dual citizen.

Being a dual citizen is fun, you get to have two identities. At least, two more than all the other ones you have from other various circumstances. As far as my dual citizenship:

> I’m me, the American, who loves shopping.

> I’m me, the Israeli, who loves meat chips wrapped in soft bread.

> I’m me, the American, who indulges in getting drunk stupidly occasionally and pissing off the French neighbor downstairs.

> I’m me, the Israeli, who has no patience for outerworld frivolties like waiting in line.

> I’m me, the American, who feels patriotic and unbreakable.

> I’m me, the Israeli, who is hard to the outside but somewhat fragile on deeper notice.

In Israel, I’m embarrassed to be known as American; in America, I find myself needing to defend my emigration to Israel. In Jerusalem, I miss New York; in New York, I long for Jerusalem.

I guess dual citizenship keeps me on my toes, though not in that fugitive-refugee kind of way.

Cheese please.

Take a break from yer hummus and swap it for some cheese; read the following heartwarming story I received in my email today. I guess you could say I have a soft spot for weddings working out against odds.

————-

This story comes from Bracha Jaffe in Ra’anana:

My husband David called me up a week before my daughter Ruchama’s wedding to Moshe Stein and said : “We have a wrinkle…” .

The electric company had posted a notice on our apartment building announcing that there was going to be a power outage in our neighborhood to allow for a major repair. The problem was that it fell out exactly on the day of the wedding... ..

I called the electric company to ask (read: beg) them to postpone the repair work, since we really, really needed the use of the apt. to prepare for the wedding (you know – makeup, hair, etc.). I was immediately transferred to a manager named Zion. He understood the problem and explained that they absolutely couldn’t reschedule the power outage but he would see what he could do.

Two days later we spoke again and he said that he had sent some people out to look at the site and that they were having trouble isolating our building from the rest of the area. But – not to worry- if he couldn’t resolve the problem – we could have a room in the electric company’s building to use as we wish! I was flabbergasted – I asked him if he’d ever see a bride leave from the Electric Company. He said: “actually, it’s happened before J”.

The next day he called and in a happy voice conveyed his best wishes for the upcoming wedding. He asked me to tell the bride Mazel Tov [congratulations] and that she would have electricity because he personally went to look at the location and he found a solution.

So we get up bright and early on Sunday, and lo and behold, there is a generator parked right outside of our building. That’s right – our building was hooked up to electricity all day from our own private generator while the rest of the neighborhood had a blackout!

It was truly amazing. There are people here with big hearts who made it clear that our happiness was important to them as well.

We sent a warm thank-you letter to the electric company along with the attached pictures.

Just goes to show that Chesed [kindness] is alive and well in the land and people of Israel.

Enjoy,
Bracha Jaffe, Raanana, Israel

When I think about you, I indulge myself.

Did you know?

- There’s a machine that you can put your newly-washed, still-dripping clothes inside, and they will come back dry and fluffy and warm – in under an hour?

- There’s a machine that you can turn on when it’s hot and humid and within minutes you feel refreshed and cool – in the comfort of your own bedroom?

Wow. I must be young and not-wealthy.