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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

I am a survivor

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

I am a survivor.

I never thought I would make 6 years of years of living in Israel.  

I have stayed not because of idealism but out of LOVE.  My family wants to be in Israel so here I am!  

I had an interesting discussion with Temira, age 16, with regard to, if she feels more Israeli or more American.  She told me she had never felt totally American, as she came from such a  South African home, she always felt somewhat different. Based on the age she came to Israel, she sees herself as totally Israeli. It reminded me that, even though NY was my comfort zone, we were also immigrants.

When I arrived people told me it takes 2 years, 5 years, 7 years to be settled.  I think acclimated is more the word.  One is not more settled, just more aware of  what to expect!!!

The signs that I have acclimated include:

I swore I would not be one of those Israelis walking around in my Teva sandals.  One water hike and you understand the practical necessity for them. 

I was recently sitting at a bar in Greece when the waitress started talking to me in Hebrew.  I was so confused and asked her how she knew that I was from Israel. I don’t look Israeli or speak Hebrew.  She replied that only Israelis wear those shoes!!!!! Smart girl.

I wake up each day with boxing gloves expecting a good fight.

I now know the word “NO” does not mean “NO” it’s simply the starting point of negotiation.

I know that “Chutzpah” is the lack of the fear of the word “No”.

I no longer freak out at double dipping.  “So what if everyone sticks their fork in their mouth and then the food bowls on the table…”

I tell myself Israelis don’t die from this.... well, not until Covid at least. It’s also the only way not to go hungry at events.

I now expect the guy behind me to honk even before the light changes.

I can be on a hike and see ancient ruins or hear a story that reaffirms my love of Israel and then 5 minutes later deal with an Israeli and the love, hate continues.

I know that Israelis who speak less English than I do Hebrew will never bother trying to listen to Olim Hebrew.  Recently I asked a guy where the medical center was in my best practiced Ulpan Hebrew.  He replied that he does not speak English!

It’s hard knowing your kids assume you are incompetent Olim who know nothing about anything.  Our children are that immigrant generation.  I remind myself most immigrant children thrive, despite this!!! 

I see our 2 oldest thriving in Israel and it gives me comfort that my struggles are worth it.  Even though I am still convinced Caila was our sacrificial lamb of this journey! Although she has mastered the language.

Once Meron received his army call up papers I knew it was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse my life!  Like the Israelis who live abroad and 25 years later say, they are going back one day. This is me in reverse! 

As long as we have a big budget to enjoy lots of fantastic Israeli wine I will say L’chaim to 6 years in Israel. your text here.


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