This Is My Israel, My Home
By Oliver Goldenberg
One of the questions I am constantly asked since moving to Israel is, “Why did you make Aliyah?” The first time someone asked me this was when I got off the plane, on the very first day I moved to Israel by a security guard at the airport. His exact words were, “WHY did you leave your country?” I thought at that point…because Israel is my home, it is my country!
This question of "Why?" is personal for everyone who chooses to move and make Israel, home. For me, I had a good job, living in a nice area in London, living the good life. Like most people in office jobs, my days consisted of the same routine. I got on the tube every morning through the same doors and sat in roughly the same seat. I saw the same man each day – mid 60’s with a recognizable, miserable look upon his face. It was then I realized, “I’m 29 and if I stay in this life, I will turn into him. I don’t want to be him!”
8 months later I moved to Israel, fulfilled my dream of leaving my monotonous life for a life filled with passion for this Land of Israel. I still get asked, “How can you live in Israel?” and always, my response is, “Because it is my home!”
I have learned that you can find negatives in every place that you visit and live, and while many Olim struggle with the everyday, I don't.
Israelis are different and I love it! The genuine nature in which people interact here is refreshing-whether it is an Israeli who hears you struggling with Hebrew and offers assistance, or the cab drivers who invite you to take their daughters out, or the guy in the kiosk at the corner who you see every day that invites you to holiday dinners.
This is MY Israel.
Though I live here alone, Israel is the only place in the world that when my feet touch the ground, I am completely calm and free!
I have made friends that feel like family, and am fortunate to have a host family where there is always a seat for me at Shabbat dinner. Through them, I have found ALYN (All the Love You Need) hospital and rehabilitation center in Jerusalem. ALYN is at the forefront of my thoughts most mornings as I train for the Wheels of Love charity ride this October. This ride is for the children who are unable to participate.
When I visited the center, the children, parents, workers and volunteers made me fully aware that 5 days, 400 Kilometers, sweat, tears and hopefully no blood, will help raise the much needed funds that will ensure ALYN can continue providing personalized and extraordinary care to children.
On their behalf, if you are able to, please donate as much or as little as you can - because, “Every child deserves the right to be normal, so we adapt normal for our kids”.