Eight weeks ago I was lucky enough to give birth to my amazing daughter- Ma’ayan Esther. Last week, on the way to my parent’s house in Efrat, Ma’ayan and I stopped to visit my mom in the Old City.
As I walked toward Shaar Yafo wearing Ma’ayan in her baby carrier, I leaned over and told Ma’ayan we were going to a very special place. On the word “special” my voice cracked and I teared up. I couldn’t believe the zchut I was about to experience. I was about to take my gorgeous, Israeli-born, Sabra daughter to the holiest city on Earth. To the place where her ancestors walked and journeyed to to be close to G-d. And this wasn’t a trip I had to book plane tickets for or plan far in advance. I got on a bus in the morning and on a whim decided to visit the Old City instead of going straight to Efrat.
In the five years since I’ve made aliyah there have been good times and hard times. In the hardest times, when I asked myself why I’ve done this to myself the answer I gave was so that my children would never have to go through this. They wouldn’t have to struggle like I did through a second language and culture in order to be home. They would just be home. Ma’ayan has now started her journey. She spent her first days in a hospital surrounded by Hebrew and “mazal tovs” instead of “congratulations”. At seven-weeks-old she “walked” the streets of Jerusalem and the Old City. And this is only the beginning. As she grows she will continue to have Israeli experiences- an Israeli gan and an Israeli school. She will speak Hebrew better than her parents and make fun of our accents. She will talk to her siblings in Hebrew because that language will be easier for them. She will have Israeli friends over and we’ll have to actually speak Hebrew in the house. Maybe she’ll even marry a Sabra and then we’ll really have to speak Hebrew in the house.I look forward to all of these experiences and more as Ma’ayan and Beezrat Hashem her siblings are born and grow in the Holy Land. And I thank Hashem every day for my family here. My parents and siblings- who are always available to help and who have made Ma’ayan’s first few weeks so much easier. My husband- who works so hard and is always giving to me and to Ma’ayan. And now my daughter- who is adorable and amazing and will grow up in a very special place.