It is so hard to believe that 50 days living in Israel have come and gone in the blink of an eye. At times it feels like I have just arrived, and at other times it feels like I have already been here a lifetime. These last 50 days, as I have traveled the country, met new friends, studied, and planned for my upcoming graduate program, I have been thinking a lot about accepting my "right of return", making Aliyah, and becoming a citizen of Israel. I have talked to many friends that are going through the same process, made my "pro" and "con" list, and have decided that making Aliyah is the right decision for me.
Many people, my sister included, think that making Aliyah means never returning home to the United States. In fact, 30-40% of Olim Chadashim (New Israeli Immigrants) return to their home countries after 3-5 years. I know that I will not be living in Israel forever, most likely only until the completion of my PhD, but I do plan on working in and around various places in the Middle East for a long time, am very passionate about being able to vote in this country, and since I will be here for so long, it really makes the most sense to become a dual citizen. I feel like this is the place that I need to be to really get my life going, and making Aliyah is the next logical step!
Aside from the practicality of making Aliyah, there is something so special about being a citizen of your homeland. As a Jew it is my greatest joy to say that I am becoming a citizen of my people's land; a land that holds our most holy cities and our most rich histories and traditions. As a Jew who is also very connected to the Arab side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is equally as exciting for me to know that my voice will now be heard and counted here in Israel, and hopefully through that ability I will really have the chance to work for peace in this country. This is the most important factor of my decision to become an Israeli citizen.
This is a very exciting step for me and I couldn't be happier or more excited about it. I'm following in my Bubby and Zayde's footsteps and giving myself a chance to make a name for myself here in this amazing country. Residing here in Israel will not be permanent (most likely), but I have always felt like a citizen in my heart, and I will now get the chance to be one legally! Luckily home is just a plane flight away, and with innovations in technology and the internet I never feel far away from family, friends, and loved ones. This is a very exciting time for me and I plan on taking it one day at a time, enjoying every moment, taking nothing for granted, and soaring to the highest of heights. It will be quite a process but worth every minute because...
I'M COMING HOME!!
Until Tomorrow <3,
Jordana Simone (The soon to be American Middle Easterner :-D)