Wednesday, October 13, 2004

So it begins...

The moment has come at last. I’m all excited. Today is the day I call the Israel Aliyah Center (212-339-6065 or Toll Free: 1-866-7-ALIYAH) to open my Aliyah file.

It’s 11:00AM here in NY.

Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, “Shalom. Hello. You’ve reached the Jewish Agency. We’re sorry but no one is here to take your call right now...” Click.

I call back a few minutes later, this time with the direct number. Still no answer.

Suddenly I’m hit with this ill feeling. I’m reminded of all the criticisms I've so often heard of how the Jewish Agency mimicks all the shortfalls of Israeli bureaucracy. Whether they intend for it or not, to make Aliyah you really have to want to make Aliyah! The Jewish Agency serves the role of the Rabbi that tries to dissuade the potential ger from converting. I think to myself “And so..

{The Uruk Leader cries out once, encouraging the Uruk-hai to start roaring and thumping their spears furiously.The women and children in the caves huddle together in fear. Suddenly, Aldor, the old man next to Haleth, loses his grip and releases his arrow prematurely, shooting an Uruk-hai in the neck.}

Aragorn: Dartho! (Hold!)

{The Uruk-hai army stop their roaring and thumping. With a hollow groan, the Uruk that was shot collapsed to the ground. The other Uruk-hai bare their teeth and roar with anger. With a cry, the Uruk-hai leader thrusts his weapon in the air and the Uruk-hai army starts charging.}

Théoden: So it begins.

Aragorn: Tangado halad! (Prepare to fire!)

Indeed. So it begins. Tangado halad!

And so I pepped myself up for a whole day a war-dialing!

It’s now 11:15 A.M.

Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ri— "Shalom, Good morning. The Jewish Agency. How may we help you?"

“Good Morning. I am interested in opening my Tik Aliyah!”

“Okay, have you ever attended an orientation session yet?”

Now this was a question I was prepared for. In fact this was not the first time I called the JA to open my tik. I also called a year-and-a-half ago to open it. But I ended up at an orientation session instead. I met a friend there. “What are you doing here? You should be giving, this orientation section!” Flatered my the references to my days as president of the Queens College Tehilla Tziera, and the work I’ve done with Kumah and perhaps the fact that at the time I had read every single message posted on the JA’s Tachlis Informal Aliyah Discussion Mailing List for two years in a row – a very scary thought when you realize the sheer magnitude – I just shrugged my shoulders. “They said I need this before I could open my tik.” Now there’s a long string of fascinating events that followed, of which I won't be sharing with you now, but because of them, I never followed though on opening my tik and didn’t end up on this summers Nefesh B’Nefesh flight either, which was one of my many plans...

YES! Yes, I’ve been to the orientation session!”

“Okay, we have Monday, the 18th at 10AM?”

“Um, is there anything, later, like after work.”

“No. We only have 10AM to 4PM.”

“And no Sunday’s either?”

“No. Just Monday through Thursday.”

“Hmm. Okay how about Monday 4PM then.”

“We don’t have that. It’s not available.”


Well the truth is perhaps it was becuase I lowered my expectations so much but it really wasn't all that bad. After a bit-more back and forth I finally scheduled an appointment on Tuesday, October 19th to meet with an Aliyah Shleach and start the process!

I’m making Aliyah!


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