Today, according to the Gregorian calendar, is the thirteenth anniversary of one of the craziest things I’ve ever done, but also possibly one of the best: making aliyah [moving to Israel].
I have an idiosyncratic way of measuring time when it comes to dates like this: I always imagine what a child born on the original date would be doing. In this case, if the child were a Jewish boy, he would be celebrating his bar mitzvah. (And yes, last year I thought that a Jewish girl born on this date twelve years before would be celebrating her bat mitzvah. Equal-opportunity idiosyncrasy, that’s me.)
I’ve also done some stock-taking of the past thirteen years, but I’ll spare my readers that. I will say this, though: despite the difficulties of living in this countrysome of which are actually pretty normal, such as high taxes and low salariesI consider myself extremely lucky to be here. When I need to boost my morale, I remind myself that many of my ancestors would have given all they possessed for the privilege of walking down a street in Jerusalem, or anywhere in Israelsomething I too often take for granted. And I also remember that I owe the privilege of living here to so very many people who gave, and are still giving, all they had to keep us safe.
Thirteen is an important number in Jewish tradition. There are thirteen Divine Attributes. The numerical values of the letters of the Hebrew word for “one,” denoting Divine unity, add up to thirteen, as do the numerical values of the letters in the Hebrew word for “love,” ahavah. Yes, thirteen ... a nice, round number.
Happy anniversary to me!