Sunday, 12 September 2010

Feeling low

Well I am back in the holy land after a month's holiday back in England, I'm not really in a great mood, which you may be able to tell from this blog, potentially the most depressing one I've ever written.

First things first, I had the most unbelieveable four weeks back in England, I literally couldn't have asked for a better time and this clearly affected me when coming back to Israel. I mentioned in the last blog how in the first two weeks I was having an amazing time, despite some intital disappointments. The second half of my visit just got even better and I saw and did everything I wanted to do; from cinema and resteraunts, to going to Tottenham and spending Rosh Hashana with my family, from playing football with friends and going out clubbing, to watching films at home with my daddy and going out shopping with my mummy. It was truly the perfect holiday ever. The thing is, though, it didn't feel like a holiday, it felt like I was back home and everything just fell back into place. I saw what my life was like before I made aliyah and how great it was. I also saw what my life could have been like if I'd have gone to university like all my other friends, as I saw and heard from them the university lifestlye. In my opinion, this makes what I'm doing even more special and meaningful, while there are some who make aliyah because they believe in it but also because they're running away from a not-so-great life back home, for me I left fantastic opportunites, a loyal group of friends and the most supporting and loving family one could wish for. When I saw friends who either did a year out in Israel or are considering making aliyah they were the ones who understood what a hard decision it was to leave home. However, the hardest thing has and always will be, my parents.

With my close family on my birthday at a posh Kosher resteraunt.

There aren't enough superlatives to explain how close to them I am or how much I love them. I think I've declared that enough over the course of this blog already but they so important to me, I'm sure this child-parent relationship is universal, but, due to our unique circumstances, I know that we have a very special bond. All this love and feeling made living at home again incredible and it was this that was pulling me when leaving to go back to Israel. As I told my rakaz (the man who looks after our garin), I was sort of ready to come back to Israel, but definitely not ready to leave London. So it came to the day of saying goodbye. We have done many goodbye's in the past; at Heathrow before making aliyah, at hotel lobbies when I left my family and at train stations when I was on my way back to the army. However, the goodbye yesterday and aftermath of leaving, was sometting completely different and harder than anything I've experienced up until now. Forget all the masaot and all the war weeks, I can honestly say that yesterday was the hardest day for me since making aliyah.

With my friends on my birthday at my parents' new house.

Partly I think it was because I felt very alone, unlike last August when I made aliyah with two others from my garin, yesterday, I said goodbye on my own, flew on my own and had to travel back to my kibbutz on my own. It was a very lonely day and I all I could think about was leaving home and how terrible I felt. When saying goodbye before making aliyah I was excited about the journey ahead, but yesterday there was nothing really to be excited about, I know that I'm going back to the harsh reality of the army and of the lone soldier life. The difficulties of being a lone soldier were apparant from the moment I stepped off the plane as I had difficulty getting back to my kibbutz in the north, since it was late at night and no-one could come pick me up. Imagine the shocking contrast that I went through; from being in my new house in London (which is fantastic!) on Sunday and having my mummy wash my clothes and cook me dinner, to standing in Tel Aviv bus station on Monday, struggling to find a way home. Yesterday and still today, I can't get over the holiday I've had and the huge contrast that I felt between my two lives. Now I'm not saying that my life back home is amazing and here is terrible, that's definitely not true, but I just want to explain how coming back is especially hard and the reality of living here is worthwhile but also extremely difficult.

I don't feel like the shining example of the IDF soldier and Israeli, zionist 'oleh' (immigrant) that I feel I make myself look like a bit in this blog. In fact, I am not ashamed to say how when everything was going wrong yesterday (when I came back, I had some considerable problems that I won't delve into), I was thinking to myself "why am I doing this?" when I can have it so much easier at home. Of course, I know the answer to that question, it's what drove me here and continues to drive me every day, but for today and yesterday, I still haven't re-found that answer. When I went to bed last night, I had thoughts of just giving it all in and going back home to London, where everything is comfortable and I have my loved ones around me. But, I am still here and I'm sure that once I get into my regular routine of being in the army and seeing my friends from the garin on the weekends, I will be fine. To be totally honest, as I always like to do on this blog, at the moment I am feeling very low and just can't help feeling that I want to go home.

Posing with mummy and daddy before going to a Bar-mitzvah.

After the fantastic visit back home, I always knew that this period would always be the worst and I'm sorry to give you guys such a depressing blog. It may not sound like the determined and motivated Sam that normally writes, but I think it's important to understand that the whole aliyah journey comes with its ups and downs. I think that now is the lowest point I have ever been since making aliyah but I believe I can get back up again, get to those o so high points and carry on doing what I love and that's living here in Israel. Some encouraging comments would not do amiss here...


  1. Dear Sam,
    I have been reading your blog for roughly a year now and I just want you to know that I can't even express how much of a role model you have become to me. My situation is pretty much the same as yours before your aliyah. I'm a Jew born and grown up in Europe, I have a wonderful and supportive family here and I have been living a really comfortable life so far. Nonetheless, I have always dreamed of living in Israel and joining the army because it was the only place where I felt like everyone else, where being Jewish was not an issue at all... but I was afraid of leaving everything behind (and I'm still afraid!). My Hebrew skills are also somehwat limited... so I thought I'd never be able to fulfill my dream.
    Then I stumbled upon your blog and I was thrilled to read about your experiences. I truly admire your courage and the strong sense of responsibility you have for our people. There might be Jews living all over the world, but Israel is the place we can call our real home and I think it is worth the sacrifice (and you won't be in the army forever, after all).
    I have just started my final year of high school. I went to Israel this summer and took part in an ulpan in the Galilee. Around this time next year I will be joining a volunteer program in the IDF - and your blog had a big impact on my decision. I now feel it's what I want and have to do.

    Please stay strong! You're a hero for so many Jewish boys out there...

    Shalom from Munich!

  2. Sam...
    My name is Brett. I very recently sent you a message on Facebook. I'm not sure if you happened to get around to it, but I'd like you to read it, and I think you'll get an idea of how much of a role model you've become for me, and an inspiration in my life. I read your blog all the time, and I have drawn so much from it.
    I understand you are going through a rough patch now...what I want you to understand is that you have a following, all over the world, rooting for you and holding you close to our hearts because you have done something so special. You will get through this down period, and you will come out with flying colors like you have at every challenge this experience has thrown for you. Once you do, you will be even better for it. Hold your head up, and know that people from all corners of the world are inspired by you, envy you, thank you, and appreciate you more than you know.

  3. like the first boy said, you are a hero!!

    it`s not bad to feel like this somethimes! just think that you are living a dream that a lot of diaspora boys cant do!

    SHALOM VE Gmar jatima Tova

  4. I made Aliyah last year with 4 children( including infant) alone while husband works in USA hoping to join later in future. I struggle and miss USA but know I need to give myself few years to adapt. There are many benefits in Israel and experiences I could never have in America. I admire you and find your choice to stay in Israel
    an example to other young Olim to stay strong. Nehama