Reading Corner: “Becoming Israeli: The Hysterical, Inspiring and Challenging Sides of Making Aliyah” by Akiva Gersh

Two years ago, Becoming Israeli was the first book I was able to find about the Aliyah experience. At the time, I was preparing to make Aliyah myself and desperate to hear stories from more people about what they went through moving to Israel. I was terrified of having a “failed” Aliyah (moving back to the States), and so I was determined to figure out the secret of a successful Aliyah.

I believe I found it through reading books such as this one and through my personal experience. This book inspired me to start this website and share my story to help others going through the same thing or those needing to see how someone else makes Aliyah before making the leap of faith for themselves.

It contains snapshots, if you will, of what day-to-day life is like for an oleh chadash. It is a collection of essays from 40 different bloggers- all immigrants to Israel themselves. And while it doesn’t go in-depth on the process of making Aliyah itself, it does encourage those of us who still have doubts. Will I be able to make it there? Will I ever learn Hebrew? How will I ever fit in with Israelis? What if I make a fool of myself- several times? Do I have what it takes? Will it all be worth it?

The answer is yes, maybe not immediately, but you will eventually learn to adapt here in Israel. You’ll learn not to be so hard on yourself, to go with the flow. That every single other immigrant is going through the exact same thing, and if they made it work- so can you. This book also contains hundreds of reasons why it will be worth it in the end.

So stalk Nefesh B’Nefesh (and this blog) for information on how to make Aliyah. Get as many tips as you can from friends and Facebook groups. But for chizzuk (emotional or spiritual encouragement), this book is a must-have for your Aliyah collection!

Akiva Gersh is an educator, published author, public speaker, tour guide, blogger, musician, and vegan activist. Check out his personal website and Times of Israel blog for more great Israel and Aliyah-related content.

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