In context of the fanfare filled send off and the experiences our friends have had our Aliyah experience has been fairly anti-climatic. People make great efforts to attend the NBN landing ceremonies. As we didn't have a ceremony there was no one to greet anyone from our flight at the airport. The shul I have called home for the last 7 years was selected because of two particular interactions with the Rabbi. The first was my first time the there he came over to me to welcome me and learn my name. The clincher was when he came over to help paskun an issue with our Sukkah on Yom Tov morning. Here I am just another face in shul that goes unnoticed. This Shabbos was different. On an individual we have met people that were very excited and welcoming of us. We have also met some people who think Anglos are ruining the country.
We get a lot of people knocking on our door Thursday asking for food or money. We never had this experience in Toronto because the wealthier homes were only a few blocks away. On Friday afternoon we were still getting knocks on our door. Various neighbours had brought over food and games for Shabbos. It was a really nice welcome to the neighbourhood.
This Shabbos we wanted to stay in the neighbourhood. Friday night we ate at friends of friends. We got a long great and had a really nice meal. Shabbos lunch we at friends fo the friends of friends. They were really sweet people. They had the attitude of caring for others and not having blinders on that there is only one correct way for Avodah Hashem.
Shabbos morning I went to Ohr Shalom. The gabbi has promissed a special aliyah. He would be able to fit me in because they had a Levi Bar Mitzvah. As I was walking to shul there were no people to be seen anywhere. It turns out I had my times mixed up and I was 15 minutes late. As I walked in the Shul was packed. The gabbi had not mentioned the Bar Mitzvah was for the Rabbi's son. As I went looking for a Chumash the gabbi put his arm around me and told me to get my things and he would find me a seat up front. As there were about 3 open seats in the entire shul it was very much appreciated. I was called up for Revii. There was a short mishaberach for Olim. Then the entire shul started to sing "leshavu banim" (The children have returned). Everyone was shaking my hand and asking me all kinds of questions. It was a really special feeling.
Life always has ups and downs. It feels really special when people believe that the decision to move here was not only to benefit my family but a benefit to the Jewish people. With Rosh Hashanah 2 weeks away it is something to keep in mind.