Thursday, May 21, 2009
Citizen of Israel
Wednesday, May 20th, at around 9:30 AM Israeli time, I officially became a citizen of Israel. I'll receive my Teudat Zehut (my Israeli identity card) this Monday. When the plane landed, the 47 of us on the El Al flight who made Aliyah were greeted by Nefesh B'Nefesh Staff as we deboarded who walked us through the process leading to our one-on-one with the Israeli gov't official finalizing our paperwork and declaring us a citizen. Nefesh staff couldn't have been nicer and more helpful, and the entire process lasted maybe 2 hours.
Though my sherut (shared van taking us to our final destination in Israel) got lost (apparently there are two Narkis streets) and finding a place to cash my Nefesh check took quite a while, I finally arrived at my new apt. in the Rehavia section, met with my landlord (an American Oleh who made Aliyah in 1969), and signed my lease. My apartment is a pre-furnished garden level one-bedroom unit w/ minimal windows, but good light and access to the backyard garden/patio.
The emotion of becoming a citizen of Israel is quite overwhelming, but I was sharing with my friend studying in Israel, Faryn (who will be returning the U.S. in a week), that as I walked around Jerusalem with her, what struck me most was the feeling of greater responsibility - that I'm not just a supporter and an observer from afar anymore. This is MY country now, and I take the responsibilities of my new citizenship very seriously.