One year after making aliyah, Eliana Rudee writes that she is no longer a “new” immigrant, but rather, just an immigrant. Goodbye discounts and goodbye receiving some slack for Hebrew mistakes. But all in all, it has been a phenomenal year full of growth, introspection, challenges, and successes, writes Rudee, who also announces the transition of her JNS.org column from "Aliyah Annotated" to "Israel Girl."
As if upcoming Fourth of July parties in Israel weren’t reason enough to celebrate an immigrant’s American background and new home in Israel, this happened: Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) officially became an Israeli national holiday, celebrating immigration as a fundamental core value of the Jewish state. "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee writes that immigrants to Israel believe we can make a difference here because we have clear role models who have proven that in Israel, every individual is a big fish in a small pond. We are told that with enough perseverance, everyone can find his or her place here, whether in medicine, film, high tech, community activism, arts and culture, business, journalism, or even politics. Further, in Israel, immigrants feel a sense of belonging to the greater community. It is Rudee's hope that the new aliyah holiday will even further reinforce that sense of home and community.
"Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee delivers a promise to each of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
“So are you, like, fluent yet?” It’s the only question that "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee is embarrassed to answer as an immigrant to Israel. No, she isn’t fluent in Hebrew. Yet Rudee writes that she needs to embrace the fact that fluency in a language is not a destination, but a journey.
They’re the predictable, frequently asked questions on the minds of friends, family, and Jewish mothers when Americans who made aliyah visit the United States: Is it safe in Israel? Do you feel safe? So, how’s the security in Israel? It’s not that "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee blames people for asking. She’s sure that she asked her Israeli friends the same question before some of her own trips to Israel before making aliyah. But every time she now gets asked this question, can’t help but chuckle to herself—because safety (or lack thereof) is so clearly the first thing people associate with Israel, and so clearly not her first association.
The cultural differences between Israel and America are substantial, reminding "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee of a major reason why she moved to Israel 10 months ago. In the U.S., the interpersonal norm is "polite and insincere." In Israel, it's "impolite yet sincere." Yet Rudee writes that she wouldn’t characterize Israelis as "rude" as much as sincere and to the point, just as she wouldn’t characterize Americans as "insincere" as much as polite and friendly. There is a kernel of truth in both the Israeli and American perspectives, she writes.
After visiting the Newseum in Washington, DC, "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee reflects on the connection between global terrorism and the terrorism that Israel faces. At the Newseum, she saw letters that 9/11 terrorists left behind before their attacks, the video messages they had for the Arab world, and instructions left by terrorist groups for their fighters. Both al-Qaeda terror and Hamas terror are largely motivated by Islamic fundamentalism, as is clearly portrayed in their media broadcasts. This reminded Rudee how Israel’s fight is also America’s fight, and vice versa, she writes.
After being diagnosed with a herniated disc, "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee felt somewhat helpless for the first time since moving to Israel. Her identity has always revolved around being active—what would she become if she could not continue to do the things she loves? This question threw her into an existential crisis. But Rudee writes that thankfully, the medical system in Israel allayed her fears.
Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. At 10 a.m. all throughout Israel, a countrywide air-raid siren wails. That sound is alarming and too familiar for many Israelis—it is the same air-raid siren that alerts communities of falling rockets, urging them to take cover. When Israelis hear the alarm on Yom HaShoah, everyone understands that it is not a rocket alarm. Cars on the road come to a halt. People stop what they are doing and listen. The siren, although it sounds the same, has a very different call to action than the terrorism siren. But "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee wonders: Can we truly separate these two sirens?
The first time “Aliyah Annotated” columnist Eliana Rudee came to Israel for Passover, she was sold. At Burger’s Bar, they served hamburgers with potato bread buns to accommodate those who were keeping Passover. As a person who does not react well to wheat, she was probably one of the only ones who rejoiced over Passover easing her dietary woes, rather than the normal havoc that matzah creates in “normal” people’s stomachs. Now, spending her first Passover in Israel as a citizen of the Jewish state has reminded Rudee of why she made aliyah—to be amongst her people.
When "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee visited the Czech Republic, and the city of Prague in particular, Israelis were everywhere. At nearly every store she entered in Prague's shopping malls, she heard Hebrew. In general, Israelis are disproportionately represented in terms of their overseas travel. In fact, the first thing many Israelis do after they get out of the army and work to save money is travel abroad. Traveling to a new country outside of her recently adopted home of Israel, Rudee writes, was a great experience that made her feel very much at home due to the many visiting Israelis by her side.
"Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee recounts a uniquely Israeli reunion with friends—an evening at a Bedouin hospitality center in the Negev desert.
Spring has sprung in Israel! And with it, a bad virus that everybody seems to be getting. But being sick has actually reminded "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee of the vibrant life she has been leading in Israel since moving there last summer.
A few days after returning to Israel from the AIPAC conference, "Aliyah Annotated" columnist Eliana Rudee attended another conference in Jerusalem, a gathering that brought Israel's leading politicians and thinkers together to discuss the anti-Israel BDS movement. The conference was great—educating, analyzing, and strategizing about how to counter BDS—but shouldn’t have needed to occur, Rudee writes.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference is the largest gathering of people who wish to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. Eliana Rudee went to an AIPAC Policy Conference for the first time in 2011 as a college freshman, and she fell in love. The mix of the inspirational videos, plenary sessions, and breakout sessions were one thing. The networking with other Jewish and/or pro-Israel students was another. She had found her people. This year, she attended the policy conference for the fourth time, but for her first time as a member of the press. The experience brought the same networking, shorter lines, and access to fewer breakout sessions, but one major takeaway: that actually living in Israel, as Rudee now does, surely beats attending a pro-Israel conference in America.