Whistling for Salvation

© KJ Hannah Greenberg, 2018

Whistling for Salvation
Seashell Books, USA
2019, Apr.

Buy it here.

One of the greatest obligations we Jews have is to dwell in our homeland, Eretz Yisrael. Fulfilling this duty bring privilege. Yet, it's costly to answer this calling.

On the one hand, there's a lot of Torah learning going on in Israel. Plus, we can perform more of the 613 mitzvot, here, than we can anywhere else. As well, we can live more joyously, here, than we can anywhere else, and we can holder tighter to our moral compass, here, than we can anywhere else. Additionally, it's only to the Holy Land that we will be ingathered and it's only from here that children need no incentive to make aliyah. What's more, Israelis don't have to choose between blending in with non-Jews, and being socially ostracized. Additionally, Israelis are not embarrassed about their spiritual heritage.

On the other hand, Israelis have fewer material choices than do North Americans, Australians, and Europeans. Further, Israeli young ones are regularly exposed to poverty, to murder, and to ethnic hatred. Extended family might misunderstand individuals' aliyah. Besides, the other nations are set against us strengthening ourselves by coming home. It takes effort to live in the most consecrated of places.

My family's return to our homeland was no exception. Whereas, b'ayin tova, we escaped muggings and quickly learned not to buy exorbitantly, i.e. "special American priced" trinkets, nonetheless, our move from New Jersey to Jerusalem was fraught with health, interpersonal, spiritual, economic, and other challenges. Sure, the reward is according to the difficulty. Sure, my family members' respective four amot are the sweetest possible spaces on this earth. After all, settling in Israel enables us to: demonstrate our obedience to Hashem, fulfill our destinies, repay some of our debt to Hashem, repay some of our debt to our forefathers, pay forward some of our children's needs, and compensate ourselves.

Consider the following allegory. A guest once pointed to the crystal and to the handmade ceramic serving pieces sitting next to the recycled plastic containers on our Shabbat table. She asked how we determined which foodstuffs were to be presented in casual vessels and which in formal ones.

I smiled when answering and explained that whereas my family likes pretty things and makes them, including ceramic and glass vessels, my family also prefers to spend more time with people than chores. Consequently, if a comestible comes in a serviceable container, that container is placed, accordingly, on the table. If a comestible does not come in a serviceable container, my family utilizes our collection of beautiful objects.

Living in Israel is about elevating life. It's not about embracing beauty for self-aggrandization. Here, we embrace beauty to raise our spiritual state.

My family left behind matching place settings to live among gleaming sandstone buildings. We left behind American-styled affluence to live in a more transcendent manner. Sometimes, our heavenly life is stress-free. Other times, we whistle on route to salvation.

Preface: The Obligation to Dwell in Israel
Introduction: Five Years
1. Aliyah and then Some
1.1 Pre-aliyah Logistics: Bits and Pieces
1.2 Housing and Social Integration
1.3 New Home
1.4 Early Challenges
1.5 Little Smiles and Other Nuances of Israeli Communication
1.6 Little Cultural Smiles
1.7 Cabbages, Kings, and Job Counselors
1.8 Cultural Cacophonies
1.9 The Publisher, the Lawyer, and the Rabbi
1.10 Eating, not Insulting
1.11 Adar is Always Upside Down
1.12 Patience
1.13 Health-Related Little Smiles
1.14 Even More Cultural Cacophonies
1.15 The Waiters, the Menachelet, and the Beggar
1.16 Twelve Great Reasons to Make Aliyah
1.17 Better than Anything You Can Imagine

2. Parenting and Partnering
2.1 Helping Other Olim with Klita and Parenting
2.2 Calendar Exigencies
2.3 Parenting's Little Smiles
2.4 Poland Shabbat
2.5 Sons and Daughters' Little Smiles
2.6 In the Army, Now
2.7 Vibing Higher: A Givati Hashba'ah
2.8 Lice
2.9 Post-Teens
2.10 Israeli Education Smiles
2.11 Eat the Quinoa, not the Roast
2.12 The Letter I Didn't Send
2.13 My Serial Husbands
2.14 Long Distance Partnering
2.15 Thirty-Four Years, Give or Take a Shoe
2.16 A Computer Cowboy and a Writer Living in Israel
2.17 Pets

3. In Hindsight, with Gratitude

3.1 Happy Birthday!
3.2 Qualia
3.3 Signs and Wonders
3.4 Coping
3.5 Between the Raindrops
3.6 After Diplomas and Diapers
3.7 Ego Shrinking
3.8 Universal Little Smiles
3.9 Getting off of the Bus
3.10 My Faith Restored
3.11 Further Reduction in Ego
3.12 The Mensch, the Magazine Columnist, and the Accountant
3.13 Four Things about Me
3.14 Simple Gratitudes
3.15 Counting Up
3.16 Embracing Life on Hashem's Terms
3.17 Little Smiles of Thanks
3.18 The Significance of Revising
Conclusion: Change, too, is Good
Glossary
Credits
Acknowledgements
About the Author