Mazal Tov! It's the Sussmans' Only Bat Mitzvah!
by Romi Sussman
Last week was our Aliyaversary. We got onto the plane 12 years ago today with two little boys, a baby on the way and our whole lives ahead.
I still can’t believe we did it or how rich and vibrant our lives would be as a result. But as I reflect on 12 years, there are many things that I could never have imagined…
I could never have imagined that:
I would have six boys, rather than the three that I expected and assumed I’d have in the States.
I would change careers and open myself up to an entirely new world of creativity and productivity.
I would laugh so profoundly and grieve so deeply.
I would have teenagers who assume that high school is supposed to come with weekly trips to explore their land and twice a year camping/backpacking trips.
I would have children who read Mark Twain and Harry Potter and John Grisham…in Hebrew.
My kids would think that they can get away with saying things behind my back as long as they speak Hebrew (and sometimes they do get away with it..but only sometimes).
My kids would have slightly Israeli accented English…and make my parents laugh when they sing “Happy Birfday to you!”
The kids would spend hours upon hours over the summer occupied by an incredibly well-run soccer tournament…organized by the 10th grade kids.
The 10th grade kids would bother to take the time to put together a soccer tournament for their little brothers and sisters.
My teenagers would show no sense of embarrassment at all when they are hanging out with their friends and see us. I am surprised each time that this happens.
The kindergarten performance would make me cry when the kids sing Hatikvah.
Hatikvah would make me cry every time I hear it – no matter where I am.
The fireworks on Yom Ha’Atzmaut would make me cry.
Watching the Nefesh B’Nefesh videos of the bright-eyed and hopeful immigrants coming off the plane would make me cry (and even more so when I’ve gone to greet those planes).
(Above is the video from our Aliyah flight..we are in here a bunch so watch carefully!)
My kids would love going to the arrival ceremonies for the Nefesh flights and greeting the new immigrants.
My sixteen year old would run around all day (and many very late nights) in the summer making money and just assuming that this is what he’s supposed to be doing – because it’s what all his peers are doing. And never complain.
Our vacations would include exploring and hiking, meeting new and interesting people who open their homes to us and enjoying all on our Land.
Weddings would be the most incredible, intense and joyful events you can possibly imagine. If you haven’t been to an Israeli wedding, you haven’t really been to Israel.
Funerals would be gut-wrenching beyond imagination. The lack of a coffin is something that simply can’t be described. It’s the real deal with no pretentions, no fluff, no barriers between us and our reality.
My kids would think it’s completely normal to have five siblings…at times they even call us a smaller family.
My boys’ idea of a good afternoon with their friends would include going to the nearest ma’ayan (natural spring) and their idea of a night out would include playing basketball late into the night at the yishuv court or having a poike (a stew type concoction cooked in a cast iron poike pot over an open flame).
I would go to bed earlier than my oldest two, who are out into the wee hours of the night catering or hanging out with their friends. And I don’t worry about them. (Much).
My kids would continually be teaching me…their Hebrew songs, their slang, their cultural references and everything else.
I couldn’t have imagined all this, and so much more, 12 years ago…but now I can’t imagine anything else!
Romi Sussman heads the content writing department for a technology and digital consulting company. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she made Aliyah from Potomac, MD and is raising six boys in the hills of Gush Etzion. She frequently blogs about life in Israel and her experiences over the last decade.