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Monday, April 30, 2012

One-on-One with NbN

That’s Nefesh b’Nefesh, of course!

Made this appointment a couple of months ago, and then it snuck up on me so I realized super-late Saturday night that it was at 10 am Sunday morning.  Oops!

imageBut we made it there on time, which I’ll take as a good omen.  I brought my camera to “document the process,” but decided that’s cheesy so I will spare you a shot of us grinning on either side of the NbN rep. 

Here’s the back of a laptop instead, which is pretty much all we saw of her anyway.  Well, her head popped up from behind it from time to time to listen interestedly, but she was just off a plane from Israel and we were  her first appointment of the day, so she was mostly occupied getting set up for the dozens who were to follow us over the course of the day.

She was only too eager to hear we're considering the north, and in fact, I found out that our friends are definitely going to Mitzpe Netofa (they visited already last year). 

When you know so few people, even having a few familiar faces -slash- co-olim might be a very nice thing.  Also, one of the rabbis and rebbetzins from our shul made aliyah a couple of years ago to Yavne'el, so there would be other friendly folks in the neighbourhood.  On the other hand, we both agreed that we're city people, so it would be a big transition.

However, the NbN rep said there are a few communities up there that are going to be receiving extra aliyah support - a program that was apparently discontinued last year that is (perhaps, not counting chickens before they hatch) being reinstated in September for next year.  So we will have to wait and see that list if and when it's released.  On the other hand... (there are so many other hands!) going north is a minimum 3-year committment, so we'd have to consider that very carefully.

[a bloggy friend suggested Maalei Adumim, which does indeed sound great for a number of reasons, despite its location behind the Green Line, so I will continue to look into it]

The NbN lady had lots of advice about the older kids, which would have been helpful if the older kids would even entertain for a second the idea of aliyah, but as it is, they just think we're nuts.

What a job she has - rounding up lazy anglos like us, handholding, cheerleading us along.  Oy.

But I am unbelievably grateful... my kids are sick of my saying that for thousands of years, people walked, crawled, swam, stumbled and starved their way to eretz Yisrael any way they could and kissed the ground when they got there.  And Moshe Rabbeinu didn't even get THAT chance (boy, are they sick of hearing THAT!).

I brought along a stack of documentation, including Ted's teudah geirut, our family's birth certificates, passports, etc.  We could have gone straight from the meeting - I had everything but tickets!  But she didn't want to see that stuff - apparently, somebody from the sochnut has to check it over, not NbN.

Perhaps the biggest part of the meeting was discussing it later with my mother and sister, who are not exactly excited about the idea.  But drip by drip, we will wear away at even that stone. 

In any event, we will need their help looking after the kiddies next spring when it's time for a pilot trip.

Action items, talking points and resolutions to come out of the meeting:

  • Use the NbN website – especially the jobs & communities sections
  • Meet with an employment rep when they come through town
  • Meet with a Go North rep when she comes through town after Shavuos
  • Meet with any representative of NbN as often as possible
  • They will tell us when it’s time to meet with the Sochnut
  • Work on finishing the online application (I’m 75% done, but apparently that’s not enough…)
  • Wait to see the list of communities with extra aliyah assistance
  • Learn Hebrew – this goes for both of us!  Or rather, all, including the kiddies…

Saturday, April 28, 2012

And… a place to call home???

Just a name, mentioned by a friend who has mentioned several places, so I didn’t really listen at first.  Okay, the first THREE times she mentioned it, I didn’t listen.  But then I did, and it sounded actually kind of interesting.

(when people find out what a geography dummy I am, people throw all KINDS of place names at me, and I have no idea what kind of places they think would suit us or where they are relative to various borders and “shtuchim”/שטחים – places where the news refers to ordinary folks as “settlers” rather than just Israelis)

Here is the name – keeping in mind that it is by no means THE name, just one place I am maybe considering:

Mitzpeh Netofa

OR

Mitzpeh Netufah

OR

מִצְפֵּה נְטוֹפָה‎‎

Of course, the Nefesh b’Nefesh info page gives it four dollar-signs in terms of cost of living.  Drat!  Tehilla, a site for religious aliyah, seems to not exist anymore, so I can’t use their VERY handy community-information site (you can click it, but you won’t get anywhere… blah).

Here’s a little more personal side from a very out-of-date site.

Wikipedia doesn’t say much except that there are 200 families.  But maybe more if we go there, and a couple of our friends from Toronto!

This is MORE information than you ever needed to know, in the form of a Word document, which is somewhat outdated but still offers valuable insights into the town’s history, philosophy, resources etc.

And my favourite, a YouTube video!

Thinking, thinking… I really can’t concentrate on this right now, but it’s kind of nice, the feeling of narrowing things down a little – though in this case, perhaps TOO much.

Oooh, here’s another (if somewhat twangy) view.  My Canadian eyes are loving all this greenery, but I’m sure that, as in the rest of the country, the green is pretty seasonal.

This is why…

Elisheva’s school had a Yom Iyun (basically, an assembly) for Yom HaZikaron last week.  Nice, right?  I thought so, especially given the anti-Zionist or (to put it more charitably) non-Zionist bent of some of the frum schools here.

But then she mentioned that the school would NOT be celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day, always the day after Yom HaZikaron), although the girls were told they could “celebrate it on their own” if they wanted to.  (Gee, thanks.)

Well, this made me mad.  Obviously, right?  I mean, why mourn the loss of so many lives without celebrating, even momentarily, the great victory that was bought with those lives?

image image

Doesn’t that make the sacrifice meaningless???

I began to rant and then realized I’m not trying to change the system anymore… I’m trying to change US. 

I decided I’d like to do a pilot trip around these two important dates next year, but I realize that many prospective olim probably want the same thing, and being so close to Pesach, it may not be possible.

But by next year at this time, I’d REALLY like to be on our way, somehow.

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